Archive | March 2010

NEUROLOGICAL ASSOCIATIONS

When I was young-er, I used Band-Aids frequently. Much like duct tape they have multiple uses. Children wear bandages  for healing and grand theft decoration; ultimately to feel better. This is because bandages are associated with the relief of pain. Sure, it may be plain fun for a second grader to stick Disney Band-Aids all over his or her forehead, but I think its deeper than that. I say this while considering that several short years ago I was taking every opportunity to obnoxiously request a bandage in order to heal minor scratches, some of which not producing any blood. Even as kids rip the dora-the-explorer-branded plastic from their faces they feel better inside because they have related the bandages to comfort.

I realized this concept while listening to an Anthony Robbins CD in the car with my dad, who owns a seemingly endless collection of them. The idea of the CD was to practice self-help by changing neurological associations. To make a short story long, the brain carries emotions that were created from previous experiences and applies them to specific things. An example would be if you become nervous when you see flashing lights. It is possible you have been pulled over before and the emotions you felt while being questioned now reside in each police car you pass. Robbins spoke of how this relates to advertising and my interest perked up further.

He said that neurological associations can be changed or created fairly easily. Apparently some advertisers have known this for years. He focused on the cigarette industry especially and you can see why in the video embedded above. The human body understands that cigarettes are unhealthy hence the coughing during your early days of smoking. So cigarette advertisers faced a difficult problem; they needed to convince the public that positive events and emotions would generate from the product. They succeeded phenomenally. In this particular ad the viewer is confronted with a pleasant environment. The couple is exceptionally happy to be spending time with each-other and anyone who is passionate about an individual or the outdoors is getting excited right about now. Then they nail you with the brand name. With a little repetition you’ll associate fresh air, love, happiness, and excitement to Salem Cigarettes. (Much like the Pavlov dog food experiments.)

I can’t help but wonder if this is fair. I assume most people would say it is not for harmful things like cigarettes, but can it hurt if you relate happiness to a certain dishwasher brand? In my opinion, it is troubling that brief commercials have the ability to alter neurological associations, or in other words, the way I think. What is certain is that if this type of advertising is practiced correctly, it is extremely effective.

take a picture,

jack pope

HEADSHOTS

In the past week I have worked on two headshot assignments. The first is for Mr. Litchfield, a “Miss America” type event for the Litchfield High School boys. The second is for the high school play, Arsenic and Old Lace.

The above photos were taken during a Mr. Litchfield/Student Council meeting. It was an overcast day and the lobby window provided light that was as soft as it was pale. The images will run in the event program and will be displayed as an advertisement for the show in the halls. [1/320 at f/1.8 ISO 200]

These pictures are of the spring play cast. They will be printed for the event program, and I assume will be paired with each actors’ bio. Lit from a vivitar 285, popping into a shoot-through umbrella, camera left. [1/200 at f/2.0 ISO 100]

These simple headshots are easy enough to make with my lack of lighting. More precisely, my lack of sync cords. My usual two light set up is two pocket wizards with a mini-phone splitter on the recieving unit. I attach the nearest miniphone/hotshoe cable to one side, and an extension miniphone cable with the same miniphone/hotshoe rig to the other side. Since I lost the miniphone extension cable and have not gotten to Radio Shack recently, I am now working with one light.

After learning how to write Photoshop actions for Hustle, my post production for this type of output has changed. Usually when I would edit in a uniformed manner I would write down the layers and adjustments I added on one image, which I had edited to my liking. Then I would apply the steps to every picture. I now use the same concept by replacing the manual work with actions to save time. The post for these headshots involved editing one picture with actions on record, then playing it for all the other pictures. Because my exposure and lighting was fairly consistent it was rare that I had to deviate from the action.

Enough of this boring tech stuff.

My good friend Sara, whom I photographed just before I was informed I did not have to take individual pictures of the lighting crew, volunteered to be a subject for Image of the Week.

Beyond being a subject, she inspired the concept. We conversed while looking up at the auditorium catwalk:

Sara: You should take a picture from up there.
Me: Of you sitting down here?!
Sara: Can I be your image of the week?!

So I climbed up and she lay down. This is what we created:

I like this because even though I pressed the shutter, it still makes me wonder what the ∫@ς! heck is going on? I like it because I have never seen it before. [1/15 at f/1.8 ISO 800]

take a picture,

jack pope

PRACTICE MAKES PRACTICE

My third grade teacher told the class about her young daughter’s new favorite phrase. Her daughter turned “practice makes perfect” into “practice makes practice.” In the third grade I laughed at this, for it seemed childish. Now, I think that young girl may have stumbled upon a profound idea.

Practice does not make perfect. The ability to learn from mistakes, creative problem solving skills, and a consistent thought process make perfect something close to perfect.

