Hamilton DOL #1, The Reynolds Pamphlet

Adam Crespi

June 8th

Song – “The Reynolds Pamphlet”

A:

Song #14 of act two in Hamilton the Musical, “”The Reynolds Pamphlet” by Lin-Manuel Miranda revolves around Hamilton’s scandalous affair with Maria Reynolds and the unique way Hamilton chose to address the problem. From the previous song “Hurricane” we learn that Hamilton is facing the backlash of an affair he is currently upholding with Maria Reynolds, the wife of James Reynolds. For almost a year Hamilton held an illicit relationship with Maria, paying off James to avoid the public finding out. In “The Reynolds Pamphlet”, Hamilton makes a rash decision to expose himself to the public by publishing a 95 page pamphlet outlining his affair and the reasoning behind it. The song revolves around the public’s reaction to Hamilton’s decision and how it affects his life.

Hamilton understands that for the first time in his professional life the public view of him will change from a positive one to a negative one and this scares him. Hamilton is aware of how his actions will be viewed in the future from the song “History Has its Eyes on You”, where Washington informs him of his own mistakes. As an individual who values how history sees him and the legacy he leaves, Hamilton is terrified by the thought that all he has done for America could be nullified in the public view because of this affair. This is our first glimpse into how much value Hamilton assigns the legacy he leaves and how strong his desire for a positive historical impact is.

In an attempt to combat this, Hamilton utilizes the most valuable skill he possesses, his ability to produce persuasive pieces of writing. The only reason Hamilton originally immigrated to New York was due to the wonderful piece of writing he crafted in Nevis and he hopes for a similar miracle. Hamiltons amazing skills of literature could not write him out of this situation and although the 95 page pamphlet was well constructed, there was no way a positive spin could have been put on the acts he committed. He attempted to perpetuate the idea that it was all extortion but in being honest Hamilton admitted,

 

*on James Reynolds

“My real crime is an amorous connection with his wife, for a considerable time with his privity and connivance, if not originally brought on by a combination between the husband and wife with the design to extort money from me.”

 

The public saw through this and attacked him, asking the question “You ever see somebody ruin their own life?” Understandably, few Americans took Hamilton’s side and most pitied “his poor wife”.

The Schuyler sister, Angelica, also has lines in “The Reynolds Pamphlet” discussing her obvious disdain for how Hamilton treated his sister Eliza. Angelica states that “[she] loves [her] sister more than anything in this life” which has obvious repercussions to her previous positive view of Hamilton. Angelica wants her sister to be happy and feels that Hamilton interrupts this from happening

Hamilton’s political enemies also rejoiced at the publication of the Reynolds Pamphlet. Due to Hamilton no longer being viewed with respect there was no worry of him becoming president. This is stated twice in the song.

“That’s one less thing to worry about

That’s one less thing to worry about”

Hamilton’s ruined reputation meant political success for others as Hamilton was essentially out of the political picture. He had “ruined his own life” in the eyes of the entire country, proving untrustworthy and admitting it publically to be judged by the whole world.

Hamilton’s worst nightmare of a tainted and negative legacy begins to form in The Reynolds Pamphlet”, creating a political situation where he was no longer seen in a positive way by history.

 

B:

“The Reynolds Pamphlet” has great connection to the socials curriculum concept that “disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies”. The entire Hamilton-Reynolds scandal is driven by power disparities and the effect on America has been revolutionary. Although Hamilton is far more powerful than James Reynolds politically, James holds the power and thus manipulates Hamilton into providing him with large sums of money. This disparity of power defies the standard societal hierarchy and relates to similar to principles as the American Revolution. This will be further discussed in paragraph C.

Another interesting impact power disparities have on these events is Hamilton’s attempt to use writing for his advantage. Hamiltons talent for writing is a gift that few other Americans possess, giving him power and the ability to influence others with his writing. This power over others was what originally made Hamilton stand out and essentially rise in American politics and altered almost every one of his relationships. A great example of this were his love letters to Eliza where he enticed her with his extraordinary use of language.

The Reynolds Pamphlet was an unsuccessful attempt of Hamiltons in using this power. Citizens and readers of the pamphlet saw directly through his pretty words and rhetoric. This attempted deception added to the anger directed towards Hamilton. Citizens understood that Alexander Hamilton had a torrid affair” even when he attempted to excuse his actions with fanciful writing.

