Critique of the photography class VSAR 302

Taking professor Nancy DiBenedetto’s photo class this semester, I have gained a much grater interest in photography.

We got to to a great variety of assignmenst, both indoors, outdoors, and in a professional studio. We also had a couple of guest lecturers that inspired us midway in the semester during our studioshootings. 🙂

I feel it has been a great variety to our assignments, and I appreciate that!

I liked doing photography before I took this course, but now I feel I have open my eyes to the complexity of the field. Nancy had us study many famous photographer, from the 60’s and up until today, and i feel I have been inspired in a way it would have been difficult to be, if it was not for her making us discover different artists’ approaches in the field. We have seen films on different photographers too, from the one guy who made his own huge camera and build it into his car, spending all of his savings, to the man that photographed strangers together on the streets of New York.

I feel I have learned the programs Photoshop and Lightroom pretty good, at least I have got a good start to learning more about them.

I would recommend this class to anybody who has an interest in photography, because you will definetely get something out of this experience. Nancy is a positive, including, and understanding professor, who takes the field of photography very seriously, which again reflects on the students interest and work.

Thank you for a great semester, professor D! 🙂




In this paper I will talk about myself as an artist, where my inspiration comes from and what I hope to gain in my project, and future career.

For my final “Blurbbook”- project I chose to write about Tristan Prettyman, Jason Mraz & Jen Rosenstein. All three of them are unique, young, American artists (They all live and work mostly in California, actually), who each inspire me in in their own way. Prettyman and Mraz are first and foremost singer/songwriters, and Rosenstein a highly talented photographer.  The reason why I chose these three artists for my final project, is that they have all been a great inspiration to me over the last 4 years. I have been able to get inspired by their work ever since I stumbled upon it in 2010, and I can simply dive into the universe of their art, and I am left a little bit richer every time. They are the main reasons why I am trying to pursue a career in the field of arts. I hope you find it these three artists just as interesting as I do.


Proposal/Plan of action


The plan for the Blurb- book was to divide the book into three, one section about each of my beloved artists. I wanted to show the real face of all of them, so I decided to bring the raw, honest stuff into my book. I think it is so refreshing when people tell the truth, and there is not much else to it. I like when things are as simple as they should be.

Prettyman has a lifestyle of being real and honest to her fans and audience, and I can not agree more on how important it is to be open with each other. She as well as Mr. Mraz embraces a lifestyle of going your own way, no matter what other think or believe, and I am very intrigued by that.

In the Prettyman- section of my book I have added quotes, pictures and inspirational thoughts by her.

In the Mraz- section of my book, I have focused on trying to share what kind of person he is. He is such a big deal in my life, so I find it intriguing to try to share his way of seeing and believing with my audience.

Here too, I have placed photos, quotes, and shared the work that he does for society through his organization.

Last but not least, I have written a part of my book about Jen Rosenstein.

I love how she always has her models look elsewhere than right into the camera. It gives the photo a different feel, and I feel I am invited into a world of mystery by her. And this makes me feel that she has really succeeded as a photographer. Black and white photography makes everything seem “heavier”, or I feel the message gets through with more punch to it.

I feel she is able to portrait peoples vulnerability in a way that I seldom see. Jen is also Jason Mraz’ personal photographer, so I have also seen them work together, as you can see from part three in my book.

Her black and white style in photography has been close to my heart ever since I first saw her artwork. Her compositions always astonishes me, and she makes me want to grab my camera and run out into the streets and just look for things or people to photograph.



Desired outcomes

The desired outcome for me with this final project, is that I leave my readers prepared and eager to explore the same artists as I have found so much inspiration and comfort in learning from. They have truly been teaching me a lot of different things about art and the art- industry! It has also been a pleasure to organize and show off the pictures of whom I admire the most in the world of arts. I hope you have a good time reading and looking through my book.

Resources needed

I had a hard time finding Rosensteins’ photography’s online, without having to buy them. I found most of them, but a couple of them were kind of pixelated and blurry, and for this I apologize. She has got some restrictions on some of her photos. With the other artists I did not have any trouble finding photographs. I did not need anything else than their webpages plus the photos that I had already saved on my computer. I was lucky to know a lot about them from before, so I did not have a hard time knowing what I should write about.



Myself as an artist


I am a marketing- economist from back home in Norway, but like I said before, I gained a great inspiration to pursue my studies in the art-field, when I first discovered all the different aspects of these peoples work.

I started playing the guitar, writing songs and singing after discovering Mraz’ and Prettyman’s music. I bought myself a really good and expensive camera for all of my savings, and got into photography. I started making photoalbums, and I started painting on canvases with oil- painting.

I had a fascination for video since my childhood, but I have never had the chance to pursue with it because I have not had the right editiing-tools or knowledge. Video- production is something me and my bestfriend used to do, (real basic of course), as children. Today she is an educated actress from the best acting- school in Norway, and I am behind the camera. On of the other reasons I started the art- studies is that se told me that I f you do not know what you want to do as a career, you should go back to your childhood and see what you liked doing as a child, and that is usually right for you.

I have also been doing graphic design and webdesign this semester, but I am now sure I will continue in the field of photography and video. I have a dream of being accepted to a prestige artschool in Norway, where only 20% of applicants are accepted every year, after some really hard try-outs. I will apply both for artdirection and video- production, with the former as the ultimate goal.

I will come back to California after Christmas and work on my portfoilio and try-outs, and just take 2 months time off work to do this. I am all in, and I am trying to learn everything I can, in every field of the art studies (I might need that if I want to work as something as complex as artdirector).

I have had a good progress in most of my studies, but mostly in video- production.

