Ross School - Senior Projects 2012

Student: Rose Kouzoujian

Mentor: Alexis Martino

Domain: Media

Faculty Grader: Crystal Brim

 

Documentation of Product           

TITLE: Lilith

DESCRIPTION: For my senior project, I created a photo-essay that is loosely based off of the Jewish Folklore, Lilith. Lilith was Adam’s first wife in Judaism and they were created from the same dust. The main theme of my photo essay expresses the struggle and desire for power.  In this myth, Lilith is demonized for her desire to be equal. Through my interpretation and twists and turns of the story, it leads the viewer to see Lilith as a powerful, positive, female icon. 

 

ARTIST STATEMENT:

This series of images expresses the struggle for power between a man and a woman. I based my photos loosely off of the Jewish Folklore, Lilith. In Judaism, Lilith was Adams first wife and they were created from the same dust. The main theme from the story that I represent visually is the struggle and desire for power. Gaining power is something that people strive for everyday, and it is a common thing. I think what is interesting in this story is that a woman is fighting a man for power. That is something that now is pretty common, but that long ago, it was just assumed that men had power over women. In the myth, Lilith is demonized for her want to be equal. Through my interpretation and twists and turns of the story, it leads the viewer to see Lilith as a powerful, positive, female icon. 

 

PROCESS STATEMENT:

To get my photos to look the way they are I took pictures on my digital camera, and as a result, they have a dreamlike quality. After editing, I inverted my images in photoshop, and then printed them on acetate paper, therefore creating my own negatives. I took these negatives in the darkroom and printed them as I normally would with 35mm film. This process gave it a very blurred, dreamy feeling. The images have a lot of contrast and grainy due to the process I used. After each image was printed, I began the sepia toning process. In the toning process, I bleached the image and took out all of the silver tone. Then, I washed the image in water to clean it of bleach. Once it was completely clean, I put the image in the sepia activator and took it out when the image reached the color I want.

 

EXCERPTS OF PORTFOLIO:

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Created at the same time…

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From the same earth…

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She declared herself equal to man…

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Refused to submit…

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To him she is a creature…

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So she fled the Garden of Eden…

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Flying…

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Disappearing…

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Roaming…

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But he still wanted her…

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But this was her rebirth…

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To her own sanctuary…

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Confidant to take control…

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To be the person she wants to be…

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Without being restricted…

 

POWERPOINT:

 

Exhibition & Presentation Summary

EXHIBITION:

My exhibition is an installation on the top floor of the senior building. The photos are strategically ordered to tell the story of Lilith. Under each image is a fragment that helps the viewer understand the story and guides them through it.

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PRESENTATION: EXCERPTS FROM SPEECH

I created a photo-essay that is loosely based off of the Jewish Folklore, Lilith. Lilith was Adam’s first wife in Judaism and they were created from the same dust. The main theme of my photo essay expresses the struggle and desire for power.  In this myth, Lilith is demonized for her desire to be equal. Through my interpretation it leads the viewer to see Lilith as a powerful, positive, female icon. However, before I reached that topic there were many other thoughts and ideas…

I just couldn’t come up with something that I could see my self working on for such a long time. I went though many ideas before I finally landed on illustrating and interpreting Lilith. I began my shooting process by reading through the story of Lilith and identifying the key points in the story that were important to include in my body of work.

Once I concreted my idea my mentor and I set goals for me.

Š      Creating a cohesive body of work to tell a story

Š      Curating a show

Š      Making my own negatives and printing from them in the darkroom

Š      Working with photoshop

Š      Impact my audience

 

For each shoot, I had to make a shot list that described all the shots I wanted to get in the shoot. With the shot list I wrote about props, models and locations I would be using. Doing this really helped keep me organized throughout this whole process. My process book is filled with pages of all the ideas that went through my head.

I used many different shooting techniques. One thing that I did was use a lensbaby. A lensbaby is a special lens that makes pictures blurry. I also did night photography and used car lights and flood lights to get a blurred effect. I did some shoots underwater as well. After each shoot I reflected on it in my process book. I would write what went right and what wrong. I also printed out tiny prints that were my favorites and wrote about why I liked them so much.

I uploaded all of my photos to my computer and edited them in photoshop. I had to edit them differently than I normally would because I would be printing in the darkroom. Since I would be printing in the darkroom I had to add a lot of contrast, because otherwise it wouldn’t print correctly and it would be really flat.

Printing was an extremely long and tedious process. It takes about 30mins to make one perfect print.  Everything has to be very precise such as water temperatures and exposure times on the enlarger. If there is a 1 second difference on the exposure time it could completely change how the image looks.

The last thing that I did to my photos was tone them with sepia. In order to tone them, I bleached all of the silver tone out of the images. Then, I put the bleached image in the sepia activator and watched it change. I took it out of the toner when it reached the color that I liked.

I never thought framing a photo would be such a hard task…

You have to pull up the metal tabs that keep the backing on the frame, which really hurts your fingers unless you use a knife of something. Then clean the inside of the glass so there are no dust particles or finger prints, put the photo in, and close it.

I did about 75% of my shooting over the summer. One thing that definitely helped me with this project is that I rarely procrastinate. I had no time management issues because I had a monthly calendar with the senior project deadlines as well as deadlines my mentor and I set for myself.

I faced so many challenges during this project and so much of my project was trial and error. For my modernity project last winter, I had used this technique of creating my own negatives and used that in printing, however I only made 10 prints last year and this year I made about 30. Making negatives is not easy and it took a lot of trial and error to get it right. Getting each image completely perfect was a bit of a challenge. With Alexis and I both being perfectionists everything had to come out flawless.

I gained many skills during this process and accomplished all of my goals! I had never created a body of work that followed a story as well as I did this time. I gained a way better sense of how to use photoshop. I successfully printed my entire body of work in the darkroom off of my own negatives. I got a better sense of what its like to work with models.

This project has a lot of personal significance in both the process that I took to creating my photos as well as content. In 10th grade I had to do a scientific inquiry project on a topic of my choice. I made my own pinhole camera and experimented with different developing chemicals. That is where I began my photographic experimenting. Senior project gave me another chance to pursue this experimentation.

In terms of content, last year for my global integrated media project, I created a short film about female circumcision and how women’s rights are very different in other parts of the world. After traveling to Kenya and hearing stories firsthand, I immediately knew women’s rights was still an issue. When I found this story to illustrate I knew it was the perfect story to continue my interest in women’s rights.

I now have a better understanding of what it takes to do a large-scale project from start to finish. I realized that shooting is truly the beginning of this process and there is so much post-production involved.

Before this project I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue photography in college but I think that I will at least minor in it. Photography is something that I will continue with and I can’t wait to produce more images and grow as a photographer.

 

Bibliography or Works Consulted

Cotterell, Arthur, Rachel Storm, Rachel Storm, and Arthur Cotterell. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House, 1999. Print.

Eliade, Mircea, and Charles J. Adams. The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York: Macmillan, 1993. Print.

Wickersham, John M. Myths and Legends of the World. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. Print.