A. Name a writer/thinker and a piece of writing that you see as being transformative to your outlook. Try to describe how it changed your ideas about the world and yourself.

The novels of Kurt Vonnegut influenced my outlook on life because of their cynical and sarcastic view of life. I realized that there is a way to look at the world that seems realistic but is unexpectedly constructed. Through his novels, I learned that we have the ability to look at things from our own perspective and derive meaning from things in our own way. This awareness of subjectivity has transferred into my photography and general outlook on life. Also, Vonnegut inspired me to insert elements of humor and playfulness into everything I do, which ultimately makes the world a more fun and personal place.

B. Name a visual artist and/or a body of work that you find yourself emulating as you attempt to make photographs. Identify a photograph of this artist or from the body of work and one you have made that supports this connection.

I was first very influenced by street photographers such as Lee Friedlander and Paul Strand who practiced straight photography. I like the idea of going out into the world and capturing what you see in everyday life into a single visual moment. I was especially drawn to the shadows and forms they captured in ordinary places and items. When I make photographs, I find myself searching for subtleties and aim to reveal their complexities. Because of this, I often photograph shadows, empty spaces, and textures in an attempt to view the world in a new way. I usually see the world in patterns, forms, and abstractions and enjoy zeroing in on these elements in my photography.

Paul Strand. Porch Shadows, 1916.

Kirsten Chmielewski

Both photographs by Paul Strand and me focus on the shadows that normal items like chairs and tables create. This world of shadows and abstract forms is not dwelled upon but is what intrigues me and draws my eye.

C.Describe what you think are the most important elements of photographic representation-that is, what could not be taken away from the process, what is essential to defining a photograph as a photograph.

A photograph must be created and controlled by man in some way. A photograph is created when man takes a camera or some device and aims it with some purpose in mind. A photograph must also have its basis in the physical world. We cannot photograph what does not exist although we can combine different elements of the real world into something new. A photograph captures a moment in time that is timeless as well. When freezing a slice of time into a single image, it endures for as long as the photograph exists. A photograph is a slice of reality, manipulated by man, and composed of contained basic form, shape, and lines.

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