Friday, January 29, 2010

[update] week 4

perfectly even
HELLO! This week = __________ (everything that fits). And my photos? _______ (not sure how to describe them this week). I'm still trying to figure out what photograph to take for today, though! Probably a crazy portrait since I'm feeling really happy?!

day 22
day 22: worlds apart

day 22

day 23
day 23: why couldn't this have been day 21?

day 24
day 24: le sigh

day 26
day 25: is it over?

day 28
day 28: a lone descent

Day 25 and 27 sucked, so I didn't bother uploading them.
I took more photographs that didn't belong in project 365, but they're at my Flickr photostream.

jubilant me


Dear all,

I felt jubilant yesterday. I feel pretty damn good right now, I think, (despite vacuuming the lower level of my house).

Why, you ask?

I could give a very dramatic story about that, but let's just be concise...

This was a pretty tough week with plenty of milestones in school (and at home) but I feel like I overcame them with all the willpower I could muster. There you have it.

In the beginning of the week, I was like, "...Science fair presentation (due Tuesday)...backboard (due Tuesday)...Algebra test (due Thurs)...AP World History test (due Wednesday)... Mr. Chantilly (Tuesday).... Driver's Ed (Tuesday)...piano (due Wednesday)...DAMN!"

Let's see what happened to each of them...

  • Science fair backboard - didn't start until Monday night (night before it was due), virtually shitted around for a couple of hours seriously, and didn't start until 10ish. Finished around 3 ish? 4 ish?
  • I stayed after school for the AP World review session which didn't really help that much as it turns out, when I could've interviewed the contestants for Mr. Chantilly instead.
  • Algebra test - thought it was Tuesday, so I studied about 30 minutes for it. The real deal was actually Thursday. I don't know how I did on it, but at least I studied...?
Tuesday -

Mr. Chantilly. Basically was at school for 13 hours. Went through the school day, stayed after, went to practice piano at 4 in the music department, started running up and down school taking photographs and uploading them to tpt server for pre-Mr. Chantilly, paid for Mr. Chantilly using my own ten bucks, they gave me back 6 bucks, I donated all of it to the penny wars, somehow got front row seats thanks to someone from the SGA (Genevieve) that I only met and interviewed the day before this (thank you!), and then experienced major dilemma because the camera's memory card that I was shooting with became full not even halfway into the competition, so I was very frustrated and franticcalm about deleting like 500 photos in there, took more photographs, took notes and recorded sections of the competition, full memory = delete some photos, took more photos, and the competition was over around 9 ish. BUT, was my duty over? No.

Interviewed a couple of people in the audience afterward, and a few contestants. THEN, hung around after the competition to see if I could get some juicy details from some people, etc. Then I went up and uploaded the 304 pictures I took of Mr. Chantilly, that took forever (i.e. 10 minutes), and finally got picked up by my dad around 10 p.m. DID I EVER MENTION HOW CREEPY IT IS TO STAY IN THE SCHOOL AT 9/10 p.m. ALONE? This deserves its own post.

But anyway, when I'm sitting in the car, my dad gave me shit about how I forgot MY library card at my aunt's house and therefore he can't use MY library card to pick up books he put on hold (WTF man, why don't you use your own card!).

When I got home, I was planning on studying for the AP World test, but guess what? I guess I was so tired (though I didn't feel that way) that I feel asleep when I was waiting for my computer to load! And so, I wake up at 4:21 a.m., was like, "ugh" and went back to sleep and woke up at 6:30 a.m. and boom, time to wake up. And I realize I didn't study for AP World. And on the car ride to school, as I'm trying to recall everything about AP World History, my dad once again lectures me about how I didn't remember my library card and when we're approaching the curb but the car's still in motion, he BLASTS me by saying (in Chinese) something along the lines of "****, you are so dumb and slow! Hurry up with getting out the car!" Well, excuse me for not JUMPING out the car when it's still in motion. Maybe I ought to kill myself! Oh god. So I get to AP World (first period) absolutely flustered/angry/scatterbrained and I pretty much wing the test. First time in the history of me and APW. And I got an 80%. So I have to say, I felt pretty content with it in terms of AP World on top of winging it. Not sure about the essay, but heck with it.

