October 30, 2007

Interesting Movie on Learning... (Possible Position Statements?)

This is not part of my reasearch paper, but definately affects all of us as college freshmen. Could this possibly be used for position statements? I think this might generate a lot of conversation between the class... To view this movie click here. It is an interesting documentary film on how college learning is structured.

October 23, 2007

Hopefully This Will Make Conversation

Kimberly Ayres
Writ 1301
Jeff Ward
Position Statement-ish?

One of the things that I have learned in this class is that you cannot make a reaction out of something you do not feel strongly about. A person needs to have some personal reference to a story to be able to make a true, genuine response. I feel like I have responded to some weblogs because I have to force myself to have a reaction. Is it possible to be completely apathetic about something? Possibly not, but one can get disoriented in trying to make a reaction out of nothing.
On the other hand, I cannot persecute all stories that have been posted on the weblog because I have had a legitimate reaction to them and I have formed an opinion of my own. For example, Margaret Bourke-White is someone I had a reaction to possibly because she is a woman, because she was famous for being a talented photojournalist, and because the media loved her. I can relate to that even enough to write 750 words about. The essays from my classmates are well-done and deserve to have comments posted to compliment for their hard work, but it is difficult to conjure up an opinion on someone-else’s judgment that may not be a sincere reaction to material given, and I do not expect you to do the same to mine. Another example is, at this time, the most recent example of a visual personality test makes me wonder about how these tests are constructed, what are the reactions of the participants in the tests, or can one really agree with the answer? I could respond easily to something from the Minnesota Daily or the bomb threats on the West Bank. I realize the challenge that is being presented by having us respond to some difficult texts, but I cannot take a standpoint if I cannot connect.
The solution? I would love to surf the internet and post up random blogs that may actually ignite an opinion and begin a conversation as long as my classmates and teacher are willing to do the same. Reading such confusing articles regarding documentaries makes it difficult to congregate a reaction for me. If the material was more on my level of interest, the content and the sincerity of my position statements may improve and hopefully may conjure more comments.
Now that was easy to react.

Thank you for reading this – please comment truthfully!

October 20, 2007

Visual Personality Test

Using simple prompts which ask people to answer questions visually, the visual personality test is amazingly accurate (in my opinion, at least).

October 17, 2007

Students today

From Kansas State University. Does this seem correct to you?

