Cover Photo: Stephen DiRado
Its been a crazy time since last post.
Cover Photo: Stephen DiRado
Its been a crazy time since last post.
Cover image: Will in the Library
So, as all of you know, I have been working on a 365 project since the beginning of July as a way of filling time over the summer, but also as a physical reminder of showing an interesting thing or person that I met that day.
So, these are the first 3 posts since getting back to Clark on Sunday and officially kicking off my 4 months of zero social media presence.
I am going to be posting these photographs in posts of 3 images with the number, the date, and the person, place, or thing that I document.
With the end of sophomore year and the summer of turning 20, I will be in Washington state pursuing a sustainable farming internship. I leave on the 15th of May and return the end of June, and for the first time in my life, I will be away from home on my birthday as well as conquering one of my biggest fears: travelling solo.
Doesn’t it scare you? Leaving and being on your own for the first time in life? You don’t know how to drive, how to ride a bike, or even how to make your own food. I object. What are people going to say? Where are you going to stay? Who is going to pick you up from the airport when you land? Are they trustworthy? You will always go with anyone, how can we be so sure you will go safely?
I get it, the people that I have told my fears too have told me one thing in response: you will be ok. But I still cannot seem to grasp the butterflies in my stomach and the cloudiness in my brain when I hear the word solo. It is a word defined by the emotions it represents: freedom, independence, and more often than not, is associated with the feelings of being so tired of a specific place that all you want to do is run from it.
My dad always used to tell me stories of the Himalayas when I was growing up. Hiking amongst the majestic, snow covered peaks with his sandals being broken with each weary step he took. I will be surrounded by forests and a long, snaking river, carving its way through the landscape of my mind, defining it with every crash, bubble, and gurgle of a child. It is where I was meant to be and where I will always be going towards.
The fear that I have is not singular, no. It is an integrated feeling that has been drilled into my head from when I was very young, that travelling was dangerous. That as a girl, I am often going to be a target. That things would happen. And I did not think I would be confronting that fear so soon in my life. But, while I confront my fear of the unknown, the personality that I have developed over 2 years that dosent give a single shit about it comes out.
A storm rages inside her mind as the boat crashes towards the watery depths of the ocean. Lightning strikes, with the dark, swirling clouds of Maleficent’s castle on a cliff make me start to cry in the airport. The tears rush down, as salty as the ocean as I fly over, as I look down in awe. 5 minutes later, the sun comes out.
Life is too short to keep living in our fears and not step out the box, and believe me, I don’t plan on sitting down and watching. There is an adventure ahead of me, and boy am I gonna run after it.
Guys I thought today was going to be a regular thursday. Class, lunch, photoshoot, sleep. As all regular days go.
I always get to spanish 15 minutes before 9 and sit in a chair across from Prof. Tobin’s room on the third floor of Estabrook. Today, I was writing notes on film photography (probably will make film my primary mode of photography, leaving digital for events, but that’s another post). Usually there is no one on the floor except electricians fixing the ever problematic wires dangling from the patchy ceiling.
9:45, 3rd floor Estabrook- a custodian walks by me talking to herself. I asked her how she was doing and she responded with upset and confused. She told me her husband was sick with cancer combined with severe rheumatoid arthritis. She told me that he didn’t look good and his health was deteriorating before her very eyes. “I’m sorry”, I said, not knowing what to respond. His doctor, also with cancer, couldn’t give him medications to calm his arthritis, knowing that it would cause the cancer to form tumors internally. Angry, confused, and upset, she walked on, still talking to herself as she continued to do so.
7:10, red chairs UC – I can’t stop thinking. I can’t stop thinking about how short life is. I want to cry, but I can’t and don’t want to in the middle of the library. I’m here, in college, with a roof over head, people who care and with no serious health issues. I am privileged to live such a life, and often I take it for granted. There are few things I regret — not going to be able to study abroad in my 4 years of undergrad, not having a pet, but in the grand scheme of things, these things are meaningless. I exist, and that’s a gift in and of itself.
I didn’t think this 6 minute conversation would impact me as much as it did, but conversations are a moment of reflection that is often taken for granted. I don’t think I will ever be able to feel the same emotions as the custodian I met today in Estabrook, but I can sure get into her headspace. She was hopeless, searching for a cure that will keep eluding her, as sisyphus was with his rock and tantalus with the grapes. This was a tunnel with no light at the end, an endless stretch of black trapped against a bright blue sky.
So yesterday I ate my first bowl of noodles with chopsticks. And it was interesting.
But also shoutout to my best friend Camille for adventuring with me the entire day and chilling in the Isabella Stewart Gardener talking about study abroad and just life in general ❤
Have loads of fun in France ima miss you lots
So there are not going to be any photographs on this post. This is an all writing post into my retrospection with photography as a focus.
