Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Enjoying My Porch

My stepdad transformed/built the three wonderful porches that I have at home. He put down the planks of wood and constructed the bamboo fences. My mom then made the porches colorful and comfortable. The porches we have at home are some of the best places to hang out in the summer. One has a barbecue on it, and the others have cool seating with umbrellas overhead. Beyond the fences, I have a beautiful green view that I take in and enjoy on many sunny days. I am very thankful for the porches I have at home, and am well aware that I probably won't have any of my own for several years. I try to enjoy the porches now while I still live at home; it's not going to last much longer.
Here's a tribute:

Fellow Companion:
My Experience:

Extra Reading:
Mark Thiessen and Becky Hale: Thiessen and Hale, who work for National Geographic, are constantly challenged to make ordinary objects look interesting. In order to home their creative abilities, the photographers shot water balloons in the studio to see the affects they could get. Along with aiming the balloons at the wall, they also aimed them at them at each other! Using strobes that were triggered by the sound of the breaking balloons, Thiessen and Hale were able to get some really interesting shots. Their blog post also talks about the photographer, Desmond Downs, who shoots water balloons in the studio as well. Go check out their work. The images all the photographers were able to capture are amazing!


It's pretty fascinating how much an image changes with a few small alterations to the way it's edited. A photograph that elicits happiness can suddenly become creepy; an image that looks sad and dark can be transformed into an uplifting piece. Last night after I got out of the shower, I took a self-portrait, and the steam from the shower fogged up my camera lens. The fog gives the photograph a slightly strange color, while also giving the image a soft focus. When editing this photograph, I noticed that the contrast level drastically changed the image, as well as the saturation level, and the exposure. These three things would change any image significantly, but the soft-focused, foggy nature of the self-portrait I took enhanced the changes made with different contrast, saturation, and exposure levels.

Extra Reading:
Nick Fochtman: I met Nick last summer when we both took part in the Young Photographers Alliance mentorship program. Nick is from Michigan (the state shaped like a hand!), and has a political science background. He has an editorial style (partly due to his experience working for the Oregonian, I'm sure). Nick is one of the kindest and most genuine guys you will ever meet, and you should definitely go check out his new website!

On another note, if you are a photographer between the ages of 18 and 29, you should apply for this year's Young Photographers Alliance mentorship program! YPA has programs in multiple states, so if you don't live in Oregon, it is likely that YPA has a mentorship program in the state you live in (there are even a few international teams). The mentorship experience is invaluable and challenging; you will be treated like a professional, working photographer, and will be pushed to produce better work than you have before. To apply, click here.

This year's theme is titled "Boundaries," and applications will be accepted until May 19th. In order to apply, you must:

  • be 18-29 years of age
  • be able to commit yourself from June 1st to August 31st
  • submit 5-8 images (the images do not have to relate to this year's theme)
  • submit a letter of recommendation from an advisor, professor, mentor, or employer
  • give a short summary of the photography classes you've taken
  • explain how you might approach the theme (these ideas are not set in stone)
Each of the above requirements applies to mentorships in all states and countries. 
Being mentored by professional photographers changed my life, and I would highly recommend applying if you are very interested in photography or want to become a professional photographer. At the end of the summer you will put on your own show in your home state and in New York.

Again, if you'd like to apply to the YPA summer mentorship, click here.

As always, thank you for reading! 

Monday, April 28, 2014


One of my favorite parts about being home during sunny days is when I walk up the stairs and see rainbows blazing all over the walls, the curtains, and the door. The sun shines through the glass chandelier we have, projecting groups of color in little spasms, all over the stairway and above. As the minutes pass, the shapes change with the sunshine, the spasms morphing into even more interesting groups and clusters. Each sunny day that I'm home and I walk up the stairs in the early evenings, I have the pleasure of enjoying this magical sight. Even though I know the little rainbows are only caused by light refraction, I prefer to imagine myself as a leprechaun who just hit the rainbow jackpot (leading to fat stacks in my pocket, ya know!!).