From examining the lyrics of Hamilton’s “The Reynolds Pamphlet” we can also determine what the American people of the time valued and sought as valuable traits for a leader. From the indecencies he has committed and how the public believes he should lose his chance at presidency because of this, we can infer that citizens value honesty and loyalty in a leader. When Hamilton publishes the Reynolds Pamphlet he no longer holds these traits and the Americans no longer see him as fit for leadership.

 

C:

Although “The Reynolds Pamphlettook place after the American Revolution has ended there any many ongoing effects and similarities to the American separation from the British Empire. Multiple lines throughout the song outlines how the American Revolution affected the lives and privileges of those involved.

Line #1

You could never be satisfied

God, I hope you’re satisfied

You will never find anyone as trusting or as kind

From Hamilton’s illicit actions that incited the Reynolds Scandal and Angelica’s reaction in the lyrics above, we can understand that Hamilton is not easily satisfied, even in relationships where he gets trust, kindness and from Eliza especially, money. Eliza is an extremely rich Scheluyer sister and although this is not the only reason Hamilton marries her, it certainly plays a part. After marrying Eliza, Hamilton possesses old money and now has power at his disposal, which he uses to rise socially and politically in the American government. Similar to how the 13 Colonies established themselves in a new continent with British help, Hamilton established himself in American politics with Eliza’s help and guidance. After Hamilton has built himself a strong political base, he no longer needs Eliza and she now stands in the way of Hamilton furthering his political career. After all Eliza has done for Hamilton, he is still not satisfied and dislikes how she wants him to spend more time with family. Because of this Hamilton no longer needs her and moves on to better things. This is exactly what the 13 Colonies felt to Britain and in turn what triggered the American Revolution. British settlers had founded the colonies, provided monetary, political and societal support and helped the development in the form of an investment. For the time and resources invested in the colony, the British expected a monetary payoff, just as Eliza expected Hamilton’s loyalty. Once the colonies were well enough off to support themselves, they felt as British taxes and laws were only hindering them, just as Hamilton thought of his wife Eliza. The American Revolution was fought between colonists and the British who essentially gave the colonists soil to live on. This also helps explain British anger with the colonies retaliatory actions against them. Would you want your child running away when you ask them to do the dishes?

This idea that power expectations changes overtime connects to the socials big idea discussed earlier and provides insight into how power affects relationships between individuals and nations alike.

 

Line #2

You ever see somebody ruin their own life?

The line “You ever see somebody ruin their own life”, sung by political rivals of Hamilton, is a great representation of how British citizens viewed the decision the 13 Colonies made to leave. To the British this was pure stupidity. The colonies had little to no chance of becoming rich economically and Britain was doing amazing things for them with military protection. The British saw the negative impact losing the 13 Colonies would have on them and worked hard to prevent separation. The British attempted to convince the 13 Colonies not to leave through violence and through persuasive words. The Americans are going to “ruin their own life” and why would the original creators of the colony desire that? Of course most Americans saw freedom as a wonderful thing and the wants and fears held by Americans vs British clashed heavily.

By comparing the British viewpoint to American ideas of freedom we can gather interesting insight into the American Revolution and how contrasting opinions create conflict. This is similar to how Hamilton disagreed with almost everyone who believed he committed horrible treason to his wife and the conflict created because of this.

 

Line #3

Well, he’s never gon’ be President now (never gon’ be President now)

Well, he’s never gon’ be President now (never gon’ be President now)

Well, he’s never gon’ be President now (never gon’ be President now)

That’s one less thing to worry about (that’s one less thing to worry about)

