A Morning at the Market


A Morning at the Market: Background

On Sunday, April 24th, I made a trip to the Farmers’ Market in Dupont. I left early in the morning, around 8:30 a.m. (which is early for most college students), to head to the market. I wanted to arrive early, not only because the market closed at one o’clock, but also because I wanted the bright and natural sunlight to be a part of my photographs. Luckily, it did not rain that day like the weather had predicted. Upon arriving at the market, my plan was to capture the beauty and freshness of the produce being sold. As I slowly walked through the market, I took in all the scenery; there seemed to be an endless amount of produce. There were wooden boxes filled with apples, tables piled high with bundles of asparagus and various greens, buckets full of ice to keep milk and yogurt cool, stands of bread, croissants, and other French-sounding pastries, fresh flowers sitting in the sunlight, and so much more. And not only did the fresh produce, such as the asparagus and apples, catch my eye, but all the farmers and the people visiting the market caught my attention as well. It was fun to watch the customers interact with the farmers while they bought their produce.

            I continued walking around the market, taking numerous photographs of the fresh produce. In the end, I believe I took over three hundred images. It was extremely hard to choose just seven of those images for my photo essay, but I believe the photographs I ended up choosing are extremely strong and cohesive. First, I wanted to include an establishing shot for my essay, which is why I decided to photograph the main sign of the farmers’ market. Then, after walking around for a while, I knew I definitely wanted to include photographs of the apples and asparagus in my essay, not only because they looked fresh, but also because they were in season. I also took photographs of the tomatoes and herbs; I included pictures of these in my essay because of their bright colors.

Since I took so many photographs of produce, I made sure to use various angles so that there would not be any repetition in my essay. I also decided to incorporate a couple of images in my essay that included people. The people, however, are not the main subjects in these photographs. I wanted to show the produce in the foreground, and then have the customers in the background; this allows the viewer of my essay to see a better view of the market because even though the produce is extremely important in the market, the customers are an integral part of it as well.

            To take my photographs at the farmers’ market I used my Sony Cyber-shot. And my total time spent at the market was somewhere near three hours. Of course, I was not photographing every minute of this time; I actually did buy some of the produce at the market. The produce of the market looked too good to resist, much better than anything found at the Terrace Dining Room. So on a break from my photography, I bought some apples (the ones shown in my essay actually), a croissant, and a loaf of bread. It was extremely pleasing to meet the people who were supplying me with my food. I talked with the farmer at the apple stand for a while, and asked her if it would be all right if I took photographs of her produce.

            Overall, my photo essay went extremely well. Not only did I experience the beauty and liveliness of the farmers’ market in Dupont, but I was able to capture it and form it into a photo essay as well. I hope that my essay shows that food does not have to be this abstract entity that we obtain from a cafeteria or out of a box, but rather that we really can be more involved with our food. By going to farmers’ markets and buying food, we see not only the freshness and seasonality of food, but we also see where, and whom, that food is coming from. For me, it is very powerful to know where my food comes from. And I have found that the best place to find out the sources of my food is the farmers’ market.



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The Red Balloon and I

Our film, The Red Balloon and I:

Our movie poster:

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Final Project Proposal: A Morning at the Market

For my final project, I will be doing a photo essay called A Morning at the Market, which will display photographs from a morning at the farmers’ market located in Dupont Circle. My essay will focus on the interactions between the customers and the farmers at the market, as well as the beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables that are being showcased and sold there. The idea for my photo essay came from my current college writing class. The topic of my writing class is food in America, and we often read about and discuss the industrial food system of America and the disconnect Americans have with their food. Personally, I believe it is extremely important to be aware of the food one eats and to eat as less as possible from the industrial food system; I am, therefore, a huge fan of eating locally grown food and buying directly from farmers. I believe eating locally is important not only because it connects us to the land, but also because it boosts local economies and relationships.