I think asking my parents for a camera on my 18th birthday (the summer before I headed to Clark) was probably the best decision I have ever made. I did my research, and got a quality, entry-level dslr on a discount through amazon.
At that point, I was still very much a traditional artist, working with paper, pencils, pens, paint, etc, only using my camera to document special places that we traveled to. Pretty much that whole first year of having my camera, it just sat there, in my camera bag, only in use when there was an event at Clark that needed to be photographed. I never took it out to photograph everyday life or just people at clark cause I only intended to use it for events and nothing else. However, I soon began to find myself getting tired of traditonal art and with an audience slowly growing for my event photography, I decided to make a shift into photographing everyday stuff, but only the last couple weeks of spring semester into the summer. An important point to add is that the main reason why I was at almost every event at Clark during freshman year was to get a feel for the settings and capablities of my camera and being able to fine tune my skills with the equipment and kit lens that I had.
It was only the beginning of this year where I made a significant effort to push myself out of my comfort zone and photograph people for the first time.
My camera and I merged into becoming one and the same,with me rarely leaving my room without a camera and a full charged battery. I saved up enough money to afford a new all manual prime lens (which I am going to be using for the rest of my life), which I used for all my photography except events (which I use my kit lens for). Where I went my camera went, and constant documentation followed. I documented everyday life, from unusual sights in the library, to shooting my friends being candid, to adventuring to new spots in Worcester for the sake of documentation as well as locations to take my friends to to photograph them. There were some times where I did scare my close friends by going to abandoned spots at night, pureley for the thrill of seeing stars with no light polluting the sky, but those are posts for another day.
I arranged a fall semester project, which evolved from a shadow based project to a conversational one, focused on getting to know individuals who made up the Clark community. I ended up photographing about 30+ individuals, and finding myself through my portrait photography. The pictures that I produced were, I realized after looking through all the photographs, were a direct reflection on how I saw the world — real and magical. I narrowed down my portrait style, basing it on moments that were real and candid and could never be replicated in the future. I ended up getting closer to my friends through this project as well as becoming close friends with the people that I shyly messaged through facebook to be a part of the project.
Photography as an art has turned into my primary focus as an artist, for the main reason that it has changed the way that I observe my everday life. Constantly looking through the viewfinder, has, throughout a year or so, sharpened my vision to noticing details in a photograph that might go unnoticed by someone who is too focused on the technique rather than the purpose or even the feeling of the photograph. It has led me to constantly document, often to the slight annoyance of my friends or people that I just end up meeting, to my family, but nevertheless I still continue to do it. Its taught me that equipment dosent really matter, rather taking the time to focus your shot and capture a real moment is going to matter more to you and your subject than creating an idealized and fabricated photograph through caked on edits and heavy alterations.
Photography is me. Photography is life.
*i had no idea how to end this post so I ended it in the only way I know how
*also important to note that my friends rarely see me without a camera and know that im always down for an impromptu shoot whenever
Ah, the aquarium.
So, today, me and Juliette went to the New England Aquarium, and I’m confident in saying that it was one of the best adventures I’ve had in such a long time. I set a mental challenge to photograph the aquarium entirely in black and white, and I am quite happy that I did.
Black and white photography is an art form that I am still getting the hang of, but in a place like the aquarium, where the entire aesthetic is defined by a cool (greens/blues) pallet, black and white seems like an odd way to cover such a defined space. In the beginning, I was very scared of black and white, for the main reason that it seemed so far from the current reality of any scene that I was photographing. Black and white was old, a reminder of a lost time, with color being current and trending.
However, as my photography evolved and my attitudes towards photographing a scene changed, I found myself going back to black and white, on the grounds that color was so subjective and it determined the mood of the photograph so much more than the subtle details that made a shot interesting. Black and white eliminated all of that, focusing on the scene as it really was, paying attention to the detail and the mood of an expression or moment with such crystal clear clarity.
So, with a change in attitude, I shot the aquarium in black and white, and I can confidently say that this has to be one of my favorite photo-sets that I have ever shot and edited. I took the time, constructed each shot, changed the aperture and focus as neccesarry, with really telling results.
Edited on Lightroom.
*before the actual post, I do want to say that im going to be off social media for a couple of months (I havent finalized a date yet) just like last semester to focus and push myself academically as well as to narrow down my photography style (even more so than last semester).
But as usual, this blog will be in full effect, so feel free to tune in 😉
Finally got on the adobe train and subscribed to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite on new years eve. And I have to say, this is a move that I think is going to enhance my photography, and is an extremely valuable learning experience for me as an artist and creative person.
So, as usual, I shot a couple of photographs of my family as well as my friends who came over for New Years and edited these photographs on lightroom using the VSCO film presets that I purchased.
Here we go.
My journey into the center of my phototgraphic experience.
Focused in on documentary photography, capturing the magic of everyday moments around Clark as well as Worcester in general, at almost every time of the day.