After the American revolution, the American people had to form a new government to keep order in their newly formed nation. However due to the unique social situation spread across 13 Colonies and the beliefs of the colonists, America did not want to be a monarchy. Monarchies simply do not work, proven multiple times throughout Europe and especially in England and France. To combat another revolution occurring, Americans decided to implement a representative democracy. In the beginning, members of each colony were elected by civilians and formed together with other colonies to form the continental congress. This congress would work together and decide on laws for themselves and the people of newly formed America. The power to vote was given to members of society that were thought of as “members of society”(1) at the time, rather than the British parliament at the time where all colonies and most people lacked any representation at all. This new American electoral system of democracy was revolutionary and led to more diversity of opinion in politics and provided a fair platform for ideologies and ideas to clash. This new system formed by the American Revolution and the platform it provides for politics gives Hamilton a political career and forces him to care for the public opinion of him, something never seen before in government. In “The Reynolds Pamphlet”, Hamilton throws any chance of being seen positively and thus any chance at being elected president by the people. Scandals like this had no effect on leaders elected by the divine right of kings and the publication of the Reynolds Pamphlet marks a new age in the governmental power of the people. Previously the citizens and parliaments had no power to dethrone a king over a small illicit crime but now, with an electoral system, any loss of face can cause a political career to end, just like Hamiltons. The line stating that “that’s one less thing to worry about” comes from Hamilton’s political rivals who are given space to thrive now that he is disliked by the public. Without the electoral system created as a result of the American Revolution political competition would be nonexistent and Hamilton would have never been able to become president in the first place.

 

To conclude, Hamilton’s “The Reynolds Pamphlet” was an invaluable showing of Alexander Hamilton’s personality traits, wants, fears and values. By examining “The Reynolds Pamphlet” we are exposed to in depth connections between the Hamilton -Reynolds scandal and the American Revolution, demonstrating how similar yet different history can be and reinforcing the age old saying, history repeats itself.

 

  1. In this time the only members of society considered “members of society” were white men. People of colour and women were not given the right to vote.

 

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-21-02-0138-0002

https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/32212206/Hamilton%3A+An+American+Musical+%5BOriginal+Broadway+Cast+Recording%5D/The+Reynolds+Pamphlet

 

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What lasting effects has the Battle of The Plains of Abraham had on Canada?

Adam Crespi

Independent Investigation

May 29th

Link to finished assignment : Adam Crespi Canada Investigation

 

1. In this sentence I purposely used the word ‘debated” while discussing the Beothuk genocide as it brings up an interesting discussion and bias on censorship of our history. In short summary, the Beothuk peoples were a First Nations group who inhabited the area around Newfoundland. The Beothuk had many interactions with Europeans and were used as slaves for almost a century after the first European landing. By the 1830’s the entire population and all of the Beothuk peoples were reduced to a single woman named Shanawdithit. All of the factors that caused the demise of the Beothuk peoples were caused directly by Europeans, particularly fisherman who forced Beothuk people off the shore inland, where thousands died of starvation. It only got worse for the Beothuk after this as they were then

“systematically hunted with the intent to eradicate all of them from the island” (1)

The Europeans hunted and killed Beothuk people to reduce any competition they had on the island on Newfoundland.

The fact that I have never heard of such atrocities committed by Canada and the lack of information on this subject online,  brings up an interesting question ; What else is the Canadian government attempting to keep quiet about our history? If they are at all. It is understandable that bias intending to keep a global view of Canada positive, affects the availability of this information but it is unacceptable that we are not discussing and looking to apologize for the wrongdoings done on First Nations peoples throughout Canadian history.

  1. https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/aboriginal-peoples-the-beothuk-and-how-european-contact-led-to-their-extinction

Ecological Footprint

Adam Crespi Environmental Science 9 April 20th, 2019

 

The Plan

From completing the ecological footprint sheet I discovered my ecological footprint was 3.362 hectares. I was immediately happy with this result as it was extremely low compared to my peers who averaged around 6-7 hectares. Natasha got 6.5, Grace got 5.4, and Joon got 7.89 hectares. Because of how much lower mine actually was, I became doubtful and by double checking my numbers I realized that I inputted the wrong number on the square meterage of my house which threw off the total greatly. After recalculating I came to the new number of 5.62 hectares which seems far more realistic to my life.

 

10 of the largest contributors to my footprint are :

-eating large amounts of meat

-long showers

-private vehicular travel

-washing clothing

-pre-packaged items and trash

-reduce the usage of packaged items

-sports fields for physical activity

-non local food

-ratio of living space size to people

-spending money

 

Five improvements I hope to make for the maximum reduction of my ecological footprint are: reducing water usage, eating less meat, reducing garbage, reducing vehicle emissions, and buying locally grown food.

