Sunday, February 28, 2010

Central Michigan University Junior Joe Hertler plays a game on his ipod while waiting to perform a Haiti benefit relief concert at Woldt hall. "I don't really get nervous before shows anymore because I've played in front of people hundreds of times and am pretty used to it." Finding creative ways to pass the time before playing a set has become one of Joe's specialties.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A mile behind his house in Cadillac, Michigan, Craig Lamphere constructed this hunting shack overlooking a swampy paradise hosting a variety of Michigan wildlife from deer, bear, and coyote, to squirrel, porcupine, and skunk. He prefers to hunt alone, because he feels more in touch with nature when he isn't surrounded by the modern inconveniences of everyday life and social custom. The solitude of the shack allows him to tap into the primordial relationship between man and nature.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Central Michigan University freshman James Fenske enjoys imitating the salty blues licks of Bob Dylan on his prized harmonica. We chose this location for a portrait because the urban feel elicited from the smoke columns in the background fitted appropriately with the moody and depressed style of his improvisations.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In life I believe that individuals express themselves through a multitude of mediums. My project will explore this in action by documenting three separate musicians performing three totally succinct and diverse forms of music. Ultimately I want the audience to feel the communion shared and enjoyed by individuals who choose to express their creativity and vision through music.

The first subject of the project will be a local folk singer/songwriter named Joe Hertler. Joe writes about the experiences in his life that have profoundly affected him. I will show Joe during the writing process, pre-show, and after show. I hope to give the viewer a firsthand account of Joe's unique outlook on life, and how this coincides with the music he produces. The second subject will be a rapper named Mike Dombrowski. He is one of two members of a rap duo called Squiggledoor. The rap style is aggressive and energetic. Like Joe, Mike's musical sensibilities are a good indication of his personality. The third subject will be a hardcore group called Destination Morgue. Through my explorations into these three diverse musical forms, I will present the viewer with a concise theme pertaining to the underlying motivations of musical invention. I hope to show how face value differences will eventually degenerate into similarity and a sense of human oneness.

As far as activities, I will be recording the shows and everything involved in the music production process. I will also be giving the viewer a backstage portrait of the individuals among their peer and social groups. This will be how I ultimately show the human similarities essential for the core of my project.

Joe Hertler

Joe is a senior at CMU who has been writing music since he was in high school. He is a lover of music in all its forms, but mostly writes and performs folk genre songs in an unmistakable tenor. He is an interesting choice for this project because his musical stylings are a vast departure from both Dombrowski and Destination Morgue.

MIke Dombrowski

Mike has been involved in the entertainment industry for a couple of years as a wrestler and promoter. He recently ventured into the world of rap by creating Squiggledoor with one of his friends. Mike is interesting because his outside appearance belies his onstage persona. This will be especially helpful for the project because I plan on introducing the subjects before I introduce the music they create.

Destination Morgue

Destination Morgue is a group of adolescents who play hardcore music at local bars around the mid-Michigan area. They are significant for the piece because they provide an interesting contrast and allow the differences and similarities between the musicians to become more striking and evident.

I plan on interviewing Joe, Mike, and Destination Morgue frontman Ian. I will seek to establish a commonality between creative motivation and inspiration. Boiled down, I want to know what compels an individual to pursue musical goals, and what inspires them to project those goals onto an audience.

The progression of the piece won't necessarily follow any linear timeline. Instead I will introduce the subjects as people, then uppercut the viewer with the diversity of their individual styles. The viewer will first see basic human similarities, then see them as artists with distinct visions.

I will first shoot Joe, since he will be easiest to access. Then Mike and Destination Morgue. I'm not sure of any exact times or dates at this point.

I imagine the piece will give the viewer an idea of human connection in spite of superficial differences in musical preference. It's all music, and I aspire to show this. Joe will be the anchor, so to speak, because his stylings are more conventional and rely on preconceived notions of talent and form. Destination Morgue will be the antithesis of this, since they are almost by definition a chaotic and unorganized explosion of sound. Mike will mirror both of these sensibilities while simultaneously showering the viewer with a completely different musical experience. The impact of the piece will illustrate differences and exemplify similarities. The most important aspect of the project is to show how human experience is essentially a universal notion devoid of inherent exclusion and alienation.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Who inspires me?

I recently encountered the work of one Jonas Bendikson on Magnum's exemplar website. I was immediately struck by his sense of vibrancy and composition. He tells a story with a single image. Boiled down, that is what most impresses me about his pictures. The textures of the scene seem to jump out of the photo. His layering is also unbelievable as he often employs the use of a wide angle lens to give the viewer a better understanding of the environment and perspective of the subject. It is clear that when Jonas shoots, he aims to give viewers a picture worth a thousand words. It is really the most appropriate way I can describe the feelings evoked by his photos because every one is worth multiple views and not doing so is to do a disservice to the quality of the storytelling and composition. His use of color and saturation creates powerfully striking images. He probably underexposes often. Sometimes I think that photographers rely too often on using black and white as a creative crutch. I'm as guilty of this as anybody. The talent to make a statement about an individual or scene using color is something I wish to master. Some of the pictures in his portfolio seem almost alien. He has the uncanny ability to illuminate the bazaar, depraved, and beautiful aspects of any situation. The locales are also inspiring to me, because world travel is one of my aspirations as a working photojournalist. I noticed that Jonas likes to include television sets in many of his pictures as a way of commenting on society and the individuals relationship with the mass media. It is a way of creating multiple dimensions and deeper meaning in his work. Jonas Bendikson is an awesome photographer who's unique vision inspires me to think about picture taking a little differently.