CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College/Professor Bernstein
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — DTai

Sara Krulwich

To be Frank, I was not expecting much when I was told that a New York Times reporter would be coming in. I thought it would just be another boring person giving us a lecture about how to take photographs or how to interview people, that was something I was unwilling to sit down for. It was only until she revealed that she was an arts photographer, was when she my interest escalated.

I go through the arts section of the New York Times several times a week and I admire many of the pictures that are taken. I believe that it takes great skill to capture a moment of dance or movement into a still frame. Because I also perform I was particularly interested in how other people convey the powerful movements that dancers do. As she explained how she used different techniques to take pictures involving shutter speeds and begging for access to specific shows, I became intrigued by the history behind reporting. However, luckily enough she went on to explain that as well.

She told the class how she became a very controversial photographer at the University of Michigan for being the first woman reporter to walk onto the field during the 60s. It was no surprise that the crowd was in an uproar because sexism was very prevalent during the 60s. Sara told the class that she had to be escorted out of the stadium. She said the stadium did not allow woman or dogs to walk onto the field, noting that women during the 60s were compared to be as low as dogs. Ever since then, Krulwich challenged the cultural norms, even getting a job at New York Times, when it was considered having women reporters was scandalous.

As the class was coming to an end, she noted another very important detail; she was the mother of one of my classmates. At this point my fondness towards her grew with no bounds. It was hard to take in that one of my friends in High School who had a mother who contributed in her own way to women’s rights.

December 12, 2010   No Comments

Who She Was: A Sudden Change For My Mom

Who He_She Was

In 1978 China passed a policy that would change the way families and males are seen in the Chinese family. It was a policy aimed at the controlling the population of China, and it is a policy that is still in affect to this day. The One Child Policy officially restricted families to one child and any family with more than one would be exempt from many privileges and taxed heavily. My mom recalls the affects that this policy had on surrounding families in her province. She was born in Wen Zhou, a small farming province that recently has undergone urbanization. Her family was not directly affected by this policy because she and her siblings were born before the one child policy took affect; however, later on in her life she would be directly faced with the consequences of the one child policy.

My mom gave birth to my brother in 1986 in Hong Kong and I would be born five years later in 1992. From the beginning my mom knew this would create many problems for our family. My mother’s family was never a rich family and was struggling to keep their farm. She decided to send me to my grandmother’s farm for her take care of me, as my mom decided what to do. My earliest memories were of my grandmother and it was not until I was three years old that I met my direct family. The encounter was abrupt as my mom snatched me from my grandmother’s arm and dragged me to the airport to quickly board the plane, this was my first encounter with my mom. I thought she was a cruel woman to steal me away from my grandparents. The plane was heading for the United States and for most of my life I had believed that the move to the United States was a curt decision.

It was only recently in this interview with my mom did I discover the true decision for sudden change in my life. My mom said that her family was negatively affected by the one child policy. The government had exempt our family from many privileges such as higher education and increased our taxes dramatically. At the family’s current state they could not afford to have a second child. In fact she had claimed that she never intended to have another son and had in fact wanted to stop at one child. At the time Hong Kong was exempt from the one child policy and she told me that our family moved to Hong Kong briefly. During my stay with my grandmother my mom formulated a plan to move to the United States to avoid the one child policy. It was a decision that would dramatically change her life and our family’s life as well. Her life was based in China and her entire family was there as well. For her to move would be a huge sacrifice. It truly takes a large amount of character for anyone to agree to throw away more than thirty years of his or her life to start a new one in a foreign land. My mom told me this was an about face moment, where she pushed herself to do something she never had the courage to do. For much of her life she had been a traditional person that relied on the bond of family to help her thrive in life. During the moment of her decision to move, she said that she felt a new courage she did not know existed in her. She said when she got on the plane she pushed our family to quickly go on and not look back because our family would be starting a new life.

Even during her stay in the United States her courage stayed with her. My said adjusting to an American life style was difficult and often she felt like people were mocking her because she could not speak English. My mom said she had to deal with people that simply did not care where she came from. But in the end she kept on searching for a place to settle. She eventually came to settle down in Flushing, where she was able to build a tight nit Chinese community. My mom claims that she brought a bit of China with her and turned the neighborhood all yellow- that was my mom’s attempt at joking. It was quite difficult for her to move away, but if it was not for her sudden change in character our family could be in the streets by this point.

