photography, Virginia Tech

Cara Nolan


Cara Nolan
ART 2664: Digital Photography
Inkjet Prints on 52 Playing Cards

For this project I chose to focus on the mathematical concept of probability. The idea of risk and reward is often thought of in high stakes terms where the outcome can sometimes be dangerous but the truth is every day we come in contact with probability in some of the smallest ways. I took pictures of my subject while she played an innocent game of chance and even though the risk was small the emotions that she portrayed during that time encompassed a wide range of emotions. The risk we take can cause us to be pensive, nervous, ecstatic, or regretful along with many more emotions. I worked on capturing all of the emotions she experienced while playing a game of chance.

10 thoughts on “Cara Nolan”

  1. I immensely enjoyed your use of other materials in printing these photos. You took what would seem to most as just a set of candid portraits and gave it a greater context by putting it on cards and roping it in with the elements of chance and the concept of probability. Great concept.

  2. I really like that the cards are in color and the photo is in black and white. It really adds something extra to the photos. I also like that you are expressing different emotions- similar to those that we may experience while playing card games. I think it is a very whimsical idea!

  3. This is a really interesting concept and I would love to see more of this series, with other people and situations. The black and white images with the overlay of the card details create a dark & gritty theme that I enjoy.

    The image that works the most for me is the one with the King. She becomes a character, wearing some sort of mask while in a game of chance. You should look at some card illustrations by the artist Sir William Nicholson. Even though he works in completely different medium and his is from the early to mid 1900’s, I think his playing cards are dark and mysterious like yours. I think I would like to see your work look more like a playing card possibly limiting the image to the center of the card instead of bleeding off the edges.

    Great work,
    I am interested to see how this progresses I love the concept.

  4. I’ve always been drawn to the technique of overlaying elements in photography. You’ve done it quite flawlessly here and I love how the placement of the suits seems to represent the element of chance that exists in playing cards as well. It’s so interesting how the suit location switches from covering her mouth, to her nose, to the texture draping her face in the King card – all seem to aesthetically fit extremely well.

  5. I feel your technique of combining the photograph with other elements was executed fairly successfully. The power in the expression for each card is not lost behind the card’s decoration. The composition for each leaves the viewer engaged with the expression while also being able to easily identify the cards.
    The level of contrast in the actual photographs is a little flat, with none of the grays going truly dark or the whites becoming particularly bright, however I feel this actually worked in your advantage allowing for the expressions to simultaneously fall in the background while working with the cards, as previously mentioned.

  6. I really love the combination and overlapping of the playing cards and the portraits over them. It’s such a unique idea for expressing emotions in a way. The viewers eyes are forced to look all around this picture at all of the different cards, and really focus in on the facial expressions. Your concept of probability and the element of chance with printing your pictures on these cards make this project that much cooler to look at and understand. Also, the placement of the shapes on the cards in relation to the face seem to work really well and are fun to look at overall!

  7. I really like your concept of the project and how you chose to combine the poker cards with the player’s expressions. I think you did a great job capturing the figure’s face expressions. As some patterns on cards covered the faces, I wish more details could be shown to portray the figure’s emotion and reaction concerning the game risk. In addition, variation in editing the cards or creating additional effects to present your idea about possibility would be something interesting to try. : )

  8. You have a good solid concept and captured well the emotion with the subject matter of cards can connect most viewers with the feeling of playing cards… the chance, suspense, and surprise. The cropping of the photos with the card images overlaid appears to be very “cut-and-paste” but if it were too uniform it would be cliche, good work avoiding that. I would consider creating a greater contrast between the photos and cards by making the photos much brighter.. just so we can see the card better.

    Keep up the good work.

  9. I love this image. It is interesting both conceptually and technically. The work is bold and playful at the same time, which is no easy feat. My favorite images are the Ace card ones. I find some of the other ones slightly distracting, especially the king of clubs card.

  10. I like the idea behind your series. The way you post-edited them and categorized them in this way definitely add a strong intention for your series. I like you changed your pictures into black and white, and have that strong contrast of red with them. Very intense

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