A Visual Diary

My name is Ashley McGarry. I'm a senior Visual Communications major, minoring in graphic design at the University of South Carolina. This blog serves as a visual diary to catalogue my influences, daily inspiration and progression

© Ashley McGarry
All images are my own work, unless otherwise stated.

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  1. My main focus the past few weeks has been tying up loose ends. I’ve been rushing to finish up a lot of projects that have been in the works lately, including the final issue of the magazine and my portfolio book. Finishing my portfolio book has required a surprising amount of photography, even though I don’t  necessarily see a future for me in photojournalism. These are some shots I took last night during USC Fashion Week at the Student Designer Competition. 

  2. Before starting on our final documentary project, I’ve been researching tips from documentarians and also common mistakes to avoid. The articles listed below were very helpful, but the documentary we are studying in my film class also gave me some interesting things to consider. I know last week I posted about my film class last week, but I feel like I have to do it again. Capturing the Friedmans incorporated a variety of audio visual formats to tell the story of a family falling apart as the father and youngest son face allegations of sexual assault on children they were teaching computer programming. Family photos, video diaries, home movies and audio recordings added another dimension to the story. I’m not sure if this is something I can incorporate in my documentary project, but I’d like to try. 
PBS Mediashift
RainDance Festival Filmmaking Mistakes
Top 10 Interviewing Tips for Documentary Filmmaking Before starting on our final documentary project, I’ve been researching tips from documentarians and also common mistakes to avoid. The articles listed below were very helpful, but the documentary we are studying in my film class also gave me some interesting things to consider. I know last week I posted about my film class last week, but I feel like I have to do it again. Capturing the Friedmans incorporated a variety of audio visual formats to tell the story of a family falling apart as the father and youngest son face allegations of sexual assault on children they were teaching computer programming. Family photos, video diaries, home movies and audio recordings added another dimension to the story. I’m not sure if this is something I can incorporate in my documentary project, but I’d like to try. 
PBS Mediashift
RainDance Festival Filmmaking Mistakes
Top 10 Interviewing Tips for Documentary Filmmaking
    High Resolution

    Before starting on our final documentary project, I’ve been researching tips from documentarians and also common mistakes to avoid. The articles listed below were very helpful, but the documentary we are studying in my film class also gave me some interesting things to consider. I know last week I posted about my film class last week, but I feel like I have to do it again. Capturing the Friedmans incorporated a variety of audio visual formats to tell the story of a family falling apart as the father and youngest son face allegations of sexual assault on children they were teaching computer programming. Family photos, video diaries, home movies and audio recordings added another dimension to the story. I’m not sure if this is something I can incorporate in my documentary project, but I’d like to try. 

    PBS Mediashift

    RainDance Festival Filmmaking Mistakes

    Top 10 Interviewing Tips for Documentary Filmmaking

  3. I have never really been a Michael Moore fan. The tactics that he uses in his documentaries are incredibly biased and manipulative which have always bothered me before from a journalistic/ documentarian point of view. For example, claims that Moore allegedly wore the same clothes to the bank on different days have surfaced. Although he does not address this on his site, the staging the bank scene in Bowling For Columbine this way is certainly not an accepted amount of natural bias. 
I think I’ve mentioned my film class in previous posts. Despite my personal opinions about the way he carries himself, watching Roger & Me, a documentary about the economic collapse of Moore’s hometown after GM began moving plants out of the country, was interesting to study in my film class. We also looked at an essay that examined the truth and if there can ever really be a singular truth.
Just like it is a documentary film maker’s job to search for the truth, we are viewers need to wade through their work to separate the bias from the truth. Not that there is an intentional bias, but everyone has some slight bias that just comes from their world view, station in life and past experience. Michael Moore is just a little more upfront about showing his bias than most.

    I have never really been a Michael Moore fan. The tactics that he uses in his documentaries are incredibly biased and manipulative which have always bothered me before from a journalistic/ documentarian point of view. For example, claims that Moore allegedly wore the same clothes to the bank on different days have surfaced. Although he does not address this on his site, the staging the bank scene in Bowling For Columbine this way is certainly not an accepted amount of natural bias. 

    I think I’ve mentioned my film class in previous posts. Despite my personal opinions about the way he carries himself, watching Roger & Me, a documentary about the economic collapse of Moore’s hometown after GM began moving plants out of the country, was interesting to study in my film class. We also looked at an essay that examined the truth and if there can ever really be a singular truth.

    Just like it is a documentary film maker’s job to search for the truth, we are viewers need to wade through their work to separate the bias from the truth. Not that there is an intentional bias, but everyone has some slight bias that just comes from their world view, station in life and past experience. Michael Moore is just a little more upfront about showing his bias than most.

