Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Presentation for the Gallery

I like this grid- it is a happy medium between blowing up 3 large photos, and printing all 30 small.  I think this is a nice number as it gives you a good sense of the tent community.

I think a title panel is necessary in the grid.  If I was walking past this, I would be a little confused and assume this was a piece on camping.  Tonight I am going to work on the title panel.  It needs to blend into the grid, but I think a pop of color is good.

Adrianne and I spent some time today talking about which images work best for the gallery & the whole homeless experience.  I have edited it down to these.

"Walking home from Whole Foods- I live just past the horizon":  the establishing image; sets the tone, mood, and gives the tent community context.

"My stately home and storage tent":  Shows the tents and his ironic captions off the bat.

"Inside my tent looking out": The most important photo, and my favorite. Love the caption, too.

"Organization is Key": Gives you an insider's perspective of the inside of his tent, details in this photo important

"The Essentials": Another insider's peek into the communal tent kitchen.

"Yes, I have to wash all these, but not in the fire pit."  Great perspective, not an image we see often.

"Snow Crushed the Tent":  Highlights the drama, struggle, and it's a strong image.

"My new place- had to downsize":  Shows his sarcasm and most importantly, his determination to move on.

All photographs will be printed on matte paper, 22x17, and hung with thin silver pins.

Book Sent Off

Fixed changes to the intro. and just sent it off today.  I know there will probably be more changes to be made in the future but I am excited to get the book next week!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Momentum for the Last Week!

I am obsessed with quotes & my brother just saw this one on the street and sent it to me.

Changes to Book

Thank you Blurb for letting me cancel my order upon seeing a typo!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

To Do...

Had a meeting with Hannah today which was very helpful. There are no major changes, but several minor ones. Tomorrow I will work all day to make sure these changes are made.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weekly Update March 25

This week I spent about 20 hours on my book.  I created sentence breaks for all the quotes, figured out the sequence of images, and resolved all of the spreads.  I edited all the images and resized the captions, which took the most time.  I wanted to be sure the images were crisp with high contrast, yet not overexposed.  

My book is 99% complete.  I am currently working on finessing the intro/conclusion of the book. Today in critique we went over specific details I need to change; I am going to make those changes tonight because tomorrow I am meeting with Hannah to go over the book one last time. I am sending off the book to the printer on Tuesday.

Here are two spreads I resolved this week- they are the only spreads without an image (besides intro/conclusion). 

I also went to Groundworks this week and they helped me upload Joe’s voicemails onto the computer.  In the messages he talks about how the Michigan Department of Transportation is forcing Camp Take Notice to leave in 30 days.  This will be one of the sound clips in the gallery.  He left me two voicemails- so I need to decide if I want to keep both in raw form- or combine the message to be one direct voicemail, combining the most important spoken elements.

I also presented this sound piece in critique today.  It is during an interview with Joe when  I asked him if he wanted to participate in my project and take pictures.  He was so excited and I thought it would be interesting to show a behind-the-scenes of our dialogue and see his reaction when I asked him to collaborate on the project.  Everyone really enjoyed the sound piece, but after a few minutes of discussion, we realized this might in fact take away from the gallery space.  This piece is almost too laid back and doesn’t fit as well as the other sound pieces.

I guess I really liked that piece because of the part where he talks about competition in the work place.  He basically says to pursue what you love and don't doubt your abilities because ultimately in any job there will always be someone better than you.  I think it’s great advice.    

This weekend I am going to work non-stop on the book until it is absolutely perfect.  I'm also going to rerecord the introduction to my "doorknobs" sound piece.  

I also plan to meet with Stephanie to go over the sound I want to use in the gallery.

We have two weekends left to finish this project- scary & exciting!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Down to Two

Okay I am trying to decide between these two covers.  The first one is more direct, to the point.  But in the second one, his handwriting sets the overall tone of the book.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kenneth Cole's Blog

Check it out- Kenneth Cole's "Awearness" Blog posted my article on their blog!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Weekly Update March 18

This week I spent about 10-12 hours on my book.  Hannah encouraged me to work on paper, so I sketched out every spread on a mini book before I went to the computer.  

I then went to the computer and designed my first mock-up book.  I thought for awhile about how I want to tell this story visually.   I want this book to be image-dominant, as the photos themselves depict a natural narrative (images of tent city, using tarps to protect the tent city from snow, seeing the snow storm, etc.).  I am also incorporating quotes from my interviews with Joe.  

My meeting on Tuesday with Hannah went well; we talked about how I can improve the textual/compositional elements of my book by giving stronger emphasis to some images over others.  We also talked about using sentence breaks for the quotes.

We talked about the covers and felt that using the whole image on the cover is the most successful, as it sets the overall tone for the book.  

I made a second iteration of the book for today's class.  There are several pages so I will post a few spreads throughout this week.  

Critique was helpful, and everyone provided helpful feedback about type, placement, imagery, etc.  I asked my group about the book titles.  I am set on the subtitle:  One man's journey through homelessness.  But I am not so sure about the main title.  It is either "With a camera, without a home" or "Inside my tent looking out."  The first option is my voice, the second option comes from a caption Jay wrote for one of his photos.  We also talked about using his handwriting for the title, since it is his voice.  A few people liked the first title better, as it is most direct.  I am torn.

Here are a few layouts of the covers.

For my "Home" studio class, instead of working on a final project, Adrianne is allowing us to work on our IP during the rest of the semester.  I am very appreciative of this.  She is also going to work with me on the introduction/conclusion of the book.  We had a meeting on Wednesday and she pointed out that my introduction is somewhat lacking.  I haven't worked much on the intro. as I have been so focused on the imagery/text; this week I will really work on those elements of the book.

