Past Essay

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As a sophomore in high school, I was offered a life changing opportunity. Had I not taken full advantage of this opportunity, my path would have been significantly altered. By seizing the chance to put myself out there for the whole world to see, something that does not come easily to me, I grasped onto a once in a lifetime chance that I would never regret.

When I was sixteen years old,The Style Network put out a casting call to my high school and other schools in the area for a reality TV show titled “Try My Life.” Intrigued by the thought of being involved with such exciting opportunity, I made an impulse decision to show up for an interview on the very same day of the announcement. Having no time to prepare myself for this interview, I was thrown into dozens of questions regarding myself, especially in regard to my family members. The subject of the show, which I had little knowledge of up until this point, was the juxtaposition of two family members who, in front of millions, trade places for a week to live life in each other’s shoes. Immediately thinking of my science-loving, straight-A student sister, I explained the nature of my relationship to her and they immediately saw us as the perfect fit for an episode.

After weeks of morning to night filming, on-camera interviews, producers and cameramen practically living in our home, we had struggled through an experience that was exhausting but nevertheless amazing. I had grown as an individual, both learning from my older sister’s day-to-day life as well as the nature of reality television. The thing that stuck with me the most were the people I got to know on the production end of the show, the different approaches they took, and the extensive work they put in to create this forty minute segment. Having taken an introductory television production class in high school, this experience opened my eyes to the real world of television production and strengthened my desire to explore it.

A little over two years in the New Media program, I am still exploring and developing strengths in creative outlets such as video, photography, graphics, web design, and other mediums. I have gained a great deal of knowledge and understanding through the program and the outside world, and I have grown both as an artist and a person immensely since my moment in the spotlight years ago. I have decided that I would much rather be on the other side of the camera and let my work speak for me in ways that I am unable to speak through words alone. Through the courses I have taken in New Media, as well as other studio courses and outside work, I have developed a common thread in my work that is only continuing to strengthen. In my work with video in particular, I strive to make connections between the natural world in relation to humans and how this relationship can be monitored, enhanced, or displayed through digital means.

Lecture classes that I have taken at Purchase, Principles of Montage and Environmentalism and Film especially, have provided me with examples of work that have strengthened these interests and shown many different artistic approaches to this idea. Looking at films ranging from Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi to BBC’s Planet Earth to Todd Haynes’ Safe, all serve as inspirations for the feelings and approaches I hope to achieve, or to not achieve, with my work. Seeing and discussing these films, as well as films that I have seen outside of class, has helped me explore and gain a better understanding of my own interests in New Media. Through the program I have had a chance to hone in on my skills and areas of interest but also to learn and improve on skills in other areas. I feel that I have become more well rounded and have a greater appreciation and understanding of the applications of digital arts as a whole.

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