In my photo essay, I thought it would be great to capture everyday Americans buying locally grown food. I hope that this will display that not all Americans buy their food from the large industrial supermarket chains, such as Wal-Mart or Whole Foods, and that some Americans do care about their food sources. I hope that my photo essay will also show the relationships Americans can have with their food suppliers, or in other words, with the farmers. We, as Americans, often forget that our food actually comes from the earth, but through my photographs of people buying food directly from farmers, I hope to display that people can in fact have a connection with their food. I also hope that I will be able to capture the true beauty of the locally grown food, as well as the added healthfulness and connection to the Earth it possesses.

Now that the concept of my essay is developed, I can move on to my production plans. I know I will have seven images total, with a wide variety of angles and different shots of the people, food, and market in general. I am going to try to have wide angled shots of the market (and perhaps contrast it with the busyness of the city), closer shots of the customers and farmers, and then extreme close-up shots to show the detail of the fruits and vegetables. I know my location as well (the Dupont Circle farmers’ market). And since the market is open from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm I will shoot the photographs in the morning, which is perfect because the lighting is very beautiful and bright during those early hours. The only problem I may run into is the weather, but surely my photo essay would have the same effect even if it were raining or cloudy. Also, the date I plan to go and photograph might pose a small problem. I plan to go on April 24th, which so happens to be Easter Sunday. The market is only open on Sundays, and that is the best Sunday for me to shoot my photographs. I plan to contact someone at the market just to make sure they will be open that Sunday.

Hopefully everything will go as planned and I will be able to take my photographs on Sunday the 24th. And after I shoot my photographs, I plan to edit them slightly on Photoshop. I do not want to edit my photographs so much that they look completely different or distorted, but I will probably enhance the quality of the photographs slightly. This enhancement would include tweaking the contrast, brightness, and saturation of the photographs, as well as cropping some of the images to create a certain affect (if I believe the images need it). I do not want to edit my photographs much more than that, as I want them to be true to what I see at the market. Also, all of my photographs will be kept in color to portray the liveliness and beauty of the farmers’ market.

This concludes the plans for my photo essay. But there is one aspect still left to discuss: my audience. My photo essay will be directed towards many people: everyday Americans, college students interested in food ethics, Americans who do not buy locally grown food, as well as Americans who do buy locally grown food. As far as the Americans who do not buy locally, I hope that my essay will show them that they can have meaningful relationships with their food suppliers. I want to show them that they can be more involved with what they eat, rather than simply buying food products from a grocery store and never learning the true identity of their supplier. Also, by seeing the food I hope that my audience will be inspired to buy more locally grown food. And as for the audience who already buys locally grown food, I hope that they will be able to appreciate my essay and that their beliefs about locally grown food will become even stronger.

Overall, I am extremely excited to create my final project. And since I am not using any artist or piece of artwork as an inspiration, I am very anxious to see how the farmers’ market will inspire me, and therefore inspire my photography. I feel prepared to began my final project, and I believe that everything should go as planned. I truly hope to capture the essence of eating locally and responsibly in my essay, as well as the relationships between people and farmers and the freshness of the locally grown food.

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Film Critique: Young Goethe in Love

The film I chose to see was called Young Goethe in Love, a German film directed by Philipp Stölzl. The film told the story of a young poet named Goethe. In the beginning, Goethe was forced into a law apprenticeship by his father, who did not believe in his son’s silly poetry. After arriving at his apprenticeship, Goethe made new friends and ended up at a dance party where he ran in to the lovely Lotte, a countrywoman. The two shared a passion for literature and they fell in love. But the beautiful Lotte was set up to marry Kestner, the head of the law firm where Goethe worked. Even though Lotte and Goethe did not end up together in the end, Goethe finally had a story of his published, through which their love would live forever.

The theme of this film could probably be interpreted in various ways, but the most central point was that love can last forever, even if it is not in reality. This was shown in the story Goethe wrote in the end about his and Lotte’s love. They both decided that even though they could not be together in real life, their love would last forever in the form of poetry. Another important point in the film was that although love may not succeed in reality, the experiences one has from being in love can lead to great successes. Goethe would have never written his successful story if his relationship with Lotte had not happened and concluded the way it did.

