Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Born in New Jersey

My second semester digital photography class is coming to an end.  Unlike the first semester where more focus was on the basics and topics where one would do a lot of shooting exercises and rudimentary editing techniques, this semester’s emphasis has been more on thematic combined with technical dimensions such as studio lighting, night photography, fantasy self-portrait, etc.  The latter is particular entertaining.  Below are the submissions I entered for the homework assignment “Best Liar”.

We also stretched our imaginations with extremely long or short exposure to capture scenes where human eyes/brains fail to notice easily.  An example is the paired photos on the right where I used movement of water drips to depict the progression of time. 

The grand finale of the class is a photo book where one is free to create a book from scratch with whatever he/she wants.  That may sound easy but turns out to be more challenging than what I thought; the least of it was the mechanical details of making covers and binding a book.  For one, it is easy to fall into the trap of having a neat idea but can’t get enough satisfactory photos to fill the design.  After struggling for two weeks, I finally converged to the following idea and created a book entitled Born in New Jersey.    

It was inspired by the 1984 all time hit song Born in the U.S.A. of Bruce Springsteen, one of the most famous New Jersey sons.   Below are the lyrics and a Youtube video of it by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (of his Jersey buddies) in Paris on 29th June 1985.

Born in the U.S.A.
Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man


Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
I go down to see the V.A. man
He said "Son don't you understand"


I had a buddy at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a little girl in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years down the road
Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go

I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

Here is the resulting photo book, my final project for my Digital Photography II class.  The photos are displayed in pairs and in the order of opposing pages as they appear in order in the book (not in size necessarily).  Hopefully you can imagine the narratives and story without more text.  As a hint, the photos were primarily taken at Liberty State Park, Atlantic City, and Jersey Shore beaches.  The book is obviously not perfect but it is another step and learning in my pursuit of arts of photography.   Talk to you soon!

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