 

  1. Reducing Water Use
    1. The first step I will take to reduce my ecological footprint, will be to reduce my water use. A bad habit of mine is showering for longer periods of time as I enjoy relaxing after a long day and this can end up wasting valuable water. To reduce this impact I will slowly decrease the length of my showers until they are under two minutes. As the average American shower uses 7.9 liters per minute, I will end up saving around 25 liters of water which would save money and help conserve water (1).
    2. Another step I will take to reduce my water use is to only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it is completely full. Only running these machines when they are full will allow me to simply run it less and save water. I have never really put thought into this and I hope that making a conscious effort will reduce my household water usage.

 

2. Eating Less Meat

  1. Another step I will take to reduce my ecological footprint will be to limit the amount of meat I consume on a daily basis. As my family is Italian, we tend to eat a lot of meat every day. For almost every dinner the main dish is or contains meat and this adds up overtime, resulting in detrimental effects on the environment and a lot of money being spent. By simply talking to my family and replacing meat dishes with vegetables or other sources of protein one or two nights a week, I will be saving money and helping the environment.

 

3. Reducing Garbage and Waste

  1. Another step that will be extremely beneficial in reducing my environmental footprint is to purchase less individually packaged items and minimize the amount of trash I produce. This will be done at the supermarket and in everyday purchases where I will choose to buy bulk containers rather than individual packages. Minimizing the amount of trash my family and I output is a straightforward and simple way of reducing our contributions to landfills and global pollution.

 

4. Reducing Vehicle Emissions

  1. Everyday motor vehicle emissions add up and become a large detriment to our planet’s health. I will take a step in reducing this part of my ecological footprint by using public transit services more often and making a stronger effort to carpool with friends. By taking transit more often and carpooling I will be limiting the greenhouse gas emissions created by private vehicles that often only carry one or two people. Having more people on the bus in or the car is more fuel efficient and saves money as well as doing a small part to reduce my ecological footprint. If the weather agrees I will also attempt to bike and walk more to get from destination to destination.

 

5. Reducing Food Impact

  1. The last step I will take to reduce my ecological footprint will be to work on buying food locally. By buying food grown outside of North America, I am increasing my ecological footprint because of the large amount of greenhouse gases and pollution released from constant international transport. Although these foreign groceries may sometimes be cheaper and available all year-round, the costs certainly outweigh the benefits (2). To buy more local food I hope to shop more at local farmers markets or search for locally grown items at the grocery store.

 

In the coming weeks I hope to implement all of these steps into my daily life to of reduce my ecological footprint. These steps are everyday things that are easy for me to change and although the impact may not be great alone, if everybody were to try this for themselves our world could be a much more enjoyable place. I am happy to play any miniscule part in diminishing the harmful impact humans are creating on our earth.

 

1.https://www.home-water-works.org/indoor-use/showers

2.https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/business/worldbusiness/26food.html

 

The Reflection

April 12th

After implementing these changes throughout the past few weeks I have found a good deal of success. The easiest change I made  was simply bussing more and getting fewer rides in private vehicles. I actually found it enjoyable to take public transit more often as it allows me to play with the freedom I have getting older and to simply relax on longer rides. In the pleasant weather we have had for the past week especially, I have been walking and biking to get from destination to destination.

Another easy change for me to make was to reducing the length of my showers. The difficulty of this surprised me as I assumed it would be one of the most difficult changes to make. This was not the case and by easily setting a timer on my phone outside of the shower, I managed to get the length of my showers down to 4 minutes which is a great improvement. I believe this was easy for me as I realized how much time I was actually wasting in the shower.

 

A more difficult change for me to make was reducing my garbage and waste. Although I found some success in buying fewer pre packaged goods, it was a challenge as I do not purchase most of my families food. In the past few weeks I have been especially busy and this hasn’t left me any time to shop with my mother to buy groceries. I did speak to her about reducing our footprint but the result could have been greater if I was there. Other than this it was successful. Related to this, buying more local foods was also difficult. Due to my busy schedule I was unable to go grocery shopping with my mother and work towards eating more locally grown food for my entire family.

