Chills

Looking back on the past few months, I’m so fortunate. I’m fortunate to have people in my life willing to help me achieve my goals, whether it be through modeling, helping me carry heavy things, or driving me places on a whim. I’m lucky that I’ve had wonderful teachers and great peers to guide me through my work.

I’m so pleased with how things went this semester, I feel like crying tears of joy.

It was a really hard semester. My dad had a heart attack. An old friend of mine passed away. My dog of fifteen years passed away. It was sad, it was frustrating, and I was really down for a lot of it. But I had my photography. I will always have photography.

I will always have people in my life willing to help.

The first two weeks of the semester, I had a terrible feeling that things weren’t going to go well in terms of photography. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything that I wanted to do, and as any creative person will know, that puts a damper on things. But I knew had to keep pushing, I had to make it work. And I did.

There are times where I get discouraged. There are moments when I think “I’m not going to make it in this field.” I have so much left to learn and I feel like I’m always staring at the back of someones head who is far in front of me. But times like this, times right now where I’m feeling good and I feel like I’m heading in the right direction… Moments like these make me feel really good.

I’m glad I’m tenacious. I’m glad that I haven’t stopped working hard. It’s going to come to something.

If you’re reading this and you’re feel discouraged, it’s okay. But please, no matter what you do, don’t give up. If photography if your passion, don’t stop. If writing is your passion, don’t stop. Whatever your passion is- DO. NOT. STOP.

Odds are that if you stop, you’ll stop right before you break through and make it.

Keep going. I’ll see you all on the other side of the finish line.

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Spartans Will

This weekend I took photos of my best friends for their upcoming graduation. I’m trying to remember if I did something like this before, but I don’t think so. Last time I did portraits for someone was a little over a year ago, and since then I have gotten much MUCH better at directing and judging light.

These kinds of shoots aren’t normally my thing. My kind of vibe is more like, “Here, take this random object and stare moodily out into the horizon, contemplating the essence of life,” or, “Here squeeze this balloon until pops while retaining a stoic expression,” or, my personal favorite, “Yeah, there may be tornado sirens going off, but just ignore them and pretend you’re an adventurer.”

Yeah, saying, “Okay smile- don’t give me any of those fake smiles! C’mon, give me a nice laugh- there we go!” is not really what I do. But, my best friends look beautiful and I enjoy how the photos turned out. I got to be a little creative and out of the norm with a couple of them, so I’m happy. I even got to do some cheesy editing- c’mon, you gotta admit, doing the cliche stuff is fun every once in a while.

I hope I get to do more commission work in the future. I’ve done studio head shots, graduation photos… I wonder what’s next?

Fictionisms, Completed

My body of work, “Fictionisms,” after four months, is finally complete.

It’s been a ride. I’m pretty committed to my projects, so the commitment for this project wasn’t a stretch. Then again, I started seeing letter shapes whenever I closed my eyes, so I’m glad it’s over. I was originally going to have 25, then 18, but the final number ended up being 16, as I ran out of time. But, as my classmates and professor also said, 16 is a solid number for this type of work. Any more and it would be monotonous.

But, here they are, all presented together.

Pretty colorful, right?

I really did enjoy this project. The professor who taught the class I audited is a professor I’ve had twice: once for Intro to Fiction Writing, and then Advanced. I always looked forward to his class, for several reasons. One of the reasons was the way he put things, which was honestly and unapologetic-ally. I knew that he would make me a better writer. His advice was profound to me; he would say something about writing and I’d hurry to write it down before it faded away, forgotten.

I got to take those phrases and transform them with my passion for photography. It was pretty stellar.

With this project, I had to branch out and use people I don’t normally use for models, since I didn’t want any repeated faces. I’m so glad I did this. I found that not only do I have people who aren’t too daunted at the aspect of being photographed, but I have a lot of people in my life who want to help me. I also discovered that all of these people can model. I’ll never have a problem finding people for a project.

So, thank you, everyone who helped. Thank you to the professor and the students for letting me audit your class. Thank you to my friends and to the people who I don’t know as well as I would like to, for modeling for me, for putting up with the constant flux of schedule changes, for the unexpected flashes of light on your unsuspecting eyes. And to my photography peers, for your suggestions and dealing with my constant, “Do you think x amount of prints will be acceptable for final crit? Do you? Are you sure?” A lot of my work couldn’t be done without the support of the people in my life.

