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Happy Birthday Willy!

The Meeting

20.17 20.18

Coming Home

20.16 20.14 20.11 20.12

Sleep Dancing

Sleepy Wynn

19.1119 19.1116 19.2 19.1 18 12 8 1.93 1.91 1.5

Sassy Wynn

Snuggly Wynn

19.1117 19.1114 19.3 13 4 2 1.3 1.10.1


sT8 cHiLLin

present 30 23 19.1118 19.1113 19.1111 17 16 15 10 6 5 1.6 1.7

Wynn: The Modern Gal

Doing Yoga: Upward Dog Position




Taking a Miley Cyrus Selfie




Silly Wynn

31 29 28 27 11


Sour Patch Wynn:

First she is sour, walking through paint.  Then she is sweet, sleeping like an angel.


Model Wynn



Beach Dog

From the first time when the struggle was real, to dominating the waves.

20.5 20.4 20.2 20.1 19.1112 19.4 1.97 1.95 1.94

Snow Dog

24 22 21 20


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Closing Thoughts on the Semester

As the semester is wrapping up, I thought I’d share a few closing thoughts I’ve had within the past week, and some insight from an article I read from the AHA: http://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/february-2006/seeing-images-in-history
With the “visual turn,” in History in the early 2000’s, historians have paid more attention to images in their research and within their courses. Although this visual turn has been more focused on moving images- documentaries, namely, photographs and images of maps have been encouraged more throughout historical academia.
Using images in the classroom has many advantages, mainly that visual aids stimulate students and keep them more focused on the subject at hand. The article mentions that today’s students who’s worlds are immersed in technology have mentioned that “images make the past seem more accessible, giving concrete shape to a world that sometimes seems intangible.” As a student of this generation, I agree that photographs grant somewhat more of an instant gratification, a way to picture the past that a thousand words could not describe. What some may not realize, however, is that while images make the past more accessible on one hand, they make them less accessible on the other. An image does not always allow viewers to understand what went into producing the photograph. For example, the photographer’s motives, how the photograph had been distributed, the intended uses of the photograph, etc. The author of the article, Anna Pegler-Gordon, illustrates this disadvantage by providing an example from her area of research, U.S. immigration. In the halls of the Ellis Island Immigration museum, there are numerous photographs of immigrants aiming to suggest that America has always been accepting of immigrants. These photographs, however, were actually initially taken with the aim of calling for more immigration restrictions.
Because of these disadvantages, it is important as students of history to understand how to interpret these images, and clues to look for to better understand how these images can fit within our understanding of the past. As Professor Petrik has advised us many times in class, we first need to study the image carefully and pick up on any clues that we can. Our perceptions of an image can change quickly if we note little details that tell a different story from the one we had first created in our head after a quick glance at the photograph. We should also examine its historical context, such as it’s production, circulation, audience’s responses, etc. I will leave you with a few questions that Gordon leaves us to ask ourselves when examining a photograph:
“Are there symbols or figures which represent specific ideas in the image?”
“Why might some figures be standing upright and others posed in different ways?”
“What is not represented in the image, and what do these absences signify?”
“Why did the image’s creator make these choices?”

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Assignment Three: Article Redesign

I’m guessing these images are not going to look as they do in photoshop or as they will when they are printed off but hopefully you will be able to get a general idea of what I did:

The first image below was one of the images I chose to add to the article.  Like Pam mentioned in class, as mammals, we have a desire to look at other mammals- it is visually stimulating.  With all the pictures of maps and railroads, I thought an image of an actual person would diversify my selection a bit.  The article talks extensively about Thomas Stoddard, so I incorporated an image of him into the section of the article that first introduces him as influential in expanding the railway system in La Crosse in order to make way for commercial growth.  This image was the most difficult to edit because it was originally such a small size, and because the contrast was so poor.  First, I had to crop the image, then I had to do extensive work in curves, then I moved on to using the spot healing brush and the rubber stamp tool to clear out blemishes, finally, I used the lasso tool and an inverse of the image to bring out the background that was blending in to Stoddard’s hair.  I also made sure the image size and resolution was up to speed with the spec sheet and sharpened the image.


