Archive for September 2008
I’m quite enamoured with this photo that Darren took of me about a month ago during a strobist class that I organised for my photo group. He didn’t do any strobist shots, but this one just came out so nicely. I’m hoping that he’ll make a print for me at some point so I can keep it all to myself! The contrast is very sharp, and light is hard, but somehow it works for the image. I also adore the detail of the ruffles on my sleeve and how they came out in the hard light.
He also took another photo of me a while back that he just recently gave me as a print. Once I get around to actually putting stuff up on my walls, I think I’ll hang that print he gave me.
Well, my trip to NYC and Boston is almost wrapping up. I’ve had a chance to see some old friends and also meet a new one. What’s been really nice is seeing the people that I don’t keep in touch with on a regular basis. I have one friend that I don’t keep in touch with regularly, but somehow we manage to meet up on a fairly regular basis once or twice a year on either of our coasts. This year she came to San Francisco and we had a chance to wander around the Mission and then we happened to meet again in NYC this past week when I was around. Ah, good times.
I also had a chance to meet with some Boston friends who actually started off as real-life friends. These days, it’s quite rare that I make a friend who has started out as a real-life friend; most of my friends are people that I’ve met online and then met in person. It’s funny how that happens. Other than most of my former colleagues from when I was working in Boston, or people I went to school with, a lot of my current friends are people I’ve met through the internet.
The nice thing about meeting people online is that most of them are willing to cultivate an offline friendship as well. I’ve only met a few people who were unwilling to be offline friends, and to be honest, those online friendship have waned and died out for the most part. I like meeting people so that eventually we can become in-person friends when we have the chance. I just don’t see the point of being online-only friends. Why should I invest my time in a friendship that will not reward me with an in-person relationship in the end? I understand that not everyone can do the online-to-offline transition, but for the most part, I would really like to make all my online friendships into offline ones at some point if we really click and get along. Of course, I guess I only care if the friendship has made it past the critical point where I want it to become an offline friendship. I seem to have plenty of online friends who remain as online friends because we just don’t seem to click past a certain point.
Eh, I won’t really get into it too much. I just have to say that it’s been pretty gratifying to have several of my online friendships transition into offline friendships. In fact, one girl that I met through blogging no longer blogs or spends much time maintaining an online life, but we still manage to meet in person. That is what is really interesting to me, the fact that she has pretty much gone offline, but that we have somehow managed to keep our lives intertwined. We don’t write e-mails back and forth, and we also don’t chat very often. The only contact is usually right before we are to see each other in person, and sometimes it feels like we pick up where we left off once we do meet.
Right… I have managed to blather on about it when I said I wouldn’t. Anyway, I just wanted to say that it’s been nice seeing old friends. Some are people are I keep in touch with on almost a daily basis, and others are people that I see once in a blue moon. All in all, it’s been a really satisfying trip to see everyone and get to spend time in person with them.
So I had a very happy birthday party this past weekend where we invited the bare minimum of guests and most people actually made it. We tried to go right for the vegetarians, but we ended up having a LOT of meat and really not enough non-meat stuff. I was so glad that I made eggplant and zucchini kebabs in the oven because I felt really bad that we didn’t have enough vegetarian food. I mean, it was a BBQ after all… but still. I still like accommodating all diets and lifestyle decisions, so of course I still wish we had more options than vegetable kebabs and salad. Eh… Oh well. My peanut pie dessert turned out to be a hit and was finished off rather quickly before I could even suggest people take a second slice. That felt pretty awesome and nice.
Of course, as usual, I only took a few photos during the party and they were all film, so you are going to have to wait until it gets developed and scanned to see how they turned out. I’ll share one that Ken took with his fancy shmancy G7.
The party ended and now I’m out visiting my parents for a few days before heading up to Boston to see more friends. I’m pretty excited to be back in Boston and to see all our friends again. I set up a thing on Sunday night to just send out a blanket invite for everyone who wants to hang out and grab a beer or a bite to eat. I’m hoping lots of people will come and it’ll be awesome fun.