Even though the film may seem overly romantic, the plot of the film was actually very believable, as all the events actually took place at one time. The book that Goethe wrote, The Sorrows of Young Werther, was extremely popular in Europe during Goethe’s time. The way time was used in the film was incredibly successful, and sometimes suspenseful, as well. The film was very linear, there were no flash backs or sudden jumps between periods of times, but there were certain scenes where time was used in a very clever manner. For example, after the first time Goethe and Lotte met, they were both wondering when they should contact the other again: should they write each other? should they visit? They were both dying to see each other. Goethe decides to leave town to go to the countryside where Lotte lives. At the same time, though, Lotte decides to leave the countryside to visit Goethe in town. The two end up passing each other (one on a bridge high above, the other on the road under the bridge) without actually seeing one another. Of course they met later on, but painful scenes like these happened frequently throughout the film, and as a viewer I was on the edge of my seat, waiting anxiously for the two lovers to be together.

The main characters of the film also highly contributed to its believability and to the theme of love. The characters were obviously the romantic types: Goethe with his unkempt hair, dreamy eyes, and sensitivity and passion for all things love and poetry; and then Lotte with her tight romantic curls, beautiful face, and a fun, yet elegant, way of talking and carrying herself. It was easy to see that both characters were passionate and true romantics.

The film was not packed with much symbolism, but it could be said that the poetry symbolized an eternal love. And as for the genre, this film could relate with many other films. This film, which could be identified as a drama/romance, relates with various tales about a young, unsuccessful man falling in love with a women who is set up to marry another man (who is wealthier of course). Even though this storyline has become rather worn out, I feel that this film portrayed it in a different manner. The charismatic character of Goethe, as well as the beautiful transitions from the town to the countryside, created a truly beautiful and entertaining film. And the chemistry between Goethe and Lotte was so evident in this film that I am sure many people would appreciate it.

Overall, I highly recommend this film. Not only was it visually pleasing, but the story was also engaging and left me on the edge of my seat wondering if Goethe and Lotte would end up together. The film was extremely understandable, probably even more so if one spoke German (and wouldn’t always have to rely on the subtitles!). And although the film was German, I did not feel that there were huge differences between it and an American film. The only difference I might point out is that it was simpler. When I watch foreign films, I always feel that they are simpler and cleaner than American films. American films tend to either have too many events taking place or tend to be extremely complex, and I prefer simpler films. So to reiterate, I loved this film. I thought it was truly beautiful, and I would definitely recommend it to any of my (probably only girl) friends.

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Final Project Ideas

Three Ideas for My Final (Photography) Project:

1. My first idea is to go to the Farmers’ Market (in Dupont) and capture the liveliness of the people in a photojournalism style. I would want to capture not only the beauty of the fresh fruits and vegetables, but also the interactions between the farmers and customers. In my opinion, those interactions are very important because they are directly connecting people to their food sources; this is something I really want to capture on film.

2. My second idea is to do a subject photo essay on my sorority sisters. I think it would be beautiful to capture several images of my sisters (in black and white) that would portray the individuals they are, their energy and liveliness, as well as the bonds they share with each other.

3. Even though we were only supposed to have two ideas, I thought of a third that I would be really interested in. I would like to make a photo essay dedicated to a vegan meal; I would capture the journey from grocery store to plate (of a vegan meal), something that is often difficult, which would include the various steps that occurred in selecting the food and preparing it.

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Film: A New Life for a Balloon

The story begins with a lonely balloon, moseying around inside a college building. The balloon is desperately searching for a friend because it no longer wants to be alone. It sees some people in the building, but none of them seem friendly. Suddenly, the balloon is found and “adopted” by a sweet little girl with pigtails. The balloon becomes a toy for the girl, and also a companion. The balloon is truly happy to have been “adopted” and to be going on adventures with the girl in the building. The balloon becomes very attached to the little girl and stays tied to her arm at all times; they become close friends and do everything together. The girl skips outside with the balloon, leaving the building, and suddenly a gust of wind takes the balloon from the girl’s arm. The balloon is saddened for a while at the idea of leaving the girl, and the girl is saddened as well. The girl stands in silence for a moment, thinking about the friend she lost. It does not take her long, however, to find a new toy to occupy herself with. The separation has a greater affect on the balloon, however. After being separated from the girl, the balloon looks around at the large college campus, unsure what to do at first. It does not know how to be apart from its friend. But then the balloon realizes that it is now a free bird able to drift away as it pleases. Furthermore, the balloon is drifting to new adventures, new sights, and a new life. It is seeing the world for the first time alone, and this is a liberating act for the balloon. After having all of these experiences, the balloon realizes that something is still missing: a companion, a friend. As the balloon is floating, it finds a second balloon (of a different color) sitting on the steps of a new building. They become best friends, and float off into the sky in companionship. This short story portrays the idea of renewal and independence, for the balloon had renewed itself and found happiness in its independence, and found a life companion after first finding itself.

