Exercise 5: Adventure in photography

The visual anthropologist studies people in their natural habitats. These images were taken over the course of a year using an iPhone 4S.

For this exercise, you will need a digital camera. Your cell phone camera will work. The video on this page is of photos taken entirely with an iPhone 4S. If you do not have a camera, see if you can borrow one, or see me.

Do the following:

  1. Find a photo of you when you were growing up and make a digital copy to hand in. Examine the photo. What does it say about you? What signs are in the picture that are especially meaningful?
  2. What do you think is the difference between a snapshot and a “photograph”?
  3. Type up your answers and include them in your OneDrive folder.
  4. PICK ONE OPTION BELOW and do the following:
    1. Take at least 24 exposures according to the instructions for your option.
    2. Think carefully about each shot and use what you’ve learned in class to improve your images.
    3. Answer the questions for your option and include the responses with the those to the questions above.
    4. Choose your best six pictures that use detail and context, frames and angles to tell your story.
    5. Deliver the images and your responses to your shared folder on OneDrive.
    6. Don’t put this off!
  5. Your options:

    • Tourist-anthropologist: Pretend you are a tourist and take 12 photographs that a tourist would take in your hometown or some area near you. Now pretend you are a visual antrhopologist and take another 12 photos that an anthropologist would take in the same place. Choose the best three from each group. What differences do you find in the two sets of photos? What do the photos say about the culture of this place?
    • Environmental portraits: Your job is to take posed portraits of two of your friends in which you must include elements of their environment that will portray their personality, occupation or character. What problems did you face in taking these pictures? How well were you able to capture the personality and character of your subjets? What things signify strongly about these people?
    • Day in the life: Use your camera to document a typical day in your life. What do the pictures reveal about you and your everyday life? Did you discover anything about your life that surprised you? How did you make sure not to give a false impression of your life? How did you decide which photos to take? What cultural implications do you see in the photos?
    • Photo essay: Choose some subject that interests you and that has interesting pictorial possibilities, and do a photo essay on it. Was your photo essay shaped most by what you wanted to show or what you wanted to say? What signifiers did you try to include in your photos?