December 7, 2010   2 Comments

Museum of Modern Art

When I your first walked into the Museum of Modern Art you are immediately greeted with a piece of art. Although, at first it may not be apparent, the soil and flowers that were encapsulated represent art. The definition of art is wide and almost anything can be perceived as art as long as it represents our surroundings shown in an interpretive form. The plants in the capsules were forms of art because nature is a form of art itself. In nature nothing is symmetrical and everything from the soil to the trees is a unique art form. Different shapes and forms are formed in nature that the human mind is unable to create. This lack of form creates a sense of abstractness that is present in nature.

As you actually begin entering the exhibits the first thing you are presented with two fans blowing at each other and two pieces of circular tape dangling in the air. This was an unusual form of art, but it was art nevertheless. The dangling pieces of tape were effective ways of showing off the power of the mind. It represented a new way of thinking that was not present in current art. This piece defies all standard works of art because this work of art is not a still piece of drawing or sculpture but actually something that was alive and moving. It was very innovative and I definitely would classify that as unconventional art.

As I moved onto the fourth floor I saw a piece of so-called art by Barnett Newman. It is a long vertical piece of wood about one-and-a-half inches wide and that is all it is, just a piece of wood. I do not understand why this “sculpture” was put up as a work of art; it may be natural but it lacks any abstractness nor does it create any unique shape. To call the piece of wood a work of art is like calling the chair I am sitting on a piece of art as well. However, I soon found sculpture that was art. David Smith created “Cubi X” which was a stainless steel sculpture that depicted a human figure. Smith chooses to use something as still as geometric form to create the human form, which is very hard to duplicate. What was most astonishing was the way the steel reflected the lighting of the room further intensifying his work of art.

Finally on the last floor I saw the “On Line” exhibit. People have said that these works of art are controversial, but I saw nothing controversial about it at all. The first thing I saw was a series of strings lined up in the sky. It created something that looked like the night sky. This was the ultimate form of art because the artist took something man made and duplicated nature. There was no stillness in the strings because it created a unique shape. As I walked into the exhibit there were even more strings, each of which created their own shape and took up their own space. Everything on this floor looked like art, until I saw a video. The video was of a naked woman painting the wall by twisting her body in grotesque ways and hanging on a latch. This cannot be art at all, what she made was just a bunch of lines and the way she created her “art” was unconventional. She did nothing too special with her body and simply wormed her way around.

My visit to the Museum of Modern Art was very enlightening and it opened my mind to the creative abilities of many artists. It also made me think about the definition of art. What constituted a piece of art? Was it the message it was trying to send or the way it was made? I believe that the way it was made and the shape of the work counts the most.

December 5, 2010   No Comments


Last week my relatives visited from China and they were eager to adjust to American customs. I explained to them many of the customs we have in America, such as how it is almost necessary to tip whenever you go out to eat. In China tipping was a very foreign custom and it was unnecessary. It was only a few days ago when my cousins contacted me and sounded very excited on the phone. They claimed that they have acclimated to America very well and have been tipping wherever they ate. Naturally I felt very proud of them because of their quick adjustment and I was soon to ask them where they went to eat. They said they found a McDonalds near by and had decided to eat there. At that point I immediately knew what happened. My cousins went on to explain how they ordered a meal and then left a three-dollar tip on the table along with the trash. I quickly burst into laughter over their well meant but hilarious decision. I explained to them that in fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds, tipping was not required and that most likely their money was gone and the trash likely to be still sitting there. I found it very amusing to see how two cultures just cannot mix well. My cousins’ misunderstood American culture and their eagerness just lost them three-dollars.

December 5, 2010   No Comments

Kings of New York

Link to Collage:

Kings of New York is a jam that has been held for the last seven years in New York City. Dancers from all over the world come to this event in hopes of reigning King for one year. However, this year was the most crucial Kings of New York to be ever held because it would be the last, whoever wins this year, would rein King forever. Kings of New York does not attract your conventional dancers; it attracts a more underground form of dancing that could only be truly experienced in New York City.

The types of dances range from popping to break dancing (bboying) and a culture follows each dance. The roots of many of these dances originated in the Bronx itself and were forms of rebellion. Gradually the dances branched off and formed different styles that were unique. During Kings of New York there was a clash of cultures, however, hostility was not a feeling that these dancers felt towards one another. There were poppers watching the bboy competitions and bboys watching the locking competitions. Different forms of dancing were united for one night.

