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Give 'em a Hand-uary

January 10, 2010

Joe Dawson ’12

I have a real Winter Term project, finally. Since neither of my previous projects had great prospects for success, I decided to do something that I would really enjoy and work hard on voluntarily, not unlike Karl. I kind of always feel like it's a bit of a cop-out to do personally appealing projects that aren't going to help anyone or give my future career any jumpstart, but especially this year I can see the value in taking time to relax and do something I'm excited about. Who knows whether this project will be incredibly valuable later in life? Or that it won't be, and I'll just be thankful I did it anyway? Or that I'll regret it and it will serve as motivation for me to get going and choose a major, since time for me to do so is rapidly running out? My new project is to work intensely on photography, both taking photographs and 'making' photographs, doing everything else that goes into photography, like pre-visualization and post-processing. Along with making new photos, I'm going to sort through the roughly 9,000 pictures on my hard drive to pick under 50 to put into a portfolio (my final product). While doing so I hope to free some space on my hard drive by cutting down from 9,000 to some more manageable number. I'm not really planning on being a professional photographer or photojournalist, but aside from running and yoghurt, photography is the thing I like doing more than anything else. The problem, well one problem among many problems, I'm having is finding a focus for my portfolio. When the pros make a portfolio, generally they showcase their specific brand of photography, be it travel photos, studio photography, art photos, action/sports shots, etc. I don't really have one area that I like to focus on. I can muster up the focus to do one specific kind of photography for hours a day or a few days in a row, but I keep finding different aspects and techniques that I like to try out.

While spending more time on photography in December, I've found myself thinking of photography before I fall asleep, deciding what would be the most pleasant arrangement of dried pasta or rubber duckies. Normally ideas about making silly videos or occasionally school projects will keep me up at night. The notes that I write look like German the next morning, but here are a few samples:

"Warn them about the pitfalls of overly acidic bookmarks"

"BRINING people together" (Very apparent that it is not "bringing people together," although I've no idea how you brine people together)

"She's got back braces in all the right places"

This is only worth mentioning because it's the first time I've had many (any) conceptual ideas about photographs. I usually like to just walk outside and around and take pictures of whatever I see, or take pictures at events or whatever, but lately it's been a little different. It may even be helping me find a focus for my portfolio, since all of my ideas are ideas for creating 'studio' photographs, as opposed to nature or landscape or whatever. Taking still-life pictures used to kind of bore me, since I liked being outside and finding animals to snap pictures of more than arranging fruit. Maybe I've grown incredibly mature in the last few years. Maybe it's the cold keeping me inside that's forced me to try some new things.

I've been enjoying the snow and the holiday spirit since I've been home. We had an arrogantly warm fall (I've been writing a tragic play about the seasons. Fall's thermal hubris foreshadows a great-- umm, fall). We finally had some snow for Christmas, which was lovely, and got me in the spirit. The model train choo-chooing around the bottom of our tree didn't hurt either.

Now that December and 2009 are gone with the wind (and frankly, ought nine, I don't give a damn), it's time to start thinking about Winter Term and second semester. And grades, which come out sometime soon to give my winter revelry a wedgie so great that it rips the waistband clean off.

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