I visited the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park on Saturday April 6th,2019. I took a few teenage girls who I really care about because I wanted to expose them to a little bit of art, and Balboa Park is such a nice place to visit. I once visited this museum a few years ago with a friend as she also had a photography assignment to fulfill. The sleek layout of the museum is welcoming and allows for the attention to be be placed on the exhibitions.
Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography
When I first walked in, I saw the Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography exhibit as it sits right behind the front desk. Upon reading this assignment, I didn’t know what to expect from the photographs of this exhibition. I was surprised by the images portraying chaos and terror in European cities. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the meaning of these photographs, but from my understanding these photographs are intended to convey the fear that Europeans, or societies who deem themselves as superiorly developed feel towards people who are considered indigenous. These photographs exhibit the fear that people have towards the unknown because it may make them uncomfortable or it may disorganized their so called established society. In regards to the unknown, I think the UFO’s represent aliens, which is what immigrants are referred to and how many times people are instilled with fear towards these groups of people. I think the artist is also intending to be humorous through exaggeration. I think it represents the unnecessary fear people have towards immigrants and the entitlement that people feel towards specific places. For example, I was confused by the photograph with the swarm of birds. However, I think it represents the entitlement people have towards the earth, while portraying the fact that it never belonged to us but to nature. When I first saw these photographs, I mostly admired them for the evident skill in digital media and all of the work it included to come into fruition, but as I began to contemplate on the meaning, I had a deeper appreciation.
As I slowly become familiar with self portraits, it is evident to me that many photographers want to capture the personality of their subject, just as Ben Schwartz has. Something that sparked my interest was the idea of standing the test of time. My favorite self portrait was that of Twiggy Larson. I remember putting photos of Twiggy on my Myspace page and I remember seeing her as a judge on America’s Next Top Model. I just thought she had such a cool look to her with her big eyes, short hair, and whimsical yet British fashion. I had not paid any attention to her in years so it was surprising for me to see her. For me, it was captivating to see a photo of her during the years between being a young model and an older woman because those are the only two time periods I ever saw her on a screen or in a photo. I think this photo in particular stands the test of time because regardless of the fact that I had never seen a photo of Twiggy during this stage in her life, I immediately knew it was her. Her hair was different from her iconic short bob, and her clothing was no longer a whimsical high fashion garment, but it is still Twiggy. I think this portrait portrayed her as a person instead of an icon, which to me stands the test of time. It allows the viewer to remember her as a person without embellishment, just a simple photo of her not trying to be anything.
When beginning this assignment, I thought we had to take five photos during our visit to the MOPA museum. Later, it was clear to me that they were supposed to be five photos inspired by the exhibits at the MOPA museum. I only took photos of the two exhibits listed on the assignment, the Defining Space and Ben Schwartz exhibits. I tried to take a few portraits based on the Ben Schwartz exhibit. The photo of the lemon is based on the exhibit in the background of the shot with the three girls sitting down. Also, I honestly really did like Polixeni Papapetrou photos. Those were my favorite by far. I tried to recreate something similar to these photos as I made my mom wear different items with flowers and plants on them.
I could have and should have spent more time on these. These are not my best, most thought out photos, I apologize in advance!