Mary Sikorski

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I am kind of bias when it comes to my blog post because the Artist I chose is also my Best friend. We have been friends for close to 10 years. Her name is Mary Sikorski and shes a 24 year old that does photography as a hobby. Mary also is very good at painting and drawing but I love her photography most. Mary hopes that one day she can do photography for more than just a hobby. She has been offered to be paid/asked to take photos several times by friends and family. A lot of photos she does with herself as model but she has also taken many photographs of family and friends. Ever since I met Mary and saw some of her photos I have always loved them. I love the creativity she puts into them and the feel of them. A lot of her photographs have a vintage feel. She gets a lot of her clothes from her moms old wardrobe or from thrift stores. When it comes to her photos a lot of thought goes into them from what she is wearing to what her makeup and hair should look like as well as what props she may be using. Mary has been doing photography for many years now. She has been doing it it ever since she was in 8th grade. Her first camera was a point and shoot cannon camera that her dad gave her for a birthday gift. What inspired her to want to take photos is because she saw photographs of other people on the internet and it made her want to take photographs herself. I asked her if she has a favorite photograph but she said; “No, I don’t think I do. I still don’t think I’ve gotten to where I want to be with my skills with my camera, when I accomplish that, then I’ll probably have a favorite photograph.” I personally have so many favorite pictures of hers. I was very had for me too choose between older photographs that I have always loved and my new favorites of hers. One pictures that really stands out to me is the one where she painted colored dots going from her chest onto her face. I really like this picture because she looks like a piece of artwork being photographed. Mary has a favorite style when it comes to taking photographs. She likes for her pictures to have a cinematic style. Like scenes that you’d see from a movie, not in everyday life. If your interested in Mary’s photograph and would like to ask her any questions and or have her take some photographs for you, you can contact her at You can also look at more of Mary’s photographs here: (if the link doesn’t work, please copy and paste into browser)

  • Do you believe that Photograph is considered an art form?
  • Do you have a favorite style of photography?
  • Do you think that someone that takes a photograph such as on their camera phones could be considered a photographer? Or does it take more of an effort?

-Kelly Czajka



Surrealism Photography–extra credit blog post

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The first impression you get when you see surreal photography is “what the…” and then you observe the brilliant idea that’s behind it, the wonderful way of transforming into reality a person’s imagination. Knowing that these photographers have an incredible imagination, you can probably presume the result of their work. When looking at these photography’s the only thing you wonder is, how did this photographer make this happen? Is this Photoshop? It there any special effects added to this photography? Surrealism allows you to create things that are ordinarily only seen by your mind. It’s an excuse to get those ideas into action under the umbrella of the world of Surreal. It’s a great chance to let your eye see the things that you envision. There’s no right or wrong when it comes down to it because Surrealism is what you make it. Experiment with lighting, shadows, levels, backgrounds and movement to capture Surreal Photography at its finest.

Surreal photography, like surreal painting, depicts objects, people and landscapes in a non-rational or dream-like way. It is based on the 20th century philosophy of André Breton’s ‘La Révolution Surréaliste’ written in 1924. Surrealism started in Paris but spread throughout Europe, the US and Japan. Surrealism was made popular through painting but there were also many artists who created surreal photographs to express their philosophy. Some of the best known surreal photographers include Marcel Mariën (Belgian), Maurice Tabard (French), Man Ray (American), Lee Miller (American), and Paul Nougé (Belgian).

After doing some research for some surrealist photographers, the work of Jerry Uelsmann caught my attention. Someone had mentioned that “he is the master,” his work was done in a darkroom. Uelsmann was/is one of the best and he did his before Photoshop existed by using a very very complicated printing method of moving the paper from enlarger to enlarger with different negatives in each one. Today there are many that do this type of work, but he was the first to master it. Uelsmann’s photographs are not meant to depict a familiar place, but rather allow the viewer to transcend the frames and take them on a journey through the unfathomable. Through the picturesque representations of his subject matter, this becomes possible. Like the Pictorialist movement in the twentieth century, Uelsmann’s work played on big ideas, and because those ideas are so vague, the artist did not allow room for literal interpretation of his work, but rather left the interpretation to the subjective. Uelsmann believes that his work touches the viewer on a personal level and communicates his emotion better through the unimaginable settings that he creates. Formally, Uelsmann composes his work in black and white, with a vast complement of grays and mid-tones throughout. One of the defining characteristics of his work, however, is the stark contrasts seen throughout Uelsmann’s body of work. He contrasts the organic with the artificial in almost all of his work, and frequently includes the use of more than one focal point in his work. Placing eyes on walls, windows on trees, and shrubbery on the artificial are common elements within his work.


  • What was the first thing you thought of when you looked at these pictures?
  • Do you know any other surrealist photographers?
  • If you could photograph something like this, what would you like to photograph?

