There’s nothing great about this photo I took in Mexico City of the view from the Museo Tequila y Mezcal. It’s a snapshot. It was taken in passing as I walked down a hall on my way out of the building. But I like it. I like the apricot highlights in the sky. The imperfect sun rays struggling to cast themselves on the dense and dark grey clouds, or the asphalt streets below. I like the little tufts of tree tops pushing past the old and weathered buildings. I like how it’s horizontally split in the middle by those trees, and that the cars look like miniature models (and I didn’t do any tilt shifting).
Something I’m starting to understand about myself is that I’m okay with okay. I’m okay that I’m not the best at any kind of style. I’m okay if I get stuck in how I’m drawn to darkness and how light plays on things. I know what works for me. I know what excites me about photography, and that’s what I will continue to share with you. Likes or no likes, this is for me.
Short lived, the cherry blossom season in Seattle brings people out of their caves to celebrate their beauty and the beginnings of Spring. Here are a few snaps I took around the neighborhood. The thing about cherry blossoms are that majority of Seattle goes to the University of Washington Campus, where the Quad has these gorgeous cherry blossoms that just burst with the most gorgeous blossoms in a beautiful old setting. This year, they came out in full force, like they were screaming “LOOK AT HOW PRETTY I AM!” That said, they draw huge crowds, and it’s difficult to take photos without running into other people taking photos, or getting hit with a selfie stick. I mean, it’s a marvel, but I tend to get a little claustrophobic in those settings. But you know what? Cherry blossoms grow wherever here. So, all I have to do is walk down a few streets to appreciate them.
In a rush to catch a bus, I stopped to take pictures of some stone benches and art that I’ve walked passed for years. Clicking away, falling into the bending light, a man yelled and told me that he had helped the artist who made them. Unfortunately, in my hurry, I did ask his name, but in a quick search I found out the work was done by the sculptor John Hoge.
While pushing and pulling the tones, I felt the images taking the shape of human muscle; the glow and reflections that came through are the energy and strength our muscles give us. Coincidentally, these stones sit in front of a hospital.
As I sit with a heating pad in my lap, a blanket over my shoulders, and listen to rain pour down all clickity-clackety on our roof, I stopped to visit this sequence of shots of a bubble artist we saw on the river front in Porto, Portugal in May 2015. Bubbles are so great in that they produce these beautiful shapes and a rainbow of colors that come from items you probably already have at home: water, dish soap, rope, sticks, and a bucket. They are simple creations that bring smiles to faces and a sense of wonder to the mind.
The spontaneous nature of street photography can bring about unexpected moments of human connection. Sometimes my camera is not on the correct setting and it lags when I try to catch a candid moment. On this day, a stranger took advantage of the delay and flashed a friendly smile my way.
The other day, I took a trip to the local Fisherman’s Terminal to pick up some salmon for dinner, and thought it might be fun to do a short photowalk through the shipyard. September has been cool and sunny, and the light gentle, yet intense. It turned out to be a meditative escape in a playground of shapes, texture, color, and light.
Sometimes I think I can take photographing for granted. With easy access to any kind of camera, we can capture what we want when we want. It’s easy. It’s fast. It can sometimes be more of a reactionary response, or a “this might look good” moment. I don’t discourage myself from just shooting because sometimes those moments turn out really well. Some of my favorite images are things I caught by luck or random happenstance. But the amount of snap-shot/just because photos I have can totally burn me out. I tend to get bored and frustrated. Where is the work I’m dying to make? The work that really stands out for me that isn’t just another random image? That’s when I realized: My mind is not always in it’s prime state when taking photos. Simply put, there are times I am present with my camera and the moment, and there are times when I am not. I want to strive to be more present. Not only is this healthier for my mind, it yields my more thoughtful and impactful images.
As I continued my walk through the shipyard, I felt every step on the wooden pier, took a breath and stabilized my feet before every shutter release, thought about how a subject might look at different angles, remembered to consciously practice things I learned in school like hyper-focal distance focusing, and visualized how I might want to process a moment differently than how I saw it at that moment. I was patient with myself. I let myself try. It was one of my more immersive photo walk experiences. I was eager to edit what I had shot, because I knew I had good things to share.
So, I’d like to ask you: What intention (if any) do you set for yourself when you go out shooting? When do you think you feel disconnected from your work? When do you feel connected with your work? Do you practice a sort of mindfulness when you are shooting? And just for fun, where are some places in your hometown that you can always go to to explore your creative seeing? As someone who can struggle with creativity and finding inspiration, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
In processing this image, I was playing with the idea of DNA running across a gel. It was a lab exercise I did in high school chemistry. My memory is a bit foggy, but if I remember correctly, DNA is negatively charged, and traveled across to the positively charged nodes in the apparatus. It was a really fun exercise. We took poloroids of the results, and this photo reminded me of how the DNA looked after “running” across the gel.
The Federal Courthouse in Seattle seems to draw me in every time I pass it. It’s obviously planned environmental and architectural landscaping, but I find it to be lovely. My favorite time of the year to be here is actually during the summer. There is plenty of room for people to sit and enjoy lunch. The steps in front and to the side almost look like an Aztec pyramid. Then there is the circle of steps around the abstract statue that sits on a patch of green. Then, with light tree coverage, you get shade and sun; whatever you’re preference. During the winter it does not get the attention of the office worker hour-lunch crowd. The only ones around are a security guard who patrols the premises and a couple of homeless people who camp on their benches. One day I’ll want to do a proper documentation of this corner, but for now I’ll do my quick studies.