Bamberg, Germany

Friday, February 25, 2011

Digital Photographs

Since I have STILL not left for Germany, I had to manage with using Charleston as my subject for all my photos. Fortunately for me, Charleston is a great place; rich with culture and sights to see. I chose to photograph the street that I used to live on. Because I am a girl, I ended up focusing on flowers... sorry guys.
I tried to incorporate the different photography principles presented in the video tutorials. For instance, the vertical shot vs. the horizontal shot.


In this instance, Iprefer the horizontal shot to the vertical one. I find the multiple flower boxes more aesthetically pleasing. I used the same angle to photograph both pictures and tried to eliminate any empty space in the photograph. I also applied the 1/3 theory to the photographs so that the subject, or flower boxes, did not seem arbitrarily placed in the photos.

This last photo is of one of the flowers inside the flower box. I chose to use a tight shot and a different angle- straight on. It is interesting to see how all the different photography techniques can make one simple set of flower boxes into a complex mosaic of images.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm Loving it...

Unfortunately I am still stateside and will not be in Germany for another two weeks, so comparing the German McDonald's to the the American ones is a little more difficult. I am, however, able to browse the German McDonald's website, and the German Ronald, I must say, is very similar to the American Ronald McDonald. Both sell the same classic foods- the Big Mac, the Happy Meal (toy included), the seasonal McRib, etc.

The German McDonald's did seem to get more creative in its titling in comparison to the American website. Instead of just calling it the "menu" the German version has "McMen├╝". How clever. The German website also used more photos of obnoxiously happy people eating McDonald's food and the format of their website was slightly different from the American version. Their is a noticeably smaller variety in product at the German Mickey-D's. Their website only advertises the classics, but they did have a couple of new foods that the American store does not have, like really cute cupcakes! I vote that the American Ronald needs to put on his baker's hat and start selling cupcakes, but that's just me.

What I find so interesting about the McDonald's brand is that it is soo classically "American." And yet it is one of the largest international corporations. Seeing how different countries refashion this american brand to fit within their own country's cultural parameters is really intriguing. Because let's face it, the American name is not always the most popular. But obviously no one can deny the power of the Big Mac.

I will be sure to check out the local McDonald's when- if I ever- get to Germany. Although I hear that Burger King is really big there. Bigger than McDonald's because word on the street is they let you have it your way...

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Medium's Message

Nietzsche's idea that the medium dictates the method of composition really resonated with me. I would even argue that the tools we use to express ourselves not only affect the method but also the actual message. With today's technology, there is grammar and spell check, online dictionaries and thesauruses, there are even essays that I could easily purchase and pass off as my own. The technology is literally changing the words we write. Since starting this blog entry I have made three spelling mistakes, all of which have been automatically corrected by my computer's spell check. And how do you know I didn't just purchase this blog entry rather than write it myself... haha just kidding. But really even in this small blog entry, my writing has been affected by the medium... the computer and its glorious automatic spell check.

Writing on a computer makes erasing what you write so easy. Simply backspace and whatever you wrote is erased forever. With pen and paper, it's not so simple. You have to be more sure of your self and confident in what you write because it isn't going anywhere with the click of a button. When I take notes in class for instance, I choose to use pen and paper because it makes me really pay attention to what I write. That way I don't just aimlessly list points and facts, but rather I comprehend and digest the presented information. I think that Nietzsche's prose overlaps with Kevin Kelly's idea that the screen is making our reading endurance weaker. The medium affects the message and the way the message is received. It is as simple as that. In fact I can feel my endurance decreasing right at this very moment as I stare into this screen...

However, I don't feel that this new Gutenberg Shift is the end of literacy. It's just new. That's all. And it's really hard to complain about this new medium when it provides us with an seemingly infinite amount of information at our finger tips. I just wonder what the next shift will be. Brain chips maybe???

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cross Culture

Coming to America?


The task of introducing someone to true "american culture" seems a little daunting to me. I am not even sure if I understand what American culture really is. It varies between the different regions. I think that the question of "Does othering make the different group invisible?" is too simple. What makes a group different? Technically everyone is a foreigner because you are only a part of a dominant culture in 1 place. So I think that for me, I would not so much try and teach my exchange student the "american culture" but my own version. What is significant and meaningful to me. And also, my version of America probably overlaps with how many people see the U.S.

I know all the t-shirts and post cards and whatever say that the U.S. is the home of the brave... the land of the free... blah blah blah. But really, for me at least, the United States is the south, specifically Clemson. I would show my exchange student all the things that make Clemson a unique place. I would talk about all the athletics,- football, baseball, etc.- going downtown, friends, and school. By showing why and what makes Clemson unique, hopefully my exchange student will take away the fact that the U.S. is full of unique places. That no one place is the same. The combination of all these different and unique places, like Clemson, is what composes and makes up American culture. Using the grass analogy- the United States is the like a backyard lawn and Clemson, SC is one of the many strands of grass. I think that the United States values individualism and personal growth as a major priority. I also believe that rags to riches, metaphorically speaking, is alive and well in the U.S. The U.S. provides its citizens with the opportunity to become rich in more than just money. Rich in experience, diversity, happiness, the list goes on and on.

I just hope that I can come to value my host country as much as I value my own country.