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Our Augmented Reality John McCormick


Introduction: Technology has changed the way we live. It helps us do just about everything, from staying connected to our friends and family, to organizing our daily activities, to doing our jobs and school work and even reminding us of things we might have forgotten. Technology is everywhere. While we manipulate these technologies to improve the quality of our lives, it seems obvious that they manipulate us as well. There is seldom a moment in our lives where technology is not influencing us in one way or another. We spend so much time absorbed in our technology - we wear headphones in our ears rather than chatting with strangers, we send text messages rather than smiling at passersby. We spend more time face to face with a screen full of pixels then we do with other people. And while our eyes are drawn to backlit screens and handheld devices we seldom consider what we might be missing in the world around us. Often times technology serves to be a distraction, drawing our attention away from things we would otherwise be engaged by. I toyed with this idea for a while, thinking about how technology occupies every facet of our lives. I thought about the Internet, social networking, smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions, and I realized that one or more of these things was involved in just about everything I did. I decided that I should try to photograph just that - how technology permeates our lives. These photos demonstrates the pervasiveness of technology, how we manipulate it, how it manipulates us, and how it changes the way we interact with the world around us.


Project Analysis: When a picture is captured, one does not always consider the premeditation that goes into it. When we see a picture we are absorbed by the subject matter and the presentation, but little thought is given to the process that created that photograph. It’s not until you try it yourself, until you try to produce an album of photos that send a very clear, inspired message to audience, that you truly appreciate the art of photography. Upon receiving this project, I had no inspiration for a subject. I pondered the possibilities, juggling ideas in my head, trying desperately to think of something that was relatable and thought-provoking. While I thought, I realized that there was one thing in common with every idea I had: they all involved technology. The photos would be taken using technology, edited with technology, and even be presented through technology. At that point it seemed obvious - I wanted to try to document the pervasiveness of technology in our lives. Technology surrounds us, so there would be no shortage of subject matter. But I knew that I had to take pictures that provide an interesting perspective, pictures that shed a different light on our interactions with technology in the world. My first consideration was to be the camera. I elected to use the stock camera on my iPhone 5 to take the pictures. While it is not top of the line, the camera is exceptional at taking photographs, and by taking the pictures through my smartphone I ensured that I would easily be able to edit, transmit, and distribute the photographs as I pleased. While my editing and photographing abilities would be limited by the technology at my disposal, I was confident that these limitations would not sacrifice the quality of my content. Not to mention, it just seemed à propos to document the pervasiveness of technology using a smartphone.


Next, I had to select my subjects. In order to effectively convey my message to the audience I knew that the photos would have to provide an interesting perspective on interactions with technology and the world around us. To this end, I tried to select photos illustrating a variety of different activities and interactions. The images include an array of activities, both relatable and attention grabbing, and involve an interaction with technology in some way. In addition to these elements, I also had to take into consideration the elements of excellent photographic composition, including pattern, symmetry, texture, lines and depth of field. Lastly, I had to decide how I wanted to present the images. I knew that I wanted to demonstrate a lack of interactivity with our surrounding world as a result of technology. To convey this in my images, I chose a desaturation technique. By desaturating the photos I wanted to make the background of the image less interesting to look at in comparison to the featured piece of technology, just as technology “desaturates� our interest in the world around us.


Photo Analysis:


A good photograph contains much more than just an interesting subject, or new visual techniques. Photographs require a great deal of premeditation and consideration to create masterfully. When taking a photograph, the photographer must consider the elements of composition. While all of the photos in this essay demonstrate these elements, this photo clearly exemplifies several key elements of photographic composition. Most notably, one can observe the lines in the photograph playing a big role. The floor boards, the railing supports, as well as the railing handle itself all draw attention to the shoe and headphones. Additionally, the lines in the design of the shoe itself seem to lead the viewer’s eye to the headphones. Depth of field is apparent, in that the foreground is clearly focused while the background is not. This further draws attention to the foreground of the photograph, and makes it the most interesting area to look at. Finally, one will observe that there is a great deal of texture in the photograph. The texture of the shoe itself looks very tangible and interesting, as does the texture of the floor boards; this helps to make the photograph seem more real, as if the audience is seeing these scenes with their own

eyes.

Our Augmented Reality  

The effects of our interactions with technology in our lives.