CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College/Professor Bernstein
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Category — CFlores

Sara Krulwich

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Taken by: Sara Krulwich

I was excited for Sara Krulwich to come speak to our class because a quick google images search will lead you to some beautiful theatre photos that she has taken. When she came though, she showed that she had a lot more to offer than insight into theatre photography. She has a rich story and a history involved with the Women’s rights movement, as she fought to be let onto a stadium where women were not allowed to be so that she could photograph for her college newspaper. She told us about her first going into sports photography, which was not her passion at all, but eventually making it to theatre.

Even though she did not want to be a sports photographer, the experience showed her many things which actually help with theatre photography. In sports, you have to get the camera ready and be able to predict when something interesting is about to happen. If you just wait for it to happen and then click, you’ll miss the shot. The same applies for theatre photography because you always have to be one step ahead of what’s going to happen or else you’ll miss the shot that would’ve made the newspaper.

Her words are inspirational because they show that even when you’re stuck in a less than ideal situation, there’s always some way to learn and grow out of it for the future. It seems that she has it made now, her job requires her going to plays almost every night and photographing them. She also has had some cool experiences with work projects such as getting to shoot from behind the scenes which gives you a totally different perspective in a play.

Sara Krulwich is successful but remains humble, warm, friendly, and is quick to offer pointers to the beginners in photography of our IDC class. She told us not to be afraid to get too close. You might make some people uncomfortable, but if you stick to it you’ll have some great shots. I found that in my street photography project I stayed away from real people (I did representations of faces) because I was afraid to photograph them without their approval, and I didn’t want posed shots either. Next time I photograph I will certainly take her advice and see what I come out with.

December 8, 2010   No Comments

MoMA Review

From the first piece we saw at MoMA, “One Year” by George Maciunas, I knew that in order to enjoy this trip I had to abandon my previous notions of what art is. The Fluxus movement is contradictory in nature… an art form that promotes anti-art ideals. Their goal is to expand our definition of what art is and one must keep an open mind when taking in a piece such as this, which seems like just a collection of things piled up on a wall. Even though it is anti-art, I do see elements of traditional art in it. I can tell that each item is carefully thought out and placed, and as a whole makes a pattern of bright colors in an unexpected medium.

Once we got to the main exhibition of Abstract Expressionist Art, I found that the paintings I could appreciate most were the ones that were grounded in reality, and had elements of a face or a body that I could point out. Sometimes I couldn’t pick anything out upon first look, but was able to identify some things after reading the title and background information next to it. This made the experience feel like a scavenger hunt, it was fun to try to guess and find what the artist was trying to portray when he painted. I appreciate this about abstract art because in this way the realistic pieces are too easy, there’s more to this than just drawing what’s in front of you.

One painting I particularly enjoyed was by Adolph Gottlieb, entitled “Man Looking at Woman” (1949) I liked this painting because it uses simple colors, just greyscale with a bit of yellow and maybe a dull pink. There are squiggles and lines which i’m unsure of the significance of, if there is any. These surround the focus of the piece which, as the title would allude, is a man looking at a woman. They are drawn in an interesting way though; the whole piece gives the viewer an air of hieroglyphics. It must be difficult for someone in 1949, which are fairly recent times, to try to capture an art form that dates back to 4000BC but I think he is very successful in reaching his goal.

Another theme that I found in many paintings that texture. It was quite interesting how thick the paint is layered on some of these pieces, and how different colors are used each layer which serves to give a unique look to the painting. Many of them I found were painted using “oil and sand on canvas,” such as “Western Air” by Robert Motherwell. I took a close up of this painting to show what stuck out in my mind, which was the gritty and messy feeling of the painting which could probably only be achieved using the rough sand.

