Photography Final

Photographed on 11/10/2022-11/20/2022

Published on 3/19/2023

This is a special set of photos for me. For the final project in photography class our professor asked us to create a series of photographs which were "Made, Not Taken." From the minute we were assigned the project my mind was racing with the potential ideas I could explore and capture, yet I and others in the class were confused by what it meant to make a picture instead of taking one.

Eventually he explained that to "make" a photo is to consider the craft of an image in as many aspects as possible. Simply taking a travel snapshot isn't really "making" an image is it? But making images around a central idea, with intentional technique and composition, that is what it means to make an image and that is where the truly great images of our time come from. I had a lot of free time around the end of the semester and wanted to truly dedicate myself to making this project a culmination of everything I learned in the class.

One day after a doctor's appointment I realized I had the whole day to myself and that I had my camera in the car with me. I drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway and considered some of the most interesting spots to make pictures around. The weather was not great, it was cold, windy, and misting the whole time. Because of this I considered making images around the idea of shelter and seeking shelter in harsh conditions. I was shivering as I set the timer on the camera and crouched beneath the bridge to take the first picture. It took some time to adjust my placement and the frame of the picture, but eventually I ended up with a fantastic image showing a distant foggy background with a hiker in a pink poncho and myself framed between the walls of the bridge.

From here I traveled up the parkway in search of a bridge which I had heard rumors that you could go inside of. This sounded like the perfect place to capture the idea of taking shelter, and I was excited to explore a new area. When I got to the bridge I made some pictures capturing the mesmerizing curve of the road and the forest beneath and beyond its edges. I made pictures of the bottom of the bridge, its overhang looking like a spaceship and the drains letting the rain through giving it an otherworldly feeling. I shuddered with excitement at the compositions I was able to create.

I went inside the bridge and saw graffiti on every square inch of its surfaces. Venturing further inside, I saw a face painted onto the wall with eyes that seemed to stare right into me. Coming out of the bridge I was able to make an image of a distant tree shrouded in fog and framed by the bridge edge and some rocks. This is perhaps the image I am most proud of across my entire photo collection. It felt like the culmination of every technical skill I had learned over the course of the semester, and it actually was selected to be displayed on the wall of the photo department alongside other entry level course photo submissions. I wanted this series to show my growth and focus as a photographer, and I feel I achieved that. I wanted it to tell a story of a journey of self-discovery that the process of making the pictures was. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

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