Thursday, May 1, 2014


This morning I went to Pacific Northwest College of Art to view Mei Ratz's thesis defense, entitled, "#detroitwithmei." Mei is another person who completed the Young Photographers Alliance mentorship with me last summer. Please go check out her work; she very is talented, both a photographer and a designer who creates stunning imagery.

Mei became interested in Detroit when she heard it is a dying city. She thought this negative notion couldn't be true. In response, she traveled to Detroit, interviewed multiple natives, and documented the city as thoroughly and humbly as she could. By the end of her thesis project, Mei debunked myths even she had thought were true, and she created a visual map of the city she grew to love.

Something that interested me about Mei's project was this: whenever she would pull out her DSLR to shoot, she felt out of place. To solve this, Mei ended up photographing the majority of her experience using her iPhone. The iPhone is quick, and it produces raw, humble images that are grittier and more relatable than the photographs a DSLR produces. Yes, there are times when an iPhone is not the appropriate tool to shoot an assignment. At the same time, there are subjects that a DSLR cannot truly capture, that only a smaller camera that is much more noninvasive, like the iPhone, can give justice to.

Mei's project reminded me of the magic of an iPhone photograph, and for the rest of the day, I have been inspired to use my iPhone to document. I shoot with both my DSLR and iPhone everyday, but for the past several months, I have mostly ignored my phone and traded it for its advanced counterpoint, the DSLR. However, today when I picked up my phone again, I was happy to play, happy with the grainy, and sometimes whimsical photos I was able to produce.

Here are some photos I took today with only my iPhone:

Extra Reading:
Greg Schmigel: Schmigel, who believes that most of what makes a great image is what an artist sees (and not the quality of the camera they use), uses only an iPhone to shoot. Most of his street photography looks like it is made with a DSLR, which gives evidence to Schmigel's claim: that photography is great when the artist who makes it has a dynamic vision and point of view. Another one of Schmigel's ongoing projects, titled "We're All Strangers," is composed of many black and white headshots of strangers Schmigel meets on the street. I like this project because it creates connection between the photographer, the strangers, and the audience. 
The iPhone Arts: This blog, which was created by the photographer, Egmont van Dyck, gives a glimpse into the images taken by many different iPhone/mobile camera photographers. It is very interesting to see the results they come up with. Go check it out, and maybe start taking more pictures on your own phone! Who says they cannot be great images, just because they are taken with a cell phone?

Waking Nights

Today I hung out with my friend Scott, and we ate some delicious Indian food at a place called Abhiruchi, which is in Beaverton. After that, we took a long, industrial walk, intermingled with an adventure through an even, and luscious-looking field. Eventually we took seats on a curb in a random parking lot filled with street lights, and we talked for a few hours.

Those walks make me feel incredibly happy. The industrial area, the fields, the random buildings and lights and train tracks and cars buzzing, street lights. Conversations are stigmatized by all of these things, made better by the feeling of the night, the calm, the light breeze on this summery day. These nights are my favorite, made perfect by having gone out to eat (trying new things! Food served to you!). My day was absolutely lovely.

Chandeliers hang in the strangest of places. Little rooms created especially for them by their reflections.
The essence of a walk:
Under streetlights, chatting:

Extra Reading:
Hannah Concannon: This girl is not a photographer, but her work holds a special place in my heart because she is an amazing makeup artist, and I loooove makeup. Also a Portlander, she now lives in San Francisco, and she paints her face every. single. day. The concoctions and characters she comes up with are absolutely amazing! Her work reminds me of being a dancer and doing stage makeup before a show. There would be times I would make my face look so ridiculous, but that is the fun of it. Go support Concannon because she is fantastic and fun!!