Photography for Artists & Designers

Art & Design 265: Project


Project: Sympathetic Unsympathetic

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


Goals & Concept


Sympathy for the Unsympathetic 

Social Realists draw our attention to social conditions that are unwanted and tend to be overlooked. Such images help us remain clear-eyed about problems that we might prefer to hide or deny. As such, efforts to address such problems are revived and sustained.

For this project, pick a subject that is normally overlooked or even disdained. (e.g. trash, polution, run-down houses, a junk yard, dorm-room closets)

Edward Burtynsky
often works in this vein. 
In painting, Ivan Albright arguably works in this attitude.

Find something that most of us would rather not look at.
It might be poverty or illness, it may be the consequences of controversial and divisive social issues.

Find a way to make us interested, intrigued and curious. 
Aim, even, to make us care.  
Help us become conscious of something that we usually avoid.


The Short Version

Pick a topic or issue that is uncomfortable, unwanted or divisive.

Shoot images that are conceived and designed to build simpathy for something that we might not ordinarily be sympathetic towards.

Create one image that stands on its own, compelling sympathy for your topic.

Create a series of images (5-12) that build awareness of and sympathy for your topic.


In short, create images that pull us to look at something that we ordinarily wouldn’t bother pondering.
— Create a single image that brings dignity or significance to an undignified subject.
— Create a series (5-12 images) that bring a sense of dignity or significance to an undignified subject.











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
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