I am quickly drawn into film, with all of the effects, the filmmusic, and s lot happening a the same time. It is the same thing with photography, but I don’t feel I have the same ability to capture the audience yet, with that medium, as I feel I can now do with film.

I think that if you make the viewer fell something by looking at your artwork, you have managed to do a good job. If you make them have emotions of some sort, make them sad, happy or thoughtful, you have had an impact in their day, and that is what I think every artist should aim for. I also think it is a good thing if not everyone in your audience is not feeling the exact same thing. That there is room for interpretation. Maybe most people that sees your picture/video etc. gets sad, but there is one person that is laughing. I think that is a good thing, because that means your artwork is complex and everybody can play with it, and give it their own meaning if they want to.




During the time of which I made this blurbbook, I noticed how much I enjoyed gathering the photos and quotes and sayings for it.

I know why I am where I am today, but like I am also stating in the book, I might not have been making my way into the art-industry if it were no for these three artists.

And I like to be reminded why they are a huge part of who I am today.

The work with this final project has been good both as a learning experience, with researching the different artist, and as a reminder of what is good art for me. This book will help me not forget where it all started for me. If I have a hard time or a bad day, I can always bring out this book an be reminded why I am doing what I am doing, even if it sometimes might get tough.

Inspired by all the images you can see in my book, I would definitely continue too shoot black and white photos. I love how the world is then suddenly all different, and how you can mess with the feel and the emotions in a photography just by removing the colors.

The conclusion that I’ve come to is that if you just take one thing at a time, you can get really good at it. Everybody needs to take their time, and so do I. I feel I have gained a great learning- experience from this class, and I will continue to do and love both photography and videoproduction for the rest of my life.


Helvetica Movie (Homework)

I saw the documentary- movie “Helvetica” at  home, and will have to say thypography is a really intruiging topic to me. It truly is an art in itself. The topic is the font “Helvetica”, which is used twice as much as any of the other fonts in USA. I can not remember to have used it much myself, but I am sure I have at times.

It is not the most exciting choice, but it is safe, and you know what you are getting. Some of the people in the movie REALLY loved the Helvetica font, and they think it is percepted as very straightforward. I think there are other fonts out there that are more fun, but at the same time, you basically just want to read what the letters/words are actually saying.. So I guess simple can sometimes be the best! At the other hand, I think the Helvetica font can sometimes say something more. I think that as a font, it has a “young feel” to it, like I would maybe consider using it if I were to make a campaign for young adults or something.

They used an example from a good old Coca Cola- commercial in the film, where they were stating that Helvetica is making the commercials nowadays much “stronger”. I do not agree that much with them, as I think the old commercial looked good. 🙂

3 readings (articles for homework)

I have read the 3 articles that were assigned for homework on Nov 19th. The first article, about 10 contemporary photographers who are pushing the boundaries of their medium, is very interesting because it is telling you about the world’s largest photo fair (The paris Photo Fair). The exhibition exists to expose and honor the artists who maintain the integrity of photography while stretching its borders and flexing its muscles. The fair is currently enjoying its 2nd edition in the United States, choosing Los Angeles’ Paramount Pictures Studios as its location.

They are presenting photographers from all over the world. All of the 10 artists that are mentioned in this article are pushing their medium into new territories. I personally like Christopher Anderson and Brian Bress’ photos. I think Bress has done an excellent job with incorporating the piece of broken mirror into the photo. It is very intriguing to me.

The second article, “14 Artists (+2) to Watch in 2014”, is showing off the work of different contemporary artists. They are all painters, but in their own unique way. The author of this article have carefully selected who he thinks deserves a tribute. All of the artists are born after 1945, to make sure that they were not learning the art of painting any earlier than in the mid sixties.

This makes them all contemporary, or post-war artist. They are all representing different styles and techniques in their paintings. My personal favorites would have to be Michael Williams and Gina Beavers. The former is having so much happen in his painting, you simply can not find a place to rest your eye, and I like that. I also love his exaggerated use of color. The latter is interesting to me, because everyday- food/junkfood it is a weird thing to paint, and it just seems kin of anti- artsy to me in a way. Like it is making a statement by having people put something not fancy up on their walls. It is what it is.

The third article, “Who is a Contemporary Visual Artist?”:

It refers to the term “Contemporary art”, which means “postmodernist art”, or it is usually referring to the era that is following “modern art”. Since most of the art- critics agree that the modern arts ended during the 1960s, contemporary art must refer to artworks created since the 60s. The problem is that not all art institutions agree on the date or year. The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York says it means artwork created after 1977, while the London Institute of Contemporary Art (established 1947) champions a start date of 1947.

Despite this confusion: in this article, artists born in or after the year 1945 have been considered, as this gives their art a guaranteed degree of postmodernity.

Postmodern artists are typically more concerned about how the artwork is made, how it is communicated displayed, or how it is experienced by the visitor. They are normally less concerned about the art itself, than their modernist working before them. They are much more interested in developing ideas and concepts, and mixing different media formats. With postmodernism came (amongst other things) video art and installation art, and that set off the art into a new era. This attitude began with “pop art” and its attempt to make art recognizable and accessible to the public. Andy Warhol is one of the many postmodern artists, that “made something new out of something old”. (He brought his advertising poster techniques to bear on the fine art market).


I am going to write about Jen Rosenstein and Tristan Prettyman for my book. I have found a lot of inspiration through both of these women’s work, and I still do. They are both artists based in California.

Tristan Prettyman is a singer-songwriter from San Diego, and Jen Rosenstein is a photographer from L.A.

Jen does vintage, fashion and celebrity-photography. Se is also printing he’s photos on to clothes, trucker hats etc.

I have been a fan of both of them since 2011, and I would like to sum up what their work has meant to me, for this assignment.