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Genre Assignment: Fantasy

Brief History on the Fantasy Genre

The genre of fantasy is built on the human imagination. Fantasy films take us into unreal, fairytale worlds, places where we cannot go in real life. These fantasy worlds often include magic, wonders, and myths. Fantasy films also involve supernatural events and made up creatures, according the the HorrorCrime film website. Fantasy films are often said to be like dreams, escapes from the real world. According to Filmsite, fantasy films usually portray a hero that goes through some sort of magical experience. Because the hero has to deal with challenging situations, he must seek aid from humans that possess supernatural powers or abilities. Fantasy films also often depict princes and princesses and their triumphs over evil forces. Angels, fairies, and gods or goddesses are popular characters in fantasy films as well.

Fantasy films frequently overlap with other types of films, a point brought up by both Filmsite and HorrorCrime. The first type of film they tend to overlap with is science fiction. This usually happens when technology plays a large role in the film’s world of fantasy, leading to a greater feel of science fiction. Second, fantasy films tend to overlap with horror films. This happens when the supernatural forces of the fantasy film are intended to be frightening. So, fantasy films are not restrained within their genre. They can branch out and incorporate other genres in order to be a more dynamic.

Many early fantasy films depicted the future and what people thought would become of the world. Some of these early films include Metropolis (1927), which depicts urban workers, and Voyage Dans La Lune (1902), which is about a trip to the moon, something that had not happened at the time the film was made. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, more special effects and animation began to be used in fantasy films. This was seen from George Pal and Ray Harryhausen, just to name a few creators of animation and special effects. One of Ray Harryhausen’s famous pieces is Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), a film in which flying saucers destroy Washington D.C. George Pal also created many special effects in films, and actually won four Oscars for doing so. He won his fourth Oscar for the film Tom Thumb (1958). Special effects and unreal characters did not cease to be utilized after the 50’s and 60’s. To create truly unreal characters, director Frank Oz used Muppets in his film The Dark Crystal (1982).

The subjects of fantasy films are very wide and can be about anything the human mind creates. Whether the film is based on the future, the suspenseful journey taken by a wizard, or even the tale of another world or galaxy, there really is no limit to fantasy films. And since fantasy films have become such a strong genre, people are extremely creative and imaginative while creating those films. This creativity can be seen in so many fantasy films, such as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Harry Potter, Avatar (2009) , and more recently Red Riding Hood (2011), Beastly (2011), and Tangled (2011). For my project, I am going to look specifically at scenes from Harry Potter and The Wizard of Oz.

Mis-en-scene Deconstruction:

Classic Film:

For my classic fantasy scene, I chose the scene from The Wizard of Oz (1939) when Dorothy falls into the dream and arrives in Oz. The scene begins with Dorothy in Kansas, trying to find shelter from the tornado. Dorothy is frantically searching for her Aunt, and ends up going back into her house. She hits her head, and falls into a deep slumber. When she “awakens,” she steps out of the house into the colorful world of Oz (everything was in sepia in Kansas). She looks around, amazed, at the trees, houses, and wonders where she is.

The transition of the scene was very interesting, and played a great deal in conveying that Dorothy was in a dream. This was seen by the fact that when Dorothy was in Kansas everything was in sepia, but when she was in Oz, her dream, everything was in color. To first begin with the décor, the little house that Dorothy was in during the tornado was very ordinary and quaint. The normal house was in great contrast with the intricate décor of Oz. There were many shrubs, colorful flowers, small huts, and a colorful road in Oz. This set was obviously created and painted, but it was nevertheless beautiful.

