Three People to Dinner, Who & Why?

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Welcome to Social Distancing, week 1! If anything, this quarantine period has allowed me a lot of time to think. No, silly, not about how to solve the world’s crises. You may be qualified for that, but I know my limitations!! I am doing my part by following directions from our Health Officials to #stopthespread. The time I have used to think and reflect has been dedicated to the Greats, both past and present, who have inspired me to become the artist I am today. It has also given me time to realize how badly I want to socialize… 

Unless you are a die-hard Realist, you may occasionally find yourself dabbling in the abstract world of your imagination. These moments, the ones lived purely for your curiosity and enjoyment, create the well of hydration for creatively-parched artists. So you guessed it, I drank from the well. I imagined two avalanching food bars—one taco, one sushi—and a patio dinner party with three of the Greats who have inspired my art and techniques. Fine, fine. If you really want to know, I’ll tell you who my Guests of Honor were: Gigi Hadid, Ansel Adams, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.  

Unless you are passionate about fine arts, you may only recognize one of those names, Gigi Hadid. She is an American Model icon in today’s fashion industry. To title her as a “Strong Female Role Model” is almost lackluster. Hadid began her role as an influential leader as the Captain of her high school volleyball team, left behind to pursue her studies in Criminal Psychology at The New School in New York. In 2013, she signed with IMG Models and shortly suspended her studies to pursue her career as a model. In 2016, only three short years after signing, she was named International Model of the Year by the British Fashion Council, presented by Donatella Versace. In her time as a model, Hadid has shaped her personal style and mastered techniques to captivate the eye by using her strong features and sharp, defined lines. She has been featured on the cover of 35 International Vogue magazines, and countless other magazines. Her most recent projects have included being the photographer for several campaigns and has designed a line of sneakers with Reebok. Outside of her career, Hadid takes pride in her philanthropy work with Unicef.  

Now, the other two, I don’t expect you to recognize their names. However, I do adamantly recommend you enjoy some of this Social Distancing time by diving into their history and their absolutely breathtaking photography. Ansel Adams—rest his soul—I say was one of the forefathers of modern photography. Born into a wealthy middle-class family in 1902, Adams was bred for artistical talent. He began his journey with formal training to become a pianist, eventually to change paths into a career of photography. In the early days of cameras, it was easy to overexpose images, but little way to recover the negatives. As the founder of Group f/64, a group of San Francisco Bay Area photographers focused on creating the most “pure photography”, Adams was dedicated to discovering what photography could truly be. Up until this point, photographers relied on techniques designed for painting compositionally and narratively. Group f/64, though somewhat hypocritical, mapped the road towards techniques to show photography versus past art mediums. If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend this video from The Art of Photography. This included Adams dabbling in techniques for manipulating image negatives to create contrasted, intricate images.  

Perhaps my Perhaps my role model for his style and technique, Hiroshi Sugimoto holds a special place in my heart. Similar in style to Ansel Adams, Sugimoto creates detailed, serious images focusing highly on the technique of exposure. You may recognize some of his images from the “Seascape” series. However, one of his most extraordinary series is of movie theaters. Now, let me make this distinction abundantly clear. He did not simply walk into the theater, setup his equipment, take the picture and walk out. Instead, he took a portrait of the entire movie. If the movie was 72 minutes long, the exposure time on his camera was 72 minutes long. The camera would process through the entire film, solely to create one breathtaking image. The images often resulted in high contrast detail, but with a dim, yet astonishing light effect. He moved to the USA in 1974 but spends his time equally in both the USA and Japan. Within his time, he has collected numerable awards and recognitions. I would love to visit his fossil collection one day (he calls them “pre-photography time-recording devices”). 

Ok, so I may be going a little nerd crazy right now, but seriously, wouldn’t that be an incredible dinner party?! Hadid, a bombshell who is turning heads with her industry revolutionizing techniques and her amazing example as a role model. Adams, a forefather of modern-day photography for his manipulation of negatives in the dark room. And Sugimoto. Oh, Sugimoto… with his masterfully contrasted, exposed images. Oh, and the tacos and sushi, of course!  

Who would you have at your dinner party? Let me know down in the comments. 

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