Overall I am really happy that I am making the book as it allows me to tell the story to the world, as well as document this project for myself.  

This week was exciting- it was so cool to see my article on  I also learned that the volunteers presented my article to a town board meeting a few days ago.  They said it was very effective and it resulted in great conversation at the meeting.  

Joe gave me a call on Monday and I was really nervous as to how he would respond to the article- but he loved it.  He said he was almost crying while reading.  He thanked me for writing in a respectful way.  I told him about the book I was making and he was thrilled.  I told him I would of course give him a copy.

My goal is to finish this book by Monday, March 29.  That way I can send it out and get it printed in time for the show.  That means I need to be super productive.  I need to work on editing the images; I have 10 out of 25 done as of now.  

I also need to figure out which sound clips I want to present in the gallery.  

Yes this is a very overwhelming time but it's also exciting!  I need to work work work and enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wow - crazy story

This news clip is about a 46-year old homeless guy who once had a successful job- and is now homeless and living off his 1 million hotel & frequent flyer points.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Book Covers

Been working this weekend on my book - in early stages & about 30 pages total.  I am working with rough sketches on the covers/titles now.

Check out my Article!

Friday, March 12, 2010


When I scanned in Joe's handwritten captions, they were very pixelated when enlarged. Tried this new photoshop technique where I turned the handwriting into a vector, and the problem is solved. This is one of my favorite captions - it will most likely be a full-page spread, and probably one of the very few spreads with text-only.  

The Latest

The latest version of the sound piece, cut it down by 23 seconds.  I think I may even be able to cut it down a little shorter than this.

Weekly Update- March 12, 2010

This semester is seriously flying by.  The past two weeks were busy- I did a lot of thinking about the gallery presentation, which was very important because I wanted to figure out how to best direct my time for the next month.  

I spent about 4 hours thinking about presentation, including traveling to camping stores, checking out tents, figuring out logistics for using an outdoor space, etc.  After this week, talking to Hannah & the gallery coordinators- everyone agreed it is too much of a distraction, in technical/logistical/conceptual ways.  In my last post I resolved a potential presentation idea that I am working with at the moment.  I think this presentation will allow the work to speak for itself.

I also worked on editing down the images I want to use for the book (2 hours).  This took longer than imagined, and I still have not resolved the exact number I want to use.  I made a contact sheet of all of the images and realized I had overlooked two very important images that were very strong compositionally & content-wise.  I am glad I found those.  

Also thought about possible book spread options, but realized this is not the way to go about creating a mock-up.  I need to focus on each image as it relates to the next, think about white space, think about using full spread for one image, mixing up image size, using text, etc.

Tonight I spent about an hour editing the sound piece again- I took Stephanie & Melissa Allison’s advice and edited out redundant lines, which shortened the piece by a good 25 seconds.  I believe the piece can be edited by another 20 seconds. 

I also spent about 8 hours last week working on the AA Article.  Megan Levad was a big help as she reminded me to use concise and direct words for this 800-word piece.  I submitted the written article, sound piece, and about 5 images from the project.  The editor really liked the article and just informed me that the piece will run in Sunday’s paper.

Met with Megan Levad today regarding my thesis – we both agreed that I should structure the beginning of the thesis like I did in my AA news article.  I need to rework a few things in my thesis but I am not going to focus on the thesis for a few weeks.

What’s Next:

I need to redo all of the black/white images.  Patrick showed me the best way to edit the photos, so I need to redo all the ones I am using for the book (26 images).  This will be very time consuming but I believe will be worth it- the blacks will be crisper, whites stronger, and the images sharper.  Goal:  Do 10 images Friday, 8 on Saturday, 8 on Sunday

Make a complete mock-up of my book.  We talked today about how the structure & flow of the book is important; each image needs to speak to the next. 

I want to make a very detailed timeline – day by day – for the next month.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Potential Presentation Direction

Now that I have a clear sense of the presentation, I am going to work full force on the book.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Different meanings of "Home"

This homeless project has taught me different meanings of home.  It is a very sad subject, but the meaning of home can take many forms.  Sad, funny, memorable, etc.

Thought I'd share this sound piece I did for my other studio class.  The assignment:  interview someone about their home.

I interviewed my dad because he is so attached to his 17-year old car, it's like his second home.  I interviewed him in the kitchen and he was very serious about the interview.  I added his car sounds in later.  My mom kept chiming in the background and I thought it was funny so I kept it in towards the end.  My dad tells a story about the car going through inspection that neither of us knew before, so there was a funny reaction that I felt needed to stay in:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scoping out the Tents

Today I went to several camp stores to find the perfect size tent.  I wanted to get an idea of size and brands I like.  This one store, Campmor, had a bunch of tents on clearance, which was great.  Mark said I could pitch the tent outside Work Gallery on State Street, in one of the empty parking spots.  He said “the bigger the better” because people will more likely enter a bigger space than crawling through a small tent. 

The 10x10 size tents were ideal, but I think they may be too big in width for a parking spot space.  I think I will go for the 9x9 tent.  Just to be sure I just sent Mark an e-mail asking his thoughts on tent size dimensions for the parking spot location.

Many factors go into the decision behind a tent, especially color.  I would ideally like a green or blue tent, since those are the tent colors at Camp Take Notice.

I am waiting on Mark’s reply so that I can head tomorrow to Campmor and pick up the tent.