Overall, I had a great experience visiting MoMA. However, as much as I open my mind to what art is, I don’t think I’ll ever gain an appreciation for pieces like this one:

December 8, 2010   No Comments

Who He Is

A typical New Yorker thinks of a walk in a park with a few squirrels, trees, birds, and ducks if you’re lucky, as an escape to nature. Javed Chitaman was born and raised in New York City, where there isn’t much to real nature to compensate for our fast paced life of constant noise and an abundance of pollution. He thinks this idea of nature is narrow minded and even though it satisfied his peers, he always expressed a wanting of something more. After watching countless hours of Discovery Channel programs which spurred his interest in marine life, scuba diving has been his since he was 14 years old. To him, “underwater” isn’t just a word that describes his location relative to land; it is a different type of nature, a new world of blue and tranquility. “When there’s water all around me, I feel suspended in this medium and things such as gravity and time no longer exist. Seconds and minutes have no meaning underwater, and the only way to know when it’s time to go up is when the needle starts approaching the “E” on the air gauge.” He describes the feeling he gets from being underwater as incomparable to any other, especially the feelings that one can experience on land. There are no buildings to look up at, no avenues to turn down, nor any cars to watch out for. A landscape like this that may seem lifeless to some, to Javed is the most exhilarating thing a person can experience. Scuba diving may seem terrifying, dangerous, or complicated, but over the years has become something that he loves.
Javed’s first experience scuba diving was at fourteen in the Dominican Republic. He immediately fell in love with the sport and felt that it should be something he could do whenever he wanted to. It was hard to explain to his mother why he needed to become a certified scuba diver. She didn’t exactly share his enthusiasm about the activity, she thought it was too dangerous for a young teenager to handle. It was fine to try once, but it would take some convincing for her to allow him to scuba dive on a regular basis. What he told his mother to try to reason with her what that she couldn’t understand because she wasn’t there with him while he was underwater to take in the acres of ocean gardens, to see the thousands of exotic fish, to hold an empty giant sea turtle shell, or to feel the hundreds of bubbles that went up in his face with every breath of compressed air he let out. This very persuasive argument gained him his mothers permission and money to take the Scuba Diver’s Certification test. When it came, he studied the necessary material for the written part of the exam and passed. He also had to undergo open water training, which was fun but scary when during one part, he had no air while 30 feet underwater and needed to perform an emergency assent. Luckily, he passed and received his license to scuba dive just a few weeks later.
“Unfortunately, New York doesn’t provide much of a tropical environment that would allow me to practice ocean scuba diving regularly. I only get to experience it on my family’s biannual trips to the Caribbean. It has become something very special to me that I look forward to each year, especially since I know that the ocean is so big that there will always be something new to see. There always will be phenomenal creatures to see, but unlike the aquarium or the television, there is no glass tank or screen to separate myself from these encounters.” Scuba diving has opened Javed’s eyes to the vastness of the world. He can’t wait to travel to more places in search of adventure and new experiences. Diving has shown Javed that there is so much more to see than what’s in front of you, if you just go out and find it.

December 7, 2010   3 Comments

Thinking outside the box

When my friend Javed asked me if I knew how to work iMovie, I enthusiastically told him about the collage project that I had just completed and how it gave me the gist of how most of it works, and that I would be happy to help with what he had to do. His project was for his Discover New York class, the theme- Homelessness. It was not his choice, the professor had assigned it to everyone because it’s a topic she is quite passionate about. I found it odd that someone who feels strongly about the injustices of homelessness would ask a class of college students to wander the city looking to snap shots of homeless people. I think that a homeless person would feel singled out, embarrassed, ashamed, belittled, or all of the above if they were to notice that they were being photographed. I told Javed this and he had no good answer to it, and said he would ask his professor how to deal with this issue.

A few days later the topic of his project came up in conversation again, and he asked if I wanted to see the photos he had taken so far. He told me that his professor had clarified that she did not want photos of actual homeless people, but of things representative or reminiscent of homelessness.

Those are two of the photos he took. I found his approach very interesting because it required him to step back and think of homelessness in a different way. Portraying homelessness without homeless people may seem difficult, but I think these photos are successful in what he wanted to capture and that when joined with the rest, his photoessay will give the same sad feeling as the topic of homelessness.

