Comfort in Shadow

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In public settings, dim, artificially-lit places are usually associated with illicit activity, secrecy, and the frightening unknown. Shadows become real-life homes for imagined fears; dark spaces where terrors become validated just by remaining undiscoverable. However, through photographing within dimly-lit enclosed domestic spaces, I’ve noticed that while these similar lighting conditions retain the ability to obscure and warp visual elements, they often take on unexpectedly positive visual representations, evocative of solitude, introspection, and comfort.

In this photo series, through a muted color scheme, emphasis on negative space, and attention to where elements fall within linear structures, I hope to convey the therapeutic effect of shadowy areas inside naturally-lit indoor spaces. To show that when faced willingly from within a zone of security, the dark is more transcendent than it is terrifying.

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Meaning That Matters: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road

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Mad Max: Fury Road is the best political film of 2015. The pleasure I take in saying that is more immense than I can explain coherently. My father raised me, cinematically speaking, on the masterpieces of the 1970s—All the President’s Men, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dog Day Afternoon—and if nothing else, what is apparent in those films is a steadfast political atmosphere. Today, for better or worse, the films we see on screen are politically noncommittal. One either has to dig for any political subtext, or it exists as middle ground between two more devoted extremes. George Miller, the veteran filmmaker (of the previous Mad Max films, as well as both Happy Feet—fun fact), directs Fury Road, whether he admits it or not, fully aware of the feminist charge that electrifies the entire film.

The film begins with the eponymous hero, Max (Tom Hardy). He provides us with expository detail, and as soon as we understand the post-apocalyptic context, he is appropriately done away with—captured, branded, and turned into a human blood bag, used to energize the War Boys, who do the bidding of the savage patriarch Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).…

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Thoughts on Force Friday

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A little over a month ago, a huge bomb went off in the Star Wars community, as merchandise for the newest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hit stores a whopping three month in advance, an event lovingly called “Force Friday.” Shelves were flooded with action figures, board games, apparel, and even notebooks, all for a film that hadn’t even been released yet. Stranger still, is that Force Friday was a huge success. Crowds of people showed up, waiting in lines and saving spots, all to buy merchandise for characters, vehicles, and worlds they don’t even know much about. In fact, much of what was released hadn’t even been seen until that day. Being both a fascinated scholar and a huge nerd, I realized I’d have to investigate.

Much like Black Friday, stores opened at midnight with freshly stocked shelves and a hoard of shoppers lined up at the doors. Being located in Carlisle, far from urban shopping epicenters, I believed that going after class during the day would be adequate for both finding people to interview as a scholar and stuff to buy as a fan.…

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Reiss Clauson-Wolf and Julian Silver

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Reiss Clauson-Wolf (2013) and Julian Silver (2012) are graduates of Wesleyan University living in Los Angeles and striving to carve out screenwriting careers in the film industry. Right now, they are developing independent creative projects while working full-time industry jobs.

This interview took place on April 1, 2015.

MIKE: What was the inspiration to move out to Los Angeles?

REISS: For me, it was something that I always sort of knew I wanted to do: screenwriting specifically. The more I talked to people about that and discussed those ambitions, one of the things that kept coming up was the idea that LA is the only place you can do that professionally with any sort of degree of success. I mean, New York is always an option because there is the television community and, in terms of production, the writer’s room. A lot of New York writers work for television shows, but the big screenwriters live in LA. So at the end of the day, the process of elimination drew me here.…

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London

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Every year Dickinsonians make a journey around the globe, whether it be for a semester or year, to continue working on their liberal arts education and cultivating a better global perspective. Lead by David Strand, Professor of Political Science and East Asian Studies, a group of juniors including myself managed to navigate the thousands-year-old city of London. Departing each day from our hotel in Bloomsbury we set out on daily adventures to places like St. Paul’s Cathedral and poet John Keats’ house in Hampstead. For someone studying photography, it is difficult to resist taking photos and coming across as an obvious tourist with their lens clicking at every possible opportunity. Fortunately, my self-imposed restraint created an opportunity. Rather than taking photographs of everything I saw, I had to look with earnest, selecting only a few objects or areas.

Walking around London there is something extraordinary on almost every corner, such as an incredibly fat pigeon or a tavern from the 16th century, but when you are trying to document the city you have to think about what images work with each other.…

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