I'm sure you've heard me rant too much already, so let's just quickly get on with the rest of my epic week...

later in Wednesday, I find out I have an A- in English. Okay, not the best grade ever, but you have to understand that I had a C+ in the interim, so I feel pretty accomplished that I raised it from a C+ to an A in such a short time period, okay? (But it was my fault that I even brought it down to a C+, blasphemy, in the first place, but whatev. I was dead at the time).

And then, Thursday -
I wing the science fair presentation because I was exhausted the night before. And Ms. Koppel was like, "Are you in debate team?" after I finished and it's a compliment, so I felt pretty pleased. Hahaha! And I also found out that I have an A- for this quarter! People who actually know me should know that I had a C+ for my report card last quarter, the first ever since 3rd grade, so yay me! Chemistry, the bane of my existence--from a C+ to an A-!

And Driver's Ed? I found out I have an A-. Pretty good if you think about me having a D+ (hahaha, oh dear me) in the interim. I RAISED a D+ to an A-!

So much happened this week. My nerves were in a frenzy, and my palpitations were in overdrive, but I feel like I'm on still waters right now--peaceful. Tranquil. I feel euphoric right now, that's it. EUPHORIA. Intense happiness. And I'm not going to let anyone/anything obstruct my happiness right now. Even though yesterday, I came home and my dad freaking made a fool of me in front of my other relatives (AGAIN with the library card issue!), I am not going to let anyone or anything stop me from being happy because I HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL HAPPY THAT I'M MOVING FORWARD AGAIN, WOO!

And I slept at 10:30 Thursday night and woke up 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. DANG. That's replenished my lack of sleep for the 5 months that I've skipped out on. 17 hours of sleep in one go. That's a personal record, hahaha... but I feel like I've wasted a free day. Oh well. There's the weekend. There's Monday off. Yay for teacher workdays.

And on Friday afternoon, since I woke up feeling so fine, I decided to volunteer to vacuum the lower level of my house.
In celebration/memory of this unbelievably ____ week, I plan on fasting or eating delectable food on Tuesdays because I did not eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner that day since I was so caught up with working.

And somehow, I know that thins will go downhill from here because I am so happy right now, but I'm not even worried...yet. I'm going to preserve this happiness for as long as I can.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

[YouTube] Raquel Zimmerman's "Poker Face"

Geezus. Raquel Zimmermann dancing to Poker Face by none other than Lady Gaga... and Nick Knight filming. Amusing.

[fashion] Climbing to the Top by Steven Meisel

(via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Wow. This is simply stunning. I'd like to believe it's the camera angle by the genius of Steven Meisel that makes the magic. I find that Meisel makes some of the most controversial or stunning shots...

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Inadequacy. Constant comparisons.

Sometimes Often, I'm like, "Well, DAMMIT, what am I doing/not doing that he/she is/isn't?" when I look at other people's photography.

[update] week 3

days 15 - 21
I can't believe it's week 2 already!

day 15
day 15: michael

day 16
day 16: le pantsless look

day 17
day 17: late nite snack

day 18
day 18: the walk

day 19
day 19: this too shall pass

miniature seoul
miniature seoul

day 21
day 21: full of it

So that's that. Day 20 did not exist, but I uploaded a photograph I took during the summer of Seoul.

Optional questionnaire (though it'd be greatly appreciated if you answered any/all):
1) Your personal favorite(s), if any?
2) Any suggestions/ideas?
3) Any theme in particular that you think I should do for a day? (i.e. a tragic shot, a satirical shot, ironic, 60s, 80s, emo, whatev)
4) Name something you'd like to see more of (or less of) in my photographs (i.e. landscape, portrait of (name here), miniatures, etc.)'s 3 a.m.

