Response- “Masters of Photography:Diane Arbus”

Diane Arbus and “The Boy with a Toy Grenade in Central Park”

Diane Arbus’ method of photography was very interesting to learn about. Her photographs are all in black and white and all of people. I liked how the film used narration of Diane’s actual words over her photographs.

For a while I could not see the pattern in her photography. I thought that she was just taking pictures of people with interesting looks. But then it was revealed that she was purposefully taking photographs of people that society tends to look away from–the freaks, cripples, disfigured, old, etc. Her choice to direct her lens at these people who do not get direct eye contact on the street was heart warming. I like the idea of using a camera to make other people see what they otherwise refuse to. With her photographs she gave these people a moment of attention and a lifetime of notoriety as one of her subjects. Her thoughts on the lives of “freaks” gave a better insight as to whys she sought them as subjects for her photographs. Her notion that they were born with trauma, yes the rest of us have to experience it later in life makes sense. They have to grow up and live with something, something that she wished to photograph.

Diane Argus felt deeply for subjects, and these deep feelings as well as her own may have led to her death. However without her connections to her subjects, her photographs may have not been the same.


Response- Jon

AT&T Focus Group Ad

Reading Jon felt as though I was reading something Kurt Vonnegut, who is one of my most favorite authors. I really enjoyed reading this story and its criticism on commercialism. The story makes celebrities out of young people who choose what is cool , ” TrendSetters” and TasteMakers” are trading cards. These kids are raised up in praise of their decision making. The people in this society worship commercialism. The only way that these child celebrities are able to break out is love. In this sense it is very similar to the novel “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro–which is about a home for children **SPOILER** who have been cloned for the purpose of harvesting their organs. In the book there is a rumor that there is a way to get out of donating if they can prove they are in love. In this story,  Jon/Randy and Caitlyn are in love and their overseer Mr. Slippen has a deep connection to the two of them. Mr.Slippen does not want them to continue down  the life path they are on. This insistence makes the reader assume that the baby that died of Meningitis was purposefully ignored.

Jon/Randy is supposed to a be wonder kid in terms being a TasteMaker, he is encouraged to stay put and continue his work. To help him deal with his loss of Caitlyn, he becomes hooked on Aurabon which is a medication that it induces happiness. Sanders makes an interesting criticism on commercialism and children. The young people choose what is cool  at the loss of their feeling the way the want to, and the adults get hooked on what the young people deem is cool.

Minimalism– There is always money in the banana stand

There are a lot of minimalist fan made art for most of the shows that I love. But the one that I am most excited for its return is Arrested Development. We have waited years and years for this, and it is almost here. The logo for arrested development is pretty simple already, but adding the outlines of the characters is a great addition.

Are you calling me chicken?



Each of the Bluth’s is shown as outlines of their chicken dance. It is a running gag on the show that every person in the family has a different interpretation as to what a chicken looks and sounds like. I love how each character fully commits to their own variation of the chicken.

Albums Without Sounds

This was my favorite Album Without Sound. When I was looking through them I was thinking about the type of music that each held and who was in the band. This one seemed like it could be a Black Keys album cover. There are no faces, seemingly older men playing poker–high stakes. I really like the vintage like type face and matching the colors to the colors of the lines on the felt. The title is placed in a space that does not disrupt the images in the  photo. This album is some awesome bluesy rock album, something great to drive along to.

Response- How Images Think

This reading brought together a lot of different things that I am currently learning about. It was awesome watching Burnett unfold his argument and connect a range of topics from the holocaust to internet hyperlinking. I am currently taking a class on perspectives of the holocaust. In it we have watched Night and Fog and read the poetry of Primo Levi, both of which Burnett mentions. The photographs taken to document the holocaust are very important to the remembering the tragedies that happened. Without the photographs there would only be words. After seeing Night and Fog, our class discussed how much harder it was watching the cruelty and inhumane conditions of the camps than it was to read about them. We also discussed how people can still even deny such events with so much physical and photographic evidence. Burnett says ” photographs are only records if viewers agree by the convention of truth that is present”; he separates the photography and record keeping. I had never thought of a difference like that before. We take photos to capture moments and memories, they are a physical record of a time that cannot be revisited.

Vantage Point CC niXerKG


But what happens when photos are manipulated and edited? Are they still records or are they something else entirely? When I was younger, I used to always edit out mine and my friends blemishes in photos before posting then on facebook. It was a common courtesy. But, when I look back at the photos in many years will my memory of that time be changed, will I remember myself having that awful zit or will it reflect the edited the photo? The interpretation of the past has been mediated by the edited photo.

Burnett also mentions how photos are material for an endless number of digressions. A photo can be taken and changed simply by creating a different context for it, or editing it drastically. It can be remixed revamped and recolored any which way.

Response- Infant Mortality

After our own exercises in creating audio segments, I have come to see how much more difficult it is to create an audio essay than a video one. Video uses our sight and sense of sound, while the radio ones solely utilize sound.

Listening to Infant Mortality from Michigan Radio, I thought about all of the different sounds I was hearing as well as the topic at hand. I had heard of this issue before in a public health course I took a few years ago. It is so striking to me that the main message we hear in the media is that there is an amble amount of teen pregnancy, and it is priority number one to stop teens from having sex. Becuase this issue strikes up a debate, it gets a lot of attention. However questioning the affect of latent stress from racism on infant mortality rates is a topic that people do want to talk about. The solutions presented were all in the realm of possibility, and I hope that there is more of a conversation on this topic in other forms of media.