Some Examples of Surrealism Photography

Video of how Jerry Uelsmann does his photography

Brenda Pineda

Eery Beauty


“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”-a phrase many of us have heard. As you look at this image you may wonder why the artist decided to capture a photograph of a mannequin. Take a closer look for a few minutes. Is it a mannequin? The perfect hair, perfect smile line, perfect skin, and a perfect symmetrical face.

This is no mannequin, this a portrait of a real human…kind of throws you off for a minute right? What is it about this photo that makes you take a second guess? The beautiful absence of a background with a bright contrast of porcelain skin in the foreground? The absent stare trailing into the distance with no sense of emotion? The artist behind this magic, Valerie Belin, thought of all of the above when trying to recreate her vision.

I found Valerie in the Michael Hoppen Gallery online and was instantly drawn to her unique style. Her early years consisted mainly of objects photographed in black and white, with minimal backgrounds. She went to school in Paris and shortly after graduating decided to totally turn around what she learned about basic photography rules (rule of thirds, staging, lighting), emerging art that almost confused the viewer. Her photographs stood out because of the lack of these simple rules everyone was so used to.

I chose this piece because I think it highlights her style and messages she tries to send to the public about how we view people and objects. Her work up until this series has been heavy black and white contrasts of objects and people as you can see in this link. This piece is the changing point of her career. The black and white pieces remind me of imprinting because it is so saturated with dark shadows and bright whites. The fact there is no background noise going on with no shadows also makes it look like a simple image you can draw or stamp. The images are very minimalistic, making the voice of the image, as I like to call it, very easy to convey her message.

I love so many elements of this piece! The first thing you have to ask yourself is if this image is real or not…okay it may not seem so important to everyone but I love experimenting with new techniques and lighting so this is huge for me! I also love that the image is so real yet fake at the same time. It conveys the feeling of being lost and absent but at the same time you realize that this is a person…a beautiful person. Is this real beauty? Can everyone attain the awe and glamour that seats these models on their high pedestals? Are these models happy with their lives? The only thing I don’t like is that I almost want more of a contrast. I admire Valerie’s efforts to keep everything very basic, but I’d love to see her play with the idea of using full body images instead of just portraits. I think it would help convey more a humanistic connection.

I do question how she creates such beautiful black backgrounds. Is it all black backdrops? Does she edit her photos? Does she play with the aperture on her camera? Also, has she always had this vision of contrasting photos? Every photographer has a style but has she always had this one? Finally, are there any other similar art techniques that look like Valerie’s? I am familiar with stamps and carving but I can not think of any others.

If you’d like to read more about Valerie Belin and her work you can click on this link to her biography. It’s interesting to view her early work in the 90′s up into the early 2000′s. I love that you can see her progress and the point in time she decides to try different ways (like including color or excluding metallic contrasts) into her work.  More here!

Emily Luszowiak

Action Figures

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         My first interest in Action figures started when I was a little kid watching Toy Story, Batman, Spiderman, and many other shows. I never really looked at them for anything other than something to play with. When I took this class it opened my views up to so many other things that are art instead of just pictures, paintings, and sculptures. It allowed me to look at art and appreciate it and that is what I did when I saw these pictures.
            I remember seeing something about action figures that really caught my eye and it was something I have never seen before. We all have seen action figures before, but I have not seen action figures posed in such ways. We normally see one action figure by itself and in the same pose every time we see it, but these that I happened to come across were completely different. These were set up in a way to tell a story, to let you see something happening in a moment. It allows you to infer what will happen next.
            My favorite picture is the one of Woody beating up Woody. You can see so much emotion in that picture that you really stop at look at it and begin to analyze what is happening. That is what I think art is allow about trying to be able to make you really understand what the artist is trying to tell you through the paint, picture, etc… What I really enjoy about this art is that you can take one picture and it could have a million different meanings. It is all about how you look at the picture. If we all looked at the same picture, I believe that we would all have different opinions on what is going on.
            The main reason I picked this type of art, is because it is different. It takes something that you might have in your bedroom or you sons bedroom and they create art out of it. There were only a couple of the photos that I could find who made them, but that is it anyone can do it.
Here is a place you can view the photos i’m talking about.
  • How long does it take to create something like this?
  • How much thought process goes behind each set up?
  • Does this type/kind of art appeal to you?

Kevin Twarog

“Suits” by Eric Kim

For images, click here, and here and here

I’ve always loved photography, but there is one form of photography that took my interest to a whole new level. I was introduced to “street photography” through a video on YouTube by Eric Kim a few years ago, and since then I’ve been hooked. Street photography is a form of photography that is hard to define. Everyone tends to have their own definition but to me, street photography is about capturing those beautiful moments in life that we often fail to notice. Those small moments where life becomes clarified. Simply put, street photographers go out and take meaningful pictures of everyday life as it happens in real time.

Street photography is very raw and very real. Most of the time, the subjects in the photos do not know they are being photographed and if they do, they’re usually caught off-guard. This allows the photographer to capture the subject when their most vulnerable, without their “mask”.

