Monthly Archives: October 2016

Photography Manipulation is Nothing New

My research on retouching and manipulation of photography was an eye-opener. Image manipulation I found, was employed as soon as photography was perfected [1].

Unidentified American artist. “Two-Headed Man,” ca. 1855. Daguerreotype. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo. Gift of Hallmark Cards Inc.

Was it acceptable? Manipulation was accepted, in most cases expected. In the early days, the medium was still limited and what’s true now was true back then, customers desire the best images possible. They want details and colors to stand out. So, what do photographers do? To please potential customers, photographers immediately resorted to manual intervention, enlivening their pictures with powdered pigment, watercolor and oil paint [2]. Which reminds me of my friend who is a professional wedding photographer, she told me that she spends a lot more time processing the photographs than shooting the photos itself. If it was your wedding where you spend thousands just for the photography alone, would you accept raw/unedited photos to commemorate that special moment? Here’s a link to her beautiful website/photographs.

Wedding Photo/Pixabay
Wedding Photo c/o Pixabay

In my opinion, manipulation to enhance the original photograph does not affect the integrity of the photographer. We have seen photograph’s where people would look eerily scary because they have the dreaded red-eye or photos that are either under or over exposed. The application of red-eye reduction or exposure adjustment to correctly represent the original scene is needed. Was it dishonest to use photo enhancing tools/software? It depends on the intent, if the photographs are manipulated to deceive and represent something that is not, then it is dishonest and misleading.

As a content creator, I have a responsibility to produce high quality materials that will represent my vision and style. I also have to be honest and represent my own work and creation, if necessary disclose any processing and manipulation that I may have used.


Photoshop Before Photoshop

What Did We Do Before Photoshop?

The Very Old Debate About Image Manipulation


Universal Design

What is Universal Design (UD)? When the concept was introduced in my class I had no idea what it meant. I could make an educated guess but could honestly say I don’t know.  According to the Center for Universal Design (CUD) at North Carolina State University, “Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”.  Well that makes sense. We have been surrounded by numerous products that follow UD principles but are just not aware of it.  It helps all of us especially people with disabilities and different capabilities to perform activities of daily living.

Sidewalk tactile curb          Photo: Pixabay

An example I will use is my school, Peninsula College. Starting at the parking lot, there are spots for disabled guests, visitors, students, delivery trucks & bicycles.  There are graduated entry ramps for easy access to people on foot, a wheelchair, crutches or bikes. The same is true for building entrances, bathrooms and other facilities. I just have to be more observant to notice. But it’s a very complex approach to design. Many factors need to be considered and included in order for UD to be successful, such as:

  • What is the product that is being designed?
  • How is it going to be used?
  • Who will be the end user of the product?
  • Are there existing laws/rules/standards?
  • Is there flexibility to the design?
  • What is the proper use of the product?
  • Is training involved?
  • How do you measure the product’s effectiveness?
  • Are there cultural norms and barriers that need to be considered?

UD is not just for new builds or inventions, it can be used to address problems and challenges with existing products and environment. Implementation of UD combined with continuous process improvements will bring about new and improved goods and address product issues that will benefit us now and in the future.

Useful websites on Universal Design.

Washington University

Smart Design Worldwide

Center for Universal Design


Where is your Towel?

Do you know where your towel is? I keep mine with me all the time. Why? Because it is the most useful object in the universe! I just never know when I’m going to need it. Staying at cheap motels/hotels their pillows are as thin as the bed sheets so I roll my towel and use it as a pillow. My towel protects me in times of unpredictable weather changes be it wind or rain. We were walking on the beach one time and we used my towel to protect our hands and rescue an injured seagull. A towel is a great privacy screen for when I am changing from a wet swim suit. It also serves as my skirt at times I have forgotten to pack extra dry clothes.

Just what we need on days we feel like a super hero.
Towel cape what to wear on days we feel like a super hero.

Moving something fragile or delicate?I use my towel like a bubble wrap to protect it. And on days when I am just feeling super awesome, I wear my towel like a cape. We can all be super-heroes sometimes!

BTW, have you heard of Towel Day? I must admit that I did not know there is such a day until two weeks ago. Thanks to my Multimedia class required reading of HG2G I was introduced to this annual celebration. I found a Towel Day website which is a tribute to the author of the book Douglas N Adams and to the celebration of the day.  The has a fun article on 42 things every interstellar hitchhiker should see on Towel Day. Hope you enjoy and don’t forget your towel!

STEM to STEAM in Education

Is it necessary to incorporate Art and Design with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in education? I believe that Art and design has always been present but is just not fully acknowledged. I remember teaching my young children to read and recognize geometric shapes. I can tell them verbally that a circle is a simple closed shape. A round plane figure whose boundary (the circumference) consists of points equidistant from a fixed point (the center). My kids are smart so they got it really fast. Or maybe they understood the idea clearly because I drew them a picture of a circle! The image reinforces the lesson. Which reminds me of the phrases “the image is etched in my mind” or “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Being able to visualize things that are not visible is powerful. A complex notion can be easily understood with an image. So the push to recognize and connect Art & Design to STEM is essential.

Circle with Segments Photo/Wikipedia               A circle (black) which is measured by its circumference (C), diameter (D) in cyan, and radius (R) in red; its centre (O) is in magenta.

Here’s another example of art being already present in STEM (this time math or statistics) is the pie chart. A circular statistical graphic which is divided into slices to illustrate numerical proportion. And the slices are using different colors too to show various data points.  There are other examples that I can think of, but you get the point.

Pie Chart Photo. Pixabay

Fortunately, the STEAM movement has already begun. The movement is championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).  I encourage you to visit their website to see the movements objectives, to know more and to be involved.

I found two TED talks about the relationship of Science and Art.  Are you curious to find out how a neuron, Ben Franklin’s Math Puzzle or Mendeleev’s periodic table of elements might look as a sculpture? If you watch the following video, you will see it for yourself.

We all know what a sound is like, some may know how a sound is made but do you know how it looks? The following video will show you exactly how and it’s beautiful. I promise you’ll like it and the speaker’s accent is kinda cute too!

Do you think Arts & Design should be incorporated in STEM? Please leave a comment and let me know.