The Missouri Atlas

by Katie Bell

VAGINA.

That word is a word not oft used in common discourse, but around Mizzou’s campus in February, it’s hard to go from one building to the next without seeing a flyer, button, or chalkboard with the word on it.

It’s a magical, or as I like to say, vagical, time of year when the MU Vagina Monologues sweep campus.  But the Vagina Monologues go way beyond Mizzou.  It’s not just a campuswide, or even citywide event.

It’s the true international love, (sorry Pitbull), that extends to women and girls worldwide.

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Avedon, My Hero

AVEDON

When I first took a photo class in junior year of high school, we were told to look up famous photographers and examine their work. Richard Avedon was first on the list, but of course. The man has a way with portraiture. All of the images are frozen in time, obviously, that’s the definition of a photo, but even so they have so much movement in them usually. That’s what I particularly liked about this image of the model Twiggy. Her face is still, but that hair looks as if it’s being washed around underwater. I never tire of looking at it. I would carry that photo in front of my face for all eternity if I was able, that’s how breathtaking I believe it is.

It’s more than the movement that gets me about Avedon, it’s his sense of shape. Everything in the frame has a purpose for creating one shape or another, or at least the impression of one. It makes each photo more than it actually is to me.

If I were to be photographed by anyone, I would demand Avedon. He may not make the most flattering portrayal of me, but it would still be beautiful in a way that’s so much more useful than physical beauty. Maybe interesting would be a better word. He would make me look interesting. People would want to examine me. Not out of beauty or disgust, just interest. His lighting can be either soft or hard, but more often I think it’s soft. You can always see the subject’s face real well, which is probably why it feels more intimate. Their eyes are always easy to spot, the lighting usually directs you to their eyes, and I think that’s important to the whole emotion of each photo. I think that’s why I enjoy his images so much.

The Beginning

Taken by David Alan Harvey. Published in National Geographic Oct. 2012.

Taken by David Alan Harvey. Published in National Geographic Oct. 2012.

Taken by Jasper Juinen. Published in National Geographic Nov. 2012.

Taken by Jasper Juinen. Published in National Geographic Nov. 2012.

I have entered the Advanced Techniques for Photojournalism class, and let it be known that I’m not a gear head. I have my one camera body, modest and 3 1/2 years old, and a telephoto lens that came with the Black Friday deal I got for the body. So needless to say, I’m not a expert with flash or changing out all sorts of lenses. Hopefully this class will give me the tools I need to know how to light subjects properly if the available light isn’t sufficient. I’m excited to just pop off some flashes in a controlled setting such as a studio, but I also realize that I will need to know how to use flash in the real world where subjects are not posing or in any sense of the word still. It’s a little daunting, having to learn all sorts of new technology when I’ve been hiding from it for so long, but it’s certainly necessary to learn, and I am looking forward to becoming a better photographer.

I’m done talking about myself for now (I do so enjoy doing it though). Instead I’m going to briefly explain the two images I posted up here for all to see. They’re photos out of National Geographic, my favorite magazine, from this past fall. We were told to copy two photos, one that we thought the lighting contributed to the feeling of the image and another that would stump our knowledgeable professor Rita Reed. I feel like I have been more successful with the former than the latter. The image of the horse running through fire is the one which I think the lighting contributes greatly to the feeling of the photo. I think the extreme fire light and actual flames tell the viewer that the image is rushed, a little dangerous, and hot. I feel like the photographer was sweltering when they snapped the image. The other photo that’s supposed to stump Rita probably won’t. Every image I saw I either knew for sure what the lighting was, or I had a good hunch and knew Rita would immediately know where the lighting was. So I picked this curious gem of people watching T.V. outside. I imagine a flash was used, since it appears to be night time and there’s a lot of dark shadows everywhere due to the blanket of light that is washed over the entire image. Rita will not be stumped, but I tried.

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