  4. I haven’t had much time lately to photograph, but last week was a nice break from the norm. I spent my time shuffling between Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Long Island, under a mountain of bagels and pizza and a handful of afternoons watching Netflix. This was the view from my friend’s cozy house in Philly on a cold, ugly afternoon I haven’t had much time lately to photograph, but last week was a nice break from the norm. I spent my time shuffling between Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Long Island, under a mountain of bagels and pizza and a handful of afternoons watching Netflix. This was the view from my friend’s cozy house in Philly on a cold, ugly afternoon
    High Resolution

    I haven’t had much time lately to photograph, but last week was a nice break from the norm. I spent my time shuffling between Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Long Island, under a mountain of bagels and pizza and a handful of afternoons watching Netflix. This was the view from my friend’s cozy house in Philly on a cold, ugly afternoon

  5. Creative output is difficult, maybe not in the curing cancer sense or knowing the math necessary to build  a robot sense, but in the creative field under a deadline, you are essentially asked to make magic. 
For every hour I spend on a creative project these days, I find myself spending almost as much time trying to figure out why it was sucessful, how it defines me as a designer, and how to make myself stronger and more flexible as a designer. There are times when I feel my veins pulsing with creativity, like potential energy waiting to spring into action, but so often there is a self conscious obstacle holding me back. 
As my college career comes to a close, it is hard not to get wrapped up in a state of self reflection, trying to determine if you are really on track or doing what you are meant to do. I thought this was something only I felt. (Hey maybe I’m crazy… who knows?) The fact that conversations like these are hard to articulate and even harder to initiate didn’t help, but a few months ago someone showed me this post from Linds Redding’s blog.
This post is extremely different from most of his blog posts, but somehow, it was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s still what I need to hear, and I refer back to it often to remind myself that self-doubt is universal. The things he writes about his experience as a designer ring so true, and while some of the points are disappointing, I somehow felt more optimistic when I was done. I just thought this would be an interesting article to share; I’m sure it’s filled with knowledge someone needs to hear now more than ever.  Creative output is difficult, maybe not in the curing cancer sense or knowing the math necessary to build  a robot sense, but in the creative field under a deadline, you are essentially asked to make magic. 
For every hour I spend on a creative project these days, I find myself spending almost as much time trying to figure out why it was sucessful, how it defines me as a designer, and how to make myself stronger and more flexible as a designer. There are times when I feel my veins pulsing with creativity, like potential energy waiting to spring into action, but so often there is a self conscious obstacle holding me back. 
As my college career comes to a close, it is hard not to get wrapped up in a state of self reflection, trying to determine if you are really on track or doing what you are meant to do. I thought this was something only I felt. (Hey maybe I’m crazy… who knows?) The fact that conversations like these are hard to articulate and even harder to initiate didn’t help, but a few months ago someone showed me this post from Linds Redding’s blog.
This post is extremely different from most of his blog posts, but somehow, it was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s still what I need to hear, and I refer back to it often to remind myself that self-doubt is universal. The things he writes about his experience as a designer ring so true, and while some of the points are disappointing, I somehow felt more optimistic when I was done. I just thought this would be an interesting article to share; I’m sure it’s filled with knowledge someone needs to hear now more than ever. 
    High Resolution

    Creative output is difficult, maybe not in the curing cancer sense or knowing the math necessary to build  a robot sense, but in the creative field under a deadline, you are essentially asked to make magic. 

    For every hour I spend on a creative project these days, I find myself spending almost as much time trying to figure out why it was sucessful, how it defines me as a designer, and how to make myself stronger and more flexible as a designer. There are times when I feel my veins pulsing with creativity, like potential energy waiting to spring into action, but so often there is a self conscious obstacle holding me back. 

    As my college career comes to a close, it is hard not to get wrapped up in a state of self reflection, trying to determine if you are really on track or doing what you are meant to do. I thought this was something only I felt. (Hey maybe I’m crazy… who knows?) The fact that conversations like these are hard to articulate and even harder to initiate didn’t help, but a few months ago someone showed me this post from Linds Redding’s blog.

    This post is extremely different from most of his blog posts, but somehow, it was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s still what I need to hear, and I refer back to it often to remind myself that self-doubt is universal. The things he writes about his experience as a designer ring so true, and while some of the points are disappointing, I somehow felt more optimistic when I was done. I just thought this would be an interesting article to share; I’m sure it’s filled with knowledge someone needs to hear now more than ever. 

  6. It felt amazing to see issues flying off the racks and people tracking the link down to view it online, after all the hard work we put in to the third issue of Garnet & Black It felt amazing to see issues flying off the racks and people tracking the link down to view it online, after all the hard work we put in to the third issue of Garnet & Black
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    It felt amazing to see issues flying off the racks and people tracking the link down to view it online, after all the hard work we put in to the third issue of Garnet & Black

