The Neon Palette

The dance floor is a static gateway to freedom and offers license to express oneself fully. In this busy and stressful world, dance clubs have swooped in and offered a momentary escape from the adversities that weigh us down. The dance floor is a blank canvas, and your footsteps create something beautiful upon a dirty floor. As the sweat drips, one feels that he can do whatever he wants and doesn't have to worry about what other people are thinking. In fact, they're probably not even thinking (at least not critically). They're dancing. There are very few things better than being surrounded by friends in the center of a dance floor as the flashing lights infuse with sound waves for a stimulating and heart-thumping evening.


The Zenith of Existence

As I was just going through my Facebook friends and inviting them to my birthday party, I would see their thumbnail photo scroll up my screen, and my mind would replay a recurring memory for each person. Interestingly, all of the memories that went through my head were of my friends at their best, brightest moment - in pure, energetic laughter. And that got me thinking, maybe when we laugh we are doing what we were created to do. We are reaching the zenith of our existence when we laugh uncontrollably. To be fully human is to let down all of the walls, worries, and concerns and just belt out in uninhibited, mirth-filled, blissful laughter. We are not, therefore, defined by our darkest moments but by our brightest. And since joy is communal, our character is molded and shaped in the presence of others. And those people who are present and attentive during those transformative moments of light oft become our closest companions. One thing I've been learning recently as I've started a new hobby (knife-throwing), is that if I don't feel fulfilled while partaking of an activity, or am not truly enjoying something on an emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual level, then perhaps I wasn't meant to invest my time in that particular activity. Oh, and yes, I did say that knife throwing is my new hobby :)


Divine Cushions

Not only is having a negative attitude inefficient and a waste of time, but it also does no good for anyone at all. The problem is that if we look to our surroundings (media outlets, other people, etc.) in hopes of acquiring a positive mindset, we will not attain optimism. Our world and our individual environments are always going to be chaotic,  and therefore we must look to another outlet to instill in us a spirit of hope and joy. Personally, my joy is a direct offspring of the faith and hope I have in Christ Jesus. For others, they look to their job for their sense of well-being and joy. When bad things happen to me, God is not only my King and Lord, but He is also my cushion and He catches me from plummeting into despair and misery. I have learned during my short time on this earth that to root ones hope in earthly things is folly and will lead to destruction. Therefore, we must put our faith in the unseen, in something holy (set apart) from the physical planet upon which we stand.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is seen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:18


The Irrelevance of Distance

One of the great things about social media (specifically Facebook) is that it has made it easier to maintain connections with friends who live far away. I met this really nice girl from Colorado named Ashley at a photography workshop this week, and if I ever happen to be in Colorado I know exactly who (and how) to find her. It's incredible how much smaller our world is becoming. And yet somehow it seems more complex and unknowable than ever. For me, Facebook is the adhesive that binds together all of the connections and friendships that I have formed over the years. I can only imagine how limited and disconnected I would be without Zuckerberg's glorious creation.


Emotional Plateau

I love having the ability to express my feelings and emotions through photography. In some ways, I feel that I can more accurately and vividly portray the palette of my emotional plateau through a photograph. Often times when I create an image such as this one I feel like I am looking at a mirror and the reflection is not one of my face but of my soul. As a photographer of 5 years, it is very rewarding to finally have the ability to pre-visualize an image in my head and then perfect it 
until the pixels on the LCD 
screen of my camera mirror 
the image that I had imagined.



The Photograph as a Seal

In this fast-paced world, the time that we spend in person with friends is not only becoming less and less, but it is also subsequently becoming more and more valuable. Sharing a meal or an intimate conversation in the heart of a bustling and monstrous suburbia is an enjoyable experience, but can be easily forgotten. And this is where the power of photographs comes into play. When you hand the waiter your iPhone and ask him to take a picture of you and your friend, what is actually happening is that the pleasant rendezvous is actually being solidified and made into a concrete entity - one that will last much longer than a lone memory. Susan Sontag writes in her book, On Photography, how people in modern societies look to the lens as a way of confirming the authenticity and reality of the event in which they now stand. 



In case you haven't noticed, our lives revolve around food. The simple activity of sharing a meal with another person has profound effects that oft go unnoticed. We create bonds with people when we dine with them. In fact, the need for food is a common thread that unites every living thing. There is some dynamic about the act of eating that requires one to be vulnerable. Normally, we don't sit down and eat a meal with someone we don't like. We let our guard down when we eat. Eating is such a primitive and ancient activity, one of the few that has remained constant and prominent throughout all of history. In some ways, eating a meal with someone else is one of the most intimate things we do in public. It is commonly said that we are what we eat. Perhaps this saying rings even more true in the context of communal dining. When we share a meal with another person, we are joining in synchronously with that person and nourishing our selves from the same platter, which unifies even the most distant hearts.


Midnight Drive (Time-lapse)


The Unity of Chaos

The Freedom Tower.
The older I get, the more I realize how complex and unpredictable the world is. Just look at the people around you. We are all inherently confused and uninformed organisms. I think that the majority of people, myself included, often carve out a box consisting of specific ideas and routines. One example of this is a group of tight-knit friends that make a conscious effort to shield each others backs and reciprocate in kind deeds to one another. And while this may sound naive or narrow-minded, if you take a step back and consider the alternative, suddenly rational ignorance doesn't sound all that bad. The only context that I can think of in which we as humans have any morsel of control over our surroundings is that of the home environment. In nearly every other sphere of life, especially in the urban landscape, there are literally millions of factors and forces that affect us on any given day and there is simply no way to even begin to realize all of the variables that are out of our control, much less control the variables themselves. In science they call this an independent variable. In a bittersweet sort of way, the fact that we all live in this chaotic world means that we all go through it together, and thus a sort of harmonious, coalescing vein weaves throughout every individual and to the next, and when we love we are tapping into that communal tie. Chaos knows no social classes or races, since nobody is exempt from havoc. While we as humans may try to convince ourselves that we can determine our own destinies and that we can simply go out there and seize the day, the truth is that we rarely have the luxury to predetermine the outcomes of all the occurrences that take place right before our eyes. The good news is that we have two powerful means of dealing with the events that unceasingly reproduce: the first is reaction, and the second is retrospective. The way we react to something ultimately depends on the attitude that we choose to employ in the situation. If we choose to make the most of the outcomes, regardless of whether or not it is the ideal one, then the outcome will have been fully expedited and therefore stewarded to the best of our abilities. The other tool with which we can clarify this unclear world is retrospective. Hind-sight is 20-20, so remember that it always pays off to look back on the things we experience and learn from them what we can.

I want to conclude by sharing with you a couple of quotes that I feel are both relevant and encouraging.

"The curious tasks of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." F.A. Hayek

"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33


Big Bear Video

I am really starting to realize how prominent video has become and will become in the future, so you can expect to see a lot more videos on this blog. But do not fear, I will continue taking photographs! I am excited to see where this new medium will take me!

Here's a video I made of a trip that some friends and I went on this past week: http://vimeo.com/lensartist/classof2013