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Nicole Loftus Photo Essay Professor Wolff



Introduction       The  holiday  seems  to  approach  very  quickly,  and  just  as  quick  as  it  comes,  it  goes  right  away.  I  wanted  to  capture   and  manipulate  the  holiday  spirit.  The  first  time  I  snapped  a  photo  it  was  during  the  night.  Unfortunately,  the  images   did  not  capture  what  I  wanted  it  t  share.  I  went  to  Haddonfield  to  snap  photos  because  the  atmosphere  seemed  inviting.   But  I  wasn’t  satisfied.  So  I  traveled  to  the  Deptford  mall,  here  the  area  was  radiating  with  opportunities  to  capture  a   variety  of  moments.      

I began  taking  pictures  to  show  how  positive  the  holidays  can  be,  but  I  was  still  not  excited  about  the  way  they  

were coming  out.  Instead,  I  changed  my  approached  and  decided  to  show  the  negativity  that  it  can  bring  out.  I  took  the   pictures  in  a  “normal  setting”  then  altered  the  pictures  with  color.  By  doing  this,  the  thought  began  to  take  shape.  I   enjoyed  taking  pictures  at  different  angles,  even  though  had  several  onlookers  staring  at  me.  Since  I  was  in  a  public   place,  I  had  to  ask  for  permission  to  capture  images  in  the  mall.  That  was  a  bit  of  a  hassle,  security  almost  had  to  follow   me  around  the  store  to  ensure  I  was  not  taking  photos  with  store  names  on  them.  That  was  more  complicated  then  I   thought  because  I  had  to  get  the  right  spot  without  manipulating  the  photo  so  much.  

Growing up,  I  was  always  told  asked  to  take  Holiday  photos.  I  would  have  to  get  dressed  up  for  Santa  Claus  and  

take family  portraits.  I  hated  that!  Through  the  positive  atmosphere,  negative  thoughts  can  be  presented  in  ones  mind   and  that  is  what  I  was  trying  to  show  in  my  essay.  Some  of  the  photos  depict  loneliness  as  well.                          

Analysis                I  choose  to  analyze  this  photo  because  it  has  many  great  aspects  to  it.  While  I  was  walking  around  the  mall,  I  was   trying  capture  moments  that  showed  the  holiday  being  negative.  As  seen,  there  is  a  line  wrapped  around  the  Christmas   tree  and  a  welcome  sign  to  the  right  portion  of  the  photo  at  the  top.  I  noticed  how  unhappy  the  three  children  seemed,   and  then  I  noticed  the  woman  standing  behind  them.  I  am  uncertain  whether  the  families  are  together  but  my  her   folded  arms,  I  got  feeling  she  was  unhappy.  Unhappy  for  so  many  reasons:  standing  in  a  long  line,  have  to  much   shopping  to  complete  and  not  enough  time  to  complete  it  and  so  on.  Juxtaposition  immediately  came  to  my  mind.  The   holiday  is  supposed  to  be  a  joyous  time  with  laughter  and  smiles.  Not  in  this  particular  image,  the  children  are  unhappy   and  the  woman  does  not  look  like  she  wants  to  be  present  in  the  mall  anymore.                The  industrialization  of  Christmas  has  no  longer  become  intriguing  to  others,  and  this  pictures  shows  the  negativity   the  holiday  can  upon  us.  Semiotics  can  be  seen  in  this  image.  The  welcoming  sign  invites  individuals  in  to  partake  in   capturing  photos  with  Santa  Claus,  but  because  so  many  people  have  come  to  join  the  line,  people  become  antsy  and   impatient.  Since  people  become  impatient,  attitudes  start  to  come  out;  hence  the  reason  the  lady  is  standing  with  her   arms  folded  and  a  scow  on  her  face.  Also,  I  saw  how  the  children  have  little  enthusiasm  to  be  taking  a  photo  with  Santa   Claus,  the  little  girls  shoulders  are  dropped  down  instead  of  being  up.  She  seems  bored!  

Composition Analysis    

Choosing these  particular  images  was  rather  difficult.  I  snapped  many  photos  for  the  essay  using  an  Iphone  4.  I  

tried very  hard  to  remember  to  rules  of  composition:  pattern,  symmetry,  texture,  lines  and  depth  of  field.  Then  there   comes  the  actual  photo  taking  and  how  to  capture  the  image  within  the  grid  lines.  John  Berger  stated  that  photograph  is   art.  That  statement  I  must  agree  with.  Before  the  adventure  to  the  mall,  I  wrote  down  my  thoughts  of  taking  pictures   and  how  I  can  use  different  levels  to  captivate  my  audience.  Instead  of  using  different  angles,      