But enough with the sap, y’all know I’m thankful.

Now that I’m down with my photography classes for the semester, I wonder what’s next for me. I did a little bit of stuff on my own these past few months, but now I have a whole summer stretching out before me, full of possibilities. I was looking back on everything I did last summer, and I feel excited. I want to create more, learn more.

I’m so excited for what’s ahead. I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Home Sweet Home

At last, my lighting final is complete.

I envisioned this series last summer, but didn’t get around to it because it was easier said than done. Which is code word for I procrastinated and suddenly I had to go back to school which is where all hopes and dreams shrivel up and die in the folds of texts books.

And, at that time, I only had two images planned. Since I had access to lighting equipment, and since I had a deadline, I chose to do it for my final.

But enough of the back story, here is my artist statement and my images.

 

“Home Sweet Home” is a self-portrait series about the relationship I have with the house I grew up in. My house was and never will be an ordinary house, as it has been cycling through adverse conditions since I was three years old.

At the age of 3, the ceiling started to leak.

Almost a year later, we discovered that our house was slowly caving in.

At the age of 4, we swung in a steel beam with a crane and jacked the house up, like a car getting new tires.

When I was 8, after years of catching rainwater in buckets in our living room, we decided to rebuild the front of the house.

At the age of 9, we dug up the front porch and broke the main sewage line for the neighborhood- but only after we were approved to dig by the city.

A year later, my father fell off the roof and severed his wrist and broke his hip. While he barely escaped with his life, his left hand will never work the same way again.

At the age of 10, I moved out of my room so my family could finish working on the front of the house.

At the age of 15, the front of the house still was not done and I still did not have a room of my own.

When I was 16, I moved into the downstairs bedroom, formerly my dad’s office.

At the age of 17, the declining economy affected my family.

At the age of 21, the house is incomplete. There are still open ceilings. Power outlets don’t work. The roof still leaks, we have table saws in the place of beds, there are wires instead of curtains.

It may not be much, but it is home sweet home.”

Front YardFront Yard
We used to have a garden. While my mother would work on it, I would play in cardboard boxes, pretending they were a house, a rocket ship, anything.

Living RoomLiving Room
The ceiling has been exposed for as long as I can remember. I would try to hang sheets from the rafters and swing like I was Tarzan. I tried to make a hammock a few times.

Bathroom
Bathroom
We’d always use out shower rod to dry our clothes, since the dryer was broken every other week.
 

My Room
My Room
This room was going to be my bedroom, once the house was finished. Ten years after moving out of my room, it’s still a construction site.
 

Mom's RoomMom’s Room
I lived in my mother’s room for about five years, from the ages 11-16. I did a lot of growing up in that room, which was half-storage-half-bedroom.
 

Dining RoomDining Room
The kitchen table is frequently a mess, as my father runs his small business from it. We’ve learned not to move anything, because if we do, it’s guaranteed to go missing.
 

Kitchen
Kitchen
In-between the refrigerator and the wall, we store plastic shopping bags to recycle as garbage bags. We’ve had an overabundance of these for all my life, and I’ve wondered if we would ever run out.
 

Back YardBack Yard
In the summertime, my mother would build me blanket forts on our clothes line. We would sit and read inside these tents until the sun went down.


This series, as you might be able to guess, is very personal to me. This is my house. I didn’t do anything to make it look like it does, I only went to each room and made my sets. Sometimes I was embarrassed of my house, since all my friends had normal homes with walls and carpets, with a dining room table meant for eating, with a bedroom of their own to play in. Now that I’m older and I don’t live at home for most of the year, I’m able to take a step back and examine my past in that house. And it was not bad. In fact, if it weren’t for my house, I doubt I would be the creative person I am today. I wouldn’t be as resilient, as thankful, or as diverse. My mother and I made it work.

ANYWAYS onto lighter stuff.

Those boxes? Yeah, called ABC warehouse and they gave them to me.

That hammock? It was a pain to string up. I got a nice arm workout from all the knot making I was doing. Getting in and out of it was no picnic, either.

AND THAT GARBAGE BAG GOWN? My mother is a saint. A sewing saint. I told her what I wanted to do a few weeks ago, when I initially got my final assignment, and she got to work. We ran out of white garbage bags- I guess I proved to my childhood self that getting rid of those things can happen!

