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Project Description:

For my project I decided to continue a photo documentary I started in my Art and Tech class at the beginning of this semester and compile it into a book. I interviewed people asking them two questions: “What one thing would you change about the world?” and “What’s stopping you?” I asked these questions because I feel like I always hear people talking about how things should be different or what things they wish would change, but hardly ever hear of people doing things to actually make those changes happen. So I interviewed people and took a photograph of each of them, some were people I already knew, some were complete strangers. I would like to get more interviews, from people in different places and more varying ages, so maybe I’ll continue on with this project in the future.

Pages:

According to my schedule, I should have ordered my book from the online publishing company already. However, the publishing/shipping timing was going to cut it kind of close, so I’ve moved to another publishing option. OfficeMax and Staples both will bind books if you bring in a pdf file for them, so I’m going to take my book to one of those places this weekend and do that instead. That way it won’t cost me $60 to make this book and I’ll have a few more days to work on it.

All the interviews are layed out for the book already, I just need to take the cover photos and write up the introduction letter. Both of which I plan to do in class today.

More Interviews!

Julie,

The cord to my external hard drive stopped working tonight, my external hard drive has all of my interviews and work so far on it and I cannot get to it. I have around ten new interviews, and the opening statement for the book as well. I’m going to get a new cord on Saturday so I can post everything then, I understand this means my work is not in on time and I will accept whatever ramifications there are for not having my work up for tomorrow morning. I’ll email you Saturday when my work is posted. Sorry about all of this.

Here are a couple more interviews I’ve done and layed out, as well as one of the ones from last week that I fixed a few layout issues on.

Book Layout:

Three Questions Asked:

-What do you think about the basic page layout and the color scheme?

-What do you think of the questions being asked?

-Are there any other changes you would make?

Repeated Comments:

-Black and White theme works well

-Questions are interesting, the first is broad enough that they can answer without feeling restrained or having anything structuring their answer. The first catches them off guard because it’s easy to say you’d do something but actually doing it is totally different.

-The photographs could be more natural, and maybe correlate with the answers to the questions more.

Synopsis:

Everyone who critiqued said they liked the color scheme and the simple layout of the book, they felt it was nice and didn’t distract from the work itself. They also all agreed that the questions were good, and that they did what was mentioned above in regards to catching people off guard. Most people said they wouldn’t really change anything else, other than a couple said they’d like to see more of a correlation between the portraits and the answers to the questions.

Changes:

I’d definitely like to make the photographs go along with the answers more, what I’ve mostly been looking for is just that the person is showing personality in the photograph. It’s so hard to tell someone you’re going to take their portrait and get them to not freeze up in that cheesy portrait smile that looks completely fake. So I’m shooting them while they answer the questions as well as afterward, so hopefully I can achieve more natural poses instead of such static ones.

Five Week Plan:

April 14: Have more interviews done, continue interviewing, and continue to layout the book. Write the opening letter from me, the blurbs for the dust-jacket sleeves, etc.

April 21: Continue collecting interviews and laying out the book.

April 28: Last week to interview, go to the writing tutor to have all writing checked and edited, finalize layout of the book.

May 5: Book should be finished and ordered by May 1st to ensure that it will arrive before the last day of class.

May 12: Finished book will be turned in as final project.

Book Layout:

Covers- I want the two covers to be black and white photos, each of one person holding a sign. The front cover will have the sign saying “One Question” and the back cover will have the sign saying “Infinite answers.”

On the first page I’ll have my explanation for the project, why I wanted to do it, and why I chose the question I did.

Each person will have a two page spread, the left page will have their interview and the right page will be their photograph. All the photographs will be black and white, and I think I want the pages to either all be black with white text or alternate between black page/ white text and white page/ black text.

Here are some of the interviews I did the first time I did this project, the questions will remain the same, but I’d like to get the photos to show more personality and be more interesting compositions than these are. I also plan to shoot digitally instead of with film, so I can make sure I’m getting exactly what I want.

Renee
Age 36, Gallery Associate

What would you change about the world?
“I guess I would change the economy, exactly how I’m not sure but, it just needs to be better across the board. There are so many hardships around the world, and people trying so hard and other people who don’t. It should be fairer I guess, so yeah I would change the economy.”

What’s stopping you?
“I think as far as working retail, we try to keep a price range for people who are on a budget, so we help in that respect. As far as the big picture, I do my part at home by recycling, reusing products, making a lot of my own stuff and my own clothes, things like that. Unfortunately, I think it needs to start from higher up and work it’s way down.”

Lauren
Age 20, College Student

What would you change about the world?
“I would change the economic classes, I think everybody should have the same opportunities and they don’t. There shouldn’t be absorbently rich people and then people who can’t even feed themselves. That’s what I would change about the world.”

What’s stopping you?
“I don’t know, I guess I feel I don’t have that much of an effect on policies that the government comes up with, unless I vote on it, and I’m voting the way I feel. So I do that. I guess it’s hard to take care of other people, when you can barely take care of yourself. I wish I could be doing more.”

Shirley
Age 76, Retired School Teacher

What would you change about the world?

“I guess if I could change Mother Nature, so that people like the Haitians wouldn’t be in the condition they’re in now, and other countries that have suffered disasters, I’d change that.”

What’s stopping you?
“I don’t know what I could do. I don’t think I could do anything. I guess we’d have to talk to God about that, we have no power over Mother Nature, so I couldn’t do anything.”

Layout:

Lulu.com has their own templates that are available for download based on which of the several book sizes and types you choose from, so I’ll most likely bring their template into InDesign and lay out the book page by page on my own, instead of using their website to do it. I also found a step-by-step help guide for publishing a book specific to this website, so that will be really helpful in creating my book.

Ordering:

From what I can find from Lulu.com, it will take 10-12 days to recieve the type of book I want to make. So I want to give myself at least two weeks for the book to get here, to be positive it will be here in time for the last day of class.

Model Permission:

I’m in the process of finding a good model release form that I can tweak a little bit to fit my exact purpose. I know it’ll be really important to have a release signed by every person I put in the book.

For my final project, I want to move forward on a project that I’ve already started but haven’t had the time to get as in depth as I would have liked to. I’m doing a photo documentary where I interview and photograph people from all different walks of life, different ages, ethnicities, upbringings, and career paths; and I’m asking all of these people the same basic question: “What one thing would you change about the world, and what’s stopping you from doing it?” I think that everyone spends so much time talking about the world being different, and things that should change, but not many people actually think they could do anything about it. I want to inspire the people I interview and the people who see my project to think that maybe they could do something, to at least move the world in the right direction towards the change they want to see. My final product of this project will be a book that I’m planning to publish myself using Lulu.com or a similar site if I find one that costs less.

I’ve looked into some famous documentary photographers, such as Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Diane Arbus, W. Eugene Smith, and Dorothea Lange. All of these photographers focused on documenting people and life as it happens everyday. Most of these photographers have used their work to show people the things in life that not everyone sees, like Diane Arbus with her Circus performers, W. Eugene Smith did with his images of WWII from the front lines, and Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine did with their work depicting child labor in the early 1900’s. All of these people wanted to create a social change with the work that they showed, whether it be educating people of the truths of life that they were unaware of, or making changes to the country’s child labor laws. Even just to make people believe in the power of themselves a little bit more, which is what I hope to accomplish.

Examples of documentary photography:

Jacob Riis

Dorothea Lange

W. Eugene Smith

Lewis Hine

Diane Arbus