October 4, 2007

America's "Role-Model" Tendencies

Kimberly Ayres
WRIT 1301
Position Statement

Time magazine puts very brilliantly when referring to Margaret Bourke-White, “Unlike most photographers, she was as famous as her pictures,? (Gray 1). Americans are thrilled with the idea of a sexy, intelligent woman parading the globe with a camera in her hand. We like the image of a Marilyn Monroe-esque photographer who is at the gates of all of the world’s catastrophes and phenomena. Margaret Bourke-White provides a Hollywood stereotype with an aptitude that actually influences the entire world. She fits perfectly into the glittering, glamorous lives of the movie stars in Hollywood. Her life story after her death promotes an intriguing curiosity to those who study her. But among all of the fascinating, intelligent photographers of her age and many ages before and after her, why do we fail to recognize them and keep Bourke-White so fresh in our minds?
Bourke-White was a woman who surpassed the barriers of the innovative new profession of photojournalism. Aside from that, she was a woman lengthening her pictures to fit the events of the entire world. She played the role of an American heroine throughout her life as a photojournalist. As said before, her life represented those of movie stars and celebrities that existed beyond the silver screen. When I first heard about Margaret Bourke-White, I tried to compare her to a figure that exists in this era.
John F. Kennedy was liked for his Roman Catholic morals and his idea of promoting an American Dream to the United States during his presidency. He was known for portraying a youthful president with contemporary ideas that would help the U.S. America loves the idea of having a young, intelligent figure to guide us out of the existing discrepancy in our country. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, was a movie star who got elected as the governor of California – home of Hollywood. Or publicly, Jesse Ventura, a former wrestling star was elected governor of Minnesota a few years ago. Does this represent how our nation has turned completely into the hands of the media? Did you ever see the t-shirts or hear the saying “Our governor can beat up your governor,? marketing Ventura?
As Americans, it seems as if we will abandon our standards to vote for someone who is prominent amid the rest because of fame and recognition rather than experience and intelligence. For example, in the upcoming 2008 elections, I have heard through the grapevine that Barack Obama is compared to JFK for being very charismatic, being young, and for having many innovative ideas for our country. He stands out by the fact that he promotes a new, refreshing idea of an African-American president; the idea is similar to John F. Kennedy’s youthfulness that was a very new idea for a president. My point? Americans love innovative change.
Branching off of the innovative change that we, as Americans, seek is the fact that we also like to be impressed. A woman photojournalist, a young president, a famous governor, or an African-American president – all of these people have spawned an original, edgy modification throughout different eras in the United States’ mundane society. Our media today is what advertises these people as dazzling and fascinating.
It is not only the public that comes up with the alluring titles that all of these famous people pursue. The media gives citizens of the U.S., as a whole, an image that portrays their stereotype. For example, whenever someone asks me about Margaret Bourke-White, I picture a photograph of her with a camera, clad in a feminine, chic dress, and showing her pearly whites against a contrast of red lipstick. The media presented an image of her that made her popular as well as her photographs.
Whether it is the leader of our country or an important role-model, Americans tend to depend on someone to make a change in our country for the better of that era. JFK’s American Dream image was what American citizens needed during that time in history. Or for a more current reference, Barack Obama’s diverse image may be what Americans seek for a presidential figure. Many factors play a role into our standpoints. The media highlights a specific quality or stereotype that Americans may be influenced by. Margaret Bourke-White stood out amongst her competition for being such a talented, beautiful lady that was a great role-model for all women during that time period. It is represented throughout history that fame does demonstrate popularity within the United States’ culture.

Works Cited
Cox, Patrick. The Digital Journalist: Margaret Bourke-White History Making Photojournalist and Social Activist. January 2003. 2 October 2007 .
Gray, Paul. Time Magazine: Fortunate Life of Margaret Bourke-Whie. 2 June 1986. 3 October 2007 .

September 30, 2007

say something...

Someone needs to say something so I can comment on it! I will try to write a position for you guys tonight, but I need something to comment on too...please

September 23, 2007

Not eloquent, but effective

There was an interesting op-ed piece in today's New York Times about Louis Armstrong. I didn't know there was a North Dakota - Arkansas connection in the civil rights struggle.

Continue reading "Not eloquent, but effective" »

