Observing Color Usage in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

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Hirohiko Araki is a Japanese manga writer and draftsman, or mangaka, and has been widely celebrated as being at the top of his field and a major influence on the manga medium as a whole. After observing his works, it’s not surprising that he is the only mangaka to work with Gucci and have his art displayed in the Louvre in Paris, France. He is mostly known for his over-the-top story writing and his expressivity in design and color usage. He decides to put the art first and think about consistency second, always changing the color palettes of characters’ outfits and the environment. In an interview regarding color he has stated that he puts “more emphasis on giving readers different feelings and impressions through different color combinations.” I think as a photographer or in anything, this type of approach always conveys your message much more effectively.

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Appreciating the Works of Bernini

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Ever since I was a young lad, I carried a fascination for what I considered to be the highest form of art: sculpture. I was taking a clay class after school and loved the idea of taking clay, a soft substance, and tossing it into a kiln to solidify its existence forever. But when it comes to sculpture, it’s already solidified. The obstacle to create something great is immense. The time commitment is also much greater, and every time I look at one of these sculptures, I think about how one’s life must’ve been while creating these marvels. The pinnacle of this art form, I think, is none other than Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The amount of detail he puts into his works is staggering. He makes you forget that what you’re looking at is actually a stone, unmoving and firm like any other. He reminds you that you too can make something just as transcendent with the right planning and practice. But most of all, he displays the peak of human expressivity, and it is this quality that can tempt you to lose yourself in the moment. I’ve had the fortune of looking at some of his works in person and I must say that no photograph does any of it justice.

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Rediscovering Nature

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Over the past Spring, I had the great fortune and privilege to go on my first real camping trip on the Blue Ridge Mountains with some new friends that I made last semester. I think it’s important to go on trips like these so that we may remind ourselves of the harsh, unforgiving nature of environments outside of our urban landscapes. In addition to this, recognizing the beauty of such places is also a good way to mentally reset one’s self. Part of that beauty is light.

Because most work is done in the studio, I think natural light sometimes gets a bad rep. We have rules like utilizing the Golden Hour and we often need to diffuse the sun in some way when taking photos outside. But the real reason I think natural light gets a bad rep is because of how fickle it can be and because we look at photos regularly. We forget to look outside with our eyes. I took these unedited photos with my phone, and they’re beautiful photos, but my point is that when the light actually caresses one’s face, the sight, I think, surpasses any photograph. Even in the winter, the grayness of the world is melancholic. And yes, I most certainly am attributing beauty to presence. I could edit these photos and make them much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but even then I would posit that the true impact isn’t there. Seeing a professional photograph or scan of a Renaissance painting is much different than standing in front of one. This break reminded me that even if I can’t go on a camping trip to see natural beauty, I should at least appreciate the natural light around me whenever I do outside.¬†IMG_5410.jpg

300 Spartans Looking Good

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About a fortnight ago, Netflix added one of my favorite movies to its repertoire. That movie is “300.” Chronicling the Battle of Thermopylae, “300” has become one of the most visually recognizable (and critically acclaimed) films of the twenty-first century. Adapted from a comic book and based on real events that took place in Ancient Greece, Zac Snyder managed to marry these two influences to form a perfect union of realism and colorful fantasy. Much of the film’s success was due to its unique visual style which relied upon rustic set and costume design and a select color pallet of earth tones and reds. The sepia-like tone gave a sense of age to the setting and the reds spanned from the capes that the Spartans wore on their backs and the Tarantino-esqe blood spurts that was added in post production. There are scenes of the antagonist, the Persian King Xerxes, in which he’s lit with an other worldly glow and covered in piercings. This serves to heighten the drama and mythos of the film by pitting the grounded and gritty against a Godly opponent bathed in gold and excess.

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A lot of scenes are intentionally made dark but also has a high dynamic range (see photo above). This further¬†extentuates the set design, exposing the chiseled muscles and weathered that the Spartan soldiers bear. The lighting may have been accomplished by having many lights that are diffused and turned down to their lowest power setting. Based on the photo above, I assume that there’s little background lighting for the characters behind Leonidas, but Leonidas has kick lights behind him. All in all, it’s a great film if you like action, and an amazing film to study a fantastic example of visual style.

Impromptu Lighting

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Sometimes you don’t always have everything at your disposal. When those times arrive, the first thing to do is not panic. The best thing to do is to find a solution. Because of my schedule, I had only one day to take photos of a product. I was hoping to catch the studio, and yet my hopes were swiftly dashed when I saw that it was occupied by a professor.¬†DSC_0335

My friend and I didn’t have the best camera already, and at that point we were forced to race the sun to catch a good picture with decent light. First, we went to FedEx and bought one white piece of poster paper and one black piece of poster paper. We walked to back to the JSchool to find a good window, and, alas, the lobby on the third floor was just what we were looking for. We experimented with different ways of diffusing the window light and electric room light using the poster paper. Sometimes we’d even block out the electric light with our backpacks. With what little space we had, we place our respective products on the window sill and alternated between a black backdrop and a white backdrop. It was a tight squeeze and the results aren’t perfect, but for what we had I think they turned out well.

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The Photoshoot That Shouldn’t Have Happened

IMG_1058_1It was almost finals week, and the usual work had piled up. However, this time, I had an unusual amount of work that pertained to a couple fields that I was hardly familiar with. Despite this, I still decided to wait until the last minute. The two projects I was faced with were a collection of photos that fit a narrative, and a psychology research paper that was due in 8 hours. It was 4 in the morning. I was already pretty burnt out, and had taken a couple of short naps to break up the work, but I was still way in over my head and didn’t really have a solid idea of how to frame this paper. I decided I needed a break, and that I should find a way to take some photos since I had a camera rented out. Enter: the sunrise.

At 4 in the morning, I had about two hours until dawn. I had always wanted to take a good picture of the sun coming up, and even though I didn’t have any storyline planned, I figured that I’ll incorporate a sunrise somehow. I pulled up to the parking garage across the street from Strom Thurmond and drove to the rooftop. To my surprise, there was another student looking out over the horizon.

He said he was taking photos for his Instagram, and that this was a part of his effort to start waking up early. I offered to take his photos and email them to him later. He accepted. This particular moment in my life isn’t as significant to me than others. This isn’t even close to my top favorite chance encounter. But it is a chance encounter, and I love when that happens. Here I was exhausted, fiddling around with a device that I barely knew how to use, and yet an opportunity presented itself and the results aren’t that bad. I like these a lot because I can see these on an album cover or painted over to make a Renaissance-era painting. The lighting was also pretty cool. Here are a couple of those photos.

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The First Blog

Hey! You’ve made it to the blog. So let’s get started.

My name is Demetrios Kotsinis. I am a student of visual communications at the University of South Carolina. I am originally from the North suburbs of Chicago and am only in the South for school.

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This is me!

My hobbies include playing music, hiking, and video games. However, I’ve never really been into photography. The first time I held a real camera was when my dad bought a DSLR for a vacation in Greece back in 2010. Needless to say, I enjoyed it very much. My sister and I were fascinated by how good our photos looked now. However, this did not spark a passion in myself but more in my sister. Since then, I have not touched a DSLR until college, and that would be after I changed my major from music in the second semester of my senior year.

Because of this I don’t have any equipment aside from what I can borrow from the school and my iPhone. But I make do with what I have and I enjoy taking pictures all the same even though I’m just a novice. The software that I prefer to edit my photos in is Adobe Bridge

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A photo I took on my iPhone for my first photography class