Eric Kim is an international street photographer. He practices his craft and teaches street photography workshops all over the world. He recently started a series called “Suits”, which is all about the men and women working in the corporate world. It reflects a time when he used to work as a “suit” and how it made him feel very unhappy and unfulfilled.

I find the series to be very fascinating because I hope to one day become a “suit” myself. I major in economics and have strong aspirations to work in financial services. What appeals to me the most about the series is that it reveals the other side of the industry that we often don’t see or understand. Businessmen and women, especially on Wall Street, are often portrayed as having very glamorous lives. The classic image of a Wall Street banker is a very wealthy man in his mid twenties to early thirties, with perfectly groomed hair, a fine tailored suit, driving a red Ferrari. Barney Stinson, from the television series “How I Met Your Mother”, is a great example of the stereotypical “suit”. They may be very successful but the reality is, their lives are very far from perfect.

I found the first image is of a man walking out of an office building on Wall Street to be very powerful. It has a very “evil” type of tone to it. It reminded me more of a funeral setting, than a business setting. The dark tone reflects the fact that those who work on Wall Street now carry a very negative stigma as a result of their relations to the recent financial crisis. They’re now viewed as being very greedy, selfish, and reckless. It’s also interesting to note that the man is faceless in the photo. I think that reflects the fact that “suits” are often just viewed as a “means to an end”. The partners of large firms usually never engage in personal relationships with their employees. They’re just viewed as things that make the firm money, sort of like machines.

The second and third pictures were taken near the financial districts of London and Tokyo. I found these photos to be extremely powerful as well. They depict the how “suits” may really feel about their lives. The older gentlemen eating at the restaurant looks very desensitized, probably from being overworked. I think his gestures represent the strong emphasis on conformity and obedience in the workplace. When he leaves the office, he seems lost because there is no authority figure to tell him what to do. I’ll admit, the photo of the gentlemen at a arcade in Tokyo made me kind of sad. I think it represents all the stress that comes with a their job. It’s that need to feel like a kid again. That time when they were stress-free, and only cared about having fun and being happy. I’m sure we could all relate to this feeling.

You don’t have to be or aspire to be a “suit” to understand these photos. Street photography can be a very emotional form of art that can relate to everyone. I think thats why I love it so much. Even though I have never met the people in the photos, I feel as if I understand who they are and how they feel. Eric Kim captured images that represent a side of today’s “suits” that we often don’t see or understand.

If you would like to learn more about Eric Kim, please visit his website:


  • What are your views on street photography? Do you think it’s alright to take someone’s picture without their permission?


  • What are your interpretations of Eric Kim’s photos? Are they similar or different than mine?


  • Do you think the subject would act differently if they knew they were being photographed?

Charlie Collado

Stillness and Motion

I love the dirty, loud parts of the city. Almost nothing speaks to those two adjectives better than the EL clamoring overhead. This photograph, from College of DuPage student Ethan Paulson, almost seems as though it should come with a sound clip of the train shuttering overhead. This compressed, slightly tilted upward image, is teeming with contrasts; light and dark, vertical and horizontal, and most interestingly for me, stillness and motion.

The strongest aspect of this photograph for me is the ambiguously confusing implied motion. The upper and lower background of the picture is blurry and fuzzy. The upper background is likely an office building, while the shadowy lower half hints at the covered street scene we know lurks beneath the trains. Both of these soundly stationary urban fixtures almost appear to be moving—as though all that we think we know to be true has shifted suddenly. Focus then falls on the train car, still blurry, but by far the clearest fixture in the photograph. The train appears still, suspended even, though we know if anything were to be moving in this image it would, of course, be the EL. Contrasted even further with the hazy background of the top and bottom is the stillness seen inside the train—genuine silhouettes of heads not out of focus. It’s almost as though this image reflects the frenzied state of living and commuting through Chicago on a daily basis–the almost constant motion of people and transportation. The visual noise that juts at you from every angle in an urban environment for me is represented in the blurring of backgrounds, while the stillness of the train suggests an oasis of solitude. Though this piece is indeed tightly cropped, I think it is notable that there is no horizon, no sky, no hint of anything that is not manmade.

Ethan is just starting his career as a photographer so when you look though his portfolio you see lots of different types of experiments in photography. For me, these early stages of a career are the most exciting times to become a fan of an artist’s work. As an artist starts so find subjects that interest him/her and develop them more completely you can start to see them hone their style and perfect their craftsmanship around a singular subject and grow more comfortable taking risks and finding their niche.

  • Would this image have the same impact if it was in color?  What about if it was a painting instead of a photography?
  • This is a “quintessential Chicago” picture for me. What would be a “quintessential Chicago” picture for you?
  • Take a look at some of Ethan’s other work (link below). What’s your favorite subject?

Click here for a link to Ethan’s work.

Amy Brandolino Kakkuri

**Full disclosure, Ethan is my next door neighbor and I have been a fan of his work from the onset.