[fashion] Alexander McQueen Spring 2010 Campaign

What do you see in this picture?

(via Fashion Gone Rogue

When I first looked at it, I was like, "Huh? What's this? All snakes and McQueen shoes?" I didn't even notice Raquel Zimmerman until I read the comments underneath.

Knowing that it was an ad for a campaign, I thought the concept was great--one of the first things I saw was the McQueen shoes--that helps sell the product (it's noticeable). Knowing that it was a photograph, I thought the concept of camouflage was great. But other people thought otherwise.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

being too content with your work is like eating too much food

I read this about a month (or two) ago: according to an interview I read between fashion photographers David Anthony and Melissa Rodwell, I got one message that stopped me in my tracks and has since then been engraved into my soul whenever I take a look at my work and progress in terms of photography, and everything else in life that involves work and effort. And learning.

This message was that you stop growing once you are satisfied and content with your work (creation-wise, I feel like this applies more to artists, but I think it could apply to everyone else). What do I mean by that?

Let's speak from my perspective and situation.

I'm an aspiring fashion photographer. An aspiring photographer in general that's enthused by fashion. I say 'aspiring' because I can't consider myself the 'real' deal yet. I don't know when I can. Because you know what? How do you know that your work is 'good'? I am sure this is a question that all creatives (people like me who aspire in the field of art, which is measured and ruled by CREATIVITY--which is essentially ALIVE) ask themselves. For me, as much as a big ego I have, I also naturally have extreme paranoia. While at some point I may be pleased with a photograph I shoot, I usually have qualms about it afterward, especially after looking at it too many times. While I would love to toot my horn, I can never be too sure that I can do that, given that I inevitably have so much more to learn and accomplish before I could ever consider myself a real photographer. I don't freaking know much about the history of fashion photography (yet), and I hardly know the intricacies of lighting and shooting with film! Those are very important principles that I have yet to understand. I was reminded about those disadvantages of mine when I read the interview, so since then, I've taken myself out to the library and checked out whatever (fashion) photography books I could possibly find. Can you believe that they have Annie Leibovitz's books but NOTHING of Irving Penn's (or Richard Avedon)?! But anyway, I checked out Annie Leibovitz At Work by Leibovitz herself and I am still in the process of dissecting, analyzing, and reading her work (it's a photography book plus it includes
commentaire) and I find myself absolutely inadequate but inspired nonetheless.

Back to the main point: I just wanted to make this analogy...

Being too content with your work is like eating too much food. Good food, if I may add. How did I come up with this specific analogy? Well, let's see...

Today, aside from watching Ip Man (to which I bawled my eyes out, being so moved), I ate THE bowl of heavenly noodles. It's the unofficial name I've given to one of my aunt's greatest cooking recipes, and you HAVE to meet her and eat her food if given the chance. I am convinced she could pwn any Iron Chef cook or whatev other cook out there with this recipe (that is how amazing it is in my opinion) if they tried making it. But anyway, I naturally stuffed myself with a second bowl after downing the first (delightfully). Not a morsel was spared. After finishing the second bowl (as well as the Ip Man movie), I felt sick of it. Too much. Eugh. It's like, haven't you loved a dish and loved it so much that you binged/indulged too much on it and felt disgusted afterward? Yes, that's the feeling I get when it comes down to myself and work--photography, schoolwork, etcetera. But especially with photography since I'm convinced it's the path meant for me, til the day I die (and beyond, if there is an afterlife of sorts).

[TANGENT ALERT: even if photography will not become my ultimate career (THAT is truly scandalous), I know I would still have a camera with me wherever I went as I do now, since it's something I just really, really, truly love, and that I would still take photographs.]

Going back to heavenly noodles and photography...
So that's the feeling I get when I look at my photographs. And I wonder...