I also struggled in reducing the amount of meat I consume, as it has become such an intrinsic part of my diet. I am so used to eating meat with every meal that it has become habit and although I improved slightly, I could have put far more effort into reducing the amount of meat I consume and breaking the habit.

 

Throughout the process of making these improvements I ran into a few small obstacles but none of which made much of an impact. One impediment that kept showing up was forgetfulness of my new habits. Over the past three weeks there have been quite a few times where I have simply forgotten to hold off on running the washing machine or to not purchase an item of food with extensive packaging. Because I have only been working on this for a few weeks it has not all been cemented into my brain. I am sure that I will improve on this in time.

Overall, the greatest obstacle I found myself faced with was simply an absence of time to take on the larger improvements. For most improvements I was attempting to make there were simple and small tasks to complete but for the larger improvements, such as changing my diet, were much more challenging and time consuming. I often found myself in situations where it was far easier to make the non-eco friendly choice and I had to put in the extra effort to help the environment. I believe that putting in extra effort to be eco-friendly is something that drives many people away from the idea.

 

In the future I hope to continue applying these techniques I have learned as they have resulted in reducing my ecological footprint and other unexpected benefits. In the past three weeks I have spent significantly less money on a daily basis, wasted less time in the shower, and gotten more exercise walking. Although I may not apply all these steps on a daily basis going forward, I now have a more informed view on issues affecting my ecological footprint and how I can reduce it with small, everyday decisions.

Animal Farm, All Paragraphs

Adam Crespi

April – May, 2019

Question #1

Pages 1 – 21

What conditions are needed for revolution to occur? Based on your readings so far, what is the single most significant factor leading the animals to revolution?
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, farm animals revolt against Mr Jones and the other humans on the farm to get the lifestyle they want. After years of mistreatment, the animals finally decide that it is time to rise up against the power that commands them as they are tired of the life they live. The farm owners are living luxuriously and for the animals on the farm life is “miserable, laborious, and short”(2). The animals are forced to “work to the last atom of our[their] strength” and are “given  just so much food as will keep the breath in our [their] bodies” (2). In the animals eyes, the “life of an animal is misery and slavery”(2). For the animals this unhappiness is what pushes them towards revolution. They are sick of being taken advantage of by humans. They are sick of being miserable, hungry and having to constantly work. They are sick of living the life they live when they understand that their lives could be better without man. Working hard and having “nearly the whole of the produce of our[their] labour” stolen from them, is not how they enjoy themselves (2). The most significant factor that leads the animals to revolution is the vision of life without humans and therefore life without misery. The animals have a glance and idea of how brilliant life would be without humans and how they could get a more luxurious life through rebellion.

Question #2

Part 2 – 22-42

When, if ever, is the force of manipulation justified? What are the long term benefits of and detriments of these actions?

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, manipulation runs rampant for both animals and humans. In the beginning, the animals were blatantly manipulated by the Jones farmers, having “nearly the whole of the produce of our [their] labour is stolen from us [them] by human beings”(2). This manipulation resulted in obvious detriments and general unhappiness for all the animals. After the revolution successfully occurs and the animals occupy the whole farm, a leader emerges in the pigs. The pigs become leaders as they are the only animals who “could [can]  already read and write perfectly”  as well as having a better memory and hands suitable for more delicate work (10). The pigs understand and remember the entire alphabet while some animals like Boxer “could not get beyond the letter D”(10). In the beginning of the revolution, the pigs were insightful leaders who believed themselves to be equal with the rest of the animals but after a while the pigs realized they could be using their abilities for more. It started off as commandeering milk and apples “to preserve our [their] health” and in a few years time ended up changing the 7 commandments and siccing attack dogs to scare others into submission, even killing chickens when they refused to give up their eggs. The pigs realized that they could manipulate other animals by using their advanced brains. By the end of the book the pigs have taken full control over every other animal at Animal Farm. However, the manipulation and power the pigs hold over the other animals has resulted in more happiness than the rule of humans ever did. Even though the animals “were generally hungry, slept on straw, drank from the pool, laboured in the fields” and worked hard to please the pigs, they stayed content because of “their sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm” (39). In this instance, the manipulation imposed by the pigs has actually benefited the farm and animals greatly. Even with the same work and labour, the animals are happier knowing that their efforts are for themselves rather than profits going straight to humans. The manipulation is justified and beneficial in this situation as the animals are partly unknowing but content with the pigs tyranny.

