Our First Crunch Time

Derek Schwartz

For me, one of the main reasons that this program has been so successful is because everybody here came to work.  Today more than any day before, this fact became apparent.  Up until now, we have only had one major due date but today we were asked to complete three unrelated projects.  In addition to the portraiture project which we have been working hard on for almost a week, we needed to finish up our image and text project and pick out a picture from this trip that we want print in the advanced media lab at 42”x24”.  Despite the obvious stress that we were all feeling under the pressure, everybody rose to the occasion and worked relentlessly until they felt that they could be proud of what they had completed.  Of the eighteen students in the class, not one failed to complete everything that they were asked to and further, everybody’s final product turned out beautifully.

              Of these three assignments that we were working on throughout the day, the most important was without a doubt the portraiture project.  In this assignment, we were given one day to go out in groups of three or four and shoot members of one distinct sect of the New York City population.  In my group, we photographed different public transportation drivers such as bus drivers, taxi drivers, horse carriage drivers etc.  After slaving over those pictures every day for five days, my group mates and I finally printed thirty pictures that we believe to best represent the people who we met that day.

Although the other two assignments also had to get done by the day’s end, they did not generate stress in the same way that the portraiture assignment did.  For the text and image project, we each picked a concept from one of our bi-nightly reading assignment and found an image that represented that concept.  Although these images did not need to be our own, we were encouraged to be creative in our choosing.  Once we had an image, we needed to find a way to incorporate text over the picture to further drive in the concept that we were trying to portray.  Each student incorporated text into their product in a very different way, whether they used photo shop to simply type over the image or decided to hand write on the print.  Once we had finished this, we needed to write a short, 250-word explanation of the concept that we chose to show in our work and how it relates to the reading that it was based off of.

Once we were done with all of this, we could finally worry about picking and editing a picture that we want to print in the advanced media lab.  Although this may sound like we could simply pick a shot that we like and move on, in reality it is not quite that simple.  The problem with printing a picture at 24”x42” is that any small mistake will be blown up so big that it will be obvious to any viewer.  For this reason, many of us spent excessive amounts of time scanning our images for any small details that we may be able to fix in Photoshop.  For those of us like me who are not extremely familiar with Photoshop, today was a great day to gain experience in the extremely tedious task of photo touch ups.  Although these touch ups may not have been fun today, I am confident that we will all be happy that we took the time to be perfectionists when we finally get to print the pictures later in the week.  Although we did not technichaly have anything on the schedule today other than lab time, I think that we will all agree that it was one of the most hectic and tiring days of the program so far.

Now to go catch up on some long overdue sleep…




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