Project Process 2/19

So, I’m officially ending the jolly rancher series. I feel pretty confident about this particular series of photos; the colors, the texture, the lighting, and above all, the concept came out nicely. Now, moving on to the next sugary food: chocolate.

Since Valentine’s day/season hit its highest peak last week, I went ahead and bought some cheap boxes of chocolate. I basically followed the same method as I did in jolly rancher. Chocolates were cracked open and crushed into tiny bits and pieces, and was applied to the surface of the hand by using egg white as adhesive. Here are few of the shots:

I’m not very proud of these photographs. Actually, I am not at all. Nothing appears appetizing, pretty, cute, nor seductive. Instead they just look like…something else that is way more disgusting. And this pretty much falls from what I am striving for. It was so much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. So, I’ve decided to continue experimenting with chocolate till the end. Hopefully the end product will elevate its aesthetic.

Another set of photographs I did this week is the sugar clusters. I photographed these similarly to the mineral-looking jolly rancher: black background, slight reflection, small aperture, and macro shot. There weren’t too much light reflected off of the sugar, but here they are:

Just like the chocolate, I wasn’t very excited about these when I viewed the final image. Each sugar cluster looks weirdly placed in the space. They even seem to be trying too hard to look like something else. Perhaps it’s the shape of the cluster. It doesn’t resemble crystal and minerals very much (although I’m sure I’ve seen something like this before in the museum). Additionally, like Julie said, the composition can also be the reason why it’s not quite fitting. There were more negative space/background shown in the jolly rancher.

I plan to shoot these sugar cluster again. I feel like I can make it way better pretty quickly. There are couple of things I can do next time. Rather than letting the cluster form naturally, I mass produce them like cookie, or even put them in a mold. During the shoot, the sugar on the surface can be wiped away since they are distracting the dominant object. Also, I could add some moisture to the surface of the cluster, so that the highlight of each sugar particle can be emphasized more.

Overall, it was a good week to make mistakes and learn from them.



Project Process 2/12

This week, I continued editing photographs of jolly ranchers from last week. There are so many that I needed to go back more than once to see which was compositionally and visually better than others. In addition to images from the last previous, here are some more of the photographs that I found evoking:

Just like I mentioned a little in the previous post, the visual style is very different. Just by looking at the images, it is obvious that the wet surfaced version appear more gross than others. The egg white on the hand especially helps the aesthetic through its thick jelly-like texture. On top of that, the jelly ranchers literally melts in there, breaking apart into goos.

The overall images reminds me of the chemicals found in human digestive system. More specifically, I keep imagining the stomach and how everything dissolves into simple elements. Not only are the chemicals sucking energy out of the jolly rancher, but it seems to be slowly dissolving the hand, as well. In the context of sugar consumption, I feel this style is different from the first series, but still sticks to the overarching theme of sugar consumption. And what if I change the background progressively through the series? That might be something I will consider later.

On the other hand, the images with the drier surface with tiny bits of jolly rancher are rather pretty and cute. The colors of jolly rancher are pastel, and this is what mostly gives a party-like, happy tonality. They are eye-catching on their own, but I have to say they don’t fit very well with the other photos because of its aesthetic. The candies doesn’t emerge out of the skin, and furthermore appear more like glass pieces. I don’t think this stye is going to work.

I also shot jolly rancher like the world’s most expensive mineral.  These candies are bigger chunks of smashed jolly rancher which I was unable to minimize them further. I suddenly realized that they could be seen as minerals in a way, so I simply decided to shoot some. This was definitely a quick inspirational activity, but I thought I leave the result here:

Surprisingly, the jolly rancher look very much like minerals! I showed these images to several people from different majors, and they all were amazed to discover the true identity of these gems. The black background especially present the jolly ranchers as luxurious rare material that are housed in museums, while the white background presents them like a high quality diamond. I’m not sure where this is going to lead, but I think it has some potential.

Project Process 2/5

More jolly rancher time!

From the previous shoots, I learned couple things about jolly rancher. One of the obvious findings overcrowding and cluttered texture when colored sprinkles are added. Jolly ranchers themselves are in diverse colors, so naturally, when another layers of rainbow colors join in the club, it becomes overwhelming. Plus, the white sugar desaturates the bright intense hue created by artificial colorings. I want to focus solely on the sugar food, and I don’t think the addition of white sugar and colored sprinkles worked very well.

Another discovery is that clenching the hand into fist doesn’t work in the case of jolly rancher. Some of the jolly rancher clusters are too big that many fall apart instead of moving upwards on the surface.

During this shoot, I was careful to show more palm instead of covering the hand entirely with the sugar and jolly rancher. I know I have been contemplating about this since the last semester. Both revealing and covering the palm makes sense in the context of what I am doing. Exposing the skin lets the viewer recognized the surface while experiencing the image, while covering the palm raises questions as to what the surface is. Right now, I feel strongly that these photographs are much more about the interaction between the sugar food and the hand. To do so, the skin needs to be shown visually along with the sugar and sugar food.

I also did 3 different versions: a) re-trying white sugar + jolly; b) just jolly; and c) just jolly with dryer surface and smaller pieces. Here are the results:

a) re-try white sugar + jolly rancher

b) jolly rancher (wetter surface)

c) jolly rancher (drier surface) + smaller pieces of jolly rancher

Overall, I feel like the jolly rancher is better off by itself. No white sugar, no color sprinkles, and no glitters for assistance. In addition, it gets more difficult to expose the skin when the sugar and jolly rancher piles up on top of each other. The layer became thicker and thicker to an extent where it was unnatural if I tried to scrap some parts of it. There are also many concave and convex surfaces. When all the photographs come together as one series, I think it’s clear enough that sugar is the main overarching theme throughout the photographs.

So far I’m liking both the wetness around the jolly rancher, and the detailed movements created by the tiny pieces of jolly rancher. The wet version particularly keeps the disgustingly beautiful style. They appear very different from the previous sugared hand, but the image size, the palm, and the sugar connects them pretty well. Though I do notice that the egg white becomes a little bit of an annoyance, especially when the light reflects off of it. It should be an easy fix in Photoshop. Also, I probably have to re-evaluate the chocolate chip cookies since that series was shot with white sugar.

While I was crushing the jolly rancher into smaller pieces, I realized how some of the larger chunks resemble minerals. Their form and surface textures are very similar to quartz when looked closely. The colors are of course too unnatural and vibrant to exist in the natural world:


I wonder…if I shoot these pieces on a black background ,in a way the museum does for it archival system, would they mimic minerals much more? Perhaps the jolly rancher will appear much more luxurious and rare. Or maybe if a scientific label is placed in front of them, will the pieces conflict with what they truly are? I sense irony here, but I’m not sure if it is working. I’ll shoot couple photographs to see how this imagery will work.

To be honest…

While browsing through random Youtube videos (because who doesn’t do that), I came across this one video titled “If Soda Commercials Were Honest” by Cracked. It was so relevant to what I am doing that I couldn’t simply click skip.

Soda is indeed one of the beverage that is composed mostly of sugar. And that is exactly why it tastes so good. It’s sweet, pops in your mouth, and you can never stop drinking. Watch this video and you’ll be faced with the truth of soda, which you have been avoiding to acknowledge this whole time.

Now I’m all curious how these companies implanted the equation ‘soda = cool and delicious’.