Inquiry Four Reflective Essay

I have changed. Not what everyone expects of me, yes I might be a little heavier from the freshman fifteen, or my back is crooked from toting around a loaded backpack, or the fact that the only thing I want to do anymore is sleep. But I know the truth; I’ve changed from that high school kid cranking out the five paragraphs with no revisions and really no care. For once I am actually proud of what I am turning in for credit. Not just because I know I will get a good grade, but that I am giving out my thoughts and emotions in a mature way so my audience can see and hopefully understand what I am thinking and feeling through my eyes.

I am now a revision freak. I must have people go through my paper and mark it up. From the first inquiry I can see how my peers have helped me become a better writer. It could be something as little as explaining the boat from Strayed’s essay or something as big as starting over because I don’t make any sense in my proposal. I can see how a simple rough draft of an essay takes away the stress from throwing it all together at the end. I now create a proposal and find a friend to look over it. If they like it, I continue forward, if they don’t then I will figure out the problem and fix it. The first rough draft is always the worst. I don’t know my direction or really a clue about format or voice or audience until I see the words and thoughts on paper. Then I and my peers can edit the crap out of it. The second draft is better. I have a more focused idea heading into it. I write with more ease and more knowledge. I am happy and go for one last final review from my peers and maybe my professor (if I have time and they would be so kind). By now its tiny tidbits of advice, it’s almost ready. I read through my essay one last time, usually with a thesaurus and change a few words to make it sound pretty. And like that my crazy random thoughts and words in my head are transformed into an essay that I’m ecstatic about.

I am not without faults. I know tricks to make the length or word requirement. Talking in circles is how I work through day to day life. It’s easy and natural for me to talk a lot but when people really listen to me; I’m just saying the same things over and over to fill the empty space. I know I can do that with my writing as well. I don’t know any new information or I can’t think straight so I just rant and rave. I also think that it can be somewhat of strength. I rant about every thought on my first rough draft and that gets me to the word count. And by my second rough draft my peers and I can look through it and pick out the good parts of my rant and now I have some good ideas to fill the page.

I want to do more essays but not in text. I loved the photo essay for inquiry three. It was challenging to combine all the ideas with the pictures but it was so much fun. I love taking pictures (I don’t care how bad I am at it) and this was awesome and not too much like the text essay. I got my point across in a creative way and I’m proud of it. I might want to do an audio essay in the future but I have to get some more confidence (I think my voice sounds too manly when recorded and it freaks me out).

This English class has been like no other. I love it and I’m sure if every English class was like this one then there would be less complaining and more terrific papers around campus, the Miami CCM book would become a tome. I am so glad that I was able to take this course and with an open mind I was drawn into the world of essays and all their glory. I was expecting the normal boring class with huge assignments from awful books that no one would really read on their own time. Sure the assignments in this class were rather large, but we had so much time and we broke it down so small, that it didn’t matter (except maybe to Manu). Thank you so much for this class and giving me the confidence in my ability to produce an amazing essay.

Inquiry One Proposal

I plan to write my Inquiry One on Strayed’s The Love of My Life. I chose this essay because I believe can be relatable to anyone who has lost a significant someone in their life. It could be a family member, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a best friend, or even a pet. I’m not just talking about death either. How often do couples or friends who split up really talk afterwards? Friends who move away sometimes forget who they hung out with at the last town. There is always that feeling of no direction when a person’s world is shaken like that.

In Strayed’s essay I see the pain that everyone goes through sometime in their life. There is not a step-by-step plan that works for everyone to get through it. I believe that closely reading into Strayed’s essay would be able to clear up the thought process on why she did what she did. I may not agree with what she did, but I really would like to try and understand and accept the reasons she was basing her actions on. I think my claim for this essay would be that no matter what happens or is happening in a person’s life that they will take the burden and blame some, if not all of it, on themselves. Strayed says in her essay that she “needed my stepfather to be the kind of man who would suffer for my mother, unable to go on, who would carry a torch. And if he wouldn’t do it, I would.”  In this quote, Strayed brings the burden of her mother’s death onto her shoulders.

Inquiry Two Proposal

I would like to investigate the political situation in America at the time Franks was snapping pictures. I think it would be very interesting to compare it to what was going on in his home country. I think that the political movement in America was a rough time for everyone and Franks was caught up in it, even arrested for being a foreigner. Comparing his country to ours will allow me to see if Frank really understood what he was getting himself into when he decided to attempt to survive America.

I think that the question of his influences really ties into what he was getting himself into. The influences could have been a number of people, things and ideas and I think that if I can research enough into it then I could see how Frank thought and how he worked. An artist’s mind is a crazy place, sometimes they could actually be crazy (although I don’t think that Frank was) but it will still be interesting to find out for myself.

