Final Project – Photo Essay

The non-profit chosen for us to work with was the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), which advocates for better bike roads in the city. I decided to focus on how Washington is a great city for bike tourism, with the Capital Bike share system and heavy traffic signalisation for bikers. I also chose to include photos of how bikes have become a part of the landscape of the monuments at the National Mall. Photos were taken at the National Mall and Georgetown.

















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Visual Review #10 – Gallery Visit “Sob, Sob”



Kerry James Marshall is an African-American artist with works that focus on African-American history and culture. His painting “SOB, SOB” was painted on fiberglass with acrylic paint in 2003. This painting reflects the artist’s experience with the civil rights movement and the way in which African-Americans see themselves and are seen by others. Some important aspects of the painting will be analyzed below.

Colors: The colors chosen create a clear contrast between the girl and her surroundings. The pastel tone doesn’t disrupt the attention from the girl and gives a sense of tranquility and safety to the image. The colors on the clothes that are worn by the girl are stronger than those on the rest of the image; it is one of the few times red is used in the painting.

Lines: Lines are the predominant geometrical structure in the image. They create and define the space and dimensions. The lines also create shadows giving perspective beyond the image—although we do not see what is outside the window, we can infer there is sun and this why there are shadows on the stairs, the girl’s body and on the bookcase. The fact that the artist chose to only show a small part of the window is significant since windows tend to represent freedom. While the girl has access to the window and seems to be looking at it, the viewer doesn’t, making it difficult for the viewer to understand beyond what is painted. The window and bookshelf respect the rule of thirds, and while the girl is centered, the position of her hands and feet also respects the rule of thirds. Lines also create a sense of struggle—the way in which the stairs and its shadow surround the girl lead to a prison-like feeling.

Props: According to the American Art Museum, the dependence of the painting on books is linked to Marshall’s intellectual journey as a boy. The books shown represent Africa and the history that has been written about it. The girl sobs, perhaps because of the book in front of her, which reads “Africa since 1413.” The knowledge of what has happened to Africa and how African-Americans were treated brings sorrow. The girl in the image seems to be in a confortable situation but the past of her origins bother her, as it does the painter. The word clouds above the girl are a way of making her feelings ambiguous since it is difficult to read the emotions on her face.

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Word Photo #10 – Dark

Empty parks are always dark images in my opinion and the elderly man with the dog on the corder of the image gives it a storyline of loneliness.


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Visual Literacy Review #9–Website “Beluga Vodka”

The website for Beluga Vodka is based on a 1920s setting. The first page alludes to a Gatsby inspired geometrical arrangements, which produce the shape of a bottle, and gold color schemes. The corners of the first page are dark gold while the middle is light gold, almost white, with a large spark next to the logo. The logo for “Beluga” is centered and inside a rectangle making it look like it is framed (the product is so good and original it can be compared art). The font for the work “Beluga” is bold with a line of light gold in the middle that makes it pop and shine. While the font for “Noble Russian Vodka” is similar to the one of the word above it, the font for “made with pride” stands out and breaks from the golden patter. There is also a period after the sentence, which clearly sets it aside from the logo. In my opinion, this font is not very affective because it makes the sentence look like it does not belong or should not be associated with the logo (and this is obviously not the effect they wanted on the consumer). Still inside the frame-like rectangle are the icons for social media, which is an appropriate place to have it at since it is a clear space where the icons can be clearly identified.

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The website works on a scroll-down basis and the arrow pointing down is interactive to make it obvious to the consumer they should scroll down. As the pages change, the social media icons on the bottoms of the page accompany the consumer as they scroll down—this makes it clear that there are at least two layers on this website. As an intermediary between the first and second pages, there is a navy blue rectangle with wave-like patterns. The gold image in the middle reflects the pattern from the page above but also add a divine feature to the bottle that emerges from the clouds. This intermediary image is found between every page and changes according to the theme of the page to accurately and visually describe what the next page’s theme will be while using the image of the bottle. Sometimes the images and patters appeal to Greek and Roman designs, associating the product to the great empires.

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On the second page, there are several interactive features that can actually be distracting and difficult to manage. For example, while trying to scroll down to see more of the drawing on the right of the page, one ends up scrolling down to the next page. The description for each of the product times that can be selected on the top of the page are set apart from the bottle, which takes the center-stage and is depicted in more vivid colors. Each page has its own theme and double or triple layers that create an interactive atmosphere. Nonetheless, all pages have the same goal, which is suggesting an ostentations lifestyle, much like the one in “The Great Gatsby.” Although the product is Russia, they chose to base themselves on an American novel to appeal to the masses of the international community, which, more often than not, are not familiar with Russian culture.

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Visual Review #8 — Commercial “Coke Life”

The Coke Life commercial for Argentina shows the lives of young parents and how everything changes once you have a child. Nonetheless, even when things are not easy they can be fun and pleasurable—at least when there is coke involved. Every special moment of this couple’s life happens while drinking coke life.Some important visual themes for its mis-en-scène that are used in this add will be described below:

Colors: The colors of Coke and Coke life are red and green respectively. Not surprisingly, most items in the ad are either green or red and when these two colors are not being used, they are replaced by non-dominant colors like white and pale yellow. The first scene is completely dominated by the green vegetation but the car is red, showing the coke had change but is still connected to its old image. Inside the house, the furniture is green with some red details (cups, pillow…) the clothes of the actors are also variations of green and red (sometimes a blue and pink).

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When filming night shots, the colors are still predominantly green—the lighting is not black like in a normal night, but dark green. The toys shown are also mostly green and red and so are the most important props in each scene.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 13.29.03Props: All props used in this add have the purpose of creating the idea of a healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyle as the new image of Coke. The first scene shows a wooden house surrounded by trees, one car, and two bicycles.

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The car adds a modern touch to the 1970s styled setting. The fact that the ad is set in the 70s gives the idea o f wanting to go back to a time when things were not as technologically dominated and people had more time to interact physically with each other—coke wants to become a part of the family moments. There is a good use of natural light because of the large windows, once again connecting the product to nature and simplicity. Other props like robot action figures on the shelf (00:02s) give quirky characteristics to the couple, making a statement that although they are original individuals, they share the love for Coke.The actual Coke bottle is not introduced until 00:17s and although it is the only thing in focus, its appearance does not last for more than a couple seconds until it literally rolls off into the background.

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The bottle makes an appearance again at 00:36s and becomes an observer of a crucial moment for the family. The product is not used as only a prop but also as a way of making moments better and more pleasurable. It is also interesting to note that the narrative is mostly based on the point of view of the father and the mother is trying to please him throughout the ad and Coke is a way of giving him what he wants.

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Camera Techniques: the commercial is made up of a series of shots put together without smooth transitions—but since the ad is about the rapid changes in life once you have a child, this suits the theme. The focus shifts from zooming into the faces of the characters to wide angles showing the entire room. Whenever the product is shown, the depth of field is narrow and the focus is on the bottle. The camera moves are simple, emulated the simplistic but happy lifestyle of the family.

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Word Photo #9 – Colorful

Photo taken at Whole Foods.


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Photo Essay Revisited

For this photo essay I decided to look at the decorations on the doors of old houses in the Alexandria and Dupont neighborhoods. Some of the decorations were clearly old and others were more modern. Overall, I began noticing that there are not many houses that still have the old decoration style above their doors.











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