My collage focused mainly on urban dance culture. The various forms of dancing and the different moves that are incorporated into a dance form a collage unto themselves. It could be said that what I essentially have created are two collages, one collage of all the dances and another of the different movements each dance uses. Getting the scenes for this collage was the most difficult part of making it. I attended the jam at around 10pm and it last until 5am on a Monday morning. In the end it was worth it because the experience was one that was very different from a conventional dance competition. After I recorded the scenes I decided to put many dance forms and dance moves into the video creating a collage of movements; however, I wanted to remain true to the dance form so I decided to let the video flow in continuous motion. Dance is a continuum and I felt that if I cut the video into many different segments I would not be respecting the art that is dance.

I chose to do my collage on dance because I felt that dance was a changing collage. It is rare that we ever see a dancer use the same movements over and over. Dancers must be able to free style and follow the music. Since music is always changing throughout a melody a dancer must be ready to react properly. I also wanted to expose everyone to the underground forms of dancing. Too often we are presented with mainstream dancing such as hip-hop, ballet, or salsa. There is another world of dancing outside of mainstream dance that gets little attention and those dance forms are popping, locking, and bboying. If these forms of dance do get media attention, the media destroys the culture and meaning behind these dance forms. Everyone that bboys or pops are brought together through these forms of dance and we become a community. We know each other and respect the original meaning of the dance.

November 23, 2010   No Comments

Scottsboro Boys

The topic of racism is often a subject that is far too racy to talk about. Although, it is agreed upon that we should not forget the past, it sometimes come to such a point where we will not talk about it at all due to the amount of emotion connected to it. However, Scottsboro Boys introduces the topic of racism with a certain Broadway twist that appeals to a wide variety of audiences. In the end we are presented with a play that reaches the roots of many of the issues during the 1930s, while maintaining our attention through a musical and comical form.

One of the few things I noted when I walked into the play was the variety of people that were sitting there watching. It goes to show that this play connects to a wide array of cultures and people. There were african americans, koreans, chinese, hispanics, and caucasian. Not only was Scottsboro Boys a play that appeals to the public, but it works on educating everyone of the past. This aspect of the play appealed to me the most because it is rare that the general audience comes together for one play. We are able to tell that Scottsboro Boys aimed at educating rather than pleasing by the way the story unfolded. For example near the end of the play each character gave different skits of true events. They even mentioned lynching.

It is interesting to note that for a play that took place in the South where the white held all the power, there was only one white person throughout the entire play. John Collum played a minimal part in Scottsboro Boys, but his presence is magnified due to the fact that he is the only white person in the play. The director of the play seems to be drawing attention to the idea that this is not the white man’s story, but the story from the perspective of the Scottsboro boys, in fact many of the white characters are played by two people.

Colman Domingo and Forrest McClendon played most if not all of the roles of white characters. Domingo and McClendon played the jokingly awkward Sherriff and deputy, Mr. Bones and Mr. Tambo. They both did an amazing job portraying the two officers of the law as nothing more than a couple of ridiculous people. Many of the officers played by black counterparts introduced a much needed comic relief as the audience saw them waddle around. It further serves to provoke thought in the audience members. Many times throughout the play I thought that the white southerners were nothing more than a bunch of cowardly losers, only protected by the color of their skins. This play also portrays northern whites similar to southern whites, indicating that perhaps the whites in the play were all the same no matter where they came from.

All in all, this play was truly a unique play that serves to send a message and entertain the audience. It does not matter whether you are sitting at the highest seat or seeing the actors face to face, you will be mesmerized by the acting, the sight, and the songs.

November 21, 2010   No Comments

Entwined with Concrete

The city is constantly growing with buildings being erected left and right and ever more people moving in. It seems that nature plays little to no part in the city’s growth, always laying under the shadows of the large sky scrapers. However, what seems to be true does not always mean that it is true. In fact mother nature is making a come back with quite the vengeance. If we walk around the city and look closely at man made structures, we witness natures battle. The trees cover up buildings and bridges to make a statement that nature is the focal point. But in the end a compromise is possible, mother nature and the big apple can work together to make a beautiful statement.

