Ain’t We Got Fun

Ain’t We Got Fun-Issuu

The idea of fun has changed so much since I was younger. As an adult “fun” has to happen within “acceptable guidelines” and “age restrictions.” When I was a child I loved to swing on our swing set for hours—I didn’t need to listen to music or play video games while I did it, the swinging was enough. In middle school I started to use more
technology and in high school I was totally addicted. I also read a lot.

I used portraits and collages to show adults doing “childish” things but also to show that what we did as children is still with us as an adult. I also wanted to challenge the ideas that adults have
different activities to call fun. Adulthood
shouldn’t be subdued; people should feel free to be open about their interests and do what makes them happy without being judged.

While shooting these photos, I went to a
playground. Many people stared at us while my friends played on the swings in their professional wear and I took pictures.

I believe the work shows the change and the
influence of our hobbies over time. Everyone is
doing something they love to do in every photo.

Annette Khun says that a photograph is a “prompt, a  pre-text, [and] sets the scene for
recollection.” My photo essay revolves around recollection. I asked my friends what they did for “fun” at ages 5, 10, 13, 15, 18, and 21. I chose those ages because I believe they mark specific ages at which rights of passage begin.

At age 5, most children are beginning to go to school, at age 10 they are leaving elementary school and at age 13 they are leaving middle school. At 15, people are well into high school and on the road to self discovery, which has usually changed or finished by age 18 when they graduate from high school and become “adults.” Then age 21 happens and some people go to bars while others accept responsibilities and begin to see that certain “fun” things aren’t acceptable any more.

I chose to explore this topic because I am so open about the hobbies and activities I do which make me happy, even though many people say that I am childish because of it.

The only pictures which depict reality in my photo essay are the portraits. The portraits show an attitude relating to the subjects given profession. The first group of photos is of Audrey, the creative director for Kyo Daiko, a taiko group in Philadelphia, PA. She is holding her bachi (the sticks used for beating the taiko drums) in front of her with a stern face. That is how she performs. That is how she shows that she is disciplined in that art.

In my own portrait I am sitting on the floor with a notebook and pen in my hand and forced smile on my face. I want to be a writer and so I am writing in my portrait.

Errol Morris that in the act of choosing to take one photo or the moment you “select one
photograph from a group of photographs” you are very close to “manipulating reality.” I did nothing but manipulate reality in this photographs.

Every photograph has been posed or coached in some way. I took at least 50 photos of each
subject and then chose which one looked the best or could be manipulated easily. In one picture I erased part of the back ground so that a security pad was not behind my head. I cropped many photos but still left some active space, space between the subject and the frame, in the photographs.

Sontag stated that photographs “may” distort, that there is “always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is ‘like’ what’s in the
pictures.”  What is in the photographs is as important as what is left out of them.


 

The picture of Audrey swinging the Lousville Slugger
T-ball bat is one of the strongest in this collection.

In the photo where Audrey relives her years playing
softball for the Glendora Girls Athletic League, there is depth of field, leading lines, and  active space. Audrey is in focus while the front yard of my grandmother’s house is not. It forces the viewers eyes to Audrey and the action of swinging the bat because the background is not busy, there is less noise to interfere with the message.

The leading lines form from the bottom left corner with her leg, loop around her arms and upper body, and follow out to the tip of the bat. It forces the viewer to look at the full gesture of swinging the bat.

I tried to use minimal active space. I did not want to crop out the subject and used the crop to focus in on the subject.

 


 

Each collection ends with a collage. The collage shows all of the childish activities in black and white and in the

background. It represents the idea that although our past is behind us, it is still with us.  My intent with the collage is to bring
attention to the interconnectivity of our individual lives. Life is not like a language that leaves you from prolonged non-use; it is more like a pyramid which gets taller and greater by building on past experiences.

The black and white photographs represent the past and the things we no longer think about. The
colored portrait is the
present and the identity.


 

I chose to use a Nikon D3100 DSLR
Camera for the quality of the image. I knew that I wanted to crop, edit, and play with all of the
photos in order for them to meet my needs.
Although many point and shoot camera have come a long way in the quality of images they do not offer me the same control as a DSLR.

I used Photoshop to edit all of the images. I cropped, erased pictures and items from walls, and even increased the depth of field. I did this to make the images more interesting.

Using the high quality camera and photo-editing software gave me a lot of control. The only noise in the images is noise which I created. I feel that this made plenty of room for my
intention to be shown through the images.

 

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About Jessica M Tuckerman, MA

I prefer to write for the YA and middle grade audiences. When I'm not writing I'm curled up with a good book and two good dogs. BA in Writing Arts: Creative Writing, New Media Writing and Publication; New Media Production MA in Writing MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults

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