AMD 105 Evaluation

This has been one of my favorite courses at CSUSM to date. I’ve always wanted to learn about photography and how to properly work a camera. I’m definitely leaving this course knowing more than I thought I would. Professor diBenedetto did a wonderful job transitioning the course from in person to online. The work was easy to follow and the due dates were clear. I had a lot of fun working on different photo projects each week that required new techniques. I hope to take her advance course next spring semester to continue learning new methods of taking photos. Meanwhile, Im gonna start taking more photos and try to develop my own style. Thank you for a wonderful semester.

Big Mac Photo Challenge

For the Big Mac Photo Challenge I took photos of my mom, dad, sister, boyfriend and myself. Instead of using a Big Mac box, I used a styrofoam container I got from Red Robin takeout. I noticed that the styrofoam reflected the light from my sisters phone very well. I was able to direct the light where I wanted it to be. I had a lot of fun taking these pictures with my family and getting creative with a box and phone camera.

AMD 105: Digital Photography

This has been one of my favorite classes at CSUSM thus far. I’ve always been very interested in taking photos but never learned how to use a camera properly. I’ve learned so much in this class and feel more confident going out and taking pictures. I know more or less how to adjust the camera and plan to keep learning so I can improve my skills.

One of my favorite projects this semester was the Night Photography project. I really enjoyed going around my community at night and taking photos of places I wouldn’t have thought of during the day. It was nice to see the Valley in a different perspective as there weren’t many people outside. I was able to stand in the middle of the street to capture some photos which turned out better than I expected.

My second favorite project was Ways of Seeing. I had a lot of fun taking photos of Balboa Park, it’s one of my favorite places to visit. For being our first project I’m very happy with how my photographs turned out. The lighting outside was very nice that day which allowed for good pictures.

My least favorite project this semester was Photo Story. I feel like I could have done a better job capturing a story within 5 photos but I left it for last minute and worked with what I had. I wasn’t pleased with the lighting nor the composition of them. I’d definitely say it was my weakest set of photos this semester.

Overall I had a very fun experience being in this class and would love to take the advanced course next spring.


Pictorials are photographs that are manipulated to look like paintings and drawings. Photographers would apply different techniques such as brush strokes or charcoal sketches to their images to get a painterly quality. I decided to use a photo I took at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I added a b&w preset over the photo and changed the lighting and shadows to create this image which resembles a charcoal drawing. I chose this image of Los Angeles as it corresponds to the letter I chose from the book, Letters to a Young Artist. In the letter by Joan Jonas she wrote, “To be in a city like New York or Los Angeles or Mexico City is to be in a dialogue with a community of people that inspire and inform one another.” When I visit cities such as New York or Los Angeles I like to people watch. It’s interesting to think that all the people you may come across have their own lives that you will never know about. There are so many opportunities throughout the day to get to know people and see what similarities you may share. It allows you to get inspired by what other people have experienced and what you could experience as well.

Out of the Shadows: Contemporary Chinese Photography (Virtual Museum Visit)

Currently on display at the Museum of Photographic Art (MOPA) online is Out of the Shadows: Contemporary Chinese Photography. Curated by Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres, this exhibit includes work from Lang Jingshan, Chu Chu, Hong Lei, Ni Youyu, Shao Wenhuan, Shi Guorui, Wang Ningde, Yang Fudong, and Yang Yongliang. What stood out to me from this exhibition was the story behind the work. These artists are pushing the boundaries in photographic art with new techniques. My favorite piece is Nine Dragons, by Yang Yongliang which is actually a virtual reality video. I like the way the dragons are surrounding the bright sphere in the center. It’s very complex which requires you to focus on each individual dragon in order to figure out its movement. The second piece that drew me in is Yangtze River 7-8 May 2013, by Shi Guorui. It’s described as a unique camera obscura gelatin silver print. The image looks like it was edited to have a negative effect over the original photo. I like the small contrast between the mountain and water. The thin line separates the white of the mountain and the white of the water. The overall image is black and white so it allows the white mountain and water to really contrast with the black sky. All artists in this exhibition, for the most part, played with contrast and shadow. Each piece is very unique and different from the rest. There are similarities within the pieces as 4 out 6 artists chose to work in black and white and the other 2 worked in color. I’m looking forward to seeing these images in person once the museum reopens.

The images above are my take on this exhibit.

The Coachella Valley

For my book project I decided to take photos of my hometown, the Coachella Valley. It’s a popular destination at different times of the year. In April the city hosts one of the most popular music festivals, Coachella Fest. During the winter it’s populated by snow birds. Those groups of people looking for warmer climates in the winter. It’s also known fo tennis tournaments in Indian Wells and beautiful scenery in Palm Springs. The Valley offers lots of places to explore and I tried to capture as much as I could in this book. It was quite a challenge taking some photos due to the fact that California is still under lockdown and most places were closed. I had a lot of fun getting out of the house and being able to explore the Valley.

Outdoor Lighting

For this exercise I took inspiration from my front and backyard. I waited for the sun to start setting so the light would be golden. On one side of my backyard, my neighbors orange tree stood out to me. I liked the contrast of the orange with the green of the tree. On the other side of my backyard, my neighbor’s lemon tree stood out as well. I wanted to get the sun to shine through the tree. As for the other three pictures, I liked the pop of color in the plants.


For my portraits I took photos of my younger sister Emily and she took photos of me. I went with natural lighting for this shoot because we wanted to get outside. We’ve been inside for weeks. We had a great time taking these since it was out of our comfort zone. I decided to take these towards sunset so we were able to get a warmer tone in the pictures. I wanted them to be casual and really play with how the sun illuminated our faces.

Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light

How did Richard Avedon start off as a photographer ?

Avedon began his career as a fashion photographer in Paris. He was thrust into big productions when he began to work for Harper’s Bazaar. Some of the companies he worked with were Vogue and Versace. Avedon also worked for The New Yorker as a staff photographer. When he began to take photographs of celebrities he started with their autographs before approaching them for photoshoots.

Describe the different types of photography did he endure during his career?

Avedon is well known for his portrait photography. He not only took photos of models and celebrities but of regular people as well. While he worked in the fashion industry he changed the way photos were taken. He wanted to create movement in his work, often times he would jump around to get the models to move more freely. Once he left Vogue, he began to focus on his portraits and the meaning behind them. His goal was to get true emotions out of his sitters. He was fascinated with the face and wanted to capture not only the good parts of a person but their dark parts as well.

What is unique about his style? What makes him unique photographer?

Avedon is know to be a very controversial photographer because of the work he produced. He captured photos of people in mental institutes, the working class, and those who were ill. When he photographed his fathers last few months, critics believed it was an invasion of privacy. Some liked the fact that he was real with his photography and that he captured raw emotions. Although some disapproved of the way he photographed them, his mindset was that he is the artist and the sitters are his to capture how he likes.

Night Shoot

On April 11th, I drove around my hometown to take these images. I decided to take photos of buildings with florescent, colorful lights or dim lighting. Due to California being on lockdown the streets were mainly empty. It allowed the person I was with to drive slow enough so I was able to capture some of these pictures. I was also able to stand in the streets to get better angles without worrying about any traffic. I had a lot of fun taking these photos and it was nice to get out of the house for awhile after being inside for so long.

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