Coming back from a long break where I admittedly used my camera a lot less than I should have, shooting, having an assignment that required 500 images was something that definitely helped me get back in the swing of creating meaningful photographs. The assignment, given by my professor Angela Kelly, was "Windows." I think shooting those 500 images through and around windows made me think more about how to use light and form than I have previously. As for the window images themselves, I thought through a few different concepts and ideas before settling on something that I believed was interesting and engaging – shooting the majority of my images from inside a car. The aesthetics of my images are very much so derived from my concept, and the main focus of taking pictures through car windows helped me keep a consistent mood and feel throughout my project. The technical aspect of my project was not complicated, but did require some ingenuity and improvisation. All together, I feel the images I produced convey most of the feelings and ideas I wanted them to from the beginning.
I came upon the concept for my project while simply thinking what every-day spaces have windows. Houses, buildings, etc., I thought, could become boring. Shooting in a car, on the other hand, was something I had never done before. There were many possibilities for me to create photos I had never created before. As I shot and started to edit my images, I focused in on specific ideas I had about driving and being in a car. I remembered long car trips as a small child, looking out the window and sometimes just seeing scenery blur by, while other times picking out split second stories of people and places framed by the car window. These specific memories are what drove the rest of my project. I wanted my images to convey the feelings one experiences when all he or she has to do on a long car trip is look out the window and display all the beauty that exists in the world that passes by.
To create the feelings and express the ideas I wanted to in these images, I chose very specific styles that I think best align with my thoughts. The first style is that of a blurring out all the imagery outside the window while keeping the interior of the car in sharp focus. In this way, the world outside the car become distorted but recognizable, as most places look when going by at a high speed. While this first style came mostly from my own ideas about places and movement, for the second style represented in my images I drew heavy inspiration from the photos of Alex and Rebecca Webb. What initially brought me to their photographs were their own scenes shot from within cars, but I also found that their other photos had almost the opposite aesthetic nature as the blurry photos I had been taking. They perfectly and intricately frame moments in a very distinct way. I felt this style, shot from inside a car and using the car itself as a framing device, could represent the short moments glimpsed when an interesting person or place is spotted out the window. I chose to display images of the two styles together to make a more comprehensive and diverse presentation.
Achieving the types of photos I wanted did not take much complicated technical skill, but I did have to work around a few obstacles. To create the blurry pictures, I fixed my camera on a tripod inside the car and used a shutter release to take many images as the car went down the road. As the tripod still moved and bounced around a slight amount during the ½ to 3 second exposures, it was difficult to reduce all camera shake. As for the sharp images through the car windows, I used a faster shutter speed and a relatively deep depth of field to keep as much in focus as possible as I quickly shot pictures as people passed by. I tried to emulate the photos of Alec and Rebecca Webb as much as possible while still trying to make it apparent that I was in a car.
This assignment really opened my eyes to shooting in new situations and environments. Hopefully the images convey the ideas about driving, time, and motion that I think are really interesting and thought provoking.