Photography for Artists & Designers

Art & Design 265: Project


Project: Memento Mori

Week: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Schedule


Goals & Concept 


Memento Mori

Create a photograph and an image series with a “reminder of our mortality” theme.

Examples:  other artists and photographers who have dealt with this theme.   images1  images2

Write a concept statement that presents the point of view you are aiming to express.

Write a self-crit that discusses how your image succeeds, and in what respects it does not accomplish what you had hoped.

...bonus if you avoid using a skull. That is, work to find visual language other than the most familiar —  avoid trite expressions by finding and developing your own imagery.



Historically artists have repeatedly dealt with the Memento Mori theme. Most typically imagery alludes death, our fear of death, our denial about death or our aspirations for immortality. Artists usually take a moral stance of some kind, often dealing with how we hide from, or attempt overcome death — and the consequences of doing so.

Develop a concept for your series that addresses what you want to say about mortality. Go beyond the obvious and consider how you view the brevity of life, the abruptness of death, the decay that sometimes accompanies death, ways in which our culture suppresses and hides our mortality, and the social consequences of our fear of death.
How as death touched you?
When were you most aware of your own mortality?
How does your awareness of your own mortality change you... how you live... how you see things?



The Short Version

Create one image that stands on its own, expressing your point of view on mortality.


Create a series of (5-12) images that address your point of view on mortality.

Prepare an artist's statement that expresses the point of view developed in your imagery.



Explain the technique(s) used to create the image.











e) Upload to Google+ into “006 Portrait LIghting” folder.  Drag that into your Art 265 circle.

f) Describe the traits that unify this set of images.  Write a short (25-75 words) concept statement that describes the visual traits or ideas that this set of images emphasizes.

g) Review and comment* on the photos uploaded by at least 7 other students before class.
* Provide relevant comments (25+ more words) discussing what you see in the photos presented -- comment particularly on what impresses you or what catches your eye.  Comment on what you think might improve the cropping or editing of the presented photos.


By Tuesday, 8am

Shoot at least 90 images.
Select (at least) 20 of those for editing.
Select 7 of those for G+ presentation as a theme-unified series.

Downsize images to 2Mpix JPGs before upload.

Post to G+ :
Project Photo Album: 006_PortraitLighting

Album: Edited (13+ images)
Album: Final Series (7 images)

Write an artists statement for the final series.
— Discuss whatever theme or emphases you discovered. You might describe what you found as you surveyed your images in Bridge. What surprised you? How did your direction change as you went?

Write critical comments about the final series images:
— Discuss the strengths of the final images in relation to that theme.


Thursday, before Class

Crit your Peers:
Go to G+ and review what your classmates have uploaded.

For each classmate, go to their 006_PortraitLighting album, and then to their Final Series sub album.

Add comments to at least one image, or to the series as a whole.
Discuss ways in which the series is formally unified — what traits tie the separate images together?
How compositionally successful are the images? What is interesting about them?



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Greg Clayton
2D Design
Color Theory


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