The second image below is also an image I selected to add to the article.  The article discusses the environmental advantages that the town of La Crosse had, specifically the rivers, so I found an image that shows off all the river systems within La Crosse: the main three being the Mississippi, the Black, and the La Crosse.  This image was fairly clear so it was mostly a matter of changing it to black and white, cropping it to be more legible and effective within the article, and finally making sure the image size, resolution, and sharpness of the image was excellent.


The third image is from page 391 of the article. I found the original photograph online, cropped to make the image more effective within the article, changed the image size, resolution, and enhanced the image quality so it would be more legible.  I also obviously changed the caption to make more sense with the new image and to link it with the article.


The fourth image below is from page 392 of the article.  I found the original photograph through the LOC, and changed that image back to black and white.  Then it was a game of find Waldo as I had to refer to the key at the bottom of the original image to find the railway depot.  After that, I still wanted to remain true to the author’s original intention of arguing that La Crosse was blossoming into a city with a diverse economy, but also focusing on the subject of the article- the railroads in La Crosse.  Therefore, I cropped around the railway depot but also left the steamboats.  I had to rely a bit on the spot healing brush, but other than that the image was pretty solid to begin with.  As with the other images, I changed the image size, res, and sharpness, as well as changed the caption to be more effective.


This final image is from page 393 of the article.  I found the original photograph through the LOC as well, and focused on the railroad features within the photograph.  Although there are tracks throughout the larger original document, I found this section of the image to be the most relevant to the railroad theme.  Same song and dance regarding size, resolution, sharpness, and captions.



Blog Post on the week of America’s Birthday!

After our class discussion on Tuesday about the subject of heroes, it seemed everywhere I turned the word hero popped up. Funny how that happens. As I mentioned in class, the term gets thrown around quite a bit, whether it be as a term of endearment for someone who did something fantastic or used as a term to identify someone who was extremely selfless and legitimately risked their lives for another. By now, we’ve all seen or heard about the memes for Tim Howard and the proclamations of his heroism during the US vs. Belgium game, but it’s made me think even harder about what I actually think a hero is, because I will admit, I’m one of those people who throw around the term often. Growing up I always counted Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain as two of my heroes, but the more I think about it, I’m not so sure their actions were heroic but more inspirational. I think a better term for them would be pioneers or role models. We turn on the news every night and we hear of either stories of horror, violence, and war—or of tremendous acts of valor by people who news anchors call “heroes.” While I think everyone has a different definition for the term hero, or have a wide range of ideas of what a hero is (from a hard working single mom to a member of the Armed Forces protecting America), I think there is a general conception of the characteristics of a hero such as courageous, strong, and selfless.

Tying this discussion and further contemplation of heroes with digital imaging and photography in general, I think the way people perceive a photograph is a lot like the varying definitions of heroism in that context and background is essential for these opinions. For example, as I mentioned earlier, some would say their mom is their hero, and others listening in on this proclamation could either relate or not relate depending on their background. A picture can be analyzed in the same way. A photograph of bearded man, sitting by himself and drinking liquor out of a paper bag by a lake could be perceived by one person as a man who is lonely, sad, and perhaps even homeless whereas another could see that same photograph and see the man as a free spirit enjoying some free time unwinding with nature. Like definitions of heroism, however, there are some general points that most people would agree on, like the essentials of the photograph (such as the subject being a man, the location being by a body of water, etc.) I suppose that is the strength and down fall of photographs, they can touch people in a million different ways, but perhaps these million different ways are not what the photograph was originally intended for.

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For our second assignment, I have three photographs I utilized to demonstrate my mastery of photoshop imaging. For my first image, I stuck with our general theme of nineteenth century portraits and daguerreotypes. While the information provided was limited, I did find that this portrait was a women from the Burke family in Alexandria—I’m guessing this photograph is relevant somehow to Northern Virginia history. I decided right away this photograph would be perfect for this assignment because there was a lot that needed to be done in order for it to look publishable.