How will I become a "real" photographer?

How can I grow?

Is there ever a time when I can be allowed to gloat, to be content without reserves with my own work?

And paranoia kicks in, shoves big ego out of the way. No, Miranda. If you get complacent, you'll fall, like what you're doing in school right now. But is that what I'm doing--getting complacent? Am I? I don't know. I sometimes think 'yes,' and I sometimes think 'no.'

When I think about it, a true artist should not/cannot be ultimately pleased with their own work unless it has actually been praised by an audience, and even then, you cannot be completely reassured. You will only know that you're good if someone tells you that you are. That's what I often believe.

So can you trust your audience? Do they know what you're talking about? Do they really know what art is? That's what I ask.

But then I stop.

An audience. They don't have to know what art is to have the ability to like or dislike it. That's the whole damned reason there are people who are photographers (or aspiring to be) and people who aren't, or people who are artists and people who aren't.

Your take on this? Opinions? Answers to all the questions I've asked in this post?

Food for thought?

But in the end, there are going to be people who will dislike your art no matter what other people say of it. And there are going to be people who like your art even if other people don't see why.

[update]ever heard of the saying 'moved to tears'?

Depending on how I feel, this post might turn into a lengthy one. But it's been a while since I had one of these update notes. Or it feels that way, at least.

I just watched the semi-biographical film Ip Man (2008), directed by Wilson Yip. It basically revolves around the period of time after the second Sino-Japanese War, where the Japanese seriously broke China. This was a really emotional film (or, should I say, I'm a really emotional person?) Yeah. So anyway, the setting is Foshan (in China) and the protagonist is Ip Man, who is the renown martial artist Bruce Lee's master. But anyway, this film focuses on Ip Man (hence the title!). I would have to spend 5,000 words trying to give all the background information, but let's get to the point as quickly as possible: after the Japanese invasion/conquering of China, they basically slaughtered the Chinese whenever they fancied, or put them into grueling labor. You get the picture--formerly bustling villages turned into ruins, a mass of impoverished people. So the commander in charge of Foshan is especially interested in martial arts and basically drafts Chinese people who have martial arts skills to compete with his own men. The incentive is that if a Chinese man wins, he is given a small (note: SMALL) amount of provisions in terms of grain to take home to his family. Supposing that he wins. If not, BANG, you're dead. So Ip Man, who is obviously the master, participates in a match after seeing that his friend goes missing after volunteering to compete against the Japanese soldiers, and he beats ten men in one match to avenge his fallen comrade (according to the movie), which is a real eye-opener to Miura, who takes an interest in him. Eventually, Miura asks him to train the Japanese soldiers in martial arts, but Ip Man's basically like, "I will never do such a thing since you are the Japanese and therefore my country/people's enemies, but if you want to fight me, bring it on." It's an intense match, and Ip Man wins. However, a Japanese general shoots him, which causes the Chinese people to riot, and that's pretty much where the movie ends (very epic finish). I thought he died, since I didn't read the Chinese text afterward, so I cried really hard because I was very moved by the portrayal of the injustice the Chinese faced and how honorable Ip Man was. My aunt thought I suddenly went crazy. Even she, a traditional Chinese woman, did not cry during the movie, which (I think) says a lot--about me, maybe. Oh, how easily I get affected! Definitely an epic movie, and even though this post is so long, it still doesn't do the film any justice. By the way... I made a really hilarious discovery by laugh sounds just like when I cry. The reason I know this? First I was crying because I was moved to tears and then I was laughing because my aunt asked what was the matter with me and whether or not I had finally gone crazy.

