Shoot What You Fear

Art is possibly the most remedial and healing hobby in existence. And yet it can also be the means by which a man's sanity is abolished. An obsession, if you will, that parasitically torments the host, while simultaneously outputting marvelous work. The artist ultimately determines whether his tool - be it a paintbrush or a camera - is a flower or a handgun.

On a personal level, the camera is a hammer with which I chisel out a trophy of courage. In other words, I take photographs of things - animate and inanimate alike - that make me feel uncomfortable. I used to be tense and maladroit around people and in social settings. Now that I have been photographing people and social gatherings for 2 years, I can proudly say that I enjoy being with people more than anything, and have boldly conquered my trepidation. That's one significant reason for my exclusive interest in photography over other forms of art such as drawing or painting; from past experience I can say that many art mediums isolate the artist from community, from other people, while photography is capable of just the opposite.

Once one discovers this freeing aspect of photography, it truly becomes a lifestyle of sorts; it becomes a journey within the realms of your innermost being. If you are daunted by spiders, then grab a macro lens and a camera and shoot spiders, all different types, colors, shapes, and sizes. If you fear being alone in the dark, go outside at midnight with a camera and a tripod, and let the creative impulse cast out all fear. Just as the sensor of a camera absorbs light particles, it is also capable of enveloping the entities that frighten you most.


Hearts and Minds

"We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds." 
-Arnold Newman

Social Gatherings

As a photographer of 4 1/2 years, I have had a taste of many genres of photography. I started out as a landscape photographer, but incrementally I adjusted my focus towards people and events. It was about 2 years ago when I first plunged into the field of event photography. You may be wondering, "So what exactly is the appeal to event photography?" To that I would say that each event is an entirely new experience. I never know what to expect. Sometimes the events turn out less than ideal. Other times I feel that there is nowhere else I would rather be. Every once in a great while, I will be photographing an event and will feel that wherever I point my camera lens, I am guaranteed to capture a magnificent shot. More often I find myself in the opposite situation, standing in a room with very little light and very little space. And yet I feel fulfilled so often when I photograph these events. Even though I almost always walk into the event as a stranger, I often leave having formed great friendships. Interestingly, the events in which I actively engage with the environment and converse with the people are always the events from which I derive the best images. When I take the more passive approach, and lazily wait for the decisive moment to affix itself in front of my camera lens, I leave the event unfulfilled and also with a regretful feeling. For me, to be an event photographer means to probe the entire locale keenly hunting for quintessential illustrations of golden vignettes of the human condition. As it says in my artist statement, I try to answer the question of 'what does it mean to be human?' through my photography. A major puzzle piece that forms part of the answer to this question can be found amidst social gatherings. After all, a critical part of being human is spending time in community with others.


Brave Reflections

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as strait and clear as a ray of light."
-Thomas Paine


Counting Sheep

Every day we seem to get busier. Our days are like an energetic, teenage girl at a shopping mall, often uncontrollable and sometimes even a bit overwhelmed. At the end of the day, when our heads hit the pillow, it isn't always a quick, seamless transition from reality to the dream world. So we compensate. We take drugs, rely on them really, in order for us to fall asleep. By drugs, I am referring to any sort of sleep catalyst, be it sleep pills such as Advil PM or be it drifting off to sleep with the help of calming melodies from your Songza app on your iPhone. Yet how good is this reliance on outside forces? We've become unable to rest, and as a result most people wander around lackadaisically for most of their life, sleep-deprived and desolate. So remember to do the things that will ensure a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. Shut off the iPhone screen, turn off the tv show, and let your worries set with the sun. Those sheep aren't going to count themselves.


Drain Your Batteries

As a technological enthusiast and a well-rounded human being, I feel that it is only proper that I should be a good steward of the electronic devices that I own. The way I go about doing that is reading and rereading the manuals so that I can make the most of them and become familiar with every knob, lever, and whippersnapper. One priceless piece of information that I picked up recently from a MacBook Pro jock is that the best way to maximize battery life - both short term and long term - is to fully charge the laptop up to 100%, and then keep it unplugged until it reaches the single digits realm. Believe it or not, this is healthier for your laptop than leaving it plugged into the wall all day, everyday.

As I was thinking through this idea, I started to see a correlation between MacBook Pro batteries and the batteries of human beings. The optimal 'lifestyle' for a laptop is to get juiced up all the way to 100%, and then detach from the power source and live unrestricted (a yolo lifestyle, as some would say), giving everything until the energy is gone. Are we as humans all that different? We were created to work hard and play hard. Not to work some while playing on the side, but to whole-heartedly devote ones time, resources, etc. fully to one project. The harder one works, the sweeter his slice of leisure will taste. The best lifestyles are those that are balanced. Know when it is time to plug in and rejuvenate, & when it is time to unplug and let loose.

PS - If you use a desktop computer, I am sorry but the previous information does not apply to you. Send me a message and maybe I'll write a post for you desktoppers out there  ;D


Dream Bluffs

Now more than ever, people want to be in control of anything and everything. This desire to grab the reigns and steer our lives down the seemingly best path has resulted in isolated beings with an unhealthy appetite for power. And yet some of the most delightful occurrences rise to the surface the moment we admit something or someone else into the command center of our life. Whether this entity is an artistic impulse or a lover, a surge of energy pulsates through our very being when we can learn to loosen our grip on life. We feel relieved because our expectations are more flexible and we can rebound quicker when things dont go as planned. The truth is, we don't like being control freaks. It is a hindrance and causes us to become hysterically paranoid. Think of the times in your life when you let something else take control - even if it was just for a couple minutes. To use the example of cliff-jumping, there is a blissful feeling that wells up inside of a person when they forfeit control of their being to the power of gravity. This thrill exists only when they let their toes sink off of the coarse edge of a steep cliff and allow the force of gravity to have its way with them. The result? Unprecedented zeal. Similarly, when a person enters into the land of dreams he is bestowing to his subconscious the authority to drive the steering wheel of his imagination. At that point, the thoughts or dreams that may emerge into the conscious are somewhat unpredictable.