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Scottsboro Boys Review

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I think it was no accident that the first thing to catch my eye upon reaching my seat for the performance of The Scottsboro Boys was a messy mountain of chairs. Some were upside down, some protruding out of the pile, I was confused as to why the set was this way and scared that they would all fall over. This fear ended up sticking with me throughout the entire play. The overly simplistic set was meant for viewers to pay more attention to the acting, but I think it had the opposite effect on me. I was on the edge of my seat when two or three chairs served as the only base for a train made of a wooden plank, hoping that it would support their weight when they jumped and shook the plank. The chairs served multiple different functions and were the only prop to make a jail cell, a solitary confinement box, a courtroom, a bus stop, and a train. Yet I could not forget that they were chairs, and was astounded when the sets did not fall apart the more they were interacted with by the characters. One example that comes to mind is when one of the boys vehemently shakes an upside down chair resting on a right side up chair as an attempt to open the door, I could not believe that the chairs went back to their original position and did not fall over.

Seating arrangements aside, I appreciated the performance because of the pure talent of the actors and the vision behind it. It was an interesting choice to make all but one cast member black, and some black actors dress as white lawyers or white women; I liked that it stayed true to the minstrel tradition. It also gave a subtle but important message of how the racism that prevailed in these times is fundamentally stupid and the  cast members showed that we’re all really the same regardless of color. The mostly upbeat feel of the play and the accompanying songs made this serious and awkward topic much more bearable and easy to watch and talk about. Given the context of the very sad story about the 9 boys who were imprisoned under a false accusation of the rape of two white woman, one would never expect to be smiling, laughing, and watching a magnificant lightshow and dancing that happened during the electric chair song. It was an unexpected but warmly welcome surprise. The characters of Mr. Bones and Mr. Tambo waddled around stage and spoke so ridiculously that you couldn’t  help but laugh at them. Their inadequacies also showed the fallacies in the concept of white supremacy, as the Scottsboro boys were portrayed as much more thoughtful and smarter. Haywood’s character was seen the most of a 9 boys, and I think he did an excellent job at representing them all when speaking of the injustices he was being faced with.

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Collage Project: Subway Art


The theme I chose for my collage is subway art. I meant to juxtapose the feeling one gets from seeing art that is placed there by the MTA in specific subway stations with a vision behind it, to the colder feeling one gets at the sight of the vandalization that is now considered a form of art. When I started going out with the intention to work on this project, I found that my original ideas were wrong. My ideas of “intentional” and “unintentional” art mixed together and I began to appreciate the two equally. I decided that I should switch my focus to try to show the viewer how these two forms of art are quite similar. This would be a little harder to pull off then my first goal: many of my graffiti pictures were taken by sticking my camera out of the window of a train cart in the tunnels and blindly taking pictures to review later and find the art there. These all naturally give a darker feeling than the usually cheery art the MTA provides. How could I  show that these two were the same when the look of my photos was inherently different?

I thought that a way to connect the two and get rid of this disjointed feeling could be to fade in and out of color. By this I mean that the organization of my video is as follows: first my series of MTA art photos which start in full color and fade into black and white, then my pedestrian art begins which starts in black and white and slowly comes back into color for the ending. I think that my choice of playing with the coloring narrows the distinction between the two forms.

The song I chose to put in the background is called She Moves She by Four Tet. I knew I would want something instrumental because words would likely grab the viewers attention away from the photos I wanted to show. But I still had a lot of trouble choosing the right song: I originally wanted to insert a Steve Reich piece which starts with a clarinet and adds 12 more pre-recorded clarinets that gradually build up because it sounded like something I would hear in a train station, but when I showed it to friends they found the piece annoying. I decided to go with something less repetitive and more disjointed and random- this “folktronica” piece I think captures more of the essence of what I wanted to play in the background, which is an exotic but simple piece that you’d think you’d never hear anywhere else.

I think my decision to make this collage a video was a successful one. I thought it would be another challenge to put the video together, since I am technologically challenged and still not used to Mac products. I edited and cropped the photos as I could first and then started to put the video together. Surprisingly, iMovie was easy to use and pretty self explanatory, I got the hang of it right away and there wasn’t much else to do once I placed in the photos I wanted and controlled the panning and time that each picture would take up because I thought the collage would have more power in simplicity.

