I literally went on a day trip to Mammoth. After graduation I went home to San Diego, and my dad asked if I wanted to drive up to Mammoth where he had to do some measurements on a cabin and other general contractory stuff. I was in a car for a total of 14 hours to spend half a day there. Was it worth it? Of course. Got to spend some quality time with the pops, and I was able snap the most delightful picture of a chipmunk stuffing his fat little cheeks. I was no kidding, 2 and a half-ish fee away from him. Obviously he knew he was cute, and knew I was there to capture his cuteness (I would have actually captured him and taken him home if it wasn’t, you know, against the law…). Aside from the chipmunk shot, which was easily the highlight of my day, the rest of Mammoth was gorgeous. Everything looked so crisp. The place was just begging for snow, and I can only imagine how beautiful it is with a white blanket. The air was still and sounds were seldom. I felt small in such a vast landscape. It’s strange how nature develops, where everything, the rocks, the trees, the mountains, are perfectly placed.
After a bit of adventuring with my good high school friend, Ian, and his Grandma (my dad was working on their cabin), we set out for lunch at the Yodler Restaurant. Boy do I appreciate a pretzel larger than the size of my face paired with a cold beer, especially after a bit of walking. The place was right next to the ski lifts, which looked weird hanging above a grassy slope. But I hardly paid attention to my surroundings as I was too busy stuffing my face. Did I mention my friends call me chip (short for chipmunk…) Thanks Tara.
Lastly, we arrived at the cabin, and I was greeted by a fat dog named George, and a wiggly little guy named Bob. I fell in love with both. Just look at George’s underbite. Can you handle it? I can’t. If it were up to me, I would have happily left Mammoth with two dogs and a chipmunk. But all I have are these pictures…sigh. Maybe one day…
I always tell my family they are lucky to have me, you know, so I can artfully document their lives through photography (and then post it to the internet 🙂 ) I happily jumped at the opportunity to take Zeno’s senior pictures, because not only is he a natural at modeling, but it was also a chance for me to hang out with my younger siblings and catch up on their lives. A huge part of me is sad because I missed most of their high school years, so I try to make up for it whenever I can. So on a Saturday morning Zeno, Oni and I drove to a huge open field with tall golden grass. It’s the grass that looks like waves when wind rushes through it. If you walk across it you come to a cliff overlooking the ocean. It’s one of my favorite places in Santa Barbara, and it always reminds me why I love it here so much. The mornings here are a bit on the gloomy side, which is perfect for photography. The gorgeous even lighting and the moody grey tones in the ocean and sky; everything about it is peaceful. It’s the sort of magical place you want to tell stories in.
Of course, I had Zeno pose for more than the typical senior pictures. I wanted to capture more of who he is: A young man who is contemplative, and comfortable in the silence of his own thoughts. He craves adventure and new experiences. He is an artist, motivated by the sounds of life that surround him. He plays a multitude of instruments. I always found us to be very similar, in that we both have these creative passions. Though we are both quiet on the introverted side, we both dream of sharing our creative visions with the world. He is ending one chapter and on the verge of another. It’s a time in life we are all familiar with. I am very proud of him, because he has always stuck true to the person he is. I don’t know if many people can truthfully say that.
Now I am going to text him the link to this post so he can read it. He needs to be reminded from time to time how much of an awesome and loving sister I am 🙂
Woah guys, college is no longer. I just blinked and it was over. Am I an adult yet? Hardly. The reality check hasn’t been too harsh, and I am testing the waters of freelance photography. I will admit it’s all a little daunting. Not only do you have to be good at what creative services you are providing, but you have to be good at selling who you are. It’s no secret in the world of photography that people hire those they like to be around. You can’t really blame them though. Who wants to hang out with a complete schmuck during a full day shoot?
Drifting thoughts aside, I’d like to share an image I created that’s pretty quintessential of the feels that I feel…literally all the time. Obviously it has multiple meanings because I am all about ambiguity. Do you ever feel one moment you are drowning and the next you are like “Wait, no guys I’m totally cool. Seriously, I got this.” Story of my life. My ability to grasp on motivation towards creative endeavors is only so so at the moment. It’s not that I am burnt out, but once in a while my brain needs a break. I have to reconnect to the drive that landed me in this position (graduate of photo school. woo!) in the first place. Once you find it you have to nurture it. Sometimes we fall off that path because we learn so many rights and wrongs from so many people who have a dead set way of doing things. One moment we think we are creating all the right things then BAM! someone says something else is correct. You get pulled in so many directions. You stumble. You doubt the path you once believed in.
You know what? Forget them. You do you boo. No one knows you more than you.
Art is so subjective anyway. Who’s to say what is right? I’m right, your right…only if you think so though.
But dude, I know you are. So…happy dance/ fist pump? cool! 🙂
Eyes are so symbolic. I guess its a bit cliche but I can’t help myself. If you have been following my blog thus far, you have seen my obsession with meaning, or at least some glimmer of a meaning. You want to make people think. You want to create impact, even if its only for a small moment, because the satisfaction of creating work goes beyond finishing the piece. If you are an artist, there is a part of you that lives for introducing new work into the world. The drive behind your creativity is the need to express your thoughts through mediums in the hope that someone out there gets it. Or maybe your work is the reason someone is able to finally wrap their head around an abstract idea. Finally they have found something that makes sense to them, and they have you to thank. You will probably never hear from them, but the possibility of creating that moment for anyone is enough motivation for you. It is for me. Sometimes I forget it though. Isn’t it so easy to fall into a pattern? Wake up, do life, same as yesterday, sleep.