The lighting also changed throughout the scene. In Kansas the lighting was dim, and it was often hard to see when Dorothy was outside in the tornado. In Oz, however, the lighting was very bright. This conveyed the happy and eye-opening feeling that Oz possessed. Lighting can definitely change the feeling of a film, which is a point discussed in the Yale mis-en-scene article. The use of space was also important in this scene. Close-ups on Dorothy were often used, showing her expression of awe upon arriving in Oz. There was one moment in the scene where Dorothy was in the middle of the set, looking around curiously, and the small heads (disguised by the fact that there were flowers on top of their heads) of the munchkins could be seen every so slightly in the foreground. That was the most humorous moment of the scene.

The costumes in this scene are very famous. Costumes can signify certain characters in a scene, according to the Yale mis-en-scene article, which is definitely the case in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy was wearing her signature blue dress and pigtails, and the munchkins were briefly shown with flowers on their heads. By looking at the costumes, as well as the set, it is easy to identify this as an older film. One can also recognize that it is an older film by the acting. The emotions and actions are very obvious so that the audience does not experience any misunderstandings of what is happening in the scene. Dorothy goes through a transition in this scene, from Kansas to Oz, and portrays her awe and curiosity well, but quite obviously.

The set, lighting, space, costume, and acting all contribute to the overall classic fantasy-like feel of this movie. The fact that most of these elements go through a transition shows how the character herself undergoes a transition in the film.

Link to scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za137P-FTf0

Contemporary Film:

For my contemporary fantasy scene, I chose the duel scene between Dumbledore and Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). In the scene Harry is at the Ministry of Magic, where Voldemort and one of his servants, Bellatrix, happen to be as well. Dumbledore arrives suddenly and a duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore commences. The duel is very intense, and includes a huge snake of fire, which is born out of Voldemort’s evil magic, and also a large, rolling wave that Dumbledore casts upon Voldemort. At the end of the duel, Voldemort believes he is going to win by propelling sheered glass at Dumbledore and Harry, but Dumbledore is prepared and he shields himself and Harry from the glass. After that failed attempt, Voldemort quickly disappears, ending the scene.

To begin, the décor and location of this scene was very elaborate. It takes place in the dark halls of the Ministry of Magic. The cold, geometric design of the walls and ceiling give the scene an unwelcoming, fearful feeling. There was also a large banner of the head of the Ministry of Magic, which was torn to pieces later in the scene by Voldemort’s magic. This created the only sense of humor in the scene; the head of the Ministry did not believe that Voldemort was alive again, yet Voldemort was destroying his building. The lighting in this scene was also extremely important. Even though the décor and location was dark, the actors could be seen clearly because of the light that was shone on them. Voldemort’s baldhead, for example, shone brightly due to the light cast on it. Another great use of lighting was seen during the color change of the duel. When Voldemort created the fire snake, for example, there was a bright, daunting red light that shone on all of the characters. And when Dumbledore cast the great wave upon Voldemort there was a very light and calm blue light that permeated the room. According to the article “The Fifteen Points of Mise-en-scene,” color really can symbolize meaning in a scene; and that was definitely the case in this Harry Potter scene. The calmer, blue colors that came from Dumbledore symbolized good, while Voldemort’s bold, daunting red symbolized evil.

Next was my favorite aspect of the scene: the use of space. There were many close-ups of the actors, allowing the audience to really catch a glimpse of how the characters were dealing with the situation. There were also many instances where one character would be close and in full focus, and then action would be happening off to the side or behind the character in focus. This happened when Harry was crouched to the ground and close to the camera, and then off to the left the exhilarating duel between the two wizards could also be seen. This character placement, mentioned in the article “The Fifteen Points of Mise-en-scene”, created a very dynamic visual, and made it especially exciting because the audience is lead to wonder how Harry will react to the duel.

