Tag Archives: photography

Notes from today’s photography, social media, and better health session I led with @BangkokGlutton. Thanks, @MORUBKK!

I’m on a personal leave from The School at Columbia University this semester. My best friend, Chawadee Nualkhair (aka @BangkokGlutton), invited me to stay with her in Thailand and collaborate on creative projects including a TV pilot, a web series, and/or another book. Since relocating to Bangkok in 1995, Chow has become an expert on Thai street food and acts as an ambassador to the world of delicious, fast, inexpensive, culturally significant, varied, and omnipresent curbside dining through her photos, tweets, interviews, blog posts, television appearances, and books.

Today, Chow and I were led a half-day workshop on using smartphones to take pictures of food, and/or people in food settings, and sharing these photos via social media. Here are some topics we discussed:

  1. Who shares? What do you share? How do you share?
  2. Everything you put online is public, permanent, and traceable so make wise choices.
  3. Stake your claim (reserve user name on various social sites).
  4. There are great free apps out there for taking photos including:
    • Skitch for marking up photos with text and shapes
    • Squareready for making your rectangular photos fit within a square border
    • Touch Color to make part of a picture color and the rest of it black and white
    • Pic Stitch which creates quick and easy collages using a variety of free templates
  5. Photo tips: rule of thirds, depth of field, lighting, angles, no flash, ask permission if you include others in the photo,
  6. Photo ideas: focus on food and crop out most of the person’s face, include half-eaten food or food with a bite removed, don’t try to include everything in the photo, focus on an ingredient, show before-and-after plates, show empty plates.
  7. This project is using Facebook. Consider also sharing with other communities (ex. Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.)
  8. What is a hashtag and why? Sample hashtags to consider: #eeeeeats #foodporn #foodgasm #healthyfood #healthyeating #diet #getfit #superfood #fitspiration #cookinglight and many others
  9. The best way to get better at photography is to take a lot of pictures yourself and look at other peoples’ photos. Suggested people to follow who take good pictures: @Infatuation @bkkfatty @bangkokfoodies @bangkokglutton @karenblumberg @jessvsworld @christao408 @nat_catandnat @migrationology @huffpostfood @bkmagazine

The organizer of today’s event, Phaik Yeong Cheah (aka PY), works at MORU, the Mahidol Oxford Research Unit, a tropical medicine research collaboration between Mahidol University in Bangkok and the University of Oxford in the UK. PY organized this photography seminar to kick off the FACEBOOK FOOD PHOTO CHALLENGE. As it was described to me, “This project aims to understand a bit more about sharing food photos on social media and to explore its potential uses in health and health research. This is part of wider Wellcome Trust funded Food and Drink Initiative on global food issues including food production, transport, packaging, storage, shopping, cooking, eating and wastage.” More info can be found here: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Funded-projects/Major-initiatives/Food-and-drink/index.htm

Some of the questions that arose during today’s workshop were:
1. Can sharing food photos on social media help those who are on some kind of diet?
2. Can sharing help promote healthy eating and cooking, and reduce food wastage?
3. Can social media offer an advantage by utilizing a peer support group when users upload photos and have their peers comment or ask questions?
Chow and I joined the Facebook group and committed to take photos of every meal for at least 14 days and post them to the group. You too can be a part of it! Please consider reading the guidelines, joining the The Facebook Food Photo Challenge group, and posting images with us!

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Love the final photo project my 8th graders made to represent Diversity at @The_School! #artsed #edchat

The 8th graders at The School at Columbia University engage in an amazing multi-month unit where they choose, research, and design a Social Action Project. Two of my favorite girls asked me to help them produce a mural to showcase the incredible diversity (and cuteness) of our school community. I sheparded them to every classroom (K-8) in the building and supervised their photo shoots. We had the kids pose with both “yearbook smiles” and goofy faces. After, the 8th graders chose the best images from their files and used iPhoto to crop and print 3″x3″ prints. They arranged them on a row of poster boards and placed a border declaring “We are One!” around the perimeter.

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In 6th Art, starting our Renaissance Photoshop Project with Yoshiko Maruiwa.

Today, I began the annual Renaissance Photoshop Project with Yoshiko Maruiwa, my favorite 6th grade Art teacher at The School at Columbia University. As part of the 6th grade integrated study of Florence and the Renaissance in English, Social Studies, Science, Art, Music, and Wellness, Yoshiko and I team-teach this Photoshop unit where students locate a Renaissance painting and layer themselves into it as either the main character or an additional character.

Here are the directions for our 3-day unit:

1. We talk about media literacy. Today, one girl said it was like “reading pictures.” I liked that a lot. As a group, we defined media as the plural of medium and gave examples of both:

Media = how to convey or communicate information or mass communication, the news are described as “the media” and can share information using a variety of means (television, radio, internet, etc…)

Medium = how something is communicated or expressed: a drawing, painting, watercolor, television, email, texting, movies, music, commercial, song, newspaper, internet, magazine

2. We watch the Evolution video from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.

3. We talk about how easy it is to use technology to manipulate an image and why. (Marketing!)

4. We do a brief tour of the Google Art Project. (http://googleartproject.com)

With a team of Googlers working across many product areas we are able to harness the best of Google to power the Art Project experience. Few people will ever be lucky enough to be able to visit every museum or see every work of art they’re interested in but now many more can enjoy over 30 000 works of art from sculpture to architecture and drawings and explore over 150 collections from 40 countries, all in one place.

5. We talk about Artstor and it’s subscription service which Columbia University pays for. We look at the Permitted and Prohibited uses. I remind them that it is super important to read the terms and conditions of a website so that they avoid doing anything illegal or unethical (whether intentionally or accidentally). Everything they do online public, permanent, and traceable. (http://artstor.org)

The ARTstor Digital Library is a nonprofit resource that provides more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research. Our community-built collections comprise contributions from outstanding international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists’ estates.

6. Students choose a Renaissance painting from Artstor that they will manipulate. The directions for the project are here.

7. We talk about ownership of Art. Who owns the Mona Lisa? Yoshiko made a simple slideshow about variations of the Mona Lisa here. We discuss copyright and fair use and discuss Shepard Fairey’s Obama Hope painting. My lesson plan is here.

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