Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 116: Holidays In SF

(San Francisco, December 2009)

Every holiday season I always try to get to San Francisco to see the decorations and the big tree in Union Square. This season I was able to take the trip on Christmas night with my friend. Hot chocolate and lots of walking, what a great way to end the night.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 115: Back....Home?

(San Jose, December 2009) 

When does it stop being home and become your parents' home? It is my hometown, is it my home? I will come back in due time. I wonder about that every time I come and go.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 108: Holidays In The OC

(Newport, December 2009)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 105: Adventure Awaits Us

(The Photo Family, Yes, they are silly, December 2009) 

(From 52 Students to 25, December 2009) 

Today was also our last class and saying goodbye to it was bittersweet. Although we are all glad we have made it, I will miss it very much. We shared our final projects with each other and had a mini holiday party. It was great seeing everyone's work and seeing their concepts come together.

This class challenged me creatively and mentally and I feel I am better for it. My work schedule and life schedule changed drastically for this class, but I happily did it because I looked forward to working on all my projects.

Besides the knowledge I have gained from this class, the friendships I have made are invaluable. With the understanding of friends like Shannon, Maurice, Ricky, Jerod and Courtney, and others, I was able to share frustrations and achievements and only they truly understood because they were going through it as well.
I am proud to say that I was able to get through this class and am fortunate to have met our instructor, Agatha. Her knowledge and expectations is the driving force of this course. We are all better because of this and I am grateful that I have gained a mentor I can go to.

Although the class has come to an end, all of us are continuing on. I look forward to seeing where everyone's path takes them. And I am looking forward to when our paths crossed for the many adventures we have planned. From Yosemite, to San Francisco, Asia and beyond, we have hopes of coming together once or twice a year to do photography and catch up.

I plan on keeping this blog going and continuing with posting of pictures and I am happy you all will continue on with me. For the next few weeks I will be researching and visiting places to find inspiration for my next photo project and I will be sharing with you what I find.

Thank you for all the memories friends and classmates. Cheers to you!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 101: "How Could it Hurt You When it Looks so Good" -Hollywood, Madonna

(Hollywood Blvd., December 2009) 

While my friend was in town, we took a trip to Hollywood Boulevard for her to see the area and the stars on the sidewalk. As we were driving there, I warned her that Hollywood Blvd. is more gritty than glitzy. How it's portrayed on television is completely different when you see it person.

To me, Hollywood Boulevard is where dreams come to die. It is evident in the faces of many of the street performers who don on costumes and pose with tourists. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Yoda, Spongebob, Indiana Jones, etc. These characters gather in front of the famous Chinese Theater and solicit visitors to take pictures with them. After a picture is taken, a tip is usually given for their "services." They do not work for an agency and are there on their free will.

Cat Woman became hostile because nobody wanted to pose with her. She started demanding people take her picture and said "Are you going to make me stand here all day? Somebody take my picture and pay me."

The more popular characters had plenty of people to take pictures with them. Others, walked around, edging their way closer to big crowds, many did not understand the boundaries of personal space. There were more than 4 Spiderman, all standing a few feet away from one another.

As the sun was setting and we were getting ready to leave, a man who was we had seen earlier jumping around in Spiderman costume, pull his mask off. He was not the 19 year old Peter Parker we've seen in the movies, he was a rail thin 40 something year old man with straggly hair, deep set wrinkles and pale skin with unfriendly eyes. He saw someone filming a project and yelled at them saying, "You are not allowed to film me, I don't want to be filmed. You have to pay me!"

Taking a closer look, I saw the costumes were not as bright and new as I had thought. They were tattered and dirty and many did not fit properly. But they continued on, walking the street, making their rounds with the thinning crowd.

"Ready, smile!" Flashing lights, picture after picture, these people are a part of many families vacations pictures which they will show their family and friends. And their friends will think of Hollywood as a wonderful and fun places because you can find Spiderman and Batman readily available for pictures.

When I pulled out of my parking spot, I wonder, what is the story with these street performers and do they enjoy doing what they do?