I decided  it  was  best  to  manipulate  the  image  to  something  darker;  darker  because  my  essay  is  about  the  

negativity of  the  holiday.  The  more  I  fade  or  blur  the  edges  and  change  the  amount  of  saturation,  the  darker  the  picture   will  become.  Therefore,  I  started  to  mess  around  with  the  various  options  in  Picasa.  Here  I  found  the  perfect  color   combination.  Sepia  mixed  with  lomo-­‐ish.  Lomo-­‐ish  is  usually  bright  to  show  the  vibrant  colors,  but  paired  with  Sepia  it   can  change  the  picture  to  appear  a  darker  color.  I  wanted  to  keep  the  pictures  consistent  when  it  came  to  manipulation.   I  feel  as  though  the  consistency  made  it  easier  for  the  viewer  to  see  the  pictures.  I  decided  not  to  show  the  bright  colors   because  it  did  not  represent  what  I  was  going  for.    I  altered  the  area  in  which  the  picture  was  highlighted  and  soft   focused  on  certain  aspects  of  the  photo  to  add  more  of  a  dramatic  feel  to  it.    

As I  was  going  through  the  various  photos  that  were  captured,  the  subject  appeared  to  always  be  in  the  center  of  

the photo.  To  me  that  made  the  photo  less  captivating  for  the  audience,  so  I  changed  the  way  I  viewed  the  subject.  Susan   Sontag  once  said:  “  To  photograph  is  to  appropriate  the  thing  photographed.  It  means  putting  oneself  into  a  certain   relation  to  the  world  that  feels  like  knowledge-­‐and  therefore,  is  power.”  The  images  are  pieces  of  the  world  that  do  not   need  to  be  statements  of  events  that  occurred  whether  be  happy  or  sad  but  somehow  reality.  A  picture  that  is  falsified   can  no  longer  be  considered  a  piece  of  art.      

As I  read  these  articles,  I  wanted  to  make  sure  I  captured  appropriate  moments.  I  was  sitting  down  on  a  bench,  

simply observing  individuals  past  by,  each  one  of  them  seemed  such  in  a  hurry  to  go  somewhere.  To  capture  those   moments  seemed  important.  So  I  took  my  Iphone  4  out  and  began  snapping  pictures  quickly.  There  is  a  moment  where   I  was  sitting  in  front  of  the  welcome  sign  and  a  man  was  almost  running  past  me.  How  I  captured  that  moment  is   beyond  me.  The  semiotic:  the  holiday  is  quickly  approaching  and  time  is  running  out.  The  very  last  photo  that  I  took   happened  to  be  when  I  was  walking  down  the  steps  and  my  finger  hit  the  button  on  the  camera.  Completely   unintentional  but  depicted  how  it  just  zooms  right  past  us,  an  honest  photo.        

“Photographs furnish  evidence”.    Evidence  that  be  proven  when  a  photograph  is  shown  (Sontag).    I  wanted  to  

manipulate the  viewer’s  way  of  the  holiday  spirit  by  proving  that  it  does  not  consist  of  joyous  moments.  For  example,  

there was  a  mailbox  where  children  can  send  letters  to  “Santa  Claus”.  Somehow  society  believes  it  is  fine  to  tell  lies   about  factious  characters  and  support  their  meanings.  Santa  Claus  is,  unfortunately,  not  real,  he  is  a  figment  of   imagination.  So  since  he  is  not  real,  where  do  all  the  letters  go,  in  the  trash?  When  I  saw  this  mailbox,  I  took  a  step  back   to  analyze  the  situation.  Growing  up  we  are  encouraged  to  share  the  truth,  and  lying  gets  a  person  nowhere.  Well  what   about  this  lie,  everyone  goes  along  with.  In  the  end,  children’s  hopes  are  given  up  because  they  will  eventually  find  out   the  truth.        

Usually excitement  comes  to  mind  when  a  person  thinks  about  the  holiday  spirit.  But  as  I  was  walking  around  

the mall  in  search  for  negativity,  I  myself  started  to  feel  less  enthused  about  the  holiday:  all  the  money  that  would  be   spent,  the  crowds,  crying  children  and  so  on.  I  noticed  many  people  shopping  by  themselves  as  well  as  wandering  around   the  mall  with  a  partner  to  assist  with  decisions.  I  captured  some  of  these  moments  because  I  was  surprised  to  see  how   many  “loners”  there  was,  myself  included.  In  the  end,  I  wanted  to  capture  images  that  were  “out  there”  and  not  the  typical   posing  and  portraits.  I  feel  as  though  there  is  more  truth  behind  taking  a  candid  photo.  

Works Cited   Berger,  J.  (1974).  Understanding  a  photograph.  In  A.  Trachetenberg  (Ed.),  Classic  Essays  on  Photography  (pp.  291  –   294).  Leete’s  Island  Books:  New  Haven,  CT.  [pdf]   Sontag,  S.  (1973,  October  18).  Photography.  The  New  York  review  of  books.  Retrieved  from  [PDF]  

A spin on the Holiday  

A different depiction of the holdiay spirit

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