 

Final Question

All Pages (1-42)

In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was the revolution inevitable?

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm I believe that the revolution was initially successful but in the end was a unpremeditated, inadequate and unnecessary idea. The original goal of the animals revolution was to change their lives of “misery and slavery” to lives where “the whole of the produce of our [their]  labour” is no longer stolen from them (2). When the animals revolt this is exactly what happens and they are ecstatic, jumping around the fields, rolling in dew and shouting to remind themselves that “it was theirs−everything that they could see was theirs” (7). This initial excitement and joy lasts for many weeks but, as could have been foretold, there must be a leader to every group and leadership creates power dynamics which are often unfair to the weaker citizens. As the smartest, the pigs took control and started taking apples to “preserve [their] health” (11). This soon turns into a complete oligarchy where the pigs believe themselves to be far better and more powerful than other animals, even enforcing their belief of superiority with violent attack dogs. It could also have been easily foretold that life completely without humans would be impossible as among other things, the animals are completely unable to forge metal on their own. These two factors lead to pigs and humans becoming prone to cross species interaction and five years later  “the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again” and could not tell the difference (42). By this time the animals were back to their miserable lives of slavery but instead of being whipped by humans, they were being lashed by pigs who carried “whips in their trotters” (40). Long term this revolution was not successful as they were right back where they started, now without any literate animals with them. The entire revolution idea was also unnecessary. Instead of turning to violence and expelling Jones, they could have first resorted to far more diplomatic measures such as simply talking or writing out communications to resolve the problems peacefully. However I believe this is unlikely to work with Jones and the animals would be back to square one all over again. In my opinion the animals will be unhappy with whatever leader they have, due to their stupidity and lackluster memory. No matter who they are led by, the animals are going to be manipulated as many “animals on the farm could get further than the letter A”. For anyone who leads the animals, manipulation is simply too easy. The animals are never going to permanently receive their desired change unless they can become a dominant species capable of identifying and stopping manipulation before it gets out of control.

Animal Farm Final Paragraph

Adam Crespi

May 2nd

Final Question

All Pages (1-42)

In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was the revolution inevitable?

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm I believe that the revolution was initially successful but in the end was a unpremeditated, inadequate and unnecessary idea. The original goal of the animals revolution was to change their lives of “misery and slavery” to lives where “the whole of the produce of our [their]  labour” is no longer stolen from them (2). When the animals revolt this is exactly what happens and they are ecstatic, jumping around the fields, rolling in dew and shouting to remind themselves that “it was theirs−everything that they could see was theirs” (7). This initial excitement and joy lasts for many weeks but, as could have been foretold, there must be a leader to every group and leadership creates power dynamics which are often unfair to the weaker citizens. As the smartest, the pigs took control and started taking apples to “preserve [their] health” (11). This soon turns into a complete oligarchy where the pigs believe themselves to be far better and more powerful than other animals, even enforcing their belief of superiority with violent attack dogs. It could also have been easily foretold that life completely without humans would be impossible as among other things, the animals are completely unable to forge metal on their own. These two factors lead to pigs and humans becoming prone to cross species interaction and five years later  “the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again” and could not tell the difference (42). By this time the animals were back to their miserable lives of slavery but instead of being whipped by humans, they were being lashed by pigs who carried “whips in their trotters” (40). Long term this revolution was not successful as they were right back where they started, now without any literate animals with them. The entire revolution idea was also unnecessary. Instead of turning to violence and expelling Jones, they could have first resorted to far more diplomatic measures such as simply talking or writing out communications to resolve the problems peacefully. However I believe this is unlikely to work with Jones and the animals would be back to square one all over again. In my opinion the animals will be unhappy with whatever leader they have, due to their stupidity and lackluster memory. No matter who they are led by, the animals are going to be manipulated as many “animals on the farm could get further than the letter A”. For anyone who leads the animals, manipulation is simply too easy. The animals are never going to permanently receive their desired change unless they can become a dominant species capable of identifying and stopping manipulation before it gets out of control.