Honeysuckle, she's full of poison
She obliterated everything she kissed
and now she's fading
Somewhere in Hollywood
I'm glad I came here
With your pound of flesh

-Celebrity Skin, Hole

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 100: Happy 100 Days of Photography and to Many Many More

(Huntington Beach, December 2009) 

You may recall my ongoing project that started in October. The concept was to capture shoes in their environment with the intent of telling a story about the person based on their shoes. I am at the conclusion of my project and I feel accomplished and proud of it.

This project required me to interact with a variety of people and I have learned that one of the easiest way to break the ice with strangers is asking, "Can I take a picture of your shoes?"

A puzzled look usually follows my question and a few have asked if I have a foot fetish. I just laugh and tell them about my project and then my models seem more relaxed about the idea. So many people have patiently waited as I photograph their feet and when I'm done have wished me luck. I am grateful for these strangers and their patience.

I am most thankful for my family and friends who have gone through this process with me. Shot after shot of their feet and they still keep me around as their friend. They have given me ideas, advice and encouragement, especially when I felt defeated with the project.

I have realized that when you fully immerse yourself into a project and see it day in and day out, you have to take a break or you will want to hate your project. I was fortunate to have friends tell me this and encourage me to keep going.

Now that this project is concluding, I am brainstorming for my next one. We'll see where it all takes me.

P.S. Thank you to all my followers and supporters of this blog. Please leave me your thoughts and suggestions on photography, the blog or just a hello. Here's to many more days of photography!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 99: Season of Change

(San Jose, November 2009) 
While driving to pick up my friend, I drove past this tree. I remember thinking it was gorgeous. I thought about taking the picture, but then drove past it. After 2 blocks, I turned around and came back to the tree. I knew if I didn't take the picture, I'd regret it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 97: Can't Forget to Have Fun

(Alice in Wonderland, Disneyland, December 2009) 

It was extremely busy this past week and I started to feel overwhelmed. I didn't know if I would have enough time to do everything I had wanted to do. However, after sitting down and creating a plan with scheduling of every task I needed to get done, I felt much more relieved. I also scheduled in fun time considering my friend was in town from San Jose to celebrate her 25th birthday, I needed to make sure fun was high on the list!

After getting all my work done for photography on Saturday morning and a bit on Sunday morning, her and I were off to Disneyland.

I've only been to Disneyland twice, and both experiences were not as magical as promised, so I hoped that third time really was the charm. I am happy to report, it was! I had a lot of fun with my friend and the park was very festive with all the holiday decorations.

This past weekend was a great lesson for me, I cannot forget to have fun. As hard as we all work, we also need time to put that aside and enjoy our time with those we love.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 93: I Fall In Love Every Time

(San Jose, November 2009) 

San Jose has so many nooks and corners in it, it's amazing what we can find. I've lived there practically my whole life and I still don't know where a lot of places are. This past weekend, I was home for Thanksgiving and my cousin and I took a short drive from her place down White Road (a road I have gone down many times) and we kept going. The road led us through a the foot of a mountain that I had no idea would be so close.

It was a short trip, but during that time we were able to stop and take some pictures, catch up and just enjoy it together. She is very special to me because she was the one who introduced me to photography when I was a child.

Photography has always been a part of my life, from toy cameras, to my first point and shoot. I owe a lot of this to my cousin. She was constantly taking pictures, and from her, I discovered the beauty of photography. When she was taking a class in college, she took me along with her to the dark room and I remember thinking, I will process my own film one day.

She was the one who I went to when I told her I was going to start taking classes and she was the one who helped me find my first SLR for 35mm. It was really special to take a photo excursion together in our hometown and do what we both love, photography.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 92: How Far We Have Come

(Los Angeles, January 2009)
Happy first of the month!

This goes out to my friends and family who have experienced a tough year. We are down to the last month and we are still standing. We are better than we were and for that we should celebrate.

Today we celebrate our good health and how fortunate we are despite everything we have experienced these past few months. We can only continue to go up from here and we will take on all challenges with a positive outlook.

I post this picture because it was from my first black and white roll in January. I've come a long way from the time I took this shot and I am grateful for my journey despite all the low moments. We are who we are today from our experiences.

Cheers to you all and may optimism find its way to you when you feel there is no hope.