Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maternity Session: Football and Watermelons

I purposely set up areas in my house for photography. Unfortunately, new furniture and the trappings of civilized living keep infringing upon my space. It may be a battle I am destined to lose, but in addition to futility, it continues to be an exercise in creativity.

Windows are a photographer's best friend. If not, they should be. Window light can also be simulated outdoors under certain conditions or with a soft box, but sometimes nothing beats good ol' God given light. "God given, self made" used to be a motto of mine (still kind of want to get it tatted on my arm), and I think those sentiments apply here as well. Find the light and do something with it.

I continue to be a huge fan of backlighting. I have a few other tricks up my sleeve to light my subject up from the front, but I need to keep some of my methods to myself. I hope this new area I have set up does not slowly erode on me. I have already had to relocate my workspace into a corner in my basement, so I am not getting my hopes up.

I envisioned the concepts for this shoot a few weeks back, and I was really excited to make it into reality. Photography serves as such a nice outlet for any sort of creative juice. Does true originality exist? Yes and no, but I know that the pursuit of originality is the most likely path to actually getting there. For me, doing my own thing is a way of life. I may like what you are doing, but I don't want to be doing the same thing.

Just to give you an idea of what kind of setup I was working with.

There was a time when I didn't even know what "catchlights" in the eyes were, much less how to position my subject and lights to achieve them. Still feel there is so much more to learn, and I am eager to keep choppin' away... speaking of choppin', here is the fetus version of the chop.

RU RAH RAH. My parents wouldn't let me play football in high school. They thought it was too dangerous. I do see where they are coming from, because a lot of my friends who did play high school football have a variety of problems with their knees and backs. Getting hit is also probably not very good for your long-term mental health. However, there is nothing wrong with playing defense or kicking. One way or another, this kid is going to play college ball and head to the NFL.

For some reason, the idea of pregnant women has always invoked the imagery of watermelons for me. When I was a kid, my parents used to try and keep me from swallowing watermelon seeds by saying a watermelon would grow in my stomach if I did so. Early on they must not have realized I was the adventurous type and purposefully swallowed watermelon seeds to test out this idea. To my surprise and dismay, nothing happened. To this day I swallow watermelon seeds along with its sweet flesh, more so out of laziness than the outside shot that I could grow a watermelon in my stomach lining.

What a good sport. 

I get so much satisfaction and enjoyment out of coming up with a concept and turning it into reality. Very few mediums in life outside of the many faces of art provide such a rewarding grounds for realizing creativity.

On a slightly different note, I have taken my training in photography pretty seriously. I resisted the initial urge to pick up a camera and start a business right off the bat. I hope that this pays long-term dividends, but I have certainly enjoyed the journey thus far. Still not sure where all this is headed, but it feels like it is headed somewhere. Now, if I could only just guide it to something that resembles work as little as possible...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I wanna hold your hand...

People often say that a person's eyes are windows to their soul. It is generally hard to look someone in the eye for too long without creeping them out, especially someone you don't know. So without being a freak and bending social norms, how does one get a better idea of what bubbles beneath the surface?

I say take a look at hands. They often reveal much about emotional state. Through my ongoing study of human behavior and poker, I've had many opportunities to study random sets of hands. I can't share those findings because one day I might find you across from me at the poker table. Regardless, I am fascinated by hands. Everything about them (fingers, nails, knuckles) and all varieties (pudgy, lean, wrinkled, soft, clean, dirty) interest me. What our hands are doing and clutching can also share a good deal about who we are and what we are feeling.

Photography has given me another outlet to study the manifestation of human emotion. With certainty, my eye is regularly drawn to hands. Occasionally, I stay true to myself and allow my hands and my lens to be led to my eye's axis. Oftentimes, that is enough to tell the story I want to share through a frame.




I leave you with a preview of my photography project on my grandmother. For some reason it has been difficult for me to go through and edit her photos. I am glad I got the opportunity to document and photograph my grandmother, but it is a subtle reminder that her time on this earth is limited. She's not ill, but you have to figure someone who's been around since 1919 is safely over the hill. The only question is how much hill is left.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Portrait of an Artist: Chun Ho

[My Uncle - Chun Ho]

Show me a window, and I'll show you a dramatic portrait.

I have wished many times in my life that I had some artistic ability. When I was a kid, I thought the only kind of art out there was painting or sculpting. Some purists out there might still believe that. Since I quickly learned that I didn't have an ounce of talent in drawing or painting, I pretty much gave up on any artistic ambitions I had around junior high.

My uncle has always fascinated me. We're not related by blood, but I do share some genes with my aunt who married him, who also happens to be a painter. She is not as talented as my uncle, but I don't think many people that are as skilled as he is with a brush have walked this earth. During my recent trip overseas, I spent some time with my aunt and uncle and had the privilege of photographing them. 

[the Office]

My uncle heads a number of Art Associations, and I snapped a quick shot while my aunt showed me around his office. I enjoyed picking their brains about composition and color. While both my aunt and uncle paint with pretty vibrant colors, I felt like photographing my uncle in black and white.


I have been told by friends who used to paint that water color is extremely difficult, much more so than painting with oil or acrylics. One of the primary reasons being that you can't correct mistakes made with water colors.

[My Aunt]

My aunt loves hats. The few times I've met her artist friends at her exhibits and galleries, I was thoroughly amused by their sense of fashion and overall quirkiness. Maybe it is my suppressed affinity for art and risk, but I am generally fascinated by people who take the path less traveled and thrive on it.

If you gave me some paint and brushes, I'd give you back a mess. Some people would give you back art.

And such is life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Korea in Infrared

Infrared photography continues to be an ongoing interest of mine.

I took a little time out from my jam-packed trip to Korea to pick up my camera and head over to a historical site a few blocks away from my grandmother's home. Located in the middle of Seoul, Seolleung is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to three royal tombs. While I am a bit ignorant about the actual history of the site, it provided a fertile ground for infrared photography.

I love what infrared does to pine needles.

And here are two more random photos I shot in Korea:

Beyond the Fence

Fashion Forward

Lately, I am starting to truly realize how much photography has enriched my life. While I continue to invest a serious amount of time to improving my photography, she has also allowed me to experience and engage life on a much deeper level. I will share some of those projects in upcoming entries on this blog. For now, I am appreciative but still thirsty.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

catch a Tiger by the toe

Despite what some people think of his personal life, it's not every day you get an opportunity to photograph someone like Tiger Woods.

What an interesting experience...

Looking back on my life, relinquishing the pursuit of money to the backseat of my life priorites has been most pivotal in creating some of my more unique experiences.