September 20, 2007

Make a Move

Kimberly Ayres
Position Statement
Make a Move
If I have ever witnessed passion and purpose in my life, it would be that of Dorothea Lange, one of the most renown photographers of the Great Depression era. She was finishing up a photographing trip of migratory farm labor for the Resettlement Administration (part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal attempt that provided federal government aid to resettle farmers deeply affected by the Great Depression to new land according to Ohio Historical Society website) when she took some of her most famous photographs including “Migrant Mother? that sent her career soaring (Women Come to the Front). Just like James Agee and Walker Evans, she experienced the poverty and neglect of the farmers in our country during the Great Depression. Her fervor of her experience is spoken throughout her pictures.
In the short clip of A Visual Life, Dorothea Lange speaks about her relation to a camera by referring to it as “an appendage.? She is so utterly devoted to her work that she considers the apparatus a physical attachment that can function as productive as any other limb on her body. In A Visual Life she also states, when referring to what is projected through a lens, that “this is the way it is. Look at it.? My inference from that statement was that the idea of taking a picture of a scene emphasizes the audience to actually take in what is given in the printed image. A photograph underlines the image or the event that is taken out of reality so that we, as viewers, are forced to interpret the purpose or indication of it. Lange wants us to evaluate the image that she, or any other photographer, presents to their spectators. For example, if you see a picture of children playing in a rundown and polluted environment, Lange would want you to conjure up the intensity of the issue of poverty in the lives of innocent children. With this advice from Lange, I am able to deeply analyze not only what is shown in the picture, but also what is represented through the lens of any specific occurrence. In A Visual Life, Lange also speaks about her photograph’s impact on the viewers:
“No one asks how did you do it, where did you find it, they would say that such things could be.? With that statement, I realize that Lange is describing how a superior photograph should capture an idea or express an event. From what the image entails, the viewers should gain a feeling of belief and truth. To truly understand a photographer’s intention, I believe that one should have significant proof in their mind of that occurrence from each detail and figure that the suitable photographer has captured in a picture. Even if the photograph is cropped or untrue, the photographer’s intended message should be evident for the viewer.
Later in Lange’s life, when she worked for the government to photograph Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor in armed camps, many of her pictures were censored (Women Come to the Front). Her idea of truth in her photographs was hindered by the government when she tried to expose the harshness and tragedy in these camps. Her devotion would have exposed too much reality to the public. Lange’s photographs would be analyzed for validity just as James Agee’s writing, or Walker Evans’ photographs.
It is apparent that in both Lange’s photographs and Agee’s literature that people with such passion and fervor for their work still receive critical reviews. Both people used their works to spark a movement or expose an occurrence to the public. Lange did so by capturing the conditions of poor farmer families in California with her photographs. Agee attempted to inform the public of the poverty of farmers in Hale Country, Alabama with his text. What I see in both of these artists is each of their extreme respect and passion for their works and experiences. The extreme devotion of Dorothea Lange has influenced me to go beyond the norm to activate people’s interests, to promote my ideals, and to interpret resources with all facts and figures considered. To make a movement, one needs to depict the facts in a manner, as Lange describes in A Visual Life as previously mentioned, that people simply believe “that such things could be.?

Works Cited
Fleischhauer, Carl and Beverly Brannan. Documenting America: Photographic Series. 1988. 17 September 2007 .
Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers, and Broadcasters During World War II. 19 June 2006. 17 September 2007 .
Resettlement Administration, Ohio History Central, September 20 2007,

September 18, 2007

Visual Proof?

As I got back to my dorm room today I was browsing the internet like any other college student who didn't quite want to work on their homework. Today in class when we learned that documentaries don't have bounds or rules to them, it almost made me question the integrity they had. I understand that some photographs have been cropped to prove a point, or exaggerations with extras to show what they mean, but couldn't documentaries B.S. some points, just to make a stronger, maybe more appealing agrument? Anyways, it made me question if we should believe what we see on T.V., hear on the radio, taste at sampling stations, smell at the baseball field, or feel at the store? I understand it is just an exaggeration, but what if we don't know any base fact about the subject? Should we take everything we see as truth? Nowadays photos can be altered (more than just cropped, but added to as well), movies can be cut together, nothing seems as proof anymore. In the movie from SkyCast: Star Wars Vs. Star Trek, it can be seen in a more obvious way that everything may not be as it seems. But what if you didn't know that the things done in the movie were out of the ordinary? What if the effects and story were taken as a truth? There can be decieving things out there that make me a little uncomfortable as a consumer (false advertising), and as a general being.

I don't know if this can be totally applied to the exaggerations of documentaries, and the techniques used my Errol Morris, but Prof. Ward said we could post things that were cool, and slightly provocative on here, so I am. Unlike Temple Grandin from 'Stairway to Heaven' I don't think in pictures, but I think more abstractly, and I love to think in metaphors. Anywho, if nothing else, just watch this for fun.


ps- I did this one other time, and I hit the back button and it all disappeared... I hate it when that happens!

So after doing all of this, I of course was still on YouTube looking at random videos. I stumbled across a thought provoking and exciting video entitled 'Can Your Film Change the World?' which is an exciting, but not yet made, documentary of the lives from the diversity of the planet. I will always have a certain doubt about the images I might be seeing on the big screen, but this new documentary will be something that I will definatley go out of my way to see. Check it out!

Mammoths in South Dakota

Mammoth Site

Is this the Mammoth Site you're talking about, Robert? If so, I've been there too.