Food Photography

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This past May I had the opportunity to do a food photography project using location lighting for my studio lighting and photography class. I chose to focus on a theme of Spring and Summer time foods and beverages. The image I’m most proud of is the breakfast in bed photo featuring banana walnut pancakes for a Mothers’ Day themed photoshoot. As part of the project, I also created a layout for these images and wrote copy to accompany the images.

Influences: Julia Randall

Julia Randall is an illustrator that creates hyperrealistic images that have surreal qualities. Randall attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999. She also attended Rutgers University and Washington University in St. Louis where she earned her MFA and BFA degrees respectively. Her work has been showcased in exhibitions all over the world including galleries in New York, Australia and Los Angeles. Randall lives and works in New York City and Connecticut.

Randall’s illustrations are so interesting to me because they are both beautiful and grotesque. She often uses imagery of the mouth and lips which represent this dichotomy. On her website she describes how the mouth is a “critical site”, the body part by which we experience so much of the world. People use mouths for speech, eating, kissing and biting which helps us to express and percieve a wide range of human experiences. Randall’s study of this body part through her work question what is natural in human desire and experience. Randall’s work is humorous, repulsive and erotic while still maintaining a quality of beauty.

To see more of her work visit her website: www.julia-randall.com

Influences: Barbara Kruger

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Kruger 1989
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Kruger 2012

“Do you know why language manifests itself the way it does in my work? It’s because I understand short attention spans.” – Barbara Kruger.

Barbara Kruger is an American graphic designer and pop artist. Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1945 and attended Syracuse University and Parson School of Design. Her early career began at Conde Nast in 1966 when she got her first job at Mademoiselle magazine as a doing layout design. Later she worked as a freelance designer, art director, and photo editor at other magazines including “House and Garden” and “Aperture”.

In the late 1960s, Kruger began creating artwork outside of her design work, first using textiles, her own photography, and later found photography. Kruger’s style is influenced by her work as a graphic designer. Some of her most recognizable work includes black and white images with overlaid text (usually red, white, and black) in Futura Bold Oblique font. The themes of Kruger’s work include feminism, politics, corporate greed, consumerism, sexism/ misogyny, classism, and autonomy/ desire.

I admire how striking Kruger’s work is. The bluntness of the messages and the way she marries images and text is very direct yet provocative. One of the first times I remember being consciously exposed to Kruger’s work was on a visit to the Hirshhorn Museum in D.C. a few years ago. Her room-wrap installation “Belief+Doubt” (2012, pictured above) is incredibly overwhelming to see in person. Messages bombard the viewer from all angles and combine to create different, but related messages based on the order they are read. I remember being taken aback by the installation based on its sheer size and chaos of it. I loved that such a simple technique could be applied in such an exaggerated way to create this effect.

Influences: Owen Davey

 

Owen Davey is an award winning illustrator based in Leicester, UK.  Davey’s illustrations have been published in many different publications as well as in his own nonfiction books and children’s books about different types of wildlife. His client list includes some of the world’s most successful and well-known companies including Google, Facebook, Lego, GQ and National Geographic.

I first came across his illustrations on Instagram and really appreciate his work. His vector drawings are an interesting dichotomy of fun, masculine and whimsical that I find surprising and refreshing. I enjoy his sophisticated eye for color and style. I like that his drawings use basic shapes and more complex color blends to create simplistic and refined work.

For more about Owen Davey and to see more of his work visit his website: www.owendavey.com

Influences: Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg

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Self portrait of Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck.

I’ve been following this couple’s work for years through their blog annstreetstudio.com. I admired their work long before I ever picked up a camera myself! I would just scroll through their images and admire the beautiful, romantic quality of the images. But since I’ve started learning about photography, I have a much greater appreciation for what they do and have learned a lot by reading the posts that accompany their images.

They use several cameras including a Sony a7RII, Impossible I-1 Analog Instant Camera, and Canon 5D Mark III. And shoot everything from fashion editorials, travel photography, lifestyle photography, beauty photography, video, and cinemagraphs.

I especially enjoy the cinemagraphs which are still images that have one or two things in motion. The effect is has a somewhat magical quality because at first glance it is a normal photo, but then their is also qualities of video that ad interest and narrative to the image. Beck and Burg create this images using a Canon 5D.

Carolina Softball

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The Gamecock Softball team huddles up beofre their opening game against Ohio.
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Carolina’s Kaylea Snaer and Ohio’s Casey Hutchinson watch as a Ohio player is at bat.
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Krystan White runs to meet her team to celebrate her homerun.

I photographed the University of South Carolina’s Softball season opener against Ohio on Friday, February 10 at 3 pm. This was my first attempt both at photographing a college sporting event and using a 400 mm lens. To get the photos of the two players and the team huddle I positioned myself all the way up in the left corner of the stadium stands and shot using a 400 mm lens. Using this lens was a challenge, but I was pleased about how these images turned out.

Another one of my favorite images from the game was taken after Krystan White hit a home run and was running to her team to celebrate. This was such an exciting moment in the game and it was nice to see the energy and spirit of the team. This photo was taken using a 70- 200 mm Canon lens (which was much lighter and easier to manage than the 400 mm lens!).