Tomorrow I get to see a few people up in NYC and I’m so excited for that too! Two friends are people I’ve met before, but one is a new one who has been a Flickr contact for a while. I think it’s going to be pretty awesome fun and I’m really looking forward to meeting someone new. Of course, the other two friends make me just as excited, but I’m always a little bit more excited to meet someone for the very first time. I’ll be bringing my camera along to take plenty of photos. Exciting times!
Plus, because I grew up here, I never did all those touristy things that everyone else has done, so I have NEVER walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. That will be rectified tomorrow and I will be walking across that goddamned bridge and taking the very typical touristy photos that everyone does AND going to see the NYC Waterfalls exhibit. You could say I’m excited…
As a random side note, my parents were super excited to see me and how I’ve changed in the past year. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them (I don’t come home often at all), but I do send them photos from time to time. Apparently the photos just don’t do justice and they were shocked to see me! My mom can’t get over it at all, and when I went into the kitchen this morning, the said, “Reese, oh wow, you’re still skinny!!” as if I was going to blow up overnight. Too funny.
So anyway, I decided to take a completely gratuitous photo of myself sitting at the desk in my old bedroom. My parents have gone on this huge renovation kick and have replaced all the flooring upstairs with hardwood, which means that the hot pink shag carpeting (which came with the house) is no longer here to cushion my feet. It would figure they would make all these changes. They even actually fixed (reversed) the hot and cold faucets in my bathroom to to the right way. I grew up thinking the convention in my bathroom was hot on the right, cold on the left, which is opposite to the normal world. Besides that, guests were constantly burning themselves in my bathroom when washing their hands and boiling hot water would come rushing out when they were expecting nice, cold water.
The furniture in my room is still the same, but my mom has added a giant saran-wrapped statue of St. Jude (or some other religious dude from the Bible) to the dresser. You can see him eerily staring over my shoulder in the background. He’s starting to creep me out a little bit and I’m wondering if I should poke a little hole in the saran wrap so he can breathe before he gets suffocated and angry and comes to life and murders the first person he sees (me, sleeping peacefully in my old bed).
Hello world. Tomorrow, I will be officially be leaving my 20s behind me for the glorious 30s (they are glorious, aren’t they?). I thought about doing some kind of “the last 30 years in review” but then decided it was too much of an undertaking at this point and that I could do without the cheesiness of it. In its place, I will make do with a “the last year in review” instead.
September: Frank takes me to an amazing dinner at Farallon in SF. Oh my god the food is so good, I am still thinking about it months later. I take a picture of myself in the bathroom (the mirror was so big).
September: Frank whisks me away for a romantic weekend in Sonoma and we have a fun weekend up in wine country. My photo of the mission ends up getting published in the 2008 Catholic calendar for the Bay Area.
September: We go to Lovefest up in SF and I have a fun old time taking photos of people. I get tons of hits on the nearly naked girls and feel like a big pervert.
October: I start my very first photo class at school and it was the first in many steps that lead to my utter downfall to the dark side of shooting film. I end up taking a bunch of photography classes at school and promptly forgetting most of the history stuff, but retaining a love for film and all that good stuff.
November: I get to meet the lovely Taly, who was living temporarily in the Bay Area. We keep in touch regularly, and she becomes a loyal confidante and good friend.
December/January: For Christmas, Frank gives me a Hasselblad C/M that one of his colleagues was selling and that led me down the even more evil path of shooting medium format! The seller becomes my fairy camera godfather and starts to bequeath me with all manner of lovely photo-related gear he doesn’t want anymore. I consequently receive all his colour developing gear, along with getting to test out his Manfrotto tripod and his Yashica 124G.
January: We spend New Year with our wacky friends in Boston. Nobody’s outer extremities get blown off by fireworks.
February: Frank and I celebrate Valentine’s Day with not one, but two romantic dinners. One at the Carnelian Room, the other at Chez Panisse.
March: I become an Assistant Organiser for my photo group and start scheduling all kinds of crazy walkabouts for them and instituting monthly meetings. It’s pretty awesome making people happy and providing a way for them to meet other photographers in the area.
April: Wirehead Ken introduces me to the Cult of Strobism. Unfortunately, I’m bad at learning retention, and I have yet to really get into it.
April: Our Boston friends come to visit and we all go to the beach and do California-y things. In April. In the freezing cold. We all wear hoodies and pretend like it’s warm out there even though we’re freezing our asses off.
