Catfish.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Catfish may tread the line between real-life drama and crass exploitation a little too unsteadily for some viewers’ tastes, but its timely premise and tightly wound mystery makes for a gripping documentary…”

Obviously, the film has received a mixture of positive and negative reviews– With its most critical reception stemming from many viewers questioning the actual authenticity of the documentary. Of course, the ways in which Nev & Angela’s “romance” blossoms is far from truly genuine– Nevertheless, the film is the quintessential portrayal of one woman’s unfulfilled dreams and her longings for the utterly impossible.

Looking past her web of lies and deceit, it seemed as if the different personalities simply represented Angela’s only escape from a mundane life. Along with their disabled children and the severe limitations of a small-town life, the daily routines of both Angela & Vince are much more difficult than one could ever imagine. Nev, on the other hand, depicted not only a sense of the big-city life, but was also able to introduce Angela to a world that she did not (and would probably never) come across. The latter heart-to-heart the two share provides a certain understanding to Angela’s reasons for such an unusual act. She tearfully confesses that all of her various personae were fragments of her own personality– This ‘second life’ of hers established a fantasy of what her life would have been like if she had not made the choices she had.

If looked at from a different perspective, the film actually has quite a touching effect. When introduced, Vince seems like the most unintelligent of small-town men. His story on the front porch, however, puts him in a much different light. The metaphor that he shares about the catfish towards the end was complex yet truly beautiful. It was a nice way to close by introducing the origin of the film’s name. And although the entire documentary focuses on aspects of pretense & performance, I felt that Vince’s comparison of Angela to the catfish only furthers this age-old concept of nothing is really as it seems

 

Changes in Photography & More.

In journalistic terms, photojournalism has always distinguished itself from other basic forms of photography by strictly complying to a rigid ethical framework demanding that the work is both honest and impartial– But as with many other professions, the inevitable spreads of technology and digital media have begun to heavily impact journalistic photography. And unfortunately, this new era of citizen journalism can be seen as the slow amateurization of professional photography as well as a democratization of photography itself.

Tuesday’s class discussion raised further ethical questions in regards to the current ease in which photos can now be altered. Photography is seen in journalism as pivotal pieces of ‘evidence’– And along with the rise of Photoshop and the emergence of new citizen journalists, it seems as if the art of photojournalism moves into deeper turmoil.

In an interview with Carlo Zafranco, the ongoing changes happening within photo culture were briefly addressed– With sites like Instagram, Tumblr, and other similar sites gaining impressive speed within the media world, the question of the future of photo culture comes into question. In general, will these changes reflect on photography in a positive or negative light? And of course, there’s also another question– With the shifts occurring in the photo world, will we ever be able to encounter another photographer as great as the late Helen Levitt?

What do you think?

New Media Literacies.

As noted by the New London Group, the basic mission of education is to “ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community, creative and economic life”– As we head into the twenty-first century, the ever-shifting landscapes of technology seem rather inevitable and it is because of this progression that Henry Jenkins emphasizes the utter importance of new media literacies among today’s youth. In the reading, Jenkins defines these new frameworks for literacy as “a set of cultural competencies and social skills that young people need in the new media landscape” and propels his advocacy by presenting certain “skills” he feels are critical for present-day culture– Play, Performance, Simulation, Appropriation, Multitasking, Distributed Cognition, Collective Intelligence, Judgement, Transmedia Navigation, Networking, & Negotiation.

Having grown up within the era that brought the digital world to its current shiny throne, the readings provided a nostalgic reminder of the skills I was initially taught– Of course, traditional literacies, critical analysis & research skills were learned in the classroom, but it really wasn’t until the fourth or fifth grade that we even started experimenting with desktop computers. It’s interesting to see the progress that our educational system has slowly began to make and all the changes that seem to already be occurring within schools– I hear about the multiple iPads & laptops in mere second-grade classrooms or how a friend’s 3 year-old niece is much more proficient with an iPhone than she even is. And although it is a bit shameful to be ironically less tech savvy than a toddler, I feel that the educational system has succeeded in taking on the challenges that this new world has provided, and when paired with Jenkins’ lens of “participatory culture,” an exploration of entirely new media literacies seem all the more possible.

Blog Manifesto.

As one that has always found endless joys in the pages of a good novel or on the lines of some fresh paper, the slow overtaking of recent technological miracles such as the iPad and other various gadgets have unfortunately stirred much discomfort in me.

Writing has and always will be one of my greatest passions– But I tend to rise more from the side of a pure digital immigrant, and the inevitable advancing of this new world causes a bit of a problem. The future of writing lies within the realms of the emerging virtual world, and as a self-proclaimed writer, this course will give me the unique chance to expand widely on some much-needed digital knowledge as well as getting some tastes of social media applications, blogging, and a new age in the world of journalism.

I am proud to declare myself a truly novice blogger– But I do hope that with the passing of time, both my newfound understanding and skill in the art of blogging will allow you to follow me on my extraordinary journey.

-PC