Extra Reading:
Thoughtful Spot: Here is someone else's blogpost about these little rainbows.
Kumi Yamashita: My best friend's boyfriend sent me a link to Yamashita's work (thank you, Cedric!). She is not a photographer, but her work is amazing. In one project, she takes blocks and organizes them in a perfect form that causes a face to emerge in shadow when a light is shined on the blocks. Yamashita does the same thing with post-it notes and cut paper. The magic she creates is absolutely amazing, enough to boggle just about anyone's mind. Please go take a look!

Thanks for reading, everybody! :)

Feeling Small

I went to the waterfront today and laid down on the edge of a concrete planter to look up at the amazing, expansive sky. It was all light blue, the clouds only in my periphery. The sky has always amazed me immensely--it makes me feel incredibly small. When I look up into the universe, I feel as if I know close to nothing, or rather, that everything I think I know is only that: something I think I know but can never be sure of. The universe is the only thing that has the answers, the big wide universe, our amazing and mysterious home. That beautiful light blue sky, it makes me realize how small I am, and how many questions I have that will never and could never be answered. I sat there staring for minutes, gazing up in awe, knowing that I am tiny, but protected by this giant universe I call home.

Here are some different views of the sky:

Extra Reading:
Jon Wyatt: If you'd like to see some other beautiful skyscapes (and a lot more breathtaking landscape imagery for that matter), check out Wyatt's work!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Slight Unknown

The things I find the most interesting are the ones that are half hidden, or take on a mysterious or interesting form. Things that curve, that intertwine, that appear from behind a curtain, a wall, a plant. Life is mysterious--there is always something to be figured out, something that is unknown to us, that we will never know and never can know. Most of what we know comes from our intuition, something that is in itself quite mysterious.

Here are the curves, the hidden things, from my day:

Extra Reading:
Mikko Lagerstedt: Lagerstedt, a photographer from Finland, creates work that is beautiful and idyllic in a dark, lonely sort of way. Each photo is pristine, too pristine, which makes them majestic and unreal. The sense of mystery in Lagerstedt's photos are great, and each one has a story behind it; his photos make the viewer feel like constructing a narrative of make-believe. Go check him out and make up your own stories.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Boy, boy, boy, boy
boy oh boy oh boy oh boy

Extra Reading:
James Cooper: I love underwater photography, and Cooper's is dark-looking and creative. Some of his subjects look like they are exploding (but not in a scary way); Cooper's models use spray paint to make big clouds that obscure parts of their bodies.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Eating at Dad's House

Today I went over to my dad's house to have some stir fry. For dinner almost every single day, my dad has a very simple diet, and he eats stir fry with kale, chard, rice, hot sauce, and sweet sauce. When I hang out with my dad, it has become a ritual that we go back to his apartment and he makes me stir fry while I sit on the rocking chair or his desk chair and watch him make my meal. Here are a few moments from today's ritual:

Sitting in the desk chair:
My view:
Washing dishes and moments in between:
Walking together after eating:

My dad was also affected by a car crash last night; he was standing in a bus shelter, when all of the sudden someone pulled an illegal U-turn and rammed into the shelter. My dad was pushed back and fell into a bunch of broken glass. The other man who stood by my dad was able to get out of the way before being affected, but his groceries, which had been sitting on the shelter's bench, were completely smashed. If either my dad or the other man had been sitting on the bench, my dad said, they would have been in the hospital, "at best." 
The peculiar thing is that a few minutes before the crash, my dad had intuitively thought, what if a car crashed into this bus shelter? That's a lesson in listening to your intuition.

Look at my dad's hands. My hands are his hands, just a lot smaller. When I was little (and my hands were even smaller), I used to take a piece of paper and trace my dad's hand, and then I would put my hand inside the tracing and do the same thing again. A hand inside a hand. Our hands have always been exactly the same, and it is quite a comforting feeling. 

Extra Reading:
Steph Telesco: Telesco recently graduated from MassArt. I like her work because it feels familiar, yet it is a bit mysterious at the same time. There is enough mystery in her photos that keep you looking. Telesco's photographs explore home and the self, and all of her work feels very personal.