Panda, Panda

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I found a panda-headed stranger in Urban Outfitters wearing a tiger shirt. She turned; I snapped. Funny things you’ll find in the city.

35 mm film, developed and processed by hand.

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Reflections in the Water

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Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results; Freud theorizes that we all harbor some childhood wound we’re all seeking to recreate. Mistake one, mistake two, mistake three, mistake four. But four wasn’t insanity. And four wasn’t an old wound. Four was, instead, ironically, cheesily, gradually then all at once, one of the best things to happen. A summery wish granted, a wintry curiosity piqued: reflections in the water (I did it again I did it again I did it again)

Something Uncanny

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There’s something called the uncanny valley, “the hypothesis that human replicas that appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit feelings of eeriness and revulsion.” It’s the intersection between realness and artificiality that unnerves and disturbs.  The Uncanny Valley’s always intrigued me–what’s it about creepy humanoid likeness that disgusts, fascinates, weirds us out?

35mm film. Processed and developed by hand. 

Disposable Diaries | Roll 1

God, I love shooting with disposable cameras. There’s an art to shooting film: getting perfect shots are a crapshoot, so experiment; humans are better photographed candid than posed; keep subjects far away so they won’t be blurred; there has to be just enough spontaneity to really make the photo.

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There’s an ineffable quality to disposables that I have difficulty putting into words. I can’t explain the beauty of it except that there just is.

For a while, I associated disposables with old school, low quality shit, elementary-school days. Times when phone cameras weren’t a thing, and real cameras were too valuable to let kids use. So they gave us these cheap hunks of plastic to take onto field trips and ruin. Fast forward ten years and now I love disposables; I drool over experimental film. And I don’t think I’m the only one enamored with film aesthetic. Polaroids, the high-end cool sister of disposables, are ‘in’. VSCO and Instagram, popular iPhone apps, emulate traditional film with filters, light leaks, etc. At some point, though, light leaks weren’t a deliberate digital effect on photos; they were film ‘mistakes’.

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Usually I find that the less planning, the better. Which, initially, might be counterintuitive. Unlike with digital cameras, you can’t photograph a hundred images and delete the worst. You have a limited number of shots, and you won’t know how they turn out until they’re developed. But meticulously planning photos, whether with iPhones or DSLRs, takes me out of the moment. I’m more concerned about the image than the scene, the post than the place. Film’s quick, immediate, doesn’t give me time to ruminate or edit or post. It’s more fun to keep an eye out for interesting places, odd angles, messy spaces, take the shot, and go.

Oftentimes, the photos turn out better than I’d have imagined. It’s a little hit-or-miss, but the best film photos are better than their digital counterparts.

Projects // Ideas

Inspired by The Journal of Disposable Thoughts, as well as alum who railed on about the importance of having passion projects…Some personal projects and ideas I’ve been toying around with:

1. A video project I’ve been meaning to do since June or July. I’d like to compile the video footage I took of life and strangers in China. Was inspired by WANDER IN VIETNAM, which I found on Vimeo last summer:

2. 100 Strangers Project. Haven’t updated in eons–I still talk to strangers and keep note of their stories, but I never get around to posting them. I’ve also felt averse to photography for the past few months and so that probably has something to do with it. When I have time, though, I’ll update the project…And, ideally, reach 60 strangers by the end of the year.

3. Last spring I thought of painting a series relating to It; this summer I thought about compiling a space where I could throw up everything about It. Like, oh, a digital timeline, the shortest one  you could imagine. Just a chronology of songs and art and quotes and notes-

But I only painted a rose and stopped there. The whole thing seemed, uh, unhealthy. And indulgent. But I guess that’s one excuse you can make for art and shitty feelings. Latter fuels the former….(Reminds me of a piece in Brain Pickings on artist Marina Abramovic’s Turning Trauma Into Power.)

How could I complete it? Well, I could paint Ophelia. And, oh, what else? Nail-biting-brainstorming. Most likely I’ll focus on filling up two more canvases and then just have a 3-piece series on the topic of It, which I’ll have to also give a better name later.

4. This, uh, photography project idea I’m contemplating doing. Won’t divulge details, it’s a little unnerving, and I wouldn’t know how to explain it to people who don’t understand (?) Still. There’s an odd allure to it. And there’s something inside of me that really wants to do this. Guess it amplifies/draws into question the relationship between the photographer, the camera, the subject… the nature of observing and capturing ‘moments’, huh.

5. Something to do with music, something to do with instruments. I could learn a piano duet piece to play with my friend. Usually he watches piano videos to learn songs, and I’ll play them by ear. But I think it’d be fun to learn new songs and to practice sheet-reading, something I haven’t done in months… and I miss the flow of making music. God, you know that moment when consuming music isn’t enough–you just have to produce it, too? Otherwise you might explode? It’s been a while since I’ve felt that towards any one song. But I can’t sit around waiting for musical muses. I’ll find one.

6. Sketch and paint the people in my life. Give people in my life said sketches. Last week I gave VS a painting of The Little Prince; on Friday, I gave my TA a comic-ified version of a poem. All summer I kept wondering: what do I do with my art, what do I do with my art? Well, I could give it to other people (…If they wanted it)