Sunday, April 11, 2010

Colour Film Shoot

Children All Around Me

Ok, I admit, I'm not a fan of my film camera. But we just did an assignment where we had to use colour film on any theme we wanted. I of course, choose children since there's an abundance of them in my day to day life! And afterwards, I'm going to grudgingly admit that I really liked the way the film came out! Eeeks! Does that mean, I won't be putting away my film camera after all once school is over? Here are a few pics from that day. One of course is of my child, the other two I met at the park with their parents and got permission to take their pictures.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Purim 2010!

Too many pictures to put up separately from the two parties we went to, so here's a slideshow of some of them...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Born into Brothels

What a truly thought-provoking movie. It was filmed in the Red Light District in Calcutta and it's a documentary showing mainly the lives of the children that grow up there.
It was difficult to watch and it definitely showed a side of life that we have no idea of in Canada. These children are born to prostitutes and know that there is a better life out there for them but yet have no way of escaping their future. The documentary shows these children given cameras and the kind of pictures they take in their daily lives. Inter-dispersed with these photographs is the movie camera showing them and their environment. It is obvious most of the movie pictures are taken from the hip so that the subjects are unaware of it and most of the photographs are from the children and the subjects are aware yet not intimidated by the camera.
The kids have such a deep understanding of how they are living as compared to other parts of the world. They know what their parents (or just mothers) are doing for a living and when interviewed, for the most part they say "I like my mom, because she's my mom...". You never hear them say they love their parents. We see some graphic images of the women yelling at the children and the other women, with much vulgarity right in front of the children. Beatings are common and in one case, a boy lost his mother because she was set on fire by her pimp.
Some of the children were placed in boarding schools and given opportunities, yet at the end of the film we see that only a few stayed within the schools. Most went back to the life they knew. It was not a very uplifting film. Definitely not your fake Hollywood type. But it was worthwhile to watch and give us each something to think about. Not only how well off we are even when we complain that we don't have the latest gear, car, iPod, etc, but also what can we do for others that need our help. If we are able to go to a school like Prairieview then for sure we should have charity to give for others. Every little bit helps. Pick an organization and follow through.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A film by John Waters. Now this was strange. I had no idea what to expect from it but had heard many of my classmates really didn't like this film, so I was pleasantly surprised that I did.
It's about a young man named Pecker (b/c he 'peck's at his food) who goes around his neighbourhood in Baltimore taking pictures of events (yes, rats having sex) and people (strippers, homeless people, his family) with his little black and white film camera. He 'sees art everywhere'. From a show he has in the diner he works at he gets discovered by the New York art world and is suddenly a sensation there. Of course they see the images as amusing insights to the uncultured. Pecker's family and friends are not so happy with how they are portrayed and it affects his relationships until he figures out a way to rectify them. Which he does.
What I liked about this movie is the sly humour running through it. There were many subliminal messages going on - such as the theme to vaginas - pictures of them, pubic hair talk, crabs bar, and more. Plus what it's saying about the art world and how strange it can be. You just never know what's going to be the hit that month. It also was a satirical look at life in Baltimore from which most of John Waters movies are based.
All said and done, very amusing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Movie Week Extravaganza!

Well, rather than have a proper shoot week before exams, we have a movie week with just a few photo assignments thrown in. We're to watch 3 movies and review them.
My first movie that I saw today was O' Brother Where Art Thou

I really liked this movie. It was done by the Coen brother's who are quite frankly a bit off the wall. It's supposed to be based on Homer's The Odyssey, and although I would like to admit that I could tell from reading that book - I never had, but as it happens, neither had to Coen brothers! What I could gather though just from hearing about the Odyssey, there were characters in the movie with relation to the book. For example, George Clooney's character's name was Ulysses, there was a bible salesman (John Goodman) with a patch on one eye - like a Cyclops, there were 3 singing seductive women - like the sirens, and I'm sure many other references that I wasn't able to catch (maybe I'm wrong, but I think for each of their outdoor fireside scenes they are sitting in Roman ruins).

There were two things for me that really stood out in this film. One of them I wasn't even aware of the first time I saw this film, until we saw the short clip about it in the extra's section of the DVD today. It talked about how this film was put through a digital process to change the colour of the scenes and do other special effects that hadn't been done before in film. Rather than use filters and chemicals in processing, they stressed that the movie was shoot 'clean' and then played with post-production. They made the colours de-saturated to create the atmosphere of olden days during the depression times, and the heat of the summer down South.

The other thing that impressed me was the script. It was so intelligent. Especially George Clooney's character. He had the 'gift for gab' for sure. I really had to pay attention to what he was saying to catch all the subtleties of humour at times.

