Contemporary Photography

This semester I took a photo class called Contemporary Photography where I learned about and had the opportunity to try several different alternative photo processes. Since last summer I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this class because I had been itching to return to the darkroom. As expected, I really loved this class because it pushed me to think conceptually and try new things. Also, I was able to take it with some of my best friends so that made it even better!

 

PROJECT 1: Holga

The first project we did was with a Holga which is a plastic film camera. 

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After I shot my roll of 120 film and developed it, I scanned my negatives and ended up with the eight images below. 

I decided to display the images on a piece of wood from an old shed on my grandpa's property that has fallen down. My concept for this project had to do with objects that have been left to fade away and are not given the attention they once had.

 

 

Our contemporary class became extremely close this semester which made the class so fun and even though it was from 5-10 at night, it was always something I looked forward to. Therefore, on the last day of class, our professor gave each of us a humorous #contempphoto award. As a result of my holga project, I received the "Most Likely to Bring in a Giant Plank of Wood" award. 

 

 

 

PROJECT 2: Cyanotype

As the name suggests, cyanotype images are blue in color, just like a blueprint for a building. Keeping the idea of a blueprint and what that represents in mind, I decided to make my concept about the journey from shambles to restoration. I believe that hard times are the "blueprints" for the future and the positive things that can come out of them. Therefore, I photographed three abandoned homes to symbolize struggle and abandonment. I made the decision to frame them in a way that shows there are many different paths one can take once they reach a place of despair and even though they are experiencing hardship at the time, they still have the support and foundation they need to overcome it.

In order to show a little bit of the process, below is one of the final images next to a photo of what it looked like in the darkroom under the amber light. I had to spread chemicals on the paper and expose it to light with my negative on top of it in order to end up with a positive image. 

 

PROJECT 3: Pinhole

I am convinced that I will never forget the experience of taking my pinhole photo. My friend Rachel and I decided to take the pinhole camera out together and shoot our images at the same time. Unfortunately, I forgot my gloves and we were walking around Marion in sub zero temperatures for about an hour. The pinhole camera has a tiny hole in the front of it and therefore, in order to let enough light in, our exposure times were all a few minutes long. Anyone watching us probably got to see a good show because we had to hang on tight to the tripod so it wouldn't fall over or shake in the wind during our exposures (which I'm sure looked a bit humorous at times). 

To the left is a photo of Rachel and I with the pinhole camera.

Above is my pinhole image of my awesome suite mates who were crazy enough to let me convince them to model for me in the freezing cold.

Below is my final project where I transferred my image onto a block of cement. My concept for this project was the idea of loosing who we are when our lives become too busy and the weight that can start to have over us. 

 

PROJECT 4: Polaroid

About a week before my polaroid project was due, I was looking around in an antique shop and I accidentally stumbled upon a Polaroid 210 Land Camera. The guy who owned the store told me he didn't think it worked but I decided to buy it anyway and take the risk because it wasn't very expensive. Fortunately, it does work and I was pumped to use it for my project.

Two of my friends in the class and I went together on a Sunday afternoon and experienced quite the adventure in order to complete our projects. Once I took my images, I used hot water to lift the image layer off and then attached the gel-like images to white mat boards, giving them a different look as you can see below. This was a really fun and exciting process.

                                         (photo by Lauren Dafoe)

                                        (photo by Lauren Dafoe)

 

PROJECT 5: Vandyke Brown

For my Vandyke Brown image, I printed a digital negative of one of the photos of Kyle I had taken a few days before. Like the cyanotype project, I had to spread chemicals on the paper before exposing it to light and developing it to end up with the final image shown below.

 

PROJECT 6: Palladium

Palladium was a really exciting process because there were several steps we had to work through before we were able to see what our images were going to look like. Although this process was done similarly to Vandyke Brown, it looks way cooler!

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THE CONTEMPORARY PHOTO FAMILY

As I said before, our class became really close throughout the semester so I didn't think it would be right to post this without including a class photo. 

Above is a photo of our whole class taken with a polaroid by our professor.

To the left is a photo of the juniors (now seniors). The four of us have been together since the beginning. We are missing the fifth member of our group though because she's studying in Italy for the semester.