The End of the First Year 

Tomorrow is the last day of my first year in the Graphic Arts program. Okay, so they are calling this program “Visual Communications,” arguing that designers do more than graphics, but whenever I stop to think about the businesses that buy the type of design services I am learning, I can’t imagine a single one of them wants to hire someone called a “visual communicator.” It sounds too damn new-agey, too esoteric, like something akin to voodoo. If I were a business owner trying to sell my product or service, I would want a graphic artist.

In my current plan, I’ve got two more years of this graphic arts program to complete. This next year is the one that I’m looking forward to because I’ve gotten beyond the silliness of introductory undergrad courses. (While some freshman kid straight out high school may not realize some college assignments are busy-work, a hoop for instructors to feel justified giving the final grade, I’ve done so many I can see them a mile away.) But now the appetizers are done, we finally start getting into the meat of the program. And then, I think I will be better able to judge if this program is going to get me where I really want to go, or if I should start in another direction.

Anyhow, I’ve spent the last couple weeks finishing up final projects. On friday, I went out for a mini-hike near some forest falls I know. This trip was a little different from the ones I have taken in the past though. Those previous trips were for pure pleasure, but this one was a little about business. Our final project in photography class is to create a shampoo ad. I figured that I would take a picture of two shampoo bottles near the waterfalls to convey the idea of fresh and pure. It was not the best pictures I have ever taken, but then again, they are not the worst either.

To setup, I had lie on the very edge of the water and hold the camera as steady as possible. Even still, my pants got a little wet. Also, while the idea of a forest stream and waterfall conveys the idea of cleanliness, the reality is that both are pretty messy places. For instance, the mud was thick and it hardly ever dries out cause it is always shaded by the trees, so it was tricky keeping dirt off the shampoo bottles while simultaneously trying to keep the camera dry.

The above picture is from that trip. While I was wallowing in the mud trying to get a perfect picture of a shampoo bottle, a man taking his cat for a walk in the woods came up to the bank behind me. It is not everyday someone takes a cat for a walk, so I asked him if I could take its picture. In retrospect, I should have asked him a lot more questions: what was the cat’s name, does he take his cat for a walk often, or even what did he do for a living. However, he seemed painfully shy (makes sense in weird sort of way), so I just made a random comment about how I like taking pictures of nature scenes like the falls.

12 June 2007