The costumes of the characters played a role in the scene as well. It could be seen by his draping black robe that Voldemort was pure evil. Dumbledore, on the other hand, was dressed in his neat, lightly colored wizard robes. As mentioned in the Yale mis-en-scene article, differences in costume allow the viewers to make clear distinctions between characters. In this scene it is easy to distinguish between evil and good by looking at the characters’ costumes. Next, Harry was not dressed in a wizard’s robe, but rather in normal teenage clothing: a shirt, a sweatshirt, and jeans. Perhaps the filmmakers wanted Harry to seem more relatable to normal teenagers in this scene. Bellatrix was also in this scene, towards the beginning, and it was obvious to the audience that she was pure evil from her black, rag-like dress and frizzled hair.

Last, but not least, is the most vital aspect of the scene: the acting. The scene would not even be possible if it were not for the actors. In my opinion, all of the actors highly resemble the characters in JK Rowling’s novel. Helena Bonham Carter, for example, plays the role of Bellatrix perfectly. Perhaps it is because Carter has played several roles in which the women were evil that she is able to play the role of Bellatrix so well. And her features, such as her frizzy, curly hair and bloodthirsty grin, contribute to her performance as well. It is also likely that Michael Gambon was specifically chosen for the role of Dumbledore, since he looks like the old, wise wizard that Dumbledore is (just a beard has to be added). Voldemort and Harry then portrayed their roles extremely well. Perhaps that is because they have been playing those roles for so long (even though this was only the second film in which Voldemort appeared).

Overall, the various aspects of this scene really contribute to its overall feeling. There is suspense, which is heightened by the red and blue lighting; there is fear, which is seen by the close ups and off to the side action; and there is evil, which is seen by the darkness of the room and from the villains’ costumes.

Link to scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWpHRwkBLUo

My Own Fantasy Film: Short Story

“Jerry and the Magic Mac”

It was 4 o’clock a.m. and Jerry was sitting tensely in front of his MacBook Pro, the light of the screen exposing the heavy, black bags under his eyes. Jerry was exhausted, but he knew he had to finish his ten-page paper. Jerry had downed a monster drink and a five-hour energy around 1 o’clock, but unfortunately for Jerry the effects of those drinks were already beginning to wear off. Realizing he only had roughly four more hours to work on his paper, Jerry begin typing frantically, not minding the numerous errors and typos he was making.

Jerry knew that his paper was not going well. In a moment of despair Jerry said to his Mac computer, “Oh please help me! I can’t finish this! Can’t you do it?” Jerry then laughed at his desperation and the fact that he asked a computer to do his essay. Jerry thought that he was really losing his mind; computers are not real and they definitely cannot talk back.

Jerry then made another attempt at working on his paper, but his eyelids were becoming as heaving as concrete and the room was becoming blurrier by the moment. All of a sudden the room was spinning, and then everything was white. Jerry blinked for a millisecond and when he opened his eyes he was in a whole other world. Jerry found himself sitting on a lush patch of bright green grass, surrounded by tall colorful trees that looked like they were transported right out of a Dr. Seuss book. The sky was filled with fluffy, purple clouds and there was a warm breeze in the air.

“What is this place?” Jerry thought to himself. Even though he had to finish his paper, he was thoroughly enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of this other world. Perhaps he could just live in this other world forever and not worry about his paper.

“Hello, Jerry,” said a quite little voice behind a bright blue shrub.

“Who’s there?” Jerry replied.

“It’s me Jerry, your Mac!” replied the little laptop as it floated out from the shrub. Jerry could not believe what he was seeing. Computers do not talk.

“Don’t worry about your paper, Jerry. Just relax in this world and all your troubles will go away,” said the tiny Mac. Even though Jerry was in awe that his computer was talking to him, he went along with what it said. Who wouldn’t want to relax and forget about papers?

Abruptly, a loud, obnoxious alarm rang, bringing Jerry back into the real world and out of his dream. “Wait… It was just a dream?! It’s 8 o’clock and my paper is not finished!” Jerry exclaimed. In a scurry to finish his paper, Jerry opened up the word document on his Mac, but then found that his paper was finished! There was not even one typo!

“I should talk to you more often!” Jerry said with a smile to his glowing, little Mac.

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