And also tying into the idea of political change and multiple influences is the question of how did The Americans really challenge, change and reshape photography as people knew it? Even as we looked through it in class, we thought of things that could be weird or isn’t really done in photography, but Franks did it. I can look into how his photo essay compared to the photo essays and other art works in that time. And even compare the American photos to the photos that were being taken in Switzerland.

I already know some basics about what was going on in America. There was segregation and the cold war. The Rothenbergs (sp?) were just executed for being commie-spies, and that’s why Franks was arrested for suspicion (because Americans at the time thought all foreigners at the time were commies). I definitely need to back up my information and look for tons more. I really need to research more about Franks to figure out his mindset and so much more about Switzerland (since I didn’t grow up there I have no clue about their history).

Inquiry Three Proposal

I think that I will look for a quote that many people can relate to and that would be possible to photograph along that idea. Like maybe the doors are open all you have to do is walk through them and at the end have someone at a unique or interesting place that means something to me holding the quote in a banner. It could be related to the process that I have to go through to become an athletic trainer or just the process of graduating from Miami. Now that I’m writing about it and thinking it through more, I think that I will stick with this door idea. It relates to a greater issue, the fact that many people are just too afraid to walk through a door towards something that could make or even destroy their future. But they will never know the outcome since they couldn’t or wouldn’t take those few steps into the classroom or intern office or out of their comfort zone.

I think this will shape me by taking me out of my comfort zone, I mean really…taking pictures of doors in front of random people every day? That’s going to be a pain in the ass and could become awkward as well, especially if I would like someone to be opening the door so the audience can see a glimpse of what is inside. There could be some classmates or other people who see this essay that just needed that extra boost of courage to walk through the door and find out what is in store for them. Not everyone can do it alone and I think that this is a good (not too pushy) way to get them to do something that could really be beneficial to their life.

Inquiry Three Reflective Letter

The challenge of this inquiry was everything. First we had to pick our medium. I think that everyone is too comfortable with text essays and I didn’t want to be too close to my comfort zone. The audio essay, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Would I record me like a video or just my voice and would it be weird if I played music or my roommate was making too much noise? Maybe next time I will work on an audio essay. So I chose a photography essay. I think I was still iffy with a camera and that my photos may not seem as artistic as others may want them to be, so I thought I would work on it some and get this third inquiry over with.

Second we had to find a story. Many of the other photo essays had a straight forward story like family gatherings or classes or just things lying around. How in the world were we supposed to connect this to ourselves and a larger social issue and successfully delivering it to an audience? While we were first hearing about inquiry three, I wanted to crawl in a hole.

That’s when it hit me. Do something kind of cliché but add a twist to it. Everyone has always talked about the magical “doors of opportunity” and how I just have to walk through them to be successful in life. During the initial proposal, I was just going to have an introduction and then the photos, but many of my peers were suggesting that I add captions that conveyed the message through each and every picture. I took their advice and I’m glad I did. It helped to make more sense of the different doors that I photographed and it really helped to cut down from all of the original photos. I think I started with way too many, took out the ones I didn’t like (they were the “ugly” doors or people were in my way), and then the quotes seemed to match to the final few.

Overall I really liked this inquiry. It could be labeled as my favorite but we haven’t begun inquiry four yet so I don’t want to get too caught up. I both liked and didn’t like the complete freedom of it but it allowed me to take something that I believe in and that I know that others have heard of, and make it into something that could be the push that others need to just walk through the doors and see what opportunities lie in store.

Inquiry Two Works Cited (MLA format)

1)            (Webpage Version) Papageorge, Tod. “WALKER EVANS AND ROBERT FRANK: AN ESSAY ON INFLUENCE.” PHOTOGRAPHY: THE MISSING CRITICSM. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.<http://wphoto.pbworks.com/f/Papageorge_on_Evans_and_Frank.pdf&gt;

2)            “The economy after World War II – Switzerland – Information.” Switzerland’s information portal – Switzerland – Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.http://www.swissworld.org/en/history/the_20th_century/the_economy_after_world_war_ii/

3)            “Dadaism – Styles & Movements – Art in the Picture.com.” Art in the Picture.com – An introduction to art history. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. http://www.artinthepicture.com/styles/Dadaism/

4)            “Dadaism.” Student Personal World Wide Web Pages . University of Southern California, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. < http://www-scf.usc.edu/~sniles/dadaism.htm&gt;

5)            Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1908-2004 Photo Gallery by Oleg Moiseyenko’s Stock Photography at pbase.com.” PBase.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2013.http://www.pbase.com/omoses/cartier_bresson

6)            “10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography — Eric Kim Street Photography.” Eric Kim : International Street Photographer. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/08/10-things-henri-cartier-bresson-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/

7)            “Walker Evans / Biography & Images – Atget Photography.com.” Atget Photography.com . N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. http://www.atgetphotography.com/The-Photographers/Walker-Evans.html

8)            Frank, Robert. The Americans. Gottingen: Steidl, 2008. Print.