This piece though utilized a number of experts as well as personal stories of women to create a piece that was both intriguing and informative. There was music that aided in the transition between the separate pieces and interviews. It was a really smart choice to use piano being played by the son of one of the women who was being interviewed, it added to the feelings of gratefulness to her son as her other child did not survive.Throughout my listening I was thinking about the amount of time that goes into editing these audio pieces and being able to keep track of the interviews. Being able to successfully edit the interviews and add music is much harder than I had imagined it to be. It was still hard for me to follow along to voices for the entirety of the segment, but I found myself scrolling through the transcript below the player. I was hoping for some pictures of the women and their children or some additional information about them. But it was only the words that I was listening to. I think that to keep listeners on the page the whole time and to engage with the topic, there needs to be something that the online listener can do with their hands and eyes.

This site is like a toolbox for enterprising radio content producers. There is information about how to engage with social media, where to hold a boom, the best products to use, and engaging content. Someone could easily teach themselves how to be a radio star solely from this site.

The lay out is fairly easy to navigate. There are a multitude of hyperlinks to other destinations inside the site. As I tend to do, I clicked on the about section first to see how the creators of the site define it. From that it was easier to get the premise and purpose.

I listened to a few of the stories. I liked the Sonic IDs, the 30-60 clips. They were easy to consume quickly(I especially liked the popcorn one). Although they were short in length, they were effective using different layers of sound and a quick pre and post narration.

I really enjoyed this piece on a toll booth attendant and a woman who felt as though she was above the whole system. I was surprised to hear the narrative voice that was used though, when I scrolled down the picture of the author did not match the person behind the voice I had heard. Toll booth attendants must have a plethora of encounters with people, and I really enjoyed listening and envisioning any sort of parking structure that I had been to.

Response- Valentines Day 2013

CC Flickr user bombardier

Valentines day 2013 was an all around bizarre day. That was the day that Oscar Pistorius allegedly murdered his girlfriend, that day the an SWAT team came to Angel Hall, the day that people were going a bit crazy lamenting over how much the day sucked.So this episode of This American Life was fittingly titled Valentines Day 2013, even though the stories that were told did not occur on that day. Each segment told a piece of the craziness and weirdness people will put up with for “love”.

When  I was listening to the program I didn’t really know what to do with myself- where was I supposed to direct my face, what was I supposed to do with my hands, could I be doing other things while trying to listen? I tried to be on my computer, but I found myself easily distracted by everything online especially during the duck story, which did not hold my attention at all.Then I tried just laying down and listening, but I found myself drifting off to sleep. Whenever I had listened to the radio in the past, I was driving, my attention was to the road and my hands were on the steering wheel.

I really enjoyed the first segment and the last one. The first one segment about the physicists calculating the potential number of women available to them reminded my of a scene from A Beautiful Mind, where Russel Crowe’s character uses game theory to ensure that he and the rest of friends wind up with dates.

Mike Birbiglia’s final segment about his girlfriends boyfriend was great. It was both funny and serious with the ending moral of the story, “sometimes when you want to be in a place so badly, you’d do anything”.  Sleepwalk With Me has been in my Netflix instant queue for months, I hope to get around to it soon.





Response- Listening In

Susan Douglas is one my favorite professors at the University(and not just because she was on Oprah), so I was excited to read a piece by her. She is big on the history of communication methods and the representation of women in the media.

ps her favorite LFO song is Girl on TV

Douglas talks about how radio allowed for listeners to flex their imaginations. Radio solely gives the listener an aural description go characters, scenery and action; it is left to the individual to fill in the rest. TV gives viewers everything that Radio leaves out. You can see where the characters are, their faces, their body language etc. I agree with her that allowing the imagination to roam free is important for people, but I think that TV has figured out ways to make viewers think in other ways. For example in Lost, there was a never ending stream of clues, red herrings, and easter eggs dropped weekly. Viewers could collectively talk about what they saw, compare notes on theories etc. ( Yes, Lost was a major let down in the end, but it did something different)

Making viewers think fills the need that radio left. It creates a dialogue. Viewers aren’t going to the symbolic water cooler to talk. Fandom crosses borders worldwide online. Douglas talks about how radio allowed for men to negotiate the changing notion of masculinity through amateur Ham radio communities. I think that this negotiation can be taken a step forward, people of all different religious and cultural backgrounds have the potential to bond over a fandom of some sort, be it a tv show, movie, or radio show.

Regardless of new technologies, radio has persevered. The only time that I ever really listen to the radio is when I’m driving. I like to be able to flip  through a number of stations, however I hate it when I go from one station to another and the same exact song if playing on both. This plus the number of commercials on the radio is what driving young people away from traditional broadcast to streaming from their phones, and satellite radio.

Response- Writing Movies for Fun and (Profit)

First off, this was written by the guys who are in Wet Hot American Summer, so immediately I am going to believe what they are talking about.

I am well known among my friends to be able to predict the major storylines and plots in movies and TV shows. It is often annoying for others, but I don’t understand why they can’t see what the progression in the same way I can.

It’s because movies and TV follow simple story lines and formulas. Most people don’t want to have to think too hard when watching TV/movies because they use it as form of escape from their actual lives which should require thought.

This directly relates to the debate in class regarding reality TV. With so much reality shows in the TV landscape, the scripted shows have to branch out in other ways–thinking ways. The scripted shows cannot compete with the simple story easy to follow dramas of reality programming.

Movies are in the same boat at reality TV. People are dropping money to go to a movie and they are not looking to pay to feel stupid by not being able to fully understand the story. Movies are shifting into massive CGI and 3D extravaganzas instead of challenging audiences. Every studio wants a franchise series that can make bank for years to come.