This movie incorporated many different styles, and techniques from movies past, and then re-created it's own unique work. It's definitely worth seeing more than once.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Winter Holidays 2009

Happy New Year! Welcome 2010!!!
Here's some pictures of what we were up to during our school vacations. Funny that the children and I both had the same days off from school and are both returning back on Monday. Who knew I would be looking forward to school holidays just as much as they do?! :)

This is a picture of my friend's child taken at a Bar Mitzvah that we went to at the Fort Garry Hotel. It was very nice and my kids had a great time with all the activities and lets not forget the candies that were there. I love going to the Fort Garry, since not only do we get to dress up a bit, but it's almost always a Kosher event for us so we can eat to our hearts content. Yum!

Happy Hanukah! I used a very special Menorah for my candles that my friends' gave me for my wedding. This was the first year that each of us lit our own Menorahs. The kids had a fabulous time! We weren't going to let Akiva light his own but he got so upset about the older two doing theirs that we relented. It made Hanukah that much more meaningful to all of us. As Naftali said "This was the best Hanukah ever!"

This was on the 3rd night of Hanukah when we finally relented and let Akiva light his own Menorah. I love how you can see Yitzy's hand guiding Akiva's to the candles. Symbolic of the guiding hands of parenthood.

And what would Hanukah be without doughnuts? I took this shot at the children's school play. They did a fantastic job. In fact I would say it was the best play so far in their short school lives. Akiva is still singing his songs at the top of his lungs...every morning at 5:30 am! I really hate the song 'dreidle, dreidle, dreidle' by now. We also went to a fun party where the kids got to make their own doughnuts. They were covered in powdered sugar and jam by the end of the night, but so worth it to see their smiles while doing it.

Introducing Daisy! My mom got a new St. Bernard puppy over the holidays. She's adorable. I spent quite a bit of time with her, taking her for walks and playing with her. My kids aren't loving her too much right now because she likes to nip and jump but hopefully once she gets a bit bigger and more trained she'll settle down. Just watching her roll around in the snow and stumble along is worth the hassle of taking her out.

Speaking of rolling around and stumbling in the's Akiva enjoying one of our days spent outside. Thankfully it wasn't too cold this day and we had just had a good dump of snow so we were building a 'pseudo' fort in the backyard. Akiva is more interested in eating snow than much else. I really hope he doesn't find a 'Daisy patch'. We didn't get outside as much as I would've liked since the temperatures were just waaaaay too freezing, but when we did, we had a good time.

Christmas Eve...I was at a friends' house for her family's annual party. This is her sister-in-law and new baby niece. I really wanted the opportunity to take pictures of the baby since I hadn't met her yet and she's so cute. I specifically had them sit in front of the tree so it would be a reference point when looking at the photograph later on. It was a busy night with a couple parties and a dog to walk. For a Jewish girl, I sure had a lot going on that night!

Boxing Day family dinner. Although not the best shot technically, I still like it because it's so rare to get most of the cousins together at one time for a picture. My kids love hanging out with their cousins and my brother John has the best house to host these kind of get-togethers. It's too bad we didn't have all the cousins in for the holidays. I'm lucky to have so many brothers and a sister since between us, we have produced many children who love to hang out with each other. Nothing like family.

Here's Naftali at Canad-Inns water park in Grand Forks. We have now gone 3 years in a row at this time and I think my kids think of it as Paradise. They talk about it all year round and love being there. What could be better? Get to stay in a hotel, eat junky cereal and treats, go swimming, play in the arcade, and watch tv in bed, all without leaving the building? They are already talking about next me now.

My sweet little Adina in her new pink butterfly towel. One of the presents she received over the holidays. For some reason my kids love getting animal towels. It's getting harder and harder to find ones they didn't get the year before. They do get good use though since my kids love their nightly bath.

So that's a quick re-cap of our vacation time. We also had some play-dates, I did a lot of school assignment shooting, spent some time with family, went to movies, hung out at the Forks, had the kids in a winter camp (which they loved), ate tons, and pretty much just spent quality time together without the stresses of school schedules every day. It was awesome!

Have a great year!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yousuf Karsh

Since I've become so knowledgeable in the darkroom ;) I can easily talk about Karsh's techniques used in this image of Helen Keller.
He has emphasized Helen's hands and face with lighting. Even from across the room at the Art Gallery, they stand out. I think he had to have dodged those areas out from the overall exposure, and even more dodging for the left side of her face to make it glow. And given the halo I see over her left shoulder, I bet he also dodged out her body a bit, but not for as long as he did the hands and face. He probably used some magenta for contrast but maybe also some yellow to decrease the contrast of her shirtt. I think that the wall behind her was probably quite light and he gave it a long exposure to make it so dark.
Compositionally he really used lighting to make this portrait stand out. Especially given that Helen Keller is blind and deaf, giving her hands and eyes such importance in the image really epitomizes who she was and what she was about. I think it's a very strong, dramatic image.I was definitely drawn to it.