Media Objects: Photography Critical Reflection

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For our photography assessment we are to create five images, which represent the theme of ‘Catalyst’. The theme of catalyst was selected to emphasise this point; something that provokes change, that exists on the precipice of cause-and-effect relationships.

As I looked at the theme of catalyst, I looked at catalysts in my own day-to-day activities. As I poured my cup of coffee and sat to drink it I thought about coffee and its affect on my day and my body. Coffee is regularly drunk in the morning with breakfast. It contains caffeine, which can give one a boost of energy to start their day. I thought coffee would be a great object to look at for my photography.

However I didn’t just want to take five pictures of someone drinking coffee. Originally I wanted to take slow motion shots of the coffee machine at work. The coffee powder hitting the cup. The boiled water steaming towards the powder. I thought this could be a good idea. I researched how to take slow motion photography, which could be taken with a high-speed camera. As I researched different techniques I can up with another idea. I thought of a sequence of five shots showing different catalysts including coffee, red bull and alcohol and how they change the body. Then I began developing this new idea.

I changed my mind one last time as I was researching different photography techniques I found ‘burst’ photography. Burst photography is a series of shots taken in quick succession which can either be blended together in one image or separated to find the best shot. I thought I could incorporate this technique with my idea. I thought of coffee and the sequence of how its made with the water hitting the powder to create change and ultimately create change in someone’s body. I decided on five different breakfast foods as they are catalysts for each person’s day. They help them wake up and strive.

I chose five different forms of catalysts for breakfast.

Coffee: Hot coffee whether you have it black, with milk, or with sugar is the quintessential pick up for everybody in the morning. It contains loads of caffeine, which can give you a boost and gets you up and ready for work, school or play.

Green Tea: A hot cup of green tea is becoming increasingly popular in our western culture. It is quickly becoming a healthier option to coffee and even regular black tea. With less caffeine and more antioxidants, green tea also helps with cancer prevention, cardiovascular health and weight loss. I now have one black coffee in the morning and if I need another boost during the day I’ll have a green tea.

Berocca: Berocca is also becoming a healthier choice for a boost in the morning. With Vitamins B & C, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Biotin, Zinc and Calcium Berocca does indeed give you that “B-B-Bounce”. It is a powdered tablet, which you put in water and allow it to quickly dissolve. Then drink it up and your ready for another busy day.

Eggs: Eggs are an important whole food and are a healthy and tasty option for breakfast. They are packed with protein and can be fried, scrambled or poached. I love them any way and I especially love them with bacon in the morning. They also help you get a boost in the morning and help you take on another busy day.

Juice: The last image would be of a blender and juice. This is a very healthy option for breakfast. You can put fruit, vegetables, milk or water blend them together and have a tasty healthy breakfast. They will also give you a boost in the morning as most fruits contain sugar and while drinking the juice you get a pretty quick hit of sugar from the fruits.

One can also see my photos in another form of catalyst as they each show how the breakfast is made through a sequence such as the coffee hitting the water, tea bag hitting the water, berocca hitting the water, egg getting cooked and fruit getting blended shows the cause and effect chain and the change that happens when elements combine.

I am quite happy with how my shots came out. Although during the week while I was researching and taking my shots I came over with a terrible cold. My last two shots of the blender and the berocca I feel aren’t as strong as the shots for coffee and eggs.

I enjoyed this task and it gave me an opportunity to be creative with photography. I used photoshop to digitally edit my photos by improving the contrast and overlapping the images. I am happy with my finals and feel more confident with taking shots and photo editing.

Before I took the photos I storyboarded each shot.

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Below are my final images (Note: these photos are compressed for this site. I have emailed the files in their full format to the lecturers)

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Digital Image Editing Issues

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Adobe-Photoshop-Logo

As a High School Media Teacher I have become familiar with the digital image editing software known as Photoshop.

Photoshop has many unique traits, which can improve a simple photo vastly. Tools that allow the user to change a photos background or even hide a pimple can be useful in todays digital photo sharing age. However as a 13 – 16 year old becomes more skilled in the program they can develop skills in hiding facial blemishes, hair colour and even their weight if need be. Teenagers who can develop this skill can perhaps do more harm than good when they are able to develop a false image of themselves to their friends and strangers via social media. Although this program was intended for photography enthusiasts it has now become a mainstream program used by many schools for students to show their design and editing skills. In my classes I have my students use the program to explore the unlimiting possibilities of editing such as replacing backgrounds of cityscapes with beaches and melding works of art with a students ‘selfie’. Although these exercises are used to demonstrate my student’s capabilities with the program it can lead them down another path where they use the program to edit their own images and even bully other students with their skills.

I had a situation where a student took a photo of another student and altered his appearance to look ugly and also added text to say something rude and offensive about the student in the picture. He then went and printed the image and posted it around the school. This new form of bullying was alarming, not only for the students self esteem but also in showing the negative possibilities of digital editing programs.

I believe in today’s age of digital manipulation one needs to be careful with these programs. Professional magazine editors use the program to tweak their cover girls every week by removing blemishes and excess fat. Teenagers who have the skills in the program can use it in the same way and misrepresent themselves when they put a photo on facebook or instagram that hides their true selves. Although a professional photographer can tweak an image of a horizon to be darker or lighter a confused teenager who thinks they’re physically unappealing can also use it for misrepresenting themselves and others. Only time will tell how far digital editing will go, not only professionally but also for that teenager at home playing on their laptop.