I know I am lucky. I was fortunate to fall in love with a passion I never tire of practicing. But man oh man, recently I feel as if there is not enough time in the day. For like, anything. I graduate in less than three weeks at 21 years old. A very young 21. If I think I have no time now, I must be kidding myself (at least that’s what your thinking, am i right?). The word “adult” is strange to me. I can hardly associate myself with it. And now I have to be one. Or at least fake it till I make it, as many of our teachers are reminding us as they push us out of the classroom environment. A huge part of me is scared. I’m afraid I will lose the time to nurture my creativity, or maybe even lose my motivation. I see so many artists and photographers losing the spirit that pushed them to create because they fall into the monotony of life. They become tired, drained, burnt out. I just have to remember that I have a responsibility to myself. As does everyone with passions they love and practice. You can’t work so hard to get to a certain point and then suddenly decide you are tired. It’s an excuse not worth backing up. And you know that. I mean, I don’t know if I am talking to myself, or if anyone feels these feels, but putting it out there makes me feel better. It’s harder to break a promise that you have proof of.
I guess today you got to read the contract I created for myself to not become a worn out artist. Today I made a promise not to be a quitter. You should too, because you owe it to yourself. And I believe in you! Yes!! Now I know you are 100% committed to not being a quitter.
On a side note, thank you to everyone following my blog! I started this almost a whole year ago (HOLY COW WHAT?!), and it’s nice knowing people actually read the sporadic wordy thoughts of my brain.
I like to have meaning behind my photographs. I suppose I am deep thoughtful person… 🙂 But I think its important to keep the message a little ambiguous. Then people can apply the meaning that is most relevant to them.
When I was in high school I wanted to shoot fashion. I suppose I had it in my head that I was a nifty thrifty trend setter who could bring a certain dramatic and quirky edge to fashion photography. I’d still consider myself thrifty (or cheap…), but I’ve long left the dreams of shooting tall models in long gorgeous dresses that would take me months of eating top ramen to buy. I quickly realized I was much more interested in capturing personalities and glimpses of a seemingly attainable happy lifestyles. Clothes are fun, people are better. But, there are times when merging fashion and lifestyle becomes seamless, and really communicates the feel you want. I’m infatuated with the relaxed Santa Barbara lifestyle, and that carefree feeling finds its way into my photography. Shoots like these remind me why I never want to leave.
I’m not gonna. Ever.
Thank you so much to my lovely model Alexis Ransom! She is a fellow photographer and you can follow her on instagram here: http://www.instagram24.com/aransom_photo
Okay guys, I’m back. I know how much you have missed my long ramblings about the brain. I mean, I know how much I missed rambling. There is nowhere for the piling up of creative thoughts to go except out, and in the form of words or work or whatever you choose. Actually, I have been doing a lot of work! I’ve got those last semester of photo school feels, and I’m feeling the pressure of the real world. Yikes! But if all goes as planned, I get to stay put in sunny Santa Barbara and hopefully continue my artistic endeavors. And of course, my sporadic ramblings on the inter webs. The images you see here was a project with one lovely Caitlyn Silkey (thank you girl!) and a plan to create a nerdy but gorgeous persona through photography. She was awesome and very understanding of my spontaneous shooting style, and she did a wonderful job transforming into this character. I would also like to give a shout-out to my rats Pinky and Brain for their first ever modeling gig. I am always stoked to follow through with a fun and quirky shoot like this because its such a walk in the park. I wish all shoots were like this….
I love faces. I love how you can create a story just by seeing a face. Where have they been? Who are they? When I photograph people I want the image to be more than technically correct. I want expression to give more than that blank stare look we see so often on models faces.
Intrigue your viewers. Make them look twice or longer than two seconds.
Thank you to my lovely models (from top to bottom) Kaitlyn Hawkins, Thania Madere, and Nicolle Sims 🙂
I mean, I do enjoy film. It’s that day before Christmas feeling when you finally get your film developed in the dark room, and you are just about to unroll the spool. After an hour or so of technical agitation with the various darkroom mixtures in your canister of film, you pull off the negatives and hold them to the light. You pray they come out. In those few seconds of unspooling you think, “Shootshootshoot…did I use the right ISO on my phone light meter?! Damn you ISO 400 film!” You realize that digital cameras have spoiled you. As the light shines through the strip, you breathe a sigh of relief. YESSS! They are perfect (at least you tell yourself that because developing that one roll of film took forever).
And then comes the printing. There is really something magical about seeing your image come to life as you let the developer wash over the now exposed print. Then awe turns into a wee bit of frustration when you print that same print over and over to fine tune those dark room edits. But you power through and find the perfect time of exposure and contrast, and you define what areas to doge and burn. You print a few more of that perfect image. YES, IM SUCH A PHOTOGRAPHER. Fist pump.
One down. A million more to go. Yay.
Thank God for scanners. Having all of my negatives in one organized file on my harddrive? Yes please.
You can follow these beautiful models on instagram at adreamdiffered and kayhawks13.
Nicole (the one with the crazy stick bra) is a great friend and fellow photographer. Her photographs are gorgeous! You can check out her site here http://nicolecanegata.com/
If you want to see how film is really done, please make your way to
I suppose for many photographers, people become a canvas. The expressions and actions they direct are the movements of their own sort of “paintbrush.” But sometimes, when I’m feelin a little artsy, I literally make my models a canvas. Why not dig out the paint and do something unexpected? I love having a blank canvas in front of me. Sure, its process to the finished image, but no one says you can’t have fun with it. Paint some eyeballs, some lips, maybe a tree…anything! It’s your project!
As always, my lovely model Audrey Mangiameli doing her thang! Whipping that hair! 🙂