The photos I took represent a long struggle between the green and the grey that dwells in New York City. First we look at the night life of the city. It most certainly seems that the city is running rampant creating a morning without the sun. The general audience does not seen any signs of trees or grass, not even a weed can survive in such a harsh environment. Then we jump to scenes of nature and realize that there is a hidden beauty in plants. These flowers to many people’s surprises are located in various locations throughout the city, however there beauty is often ignored. The last couple of photographs depicts a gradual take over by nature. We see how there is some leaves encroaching on the right side of the photograph, trying to make its appearance. As the photos progress we see more and more of nature covering up the city’s creations. However, it is not right to just believe that nature will completely take over the city. Ultimately a compromise between nature and the city create the most beautiful scenes known to man. The final photograph depicts a collaboration between the great city itself and the sun rising in the background, and it creates a magnificent sight that all the rest of the photos lacked.

Color is of a necessity in all the photos I took. The kind of colors I used and lack of color reveals the moment. The night time shots of Times Square truly reveals the sheer power that New York City is known for, the ability to create an artificial day time as if man was mocking nature. The close up shots of the flowers gives us a close sight at the petals and the intricacy of nature. There is a city within the flowers and we see the flowers for its true beauty. The rest of the photos show how leaves are slowly taking back the land and it was necessary to slowly show a progression, so the audience could witness the gradual take over. Once again color is important to give life to the moments captured. The final scene was the most epic scene of all the photos. Not only did it take a great amount of effort waking up early enough to capture the moment but it shows that when two things come together it creates something significant. I used photoshop minimally create blur effects in some photos and clear up the photographs, but largely the photos were left intact.

November 16, 2010   No Comments

Entwined with Concrete

Mother Nature Say Hello to New York

November 14, 2010   No Comments

The Mixing Floor

Red Bull BC One (7)

This past Sunday there was a mixture of different dance cultures. At approximately 10 P.M people were being let in for the last big jam of the year known as Kings of New York. People come from all over the city to show off their different dance styles and to compete for the number one place as a King of New York. There was break dancing, popping, house dance, and rocking. The dances are all part of New York City urban culture and learn through teaching one another. Although, each dance has come to adapt its own style the origin is the same. When you walk into the event you are met with different faces and different colors. Japanese, Hispanic, Chinese, European, Korean, or African American, any nationality you could think of was probably in this one large room. Each dance style was not exclusive to a certain nationality. There were proportionate amounts of people participating in each dance competition; the only thing that mattered was the way you could show off your moves. The dance floor was full of moving bodies and waving arms as the music was turned on full blast. Everyone danced together, whether you were a break-dancer or a popper, they all belonged to one giant dance floor that united everyone.

November 9, 2010   No Comments

ICP Thoughts

As I was coming off the rainy sidewalks and into the International Center for Photography (ICP), my eyes were met with an unusual sight. It was a large suitcase gleaming on the wall with what appeared to be rolls in the suitcase. I never for once believed that this gleaming picture on the wall was of any significance until the history behind it was explained. The Mexican Suitcase as it was known, was a compilation of photos of a civil war to photos of families. The over 126 rolls of films in the suitcase were taken by several photographers: Capa, Chim, Taro, Stein, and Seymour. Yet, this was still not the most interesting part about this suitcase, the over two thousand negatives were recently discovered in Mexico City, even though many people thought they were lost.

After the introduction to the giant suitcase I began walking around the exhibit and noticed a certain photograph of a woman nursing a baby with airplanes flying on top of her. Chim was the photographer of the woman nursing the baby; however, the pictures of the airplanes flying on top of her were edited in. For a long time this photograph created a great amount of controversy because there was some question as to whether the airplanes flying over the woman was edited or not. However, since the recovery of the Mexican Suitcase, the original negative revealed that the airplanes in fact were edited in. This already shows the significance of uncovering the lost negatives because it would help in clearing up many questions.

The lower level of the exhibit featured photographs of the Cuban Revolution. Many of the pictures depicted young soldiers fighting a war that they were dragged into. The photographs often were of civilians or innocent bystanders traveling. One photograph that remains etched in my mind is one of an old woman traveling with her family. She was carrying a large amount of supplies and appeared to be escaping from a war torn area. The photograph was very effective at creating a sense of disparity and evoking emotions of pity.

As I traveled back up the stairs I noticed something that I missed before. I was presented with the actual suitcase itself. Contrary to my beliefs, it was not actually one suitcase but three suitcases, each of which held many negatives. The suitcase itself was nothing extraordinary, but it is obvious that the old brown boxes are of great value.

The exhibit was a revealing experience. It opened up my eyes to different types of angles and photography. As a photographer you are not limited to just one or two different themes, you can choose to focus on different subject matters and shoot just certain type of people.

November 9, 2010   No Comments