Contra Dance at the Emerald Ballroom

The Emerald Ballroom in Columbia, South Carolina, hosted a Contra Dance event Saturday, February 18. The first half hour dancers learned the basics of Contra, a dance a folk dance involving long lines of couples dancing in unison, from Stephanie Marie of Charlotte, North Carolina. After dancers learned the basics that make up the choreography for most of the dances Stephanie Marie switched hats and became the caller, instructing the dancers in traditional dances as music played. Battleaxe provided live music for the occasion. The all female group featured Amy Buckingham on fiddle, Lucy Allen on guitar, Brooke Lauer on banjo, and Nancy Hamilton on the upright bass. Attendees of all different experience levels enjoyed a night of dance, live music, and celebration of Southern culture.

Blooms and Bumble bees in February

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This is a photo I took of a bumble bee yesterday. I was out doing an assignment and happened to see this bee next to me and I decided to photograph it. I wasn’t expecting the photo to turn out very well because the rest of my photos were over exposed in this location, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. I think the colors came out quite rich and I liked that they are all in these bright yellow and green hues against the more dim, off white background. I also like the influence that the shallow depth of field has on the photo. The color contrast and focus of the image draw the eye to the bee which is a nice effect.

My parents keep honey bees at our home in Virginia and that experience has made me appreciate how important these wild pollinators are to our environment. Last month, the first species native to the continental US was added to the endangered species list which I found rather shocking. I was familiar with colony collapse disorder and parasites that affect honey bees, but I did not realize that wild bees were also facing threats. After doing some research about it and writing a speech for a class I learned that pesticides, industrial farming, and other damage to our environment are impacting all kinds of bees. I was thankful to see this bee out yesterday doing its symbiotic thing though!

Influences: Juergen Teller

Juergen Teller is a German born photographer largely known for his portraits and fashion advertisements. Teller’s point of view is defined by its casualness and humor. His photos embrace the imperfections of his subjects and reflect a sense of being candid, even in commissioned photographs. Teller’s technique includes using two film cameras simultaneously with bright, strobe lighting.

His work has been published by magazines including W Magazine and Purple. Teller’s advertising campaigns with Marc Jacobs between 1998 and 2009 have also been celebrated. There is even a book with the collected advertisements Teller did for the brand. This decade long collaboration largely shaped the image of Marc Jacobs, embracing a grunge aesthetic across all of Marc Jacobs lines including menswear, women’s fashion, and perfume. My own first exposure to his work was through these advertisements. When I was in middle school and high school I had a subscription to Teen Vogue and the grunge womenswear models and etherial “Daisy” perfume ads featuring platinum blonde models on horseback always struck me as being as beautiful as the editorial and feature spreads of the publication. More recently Teller has photographed ad campaigns for the French fashion house Céline.

 

 

Influences: Bill Cunningham

 

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Street style photos taken by Bill Cunningham that were unpublished until after his death, by the New York Times

Bill Cunningham (1929- 2016) is a famous fashion photographer for the New York Times who is best known for his street style photography. Cunningham is a self-taught photographer whose life long interest in women’s fashion turned into a career that lasted until his recent death. Cunningham had his start as a lady’s hat maker in New York City, where he made contacts with fashion industry insiders and socialites alike. Though he got his start as a journalist a few years early after his return from his service in the Korean War, his career as a photographer was formally launched when a candid photo he took of Greta Garbo was published by Women’s Wear Daily and the Chicago Tribune in 1978.

Though a photograph of a celebrity first popularized him, his unique perspective that photographing people, famous or not, whose style he found striking were worth documenting. In a 2002 interview with the New York Times, Cunningham described how he would wait outside on certain street corners waiting for “stunners” to walk by so he could document street style. He was often seen on his bicycle with his 35mm camera, riding around the city looking for interesting subjects that caught his eye. He became such a staple at fashion week and galas, sometimes attending up to 20 per week, that Anna Wintour editor- in- chief of Vogue said “we all dress for Bill,” in a 2011 documentary about Cunningham. He was even named a “living landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2009.

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Cunningham working at Paris Fashion week in the spring of 2014.      Gareth Cattermole — Getty Images

Bill Cunningham is such an interesting photographer to me because of his compulsion to document what he was interested in rather than what would be considered the most desired photograph for a publication. He could have easily been part of the paparazzi, but he instead followed his own eye and his work is considered art. Cunningham’s work has been displayed in museums and he has recieved awards such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s photographer of the year (1983) and the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence (2012).

South Carolina State Fair 2016

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This is a photo I took last October at the South Carolina State Fair. The lights, crowds, and rides offered plenty of interesting subjects, but this is one of my favorites from that night. The color of the lights on the rides is one of the most compelling parts of the photograph. The color is especially brilliant when contrasted against the night sky. The composition of the angle of the arm of the ride as it swings toward the ferris wheel further in the background also draws one’s eye across the image, making it interesting. The swinging arm is also parallel to the legs supporting the ride, making it a strong visual element. Bringing my camera along may or may not have been an excuse for not getting on the fair rides myself.

Biography

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This is a photo taken of me by my dear friend, Julie Hess in Clifton, Virginia, last summer (June, 2016).

Hi, I’m Jessica! As a West Coast born and East Coast raised girl, I’ve found myself in the South studying visual communications and English at the University of South Carolina. Apart from my studies I’m passionate about fashion, beauty, fried food, and dogs.

I love storytelling whether it’s through  design, photography, a fashion designer’s collection or between the covers of a book. Some of the tools I use to tell my story include Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Bridge and a Canon 60D DSLR camera that I rent from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (shout-out to Frank). While I wouldn’t say photography is my greatest strength, I’m excited to have the opportunity to learn more and  improve my skills as a visual storyteller.