Tag: photography

Student Posts

What’s in your bag?

When it comes to bags, I will passionately defend the use of totes, even when I have to carry around an impractical amount of stuff (being a tote bag lover and a chronic over-packer has its downsides). In my bag, you will usually find…

1. My AirPods (in a pink case, of course). I use these to listen to Hozier on repeat.

2. Polar Ice Extra gum. I always seem to want gum when I don’t have any, so now I keep it in my bag. Funnily enough, I hardly ever want it anymore.

3. Moisturizer. I’m on Accutane. Need I say more?

4. A snack. Pictured are freeze-dried strawberries, but my other favorites are pretzels. At one point it was a full-sized pizza bagel from my school’s dining hall.

5. My claw clip. My hair is too thick for most claw clips, so I’ve been obsessed with this XL one ever since I found it.

6. My water bottle. This thing goes with me absolutely everywhere, no matter how heavy it makes my bag. Do I ever drink enough water out of it? That’s debatable. But I love its presence.

7. An extra mask. I’ve lost too many masks during this pandemic to not carry extras. At least I’m self-aware.

8. A nose ring receipt. Honestly, I threw this in my bag when I got my nose ring switched out a week ago and forgot about it. I need to clean this thing out more often.

9. My dorm key and chapstick. I keep these on a carabiner so I can clip them onto my jeans (if the key is physically attached to me, I can’t lose it). As far as the chapstick goes — thank you, Accutane.

10. My umbrella. My hair does not handle the rain well, so I am always prepared.

11. My wallet. This one is self-explanatory, although half of the gift cards in there are used.

12. A portable charger. I forget to charge this up before leaving my dorm most of the time, but I like to think it has saved the day once or twice.

To some extent, representing myself in a catalog of the stuff in my bag is a form of writing. Writing, at its core, exists to share ideas and stories, and this photo does exactly that — if someone were to look at the photo without context, I think they could get a decent surface-level idea of who I am (I can accept the fact that the contents scream “basic college girl”). Even if the items in my bag were to leave someone unsure, the design on the bag itself fits my personality. However, I believe the story of this photo is enhanced by traditional story-telling, whether in physical writing or verbal communication. If you want to truly get to know someone, you need to swap ideas and stories with them rather than just looking at what they lug around with them all day, whether it’s discussing the story behind each item or a completely different topic.

To make this assignment, I chose the things I carry around with me most often. These items — in addition to a few others, such as my laptop — float around between my favorite tote bag and my school backpack, so I had to decide which ones were the most important to showcase. I then laid everything out on my dorm floor, making sure the objects were arranged in a way that brought attention to the design of my bag. Honestly, this was the most difficult decision I made during this assignment because while I don’t find the carpet to be an appealing background, it was the only viable option in my tiny room. Lastly, I annotated the photo on my iPad to add a personal touch.


Sketch 2: What’s in your bag?

Due: 2/20

Tag: sk2

Find a relatively large empty space. Take your backpack, messenger bag, or whatever sort of bag you carry around with you regularly, empty all the contents out, and arrange them carefully so that they represent a visual snapshot of the stuff you tote around with you on a normal day. Then take a clear photo showing your bag and the stuff and upload it to your site.

Note that like the avatar or the literacy narrative, this too is a type of autobiographical composition. If you have something in your bag that is private, embarrassing, or for some other reason you don’t want it in the picture then make the editorial decision not to include it. Or vice versa: if you would like to assume a certain kind of persona then you might consider including items in your catalog that might be less than fully true.

Add some text to your post listing the items represented in your photo, preferably adding in a bit of explanatory and/or funny commentary along the way. This can be a paragraph of text or a list or whatever format seems most appropriate for you. When these sorts of posts are done by publications, like say The Verge or Timbuk2, they are often not so subtle efforts at product placement but for our purposes there is no reason for you to engage in such advertising games.

Along with the photo and your description of the items, include a paragraph reflecting on what it was like to craft a self-portrait through this photograph. How actually representative is this image of you as a person? What sorts of choices did you make in order to create the image? What was challenging about this assignment? Is representing yourself in a catalog of the stuff in your bag a type of writing? Why or why not?