November 23, 2010   No Comments

Catalina Flores/ Faces


In a city of approximately 1,537,195, we see so many faces that we rarely stop to look at or think about a single one. Yet faces are so often represented on city walls, street corners, inside subway stations, on storefronts. I thought that the representation of faces in the city was an interesting topic to choose for street photography, because of how they are manipulated, depicted, tampered with, and how even very abstract pictures have a familiarity about them that lets us know a face is there. I chose to order the photos from most objective to the most abstract.

The first three faces are pretty clear and realistic, but they are partially covered. The first is a photo of a sticker of Kim Kardashian place on top of an advertisement for Camel Cigarettes. Though I initially thought this was the most straightforward of the images, but upon further research I found that it displays a very subtle political message. Her cheek says NOH8, which I found out was a group of celebrities’ protest against the passing of Prop 8 in California, banning gay marriages. The second photo is a cardboard cutout of a man representing the New York Lottery and holding a sign over the bottom half of his face announcing the amount that is up for grabs this week. I found that when I cropped the picture to show only his face, he looks silly in a way. The third photo is an advertisement for the movie “Burlesque” in which Cher stars, but a simple dripping line of black paint over her eyes made it very disturbing to me.

The next next two are faces that have been photographed but look odd to the viewer because of photo editing. The fourth is a sticker advertising the band Naked Highway’s new album. The pink background contrasts with the black and white floating head, and how his mohawk and tongue sticking out makes him look like a drawing. The fifth picture is a poster of Katie Holmes, but the photo has been edited to look cartoonish and she was given the face paint of the Joker in Batman. I’m not sure of the meaning behind it but it has quite an eerie feel.

The next four photos are all cartoonish faces that are very unrealistic. The sixth picture I initially liked because it is an outline of a man’s face who is holding a tea cup that also has a face. I see this sticker often and I found out that it the “Where’s Cloud?” movement started when a man won a creativity contest and $1000 earlier this year that he used to travel across America and put these stickers everywhere. The seventh picture is of a stick figure that I found on a wall in Chinatown. It seems simple but also unique because of the way it is drawn: the mouth seems to be a half smile and half frown, but the halves are not in the middle and instead are on opposite sides of the face. The eighth picture is a cheerful little fellow with an oddly large mouth. The creator Dint Wooer says “he’s a goofy face that people like, he doesn’t mean anything.” The ninth photo is an abstract landscape with the sun shining on an otherwise dull town, with a simple but elegant face.

The final three photos are the most abstract and interesting to me. The tenth photo in my project is of a Mamma Mia advertisement in a train station that has been torn off but left an imprint of the coloring and part of the star’s face. My eleventh photo is of a face that seems accidental; it is a sticker of a man with a suit and no head, and another sticker of an O strategically placed on it’s neck, behind the O is the remains of a colorful sticker that has been mostly ripped away. This photo is different because it still looks like a face to me although it has no facial features. Finally, my last photo is of a smiley face that I found in a small crevice of a building in Brooklyn, I thought it was nice to conclude with because even though it is the least detailed, it means that someone stopped to put a smile there where it will always be seen.

I found that the trouble with executing my project was not in finding the faces on the street, but that there were an overwhelming amount that I could not choose which to photograph and which 12 fit together cohesively. All I had to do to get the photos for this project was take a walk through the city streets but pay extra close attention to the walls.

November 16, 2010   2 Comments

Obladi, Oblada

Freshman year in college is an exciting time because you get to decide who you are. Everyone tells you that these are the years that you will “find yourself,” and it’s the chance to get a fresh start and shed your image from high school if it was unfavorable. Many people identify themselves by the clothes they wear, the people they hang out with, or their interests and hobbies. Psychology gives us Eyesnck’s personality assessment which claims that everyone fits somewhere on these two scales: introversion-extroversion, and stability-instability. Your rating on these two factors can tell a person about the nature of their personality and list many personality traits that are typical of that type. I classified myself as a stable introvert: which typically means calm, even-tempered, reliable, controlled, peaceful, thoughtful, careful, passive. I found these results pretty accurate.

