What makes a good photo? The answer to that question is different for everyone. My favorite photos are ones that hold some kind of meaning and tell a story. The “Your Favorite Photo?” assignment instructed me to choose my favorite photo I’ve ever taken and explain why I love it. I thought this sounded like an easy assignment at first, but quickly realized it wasn’t. It’s so hard to have to choose just one picture, and then have to figure out how to explain what it means to you.
I ended up selected a picture that I took when I was in China last summer. To me, this picture feels like a culmination of everything I experienced. I was in China volunteering at a camp for orphans. The camp allowed the kids to leave their orphanages and experience things they never had before, such as being in a loving environment and trying new things like eating ice cream or going to a water park, which is what we were doing in this photo.
The little girl in the photo wearing the eagle pride backpack is the child that I was paired with my second week. (Fun fact, I gave her the backpack at the end of the week so it’s still in China.) In the photo, you can see a few of the different groups of children and volunteers who were paired together. It was raining as we were leaving the water park, which is why people in the photo are using umbrellas.
My experiences in China made a huge impact on my life, and I am still very passionate about volunteerism and orphan care. I am planning to return to China this summer. For me, this picture shows a glimpse of one of the most important stories that I can tell. That is why it is my favorite photo.
I was excited that I got to use my character again for this assignment! The instructions for “Post-It Notes and Grocery Lists!” were to “Choose a character or characters that you like, or choose a movie, world, whatever! Then, create Post-It notes in an image editor–multi-colored squares with handwritten-looking-text–that the character or characters in your chosen world would leave for themselves around the house. The Notes can be reminders, inside jokes, to-do-lists, grocery lists…whatever you want, write it down, then share it here! Make sure to let us know which universe/story/character you’re referencing, and include outside material (videos/clips/music, etc.) to help us understand the setting/context!”
It was fun to think about the different kinds of things that my character Mia (who you can read more about here) would have on her fridge. I tried to pick a variety of things happening in her life to talk about. Since she has a lot going on, it’s important to give herself reminders! She has notes on the fridge related to both her library and secret agent job, along with a grocery list, a reminder to feed her dog, a joke, and a reminder to meet with a friend. I picked a joke that I thought she would appreciate.
I created the post-it notes using the paint app on my computer. I had never used it before, and it was trickier than I was expecting. I had to make the shapes, fill them in, and then add text in a font that looked like handwriting. The app definitely could have been easier to use, and if I did a similar assignment in the future I would probably look for a different image editor to use.
This assignment made me think more about my character and her personality. I was hesitant at first to be using a character for this class, but I am happy that it has been a fun and enjoyable addition to my semester so far.
This assignment was a little unusual for me to choose, since I don’t watch many secret agent movies! The instructions for the “Who Said What” assignment were to “Find a picture of any secret agent you would like, preferably a fairly well-known one. Next, pick a quote from a similar secret agent character. Finally, attribute said quote to a third similar character. You want the characters you chose to be well-known but also similar enough that people would confuse them with one another.” Since I don’t know much about any of these secret agents, it was easy for me to get confused!
I started this assignment by simply Googling “secret agent quotes”. That didn’t bring up anything helpful, so I decided to pick three people to use. I chose James Bond, Ethan Hunt, and Jason Bourne. I picked a Jason Bourne quote that sounded like it could have been said by any of them, and found a picture of Ethan Hunt.
Next, used this site to edit the picture. I added the text to the photo and attributed the quote to James Bond. I had used the site before to make collages, but never to edit photos. It took me a few minutes to figure out but ended up being really easy to use. I will definitely use it for projects in the future.
There’s nothing like a homework assignment that makes you feel calm and happy. That doesn’t usually happen for me! For the “Places of Peace” assignment, the instructions were to “Create a collage of photos with all of your favorite spots where you feel relaxed or at peace. This should include at least four photos and can be places on-campus, at home, or maybe a spot you found while traveling. Then post the collage to twitter.” This assignment made me want to curl up and take a nap! It was a nice change from my usually stressful homework. I really enjoyed going through my old pictures and finding places that made me feel at peace.
The top left picture is one that I took on the sand dunes in the Outer Banks. My family visits them every year and there are always lots of people flying kites and spending time with their families. This picture makes me remember all the good times I’ve had with my family on our yearly trips to the OBX.
The picture on the bottom left corner was from a bonfire that I had with my friends. It makes me think of longs talks around campfires and s’mores and friendship. I don’t know about other people, but I love sitting around a campfire. There’s just something so calming about watching the flames!
The picture to the right of the fire is a picture of my bed. I had a lot of fun decorating my dorm, and I think it’s really cozy. I don’t spend much time in my dorm during the week, so that picture makes me think of long weekends spent relaxing in bed.
The picture second from the right is one that I took earlier this week when I was doing homework outside. I love being outside in nature, and that 75 degree winter day was one of the nicest things I’ve experienced in awhile. I was so relaxed doing homework that afternoon!
The picture on the very right is one that I took when I was walking my dog last summer on the trails near my neighborhood. I love spending time with my dog and going on trails, so this picture sums up a pretty perfect afternoon for me.
After I found all the pictures I wanted to use, I created a collage on this site. I then shared my collage on Twitter.
I wish that all my assignments made me feel as good as this one!
The instructions for the “10-Step Photo Challenge” were to “Take ten steps in any direction and with each step take one photo. Think about angles and lighting to create interesting photographs. Don’t forget the Rule of Thirds! Create a collage in a photo editor.”
This assignment was a little harder to do than I thought it would be, because I picked a pretty boring place to do it. I didn’t want a lot of people to see me taking pictures of random things every 10 steps! So I picked a spot out of public view.
I tried to take pictures of lots of things from different angles, keeping in mind the different aspects of photography and storytelling. Once I took enough pictures, I used this site to create the collage.
I love any opportunity to look at/take pictures of my dog, so I thought this assignment was great! This was the “Your Love For Your Pet (Or Any Other Animal That You Love” assignment. The instructions were to “Make a collage out of photos of your pet (or your favorite animal)! Either take past photos or take photos throughout the week that show how cute or how funny they can be!”
The first thing I did was look through my old pictures. Since I’m at school and my dog is at home, I am currently not able to take pictures of her. But I had enough stored on my phone that I could make a collage! In order to make the collage, I went to this website and clicked the “collage maker” button. I used one of their pre-made collages, moving the pictures around to fit with what I wanted to do. Then I saved my creation to my laptop and shared the collage on Twitter.
This assignment was a little more involved than the other ones I have done so far, since it required me to use different sites and tools and to move things back and forth from different devices. This assignment also made me miss my dog 🙁 I am very happy with the finished product though!