April: I start writing articles for ShutterBudd and providing appropriate photographs along with it.
May: I start taking my street photography more seriously and being friendlier to the crazies in the street. This results in a bunch of really funny photos that I immediately fall in love with.
June: I start hanging out with Darren a lot and going to abandoned buildings with him. He continues to feed my love of film photography and medium format. He subsequently lends me two rangefinders, which make me obsess about getting a rangefinder.
July: Frank and I spend July fourth with our newfound California friends at a house party where no one caught fire and everyone still had their eyebrows. I call that a success.
July: I do a bit of modeling for Wirehead Ken, and I still fail to be interested in doing my own Strobist photography. He doesn’t seem to mind, since I wear fishnets and blue wigs for him.
July: Oh yeah… I also lose 70 pounds over the course of about a year.
August: I develop an entirely unhealthy fascination with photographing dead things and trash cans. I’m also shooting mostly film at this point.
And that pretty much brings us to this right now. In all, I would say the last year has been pretty damned amazing and awesome. I am finally feeling like I’m adjusting to life out here in California and that it finally feels like a place I would want to call home. It was rough at first, but things have fallen into place once we met more people and found more people to call our friends, which once again leads me to believe that it’s the people and connections that make anywhere feel like home.
Here’s to another great year!
My photography, and the way I treat photography, has changed dramatically. I used to look at photography as a way of recording my life, the everyday happenings like what I ate, where I went, the people I was with. My photos were cute, but didn’t seem to have much in terms of artistic value. Since switching to film, I feel that I spend more time taking the photo and thinking about it than I used to. I also try to take more photos that say something (at least to me) rather than just “what I did” or “where I am.” Could I be fancying myself as being artistic or at least an attempt at being an artist?
I do find myself yearning to make something that is not commonly considered beautiful into an object of beauty. I want to have the ability to turn something that is mundane and normal and often overlooked into something that is to be looked at more closely. I guess I want to have the ability to create what might be called art. There are times when I think a photo is rather boring, but other people seem to identify with it. Then there are other times when I think my photo is super awesome, but it doesn’t seem to get much attention from anyone else.
So what the hell makes it art? Is it the goal to provide some kind of emotional appeal so that people can identify with the subject? How much does the subject really matter when it comes to photographs? Sometimes, it seems that people will bring whatever they feel to the image and it’s not always about the subject, but maybe a memory it evokes in the person.
How can I tell if I’ve created art or not? Hmm… I honestly have no idea. I guess this is why I don’t study Art or even Photography. Most of the time, I don’t even understand why some famous artists are famous. Is it a matter of their pristine technique, the emotions they evoke, or perhaps the chance that they knew someone who knew how to make it happen for them? Do they know that what they are producing is art and do they consciously produce art, or do they do it because there is something inside them that tells them they have to do that while they are alive?
Artistic aspirations aside, I find my own personal photographic evolution fascinating.
- I’ve gone from photos of food and RitaPita to abandoned buildings and graffiti.
- The digital cameras lie around unloved, while the film cameras get lots of action.
- I’m a slower shooter than I used to be, usually only taking one or two shots of the same subject before moving on. If I look through my digital archive, I have about a ton of shots of the same subject from all different angles. I think about things a lot more these days, figuring out the best angle for shooting something before I even put the viewfinder to my eye.
- I’ve managed to collect a fair amount of friends through photography. In the past, I simply shot what was in my life without seeking out people who were specifically into photography. These days, I enjoy the company of people who are fun to be around and can talk shop.
- For a while, I was shooting mostly shallow DOF and yearned for the fastest lenses I could buy, but these days, I strive to shoot at f/5.6 to f/11, depending on the lighting conditions. I’m not exactly sure why I switched from one to the other, but maybe I felt like I needed to work on my composition more instead of trying to rely on shallow DOF to point the viewer’s eye to the subject. Maybe it makes me think more about lines and shapes instead of just using the focus. I’ll probably go back to shooting mostly shallow DOF at some point.