This weekend, I found an entirely different way that people identify their personality types by: my dad calls it Beatle Psychology. The Beatles are relatable to any age group, but I didn’t realize how far our culture’s fascination with them went. Apparently everyone will identify more with one of the Beatles and who your favorite Beatle is says a lot about the type of personality you have. If you identify most with John, you’re “the smart one,” if its Paul, you’re “the cute one,” if you like Ringo the most, you’re “the funny one,” and if it’s George you’re “the shy one.” I can’t imagine this being even mildly accurate for most people, but to each his own. Which Beatle are you?

November 15, 2010   No Comments

Cuba in Revolution at ICP

The exhibit on the Cuban Revolution of 1959 at ICP was an interesting one because it covered all the ground you could never get out of a history textbook. Through the photographic lens, we got to see the leaders of the revolution being regular people; Che Guevara and Fidel Castro were photographed skiing, playing baseball, drinking mate, smoking, etc. They seemed pretty similar to the regular people of Cuba, though we are reminded that they are not when shown certain photos such as Comandante Camillo Cienfuegos and Captain Rafael Ochoa at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC,.

It was exciting to me to see the iconic picture of Che Guevara, the one all the hipsters don on their T-shirts just because he looks cool, in many different publications. I learned that he is cropped out of the original photo where he poses with someone else. We also got a taste of the culture in Cuba during the time of revolution through photographs; we saw dancing, kissing, several family portraits, and a growing love for The Beatles.

Though this exhibit was more the contemporary and interesting one to me of the two, there was one part of the Mexican suitcase that was interestingly unique which the Cuban Revolution exhibit could not make up for. Only here did we get to see a photo in various stages of its’ printing: the negatives, the original prints, and the way they were edited and published. There we also were able to see the negatives that were lost and never published anywhere. Still, the Cuban exhibit was more enjoyable to me. And it too, gave us the privilege if viewing never before seen photos – it was actually quite strange to me that they had an entire room dedicated to photos of Che Guevara’s dead corpse from his death in Bolivia in 1967. These are the true war photos to me, the ones that the textbooks leave out. This gave me an appreciation for photography and the way that it captures themes which words sometimes fall short in describing.

The one photo that I was stunned by was “La Caballeria,” taken by Raul Corrales. This is the photo that my mind kept coming back to after seeing the exhibit. The photo demonstrates an aspect of photography that I think we have lost. I feel as though photographers of today take fewer risks. This photo is real, raw, and dangerous.

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November 9, 2010   No Comments

Two bites are better than one

Every culture in inextricably linked to certain superstitions and strange traditions. Many of us follow the superstitions of our native culture today, without reason or a general idea of their origins. My mother never rests her handbag on the ground because it will curse her and she will lose all her money. I never followed this one because I never saw any logic behind it. My aunt never leaves the toilet seat up because doing so will “flush your money away,” a little more convincing but not quite. Remember “step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back”? Yeah, my mother never broke her back either.

My friend Prattasha follows Bengali superstitions dogmatically. I didn’t know this about her and I found out the hard way. One day in high school, we went to get some fast food at Burger King to go before attending an after school review session. We sat toward the back so we could quietly eat, and I noticed that I had never tried her Spicy Chicken Crisp. Out of curiosity I asked her to try it and she   held the sandwich out for me to take a bite. I took the bite and enjoyed it and expected to go on with the review when she exclaimed- “Take another one!” and held out the sandwich again. I asked her why she was so enthusiastic about it, and found out that it was a Bengali superstition that if you feed a person, you must do it an even number of times.

Not one for superstitions myself, I decided to be difficult and not take the second bite. “I don’t feel like it, i’m full.” Little did I know Prattasha did not mind causing a disturbance in the review session in order to attack me and forcefully implement her second-bite policy. I’m still unsure of what bad luck she was trying to avoid, i’m actually quite sure she does not know herself.

November 2, 2010   1 Comment