  7. My newest endeavor in the realm of photography has been film. I haven’t taken pictures in a while, but last week I began scanning in negatives from film photos I took over the summer. Rather than rifle through tiny 4x6 glossy-coated drugstore prints which leave me wishing I had the ability to edit in post-production, I was ecstatic when a friend showed me how to scan my film negatives to edit them digitally. The beautiful of film photography combined with the ease and efficiency of digital. 
The above photo was taken last summer at sunset on the Aegean Sea somewhere between Europe and Asia.  My newest endeavor in the realm of photography has been film. I haven’t taken pictures in a while, but last week I began scanning in negatives from film photos I took over the summer. Rather than rifle through tiny 4x6 glossy-coated drugstore prints which leave me wishing I had the ability to edit in post-production, I was ecstatic when a friend showed me how to scan my film negatives to edit them digitally. The beautiful of film photography combined with the ease and efficiency of digital. 
The above photo was taken last summer at sunset on the Aegean Sea somewhere between Europe and Asia. 
    High Resolution

    My newest endeavor in the realm of photography has been film. I haven’t taken pictures in a while, but last week I began scanning in negatives from film photos I took over the summer. Rather than rifle through tiny 4x6 glossy-coated drugstore prints which leave me wishing I had the ability to edit in post-production, I was ecstatic when a friend showed me how to scan my film negatives to edit them digitally. The beautiful of film photography combined with the ease and efficiency of digital. 

    The above photo was taken last summer at sunset on the Aegean Sea somewhere between Europe and Asia. 

  8. To say that this week has been a challenge to every creative bone in my body is an understatement.
I’m not sure whether or not to be impressed or horrified at what my daily schedule has become. The photo posted above was uploaded to my Instagram at 11 a.m. Sunday morning. Since this photo was taken I’ve slept a grand total of 7 hours; it’s Tuesday. 
There is no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be a visual communicator after weeks like this. After putting in roughly 40hr weeks in a cramped windowless Student Media office on top of being a full time students. Balancing these two very serious full time jobs has definitely taken its toll, but that’s what it takes to make the magazine happen. I can’t wait to see the final product…. you know, as long as I manage to design my entire portfolio book, 60 variations of three logos, write a philosophy paper and remember to breathe with the remainder of my week.  To say that this week has been a challenge to every creative bone in my body is an understatement.
I’m not sure whether or not to be impressed or horrified at what my daily schedule has become. The photo posted above was uploaded to my Instagram at 11 a.m. Sunday morning. Since this photo was taken I’ve slept a grand total of 7 hours; it’s Tuesday. 
There is no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be a visual communicator after weeks like this. After putting in roughly 40hr weeks in a cramped windowless Student Media office on top of being a full time students. Balancing these two very serious full time jobs has definitely taken its toll, but that’s what it takes to make the magazine happen. I can’t wait to see the final product…. you know, as long as I manage to design my entire portfolio book, 60 variations of three logos, write a philosophy paper and remember to breathe with the remainder of my week. 
    High Resolution

    To say that this week has been a challenge to every creative bone in my body is an understatement.

    I’m not sure whether or not to be impressed or horrified at what my daily schedule has become. The photo posted above was uploaded to my Instagram at 11 a.m. Sunday morning. Since this photo was taken I’ve slept a grand total of 7 hours; it’s Tuesday. 

    There is no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be a visual communicator after weeks like this. After putting in roughly 40hr weeks in a cramped windowless Student Media office on top of being a full time students. Balancing these two very serious full time jobs has definitely taken its toll, but that’s what it takes to make the magazine happen. I can’t wait to see the final product…. you know, as long as I manage to design my entire portfolio book, 60 variations of three logos, write a philosophy paper and remember to breathe with the remainder of my week. 

  9. I love it when the things I’m learn in different classes all come together, especially when it ties into my personal interest. Between the film studies, videography and typography classes I’m taking this semester, it’s awesome when they can all come together. Last week I saw Rear Window for the first time at a film viewing for class. It reminded me how amazing Hitcock was, but he couldn’t create all of his work alone. He had an entire team working to create these iconic films; one of whom was Saul Bass. Saul Bass was an iconic designer whose influence extended far beyond title sequences in film. 

    He designed logos that are still in use today for companies like Minolta, United Way, Dixie, Quaker and the Girl Scouts. While his logo work shows a more traditional design aesthetic for the time, his animation for title sequences in films like Psycho, The Man with the Golden Arm (shown above), Anatomy of a Murder, and many more explored a more stylized distinctive aesthetic that Bass is iconic for to this day.  

  10. For my second class blog post, we were asked to show a piece of photo or video work we have done recently.

    My latest adventure in videography involved an afternoon of puzzle solving, a shiny new (loaned) Canon 5D Mark III, and the dreaded portfolio class. This was my first attempt at shooting and editing video in over a year, since the story on Drip I created for my Advanced Photovisual Communications class (see previous posts). Posted above is a video resume I created the first week of classes for Journalism 564. It is not particularly fancy, and it doesn’t show off any crazy photo or video skills, but it does make a definitive statement about who I am as a designer and visual communicator. Created very much through trial and error, this video explains my design philosophy, which extends far beyond the field of visual communication and speaks to my work ethic as a whole.

    Song: “Oblivion” by Grimes