Assuming you don’t have much for firearm experience, let’s say you go to a shooting range. You’ve seen enough movies to understand the general idea. Pick up the gun, aim, fire. Your bullet hits the target, but slightly below and to the left of the bulls-eye. You’re still looking through the sight so you aim higher and to the right. Aim, fire. You overcompensated. Take the difference of your two shots. Aim, fire, bulls-eye. Looks like practice makes perfect. Wrong. You simply tried your best, then utilized problem solving skills by following a practical thought process in order to fix your mistakes.

Not convinced? Let’s say you were running late and forgot your glasses on the way to the range. You can’t see minute details without them. For some reason you try anyway. Maybe because you already paid the $100 non-refundable reservation and equipment rental fee. You understand what to do. Pick up the gun, aim, shoot. Aim, shoot. Aim, shoot. Aim shoot…

It is extremely unlikely any one bullet came remotely close to the center of the target. But wait, you practiced. Without your ability to recognize a mistake there is no way to improve.

Albert Einstein declared, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Try new things. Try different. Make a mistake, fix it, then make a few more. Perfection Something close to perfection will come.

take a picture,

jack pope

IS THAT THE SUN?

The weather has cleared up at a convenient time. My brother got home for spring break on Saturday and it seems he has brought the sun with him. The last few days have been bright and warm, with a constant breeze. With almost a week of consistent, gorgeous weather I am led to believe our rainy summer will be made up for.

I realize I recently posted Snow Day, where I asked for more severe weather. To clarify, here is my philosophy/ideal scenarios. If it is cold, it should snow. If it is warm, it should be sunny.

Here in Litchfield it is both warm and sunny, so we’ve been trying our best to take advantage of it. My first day of climbing last year was some point in April and the rock was almost too cold to touch. I’m thrilled to be out there getting such an early start.

Here is Michael climbing a crack at Whitestone, located in Plymouth, CT. The trail is just off route 8 and you can see the highway from the rock face.

We went to Whitestone on Sunday and Monday, then to Orenaug in Woodbury, CT today. Orenaug offers a larger variety of routes but we focused on one of my favorites, which involves an exciting dyno, as seen here:

{Photo Credit: Michael yielding my cell phone}

I was impatiently awaiting the start of climbing season and never expected it so soon. We decided to climb more this year so I’ll have to hope the weather continues to cooperate. But, with a day or two of rain on the horizon, our eyes are set on some indoor climbing gyms.

take a picture and/or climb a rock,

jack pope

LEMONADE

The troubled economy has caused a large number of people to fear a lack of employment. Lemonade is a short documentary about the positive side of being laid off. I share this with hope of spreading insight from these former advertising agency employees.

Lemonade features creative people and their realization of the power of optimism. What struck me about the faces of this film is the twinkling in their eyes. They are so content with their current state that looking back at layoffs does not have to be sorrowful.

In my opinion, the message behind the film is not strictly focused on those who have been or will be fired. Simple changes can be applied to a person’s life in order to create positive, significant impact. Take initiative, incorporate what you love into everyday life, and accept embrace risk.

Also: if would like to gather more knowledge regarding advertising or the job market, check out: Please Feed the Animals.

take a picture,

jack pope

SNOW DAY

I love snow days. I don’t care how late in June I get out of school. Why? Because when the sun is shining school is slightly more bearable. There is a promise at the end of each day to keep me motivated. Daylight will last for hours after I get home. I can mess around with some friends all day. Even if I am alone, the sun and warm weather offer me happiness and a stronger sense of purpose.

In the winter this is not the case. As much as I love to ski, most of my winter is spent behind this computer screen. Not to say I don’t leave the house. I still hike, build snow forts, and sled. But the time spent outside is significantly shorter and less rewarding than it is in the other three seasons. Anyway, I savor every snow day.

The few hours of daylight that are usually lost during class are more than available during a snow day. My brother and I can mess around all day with our neighbors, both inside and outside. On Wednesday we constructed a very ghetto-rigged igloo. As seen here:

I know I should be using youtube rather than vimeo to publish a video of such low quality (Shot with the Flip Mino). I tried a few times to use youtube. Every time I upload a file it turns it into a clip of only a few seconds, which flies through the frames faster than I can blink. If someone knows what I am doing wrong let me know.

So bring on the snow days. I’m fine with staying until late June. The work doesn’t seem all that bad when there is light at the end of the tunnel.

take a picture,

jack pope

TED

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a conference that started in 1984. This non-profit aims to spread ideas, creativity, and inspiration. My favorite part of TED is TEDTalks. Short, inspirational, and sometimes comical presentations are available on their website (linked above) and all over youtube. If you’ve got a free 18 minutes or so, check out my favorite talk I have seen thus far.

I love this story. Raghava KK is both talented and brave. He does what he wants to do, not with a punk attitude, but with an absurd amount of class. I won’t paraphrase his presentation as I simply cannot do it justice. You should really watch the video but I will warn you; it is possible to become addicted to the creative energy represented through these talks.

take a picture,

jack pope