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Life vs. Media Assignment

Overview: The images we see in the media have the ability to distort one’s perception of reality. In this assignment, I ask that you compare images you have taken, to professional images in the media. The objective of this assignment is for you to recognize the similarities and differences between your “real life” and the media.

Your Task:

First, conduct a photo shoot of any person you know. It could be a male or female, but your subject must be an adult (18 or older). The photos you take should be done by using the same angles you normally would use if you were going to post the images to one of your social media accounts. Pay attention to the content (what are they doing in the photographs) aspects of your photographs. You will need to have at least 4 pictures of the person, but I suggest you take many pictures then choose the 4 (minimum) you like the best.

You may use photo editing application (this can be Instagram filters, Snapchat filters, Photoshop, or any app that you normally use) to correct self-perceived imperfections in your photos. This includes filters, cropping, retouching/airbrushing, and so forth. Importantly, I ask that you make the same types of edits as you normally would before you would post the image to social media.

Next, find at least 4 professional photographs online, similar in nature, to compare and contrast with your pictures. For example, if you have shot pictures of your father, you may choose to compare them with professional pictures of people from the same age group that you found online. Again, you should have at least 4 pictures from your online searches.

Then, I have provided all of you with your own website: courses.dc.edu/yourlastname-sex-popculture-media. Upload all the pictures to your website – the pictures from your photoshoot as well as the pictures you found online. 

Finally, still using your website, compose an analysis between your photos and professional photos. Conduct a compare/contrast analysis using the following guidelines:

  • How are the photos similar/different?
  • In what ways did your photos portray gender/race/class/sexuality/culture? (discuss any or all of these as applicable)
  • If you used a filter or altered your photos, be very specific about what you changed about your original photo and why you made these changes. How is the edited image that you construct of yourself similar to photoshopped images that we see in consumer culture? Is the edited image therefore “better”? And, if so, does this image correspond with a “better version” of who you are? Explain your answer.
  • In what ways did the professional photos you found portray gender/race/class/sexuality/culture? (discuss any or all of these as applicable)
  • What does “perfection” mean and look like for you?
  • Refer to any readings or concepts discussed in class to support your analysis.
  • Your analysis should be an absolute minimum of 750 words.

Note: You will not be graded on the artistic merit of your photographs, but on your effort and analysis of the differences and similarities between “real life” and the media.