Visual Literacy

Archive for October 2009

To be honest, I had no idea who Alex Garcia was before she came in to speak to our class. Besides obviously being very talented, it’s clear that she has so much passion and enthusiasm for what she does. She explained all of her pieces very animatedly, and I enjoyed listening to every anecdote. What struck me as the most important piece of advice was her suggestion to be extremely confident, and always act like you know what you are doing. Even for those who have no interest in photography or digital media, that suggestion will undoubtedly strengthen your work ethic, making you infinitely more appealing to employers. If you need a way to stand out, what could be better than showing dedication to every task you undertake?

My favorite piece would have to be the “Scene-In” shorts. As a girl who is interested in fashion (shock of the century, I’m sure), I’m always looking for ways to update my personal style. Now that I’m living in such a vibrant and diverse city, I’d be crazy not to take advantage of everything in D.C. Some of the people she interviews had great little tips for coming up with something unique and interesting to show off, and I’ll definitely be taking their advice.


A Family Remembers the Death of a Bulimic Teen

The documentary was shot and edited by Megan Rossman. It recounts the story of Sarah Siskin, who fought a seven-year battle with bulimia. She died April 29, 2003. On the sixth anniversary of her death, parents Alan and Barbara and sister Leah all remember Sarah in the hopes that sharing her story will help others suffering from eating disorders.

As the documentary is primarily an interview with Sarah’s family, Rossman mostly uses medium and medium close-up shots. During the interview, the family is telling the audience intimate stories about the daughter and sister that was lost, so it makes sense that the videographer would choose close, intimate shots. There is one wide shot when the family visits Sarah’s grave, which was most likely used to establish the setting.


Director/Cinematographer: Darren Aronofsky

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite film; I like so many, but my absolute favorites change all the time depending on my mood or what is going on in my life at the moment. As of this second, my favorite movie is Requiem for a Dream. Made in 2000, it stars Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. It chronicles the lives of four people living in Brooklyn, and how they deal with their addictions. Sara Goldfarb (Burstyn) takes diet pills to lose weight after learning that she will be appearing on television. Her son Harry (Leto), and his friend Tyrone (Wayans) are heroin-addicted drug dealers who dream of making it big. Marion (Connelly), Harry’s girlfriend, is addicted to cocaine. All four have big ambitions, but ultimately fail after they succumb to their addictions.

I have never seen a more disturbing film in my life. Rather than portray a glamorized or dulled depiction of the never-ending cycle of addiction, Aronofsky uses vivid and sometimes shocking images to chronicle the lives of his characters. It’s the American dream: you can never be too rich or too thin, and all four characters are sucked into the glitz and glamour of the “good life”. You feel some sympathy for the characters as they make their descent, but what is most heartbreaking is watching how amazing relationships are all torn apart because of their dependance on drugs.

The audience is there to witness as each character gets sucked down further and further. Sara begins to hallucinate from the “uppers” her doctor has given her to lose weight. Her hallucinations get progressively worse, and she ultimately is admitted to a mental institution. After refusing treatment, she undergoes electroshock therapy, and is reduced to just a shell of her former self. Harry and Tyrone dream of making to the big-time drug scene, but after a drug deal goes bad, they find themselves without money or drugs. Now without any means to support her drug habit, Marion lashes out at Harry, and turns to prostitution. Harry and Tyrone decide to go to Florida, hoping to score enough drugs to make a profit, but the growing black mass on Harry’s arm from injecting throws an obstacle in their path. After going to the hospital, both men are arrested. Harry’s arm gets so bad that it has to be amputated, and he is not expected to live. In the end, none of the characters are able to live up to their dreams of grandeur, and their lives are destroyed.


The mood that I tried to convey with my business card was simplistic, while still being visually appealing. To portray ‘vivid”, the photos I took were colorful,cheerful, and eye-catching. Although the image on the card is slightly faded, ┬áit really pops on the white background. The plain text conveys a sense of seriousness. On a general scale, my business card portrays to possible employment opportunities my seriousness and dependability, while also indicating that I have a creative and fun side as well.


  • emmalaem: I've never heard of this movie before, but from what Ashley says it sounds like an interesting film. The scene that she posted was different than a no
  • zaiguo: I agree with you about her passion, it was very apparent that she was very excited to talk to us about being a new professional in the media world. I
  • Jessica Gale: Hi Ashley, Yes! I loved Alex's fashion shorts... Great to see the funky (yet sometimes conservative) sides of DC fashion... Especially liked her a