ELO Project

Extended Learning Opportunity, otherwise known as ELO at my school, is an opportunity to concentrate a self-built class to learning more about personal passions. My ELO project of the semester revolves around street photography on film in Portland.

My learning goal is to take 7-10 portraits and a small interview to go with each one. I will be sending my film out to get developed, and once developed will provide a short write–up to go along with the portrait. My main focus is learning how to combine thoughtful photos with words to encapsulate the personality of my subject to my best effort.

I will be posting weekly reflections on how my process throughout the semester, along with my write-ups and photos of my subjects.

My favorite shot from this roll

Weekly Reflection November 29th- December 3rd

This week I shipped my film out to get developed and then got it back today! Overall I’m pretty happy with most of my shots, which are mostly candids. I spent most of my time this week editing and organizing my new photos. One thing that could’ve gone better this week was my efficiency. I have a roll of black and white film that I’ve been shooting on with one of my other cameras, and I probably could’ve hustled a little faster to complete that roll so I could’ve sent it in to get developed along with my other rolls. But overall I don’t want to rush the creative process so I know it’ll all get figured out in due time. Next week I’m going to work on shooting more portraits/taking interviews because I didn’t do any interviews with people in the rolls I just got developed. Overall I am on the right path and am following my essential question accurately.

Weekly Reflection November 15-19th

This week was a little stagnant for me, as I was a little burnt out/uninspired to go shoot. Although I didn’t make much progress with my project, I think one thing that went well was that I was able to take a little break, which is sometimes very needed in order to feel creative again. One thing that obviously could have gone better was my productivity, and something I can improve on next week is shooting and developing more. One thing I did this week to work towards my learning goals, was researching a little bit about different types of photojournalism and city portraits. I didn’t create anything, but I gained more info on routes of inspiration.

Weekly Reflection November 8-12th

This week I thought that my productivity with uploading my shots and interviews to Instagram went well. I also narrowed down my preferred film stock for portraits, Portra 400 35mm, because the photos I just got developed were shot with Portra 400 and 800 so I’m glad that I narrowed down my preferences. I did go into Portland this week to shoot, but I think one thing that could’ve gone better was how much I approached individuals in Portland. I think I got a lot of good candids, (which I asked if I could print/share for my ELO after taking the photo), but I lacked on asking and then shooting. I think overall I just love the candid look so much more and sometimes I get nervous to ask people to pose for the camera so candids ended up being easier for me. Next week I can improve on taking deliberate portraits and doing more interviews. I’m hoping to finish a few rolls and then ship them out to be developed soon. I think that I am well into working on my essential question, but I do think that one way I could make the answer to my essential question more accurate is if I do more interviews with individuals.

Weekly Reflection November 1-5th

This week wasn’t very productive with my ELO, but I did get my photos back. I spent most of my time this week editing, cropping, and correcting my photos to look the way I want them to, and spent less time researching and shooting in Portland. Overall, editing my photos went well, as well as beginning the process of uploading them to my blog. It was fairly easy and quick, but I still need to take some time to upload the majority of my photos. One thing that could have gone better was my productivity because although I was productive, I have the mindset of shooting tons of portraits so I have lots to choose from, and since I’ve only shot two rolls I don’t have a lot. Something I can improve for next week is shooting in Portland, and also uploading all the designated photos to my blog so everything matches. Thinking about my essential question; ‘can photos of strangers in Portland encapsulate the city culture as a whole?’, I’ve found that so far I think my photos do accurately reflect the characters of portland. When I post the portraits on my Instagram page even some people that follow it comment on how they’ve seen that person in town a lot, which shows that I have a good idea of who to photograph/who feels significant to portland. 

Weekly Reflection October 18-22nd

This week has been going well so far for my project. I mailed both rolls of film out to the lab to get developed, so I should get the scans back by early next week if all goes to plan. One thing I really struggled with this week is wanting to upload photos to this site. Even though I didn’t have my film photos back, I wanted to add some photos of my process, but I found that since all my iPhone photos are in HEIC format, it was impossible for any of them to be uploaded to this site unless they were transferred into JPG format. Although I struggled with figuring out how to convert preexisting HEIC photos into JPG, I was able to change the settings on my phone so now all the new photos I take are in JPG format. I’m definitely am disappointed that all my preexisting photos are unusable, I’m glad that I figured out a solution. My goal for next week is to receive all the photos I shot, edit them, and start the process of uploading the picture with a write-up.

Weekly Reflection October 12-15th

This week I took time to go into Portland to shoot portraits on two separate occasions. I was a little bit worried that throughout the course of this project I wouldn’t be able to find sufficient time to go into Portland and let creativity come to me while I walked around because that sometimes takes a significant amount of time. But, I ended up finding that time management of this project and going to shoot wasn’t as stressful as I had anticipated. One thing that could have gone better is home many portraits I took. I think I approached around 5 people? But, I found that is so much easier to photograph people in their natural setting instead of asking to take a portrait, because that sometimes makes the composition feel fake or less genuine to encapsulate the culture of the city as a whole. I believe I did interviews with 2 out of those 5 people and although my initial goal was to do interviews with everyone that I photographed, I found that sometimes it wasn’t always necessary because some inferring is sometimes really part of looking at art.

I ended up shooting two whole rolls of film (36 photos per roll), so even though I didn’t get many interviews, I found that I still captured a lot of parts of Portland. Next week, I hope to go into Portland a little more to shoot, and then hopefully send rolls out to get developed to I can go over them and see if there is anything I need to improve on.

Weekly Reflection October 4-8th

For this first week, I spent most of my ELO efforts organizing my supplies and scrolling through street photography collections. I also did some research on certain film stocks. Since this project definitely requires some money to buy the film and develop it, I wanted to figure out if I could find some cheaper alternatives to the film I normally would use for regular portrait sessions. This link: https://www.themandagies.com/best-35mm-film-color/ gave some good recommendations, so I picked up some Kodak Gold 400 as my go–to for this project. I also have some leftover Kodak Portra 400 that I’ll be using, so I’m excited to get to figure out the small differences between the two film stocks and which one I prefer for portraits. Overall, researching went well this week as I found some very helpful sources. Something that could have gone better was my time management, as I could have jumped into my ELO right away with shooting in Portland, but I’ve decided to do some background work before the actual photography. Next week I plan to improve on getting my blog up and running/ really curating this section of my site to be detailed with info on how my project is going.

So far, I am on schedule for my short-term guidelines, as well as my learning goals. I’m excited to actually start shooting portraits, and photos of those in Portland so they can get developed soon and hopefully have an outcome that can help shape my essential question: “Is it possible to curate a collection of photos that can represent a city as a whole? Do photos, interviews, and write-ups of people encapsulate the culture of the city as a whole?”

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