The last exhibit

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that impressed me was a show that occurred in late October at the Harry Wood gallery in the ART building on campus. The show was called “Back in the Day” and included faculty work from their time as grad students. It provides so much clarity and assurance to see what your prestigious, middle aged, artist, and teacher, created when they were your age. It offers perspective and can illustrate their growth and their path from smelly and sleep deprived art student to distinguished and world renowned artist. It gives us hope as artists where there is little. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “so how do you plan to eek a living?”, “so what’s going to pay the bills?” after announcing my status as a photography and fine arts major. Anything is possible and no one should ever feel ashamed for chasing their dreams!!! Below I included a few images from the gallery. I barely recognized my professors and their portraits that were taken over a quarter of a century ago!!! Enjoy, and please please please continue this tradition!!!photo 1

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Very happy

about a project I’ve been working on this past semester. I call it “Power Places”, and yes the name was taken from John Pfahl, however, the work is simultaneously inspired by Pfahl’s altered landscapes. Manipulation, both in front of the lens and behind a monitor, are very new techniques to me considering my very straight and landscape oriented background. I am learning a lot of new things and I am excited to see where it takes me! This is a piece I created today in Stephen Marc’s digital compositing class. Image 

Portfolio

As an art student and as a business student, Caroline’s work, “Displays”, has caught my attention. “Displays” revolves around images or engendered scenes such as store fronts that have the explicit intention of selling a product to us. The work also touches upon the facade or false truths of reality that are sold to us, they tell us what a happy family should look like, what a man should look like, and what a woman should look like but how close are their interpretations to reality?

One thing I believe Caroline’s work brings up is the inundation of images a person experiences merely from existing in the 21st century. Images are so common and prevalent in our society that we ignore hundreds daily. Images are everywhere and so are image makers. Everyone I know has a camera in their pocket, and we all create pictures on a daily basis.

In a recent project of mine I have been addressing gas stations as urban landscapes. It has proved to be difficult and I have had many interruptions and even some interventions from gas station attendants to grandmothers. No one has been pleased to be under the gaze of my camera. I spoke with Caroline to see if she experienced any difficulties photographing inside and outside businesses. Though she didn’t experience much trouble she said, businesses often have rules and regulations against photographing the insides of their businesses. Either way, Caroline did mention that while shooting for this project she drew attention and a few people were compelled to ask what she was doing.

Which brings me to a point that addresses my own work:
doesn’t it feel hypocritical? With all these images someone must be pointing the camera. The government in places like Britain or China have closed circuit cameras, our own government has methods of surveillance like the NSA, most people don’t think twice when someone takes an iPhone pic, and even the circle k I was shooting at had cameras yet my camera is considered intrusive. Why?

Below I have attached a link to an article on my website as your rights as a photographer. It is very important to understand these!!! Most people, specifically including law enforcement, are not familiar with a photographers rights. In general the people I encounter are very friendly, but a lack of knowledge from both parties allows the photographer to be taken advantage of. Protect yourself and stay out of trouble!

http://www.mariomendezphotography.com/photo-info

goldlinings

Faces by Caroline Hudson-Naef

So I’ve mentioned that I’m a photography student at ASU, but I haven’t actually posted any of my work for you to see! Here’s the proof.

Open by  Caroline Hudson-Naef

These images are from a series I did this spring called ‘Display.’ I found myself drawn to images of people on public display, whether in advertisements, storefronts, or decorations. These people were all selling me something, both literally and figuratively: a large-chested, barely-dressed woman was selling me beer, but she was also selling me happiness. We take great care to create façades for ourselves that project our perfect lives for others to see.  But just as a camera edits the world when we snap the shutter, what’s on display in our lives doesn’t really exist as it seems. The empty happiness of a family smiling in an advertisement is unattainable; but thankfully, real life is much better.

Bust 'Em by Caroline Hudson-Naef

Reflect by Caroline Hudson-Naef

Peepers by Caroline Hudson-Naef

 These photos were all made digitally with…

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Getting to some

of the negatives from the summer that include people! I really want to do some editorial work in my future, and hopefully it could give a home to images like these. It’s taken me a few years to be comfortable shooting people, I am a landscape guy, but I truly love it. Oddly enough during this trip I found it’s easier to sneak a candid with a waist level finder found on most medium format cameras. This image was shot in the summer of ’13 at the rather famous market town in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Image

What I am reading now

is a biography on the Renaissance painter, Michelangelo Merisi, aka Caravaggio. So far the book has been rather dry however I understand the need to set the scene and the historical importance. I also know how crazy and badass Caravaggio is and I think the murder, bar fights, running from the law, his religiously controversial art, his veiled homosexuality and countless interactions with prostitutes will make up for the rather dull parts.

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My ideal working environment,

is an area that is large and open. I feel as though my mind is only as creative and extensive as my surroundings. For me to be creative I need space to get messy and spread things out! Another important factor about my ideal working conditions is the need to have separate spaces for different activities. If I work where I sleep work never ends and similarly if I work where I play I often just end up playing!