Two years ago, Frank and I took a trip out to Amsterdam for a few days and stayed out near Leidseplein where we went to a small local cafe and ate breakfast everyday. The very first day we were there, I ordered an herbal tea by Simon Levelt. Of course, they had no idea which blend it was since they had ordered it in bulk and didn’t have the label for it anymore and the person who would know wasn’t there for some reason. Well, I went and fell in love with that tea, and we proceeded to go to every market to look for this tea (and even the Simon Levelt store itself), but I couldn’t figure out which one it was. The only thing I knew was that it was a type of “biologisch” blend.
The whole thing drove me crazy because the tea had a natural tangy sweetness to it that I had never experienced in any other tea before, so I just felt like I had to find it. On our recent trip up to Portland, we stopped at a small pub called Greater Trumps and I ordered a pot of tea. They had a decent selection of tea and had a tea that tasted suspiciously similar to the Amsterdam Tea! Thrilled beyond belief, I actually took one of the teabags (sorry) and stashed it in my bag for later reference (Sweet Chamomile Tea by China Mist). It’s not exactly similar to the Amsterdam Tea, but it is pretty close and I discovered that the sweetness is actually from licorice root. The ingredients on the bag are: chamomile flowers, spearmint, peppermint, and licorice root. Aha! Sadly, I went to go look at the website, and I’m not sure that they sell these teas in retail stores, but they do sell it online! I might have to just break down and get a couple boxes of the stuff so I can drink it!
I spent about an hour today doing some research on teas that contain licorice root (and consequently discovered which Simon Levelt tea it was), and found the following:
Mighty Leaf Tea – Organic Detox
Mighty Leaf Tea – Calming Moon
Republic of Tea – Get a Grip
Stash Tea – Licorice Spice Tea
The first three sound pretty good, but the last one is a bit more licorice than might be good for me (it supposedly raises blood pressure, which would be good for me and my low blood pressure) and you shouldn’t have too much of the stuff. I guess I’ll check out the first three and see how they taste!
So I last updated on August 18, which is a whopping two weeks ago. Jeez, no wonder Kat was asking me when the hell I was planning to update my blog. I’m much better at updating my Flickr account since I’ve been taking more photos and keeping a real paper journal lately to keep track of my everyday goings on. Yeah, I guess the paper journal has eclipsed the whole online blog thing. It’s sort of to help me discipline myself to have better handwriting too. I’ve found that my handwriting has really gone to hell since I started doing everything on the computer. Besides that, a paper journal just feels nice. I like turning the pages and seeing them fill with my handwriting over time. So let’s see… what have I been up to the past couple weeks?
Frank took me on a five-day whirlwind tour of the Pacific Northwest, with stops in Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle. It was pretty fun, but also very stressful with all the running around. Well, I’ll sum up and say that in the end, it was a good vacation and we enjoyed our time together away from the hustle of Silicon Valley. We ate some good food, saw friends we haven’t seen in ages, and had some very good conversations between the two of us. All in all, a good trip.
One of the best things we did was go to the giant Cabela’s just outside Tacoma, Washington. Oh my god that was awesome. When you walk in, they have a huge display of dead, stuffed animals from polar bears to elephants to elk. Totally amazing. We were almost late to the airport because we were a little too impressed with the display and the gun library (hello antique Winchesters!!). And look, I actually have some digital photos that Frank took while we were there. Is that a wonderful display or what? Totally amazing. Yeah, it was probably the coolest thing we saw during this vacation. We’re easily amused, apparently.
Oh right… we went shopping in Seattle and I bought myself a pair of jeans that I’m going to need for fall. It’s getting too cold to wear dresses everyday, so it’s probably time to end my pantsless summer and go back to wearing pants at least part of the time. It was wicked chilly in Seattle compared to the bright and sunny Bay Area, so I was freezing in my skirts and dresses. And I have to say a big thank you to the kind sizing folks at Old Navy; according to them I’ve dropped another size, but I know it’s only because they up-size everything there.
What else is up other than the vacation? Hmm… I’ve been ridiculously pleased with how a roll shot in Pacifica came out.
Yeah. Fun times. I have to get more developing done so I’ll have more stuff to scan and post to Flickr like the crazy little OCD freak I am. It’s been bothering me that the undeveloped rolls are piling up and up on my desk. I’m up to 4 rolls of 120 and… 7 rolls of 35mm. For shame!! I have to get on developing today!