I’m happy with my project and I’m on cloud nine. I hope you enjoyed looking in on my life as much as I enjoyed making these images.

 

Obtuse Perspectives

This week was the week! My classmates and I put on a little exhibition in the basement of the art building for our Photography Workshop class. This is the class that I am doing my “Fictionisms” series for. Setting up wasn’t bad- I had never set up for an exhibition before! I just now realized that while typing! Wow! But really, it was super easy because I didn’t have a ton of prints, I didn’t use a hammer and nails, and I had almost everything ready to go before I got there.

The title of the show was “Obtuse Perspectives.” I was a little confused about the title, since the word obtuse means “stupid.” So, stupid perspectives. Obtuse is also a type of triangle… But, my classmates chose that as the title, so Obtuse Perspectives it was! The English major side of me still cringes a little, but it’s over now and I’m sure the average person didn’t read into the title too much.

The space wasn’t anything special; it was literally the hallway and this little gallery-type room (which is where I put my work.) So, I mean, it’s no MoMA (hahahaha not even close) but still. I wanted to document everyone hanging up their pieces, so I walked around with my iPhone, snapping away.

I was getting really picky with presenting my work. I love rainbows, so I initially arranged my prints in rainbow color order. But I tried a couple other arrangements, so after about 20 minutes of moving things around I ended back where I started. Then I had to hang them, and I started off as being extremely meticulous, but after a while I think I lost some steam- but my prints looked nice, and they look like they were in a decently straight line.

Friday night was the exhibition. My classmates and I were just kinda there, walking up and down the hallway slowly, not sure what to do (I mean, at least I was…) But, people came to see our work, and we each got to talk about our projects to people who asked. Plus, my mother, boyfriend, and two best friends came to the show, which was really great. We acted a little goofy, too.

My friends even brought me a flower!

All in all, it was a nice night. I’m looking forward to the next exhibition I will have a hand in planning, whenever it may be! Now, my “Fictionisms” series isn’t finished, despite having an exhibition- I have two more weeks to work on it, so keep an eye out for the finished product. (:

More Fictionisms

I have more photographs for my “Fictionisms” series. I’ve noticed the compositions are getting more complex as time goes on, which has its pros and cons. On the pro side, I’m getting better with Photoshop and the images look cool and they work with the lesser-complicated photographs. On the con side… Well, they’re taking longer to make and causing me more headache.

Here are images 8-12!

“The reader wants a handle on what’s going to happen in the story.”

“People don’t change. They reveal themselves.”

“Characters worth writing about are seen in ourselves.”

“You have to laugh at the world; if you don’t, it will crush you.”

“The wandering has to lead to something.”

That castle one took me FOREVER. I kept getting overwhelmed and had to take breaks. But, it’s over now!

I’m honestly getting worried over this project, since I have, what, 12 images and I need to have 25 total in two weeks? Granted, I have shoots lined up, but still… If these keep getting complicated, I don’t know what I’m going to do. But, alas, onward!

Things are getting intense, since the semester is coming to a close. Wish me luck as I get through my final projects in one piece!

March’s Photographs

My photos for the month of March have been developed! Carrying my camera around with me (Fuji Natura Classica) every day is really paying off. I got a lot of cool, once-in-a-lifetime shots this month, and I’m super excited to share them! The opportunities for exploiting light were awesome, and this month yielded more photos than months previously.

This month started out with Spring Break, where I was home but locked inside because of the crazy cold. I got to visit with an old friend and we ate at coney island, where we constructed a masterpiece out of jam packets. I got myself a fish, Charlemagne, who is the best fish ever. He’s in a much bigger tank now, being the emperor of some anubias plants- I’ll have to photograph him in his new environment soon. I had the opportunity to make head shots with theater department students, which was really cool. The way the lights were set up made everyone look beautiful. Near the end of the month, the river was flooding, but while it was receding the temperature dropped, leaving weird ice-formations on trees and plant life. March was so exciting for spontaneous picture-taking! About half-way through the month I got discouraged, because I don’t normally take these kinds of photos. My photos are usually constructed, posed, or made with alternative processes. I considered doing double exposures for the month of April, but I thought about it and decided that I want to keep going in my current direction. It’s teaching me to find the beauty in the everyday, without any enhancements. And that’s a wrap for March! My camera is ready and loaded to take on April, and I’m determined to see this project through to December!