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Questions About Photography

Recently I was contacted by a photography student asking about my Body Emotions series. The student was interested in the background of the series and what got me into photography in general. She asked:

“I would like to know what got you into photography and why you chose to do a shoot about body emotions?

What influenced you into doing such an interesting project and what kind of meanings or emotions were you trying to portray?”

Here is my response, in case you (dear reader) were also wondering.

Why I Got Into Photography

Man holding a video game controller angrily holding his first in the air

from a series for IU Creative Services

I got into photography really because I love light. I like looking around me and noticing things. I like details about the world. I like the small worlds that inhabit our much larger world. And I love people and emotions.

For me, photography became a way to express what I saw in the world. It was an outlet, and sometimes the only way I felt I could speak. Most of the time I didn’t fully understand what I wanted to say until I started shooting, then it just all came out. At times, I didn’t even think I had anything to say at all, but once I got behind the lens, I couldn’t help but speak.

The camera also enabled me to dis-engage with the world physically while highly engaging with it both emotionally and mentally. The physical was always there, moving around a subject or manipulating light, but the mental exercise of seeing something before I created the photograph was powerful. It enabled me to be reflective about what I saw, and what I thought.

a black and white image depicting a gritty lock and chain

details in fine art photography

I also love how looking through a view-finder always changes my perspective. It forces me to think. It forces me to understand, and to notice. But that process never stopped within the camera. It evolved constantly as I edited photos in the darkroom, or manipulated images digitally. I always tried to force myself to understand what I was trying to say, and if that message was coming across. I also love imaging what people will think about a photograph as well. How can I get my message across to the viewer? What will speak loudly to them? (which ties in well to my career in experience design.)

About Body Emotions

I specifically began shooting body emotions after a weird night of playing around with my camera. I often shoot self portraits, and one night I decided to put a box on my head. I was working at my computer and seeing all these boxes everywhere. A box for my computer, a box for the screen, a box around the keyboard, 20 different boxes on the screen. It seems like we are always working with boxes and within boxes. So boom, it hit me. Why not put a box on my head? What would I look like if my head were a box?

Body Emotion - Fear

FEAR – from Body Emotion

It was after that first night that I began seeing and thinking more specifically how I might be able to convey emotions without facial expressions. So much of our lives is focused on faces. What can we say without faces? I’ve also always been a big believer in the power of body language.

So, I merged the two ideas and out came Body Emotions. I wanted to create a series of photographs depicting several base emotions of human life. All without the use of a face. It was a difficult project for me, and I shoot and re-shoot many many times. I shoot in both film and digital, often in the same night. I had to imagine lighting, body positions, clothing, and set. And, I had to do it all within the confines of my bedroom. It was a constraint that I gave myself. It also let me be more free with my body and more expressive without feeling awkward in some public situation, though I’ve often thought about extending the work to public places.

So I kept shooting and shooting until I had this nice large body of work and many different emotions. I then edited everything down to a base set. I worked both in the lab with prints and in Lightroom and Photoshop with digital images. Overall, it was a blast, and probably one of my most successful series.

Check out some more of my photography, and if you have questions yourself, let me know! I would love to hear from others about their own experiences.

Road Trip to San Francisco

After completing my graduate requirements for my master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction Design, I headed out on a road trip in order to move to San Francisco. This post chronicles my journey across the American Southwest as I drove my Jetta, a UHaul trailor, and my dog towards California.

Warning, this post contains many large images. Some are beautiful, some are not. Continue Reading →

Interview Tips for Interaction Designers

Recently I held a Wine and Interviews event at my house. I invited second year Interaction Design masters students over to talk about interviewing and share some wine. We each told stories about our interviewing experiences and learned quite a lot from each other. Following are some basic tips we talked about through our stories and experiences. These tips are not meant to be exhaustive, comprehensive, or applicable to every interview experience; rather they are meant to share the knowledge and experiences between fellow students. You likely already know many of these, but it’s good to be reminded and keep them in mind.

Spread the love, if you have tips to share leave them in the comments.

Projects, Stories, and Examples

Love Story ♡Have a good story about failure.

Have a project to talk about in detail.

Prepare your capstone elevator pitch.

It’s ok to talk about the thermostat project.

Have an elevator pitch for your capstone.

Have an example of some design documentation.

You might be asked to show a task flow or wireframe flow, be prepared.

You might be asked to show some usability test results.

Know Yourself

Design Process - Real WorldKnow your process.

Know your design philosophy.

  • 7 themes of design
  • user centered design
  • how do your position yourself within the field?
  • might be a good idea to weave project examples into your answers

Understand what you want from your future.

Before the Interview

Resume CritiqueTalk to Jeremy Podany!

  • he can be a private outside party
  • he can help you negotiate salaries and benefits
  • he will help!

Understand that a UI Designer is not the same as a UX Designer.

It really helps to research your interviewer when possible.

It’s ok to ask about the dress code for your interview.

It can help to know some basic visual design principles.

Get your resume critiqued by many people.

During the Interview

November 18, 2008 : TieBuild rapport with your interviewer.

  • change your perspective
  • remember that you will be peers and colleagues
  • try to find some common interests
  • ask questions
  • it’s ok to throw out some jokes
  • try not to be nervous
  • think of an interview more as a conversation

Jason Fried Discovery World Sketchnotes: Clarity & Simplicity

Take notes!

You will be exhausted.

It’s ok to ask for water during the interview.

Show that you are willing to learn.

Human Centered Shaving Design

While shaving this morning, I had several “ah ha” moments. I decided to quickly jot these down on my blog for mere entertainment and fun. I’m probably not the first person to think about these things, but none-the-less, here they are for your reading enjoyment.

Day 305 - Mono Y Mono

image courtesy of lintmachine

[note: this post has absolutely nothing to do with anything that I’m actually working on]

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