In-Depth Post #6

My In depth project went so fast! I feel like I just started a few days ago. It has been an amazing process and I have learned so much more than I expected. The past few weeks have been especially productive and I have met with Ivan once every week. For our meeting last weekend Ivan allowed me to choose our meeting place to test my learning and I chose Belcarra beach which worked out wonderfully. We headed out for the sunset and watched it set over Bedwell Bay. The sun set and we stayed out even longer, taking photos with longer exposures to make the ocean flat and still. For this I borrowed one of Ivan’s ND filters and experimented with shutter speeds. A little spider friend also came out and acted as an interesting subject to test with. For our next meeting Ivan is hoping to show me his antique camera collection and showcase how photography has changed over time. I am extremely excited for this lesson and I am conducting some independent research on the subject to prepare beforehand.

As I acquired the mentorship through the PDPC, Ivan has informed me that the club wishes that I give a presentation outlying the mentorship and showcasing some of the photos I have taken during sessions with Ivan. I am extremely nervous for the presentation but I am also excited to share some my best photos to some experienced photographers.

In relation to Chapter 9 of De Bono’s A Beautiful Mind I have been working to understand many large concepts of photography. As my original in depth goal was to work better with light in my photos, I have been working on the concept of creating a well rounded photograph that is pleasing to look at. This large concept includes composition, lighting and creativity but recently I have focused on properly exposing my images. Perfect exposure is a challenging skill to master and it requires an in depth understanding of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. To develop this skill I have been receiving a lot of help from Ivan who has many insights from his lifelong photography experience. One interesting piece of information Ivan constantly reminds me of is to underexpose while capturing sunsets. This is to preserve the colours of the sky. A famous quote Ivan loves to use while describing this is

“You can bring back the colours from dark but you can never bring colours back from blown out whites”

In relation to A Beautiful Mind chapter 10 I have learned many special alternate techniques from Ivan that I may have missed out on with a different mentor. Photography is an art form and because of this this there is no ‘best way’ to do it. There are many different beliefs on what makes ‘good’ photos and what makes ‘bad’ photos. In photography culture there are also many debates comparing film and digital shooting. Both mediums are notorious for disliking each other and this can create conflict between photographers. Luckily Ivan has done a great job on remaining impartial during teaching. Although he may be mentoring me in the techniques he uses, Ivan gives me freedom and always shows me the alternatives, allowing me to make my own decisions. A good example of this was during Ivan and I’s trip to Belcarra. We went down to the dock and he immediately set up his tripod at the base of the pier, looking out over the pier and water. I was initially confused by why Ivan would be content so far away from the water and all the fun stuff that comes along with it. I spoke to him about this and he explained that if we were right next to the water than our images would lack a subject. I understood this but decided to head out onto the dock anyways. Ivan encouraged me to go out and pushed me to try the alternative on my own. After shooting the water from the dock for a few minutes I realized how boring and subjectless the photos were. Ivan was right and I learned this valuable lesson firsthand. By giving me alternatives Ivan helped me learn important aspects of composition myself. If Ivan had acted differently in this situation and discouraged me from trying ideas on my own I would have missed out on learning this lesson directly.

Another example of a specific technique I have learned from Ivan is being selective in what you shoot. Although Ivan shoots digital, he understands how shooting film and having a limited amount of shots can be valuable. Throughout this project Ivan has been influencing me to stop shooting and to start thinking about the environment I am in to capture the best photographs. Another mentor may have had a totally different opinion about selective shooting and may have encouraged me to simply take hundreds of photos and choose the one or two quality photos I took..

For my presentation at In depth Night I am sticking to my original idea of a slideshow outlining my photos and different photographic aspects. For example I hope to have a slide showing four different pictures, all shot at different shutter speeds to illustrate my learning to the audience in a simple way. I could repeat this with aperture and ISO as well. I hope that my slideshow brings light (haha) to complicated photography ideas in a way that the entire audience can learn from. If everyone in the audience has even a slightly better idea of a photographs complexity, I will be content.

 

On our shoot at Belcarra I got this cool shot of a spider silhouette over the lake.

spider

After the presentation is over I hope to still meet with Ivan biweekly. There is still so much to learn!