The photograph obviously needed to be cropped so that the thumbtacks in the negative and the semi-border could be erased, the background needed to be cleared of those blemishes, and the dark areas needed to be lightened to see more detail. The following is my step by step process of enhancing this photograph:
1.) Cropped the photograph so that the subject was the main focus but left enough room so that the photograph was not cramped around the woman
2.) Used curves to lighten the darkened areas (especially around her dress)
3.) I used the tools under the Band-Aid icon in photoshop, such as the spot healing brush and the rubber stamp tool to erase the dark spots and neutralize the blemished background
4.) After cropping I realized the photograph was a bit too small and needed to be resized in order to make the image larger. After enlarging the photograph, I sharpened the image.

For this next photograph, as we discussed in class, methods such as coloring aren’t exactly necessary for making a photograph more scholarly and publishable, but for the purposes of this assignment, I chose another currier ives photograph of fruit because I found coloring fruit so enjoyable.

I also chose to do a matted background for the fruit image and used the eraser tool to touch up areas for a cleaner look after creating a white background. For coloring the photograph, I used the eyedropper tool to add new swatches of color taken from an already colored currier ives fruit images in order to replicate more life-like tones.

Finally, since summer is upon us, I was in a “beachy” kind of mood and stumbled upon a sailing photograph of a sail boat in the Sea of Galilee.

This photograph did not need much done to it other than a crop job, and then as a part of this assignment, I thought this photograph would look even more dreamy as a vignetted photograph. I created an elliptical circle around the focus area (the sailing boat) and feathered and inverted in order to create a light vignette look.





Third Blog Post of the Semester

Alrighty guys. I’m leaving for the Netherlands tomorrow so I figured I’d do my blog post now in case I do not have the time or available wifi.
This week of class, reading, and blogging has made me think more about the topic of context. In this week’s reading, Print the Legend: Photography and the American West by Martha Sandweiss, we found that the West was just a part of many American’s imagination before photographs. Although photography did not immediately change how Americans viewed the West, America’s perception of the West did slowly change due to the introduction of photography. On the flip side, the introduction of photography also aided Westerner’s renegotiation of their relationship to others separated by great distances. We also learned that nostalgia was a huge force in late-nineteenth-century Western photography- similar to twentieth century Western paintings. This force, according to historian Michael Kammed, “tends to deny the notion that progress or change is very likely to have fortuitous consequences” (Sandweiss 338).
As Sandweiss argues in her book, photographs can be useful primary documents. Photographs, however, need to be treated with the same speculation and care as other historical documents like letters, diaries, and newspapers. When appraising photographs as historical documents, historians must realize that while photographs may illustrate a single event or moment, historians must also realize the lens through which the photographer shot the photograph (aka their background, their motives in taking the picture, and particular events surrounding the photograph). Historians must also ask questions such as:
-Why did the photographer choose this specific subject?
-Did they hope to influence anyone with their photograph or convey a certain kind of message?
-How might technology have influenced the photograph (limitations or enhancements)?
-Who might have seen the particular photograph?
-Who was the photographer’s audience?
-Did the photographer have a purpose in taking the photograph?
Photographers, like all people, have certain cultural, social, and political backgrounds that shape their photography. However, the same things that make photographs questionable as historical documents, such as their intense specificity and their tendency to convey different messages to different people, also make them interesting to the general public and historians. Photographs allow historians to measure things that documents may not be able to. For example, photographs allow emotions to be visible and allows us to make ties with subjects’ emotions across time and space. Although photographs cannot provide explanations for complex emotions, photographs do “enable us to imagine what these people experienced, what they dreamed of, what they longed for” (341). As I stated earlier, context is key to understanding photographs as primary documents and must be studied over with a critical eye in order to unearth their possible meanings.