Continuing on...
The beginning of the week was horrible, to say the least. This whole week, the earliest I ever slept was 2 a.m. That was only for two days. The rest? I slept at 4 or 4:30 a.m. Not going to say anything more about it. This is the lowest point of my life, no joke. I could spend an entire day explaining how/why, and what I feel, but, really, I've fallen. For a while, I kept wishing someone would walk into my life who could pull me up and give me spirit again. But self-realization kicked in, and I realized there would be no such person. I don't know where I'm headed, but I do know it's going down. It's not the time to sit and watch, it's time for me to suck it up and get my act together.

On the lighter side of things, amidst the oblivion, there were some pretty good/funny things that happened. Ariel remarked, "I feel like I just went through a war." right after we walked out of Chemistry class. And speaking of Chemistry, basically, the class first started out with the concept that each table would have a whiteboard to draw Lewis Structures of compounds listed ona worksheet, and Ms. Koppel (the teacher) would come around and inspect our work. All the tables except mine had equipped geniuses, so we were the only ones who seemed not to know anything/were incapable of drawing Lewis Structures. Ms. Koppel came around to our table about two or three times, and each time we basically were like, "We have no clue what we're doing in this class" and you're probably wondering how any of this can be funny or good. So the funny part is... Ms. Koppel stopped visiting our table altogether, though she stopped by the two tables on either side of us. She skipped us. I guess she gave up on us.

But in the end, we (my table) figured out one or two things. It was pretty great.

Anyway, my head is swirling with science fair (@#$%) and **** like that, so I don't know what I else I should say, other than that TPT ISSUE 4 IS OUT! DIDJA GUYS READ IT YET??? Questions? Concerns? Comments? Great news: my column was going to be cut (for reasons I shall not disclose publicly), but in the end, it made it in the newspaper! Long story short... I have mixed feelings about it. So what did you think about my column?

Now I have to think about what to write about specifically for issue 5. I already have a few ideas, but some of them are pretty controversial/sensitive topics... Hmm...

***Impart your inspirations and ideas on me.

Photo-wise, I shall dedicate another post to my weekly 365 progress.

This was a really tangential post. It was all over the place, wasn't it?

I guess I felt like writing a long post.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

[fashion] the ideal look(s)


Frankly speaking, I have a very specific, idealized image that mostly all people I deem beautiful exhibit, in terms of their face. But let's be more specific about what sorts of people--in this instance--models.

I have a preference for models with what I consider le look--high cheekbones, pointed noses, arched eyebrows, strong jawlines, chiseled faces. What do they all have in common? SHARP.

*Oh yeah, before I get totally get carried away with this, I'll just say that I have a tendency to overanalyze and ramble and uh, am extremely passionate when it comes down to tying fashion with psychology.

Going back to the ideal, sharp face... it all looks very edgy and bold. Indisputably powerful. There's something irresistibly eye-catching about sharpness in a face, a form, in anything in general. Sharpness and edges are defining (does this make sense?). Think about fairy tales and classic stories in Western literature. The heroes/heroines/protagonists in the illustrations tend to have very defined features, no? Noble features. I don't know about you, but when I think of characters the likes of Cinderella and Prince Charming, I think of people with noble faces--defined, sharp, chiseled features, NOT some rounded face (do I sound like a nut?).

Gustave Dore - La Pia (Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri)
The above image is iconic, to me--in fact, it's forever engraved in my memories. The first time I came upon this image was in English class in 9th grade, when a guest speaker came in to discuss The Divine Comedy (Divina Comedia). She brought in a picture book (not the kind that is meant for children) which had this image. I thought it was simply stunning--look at those faces! They're just perfectly sharp and noble--especially Virgil's. This chiseled look has been the ideal for centuries, and I can totally understand why. Anyways, I'm getting ahead of myself...tangents.

Right, but okay, obviously not all models have angular, chiseled, European-nobility type faces. So what else do I look for?

Eyes. They hold just as much appeal as the shape and angle of the face, to me. Normally, a powerful model will have a gaze that will just steal the page/look away--it's not surprising if the first thing that you notice is his/her eyes. Especially if they're strikingly-colored--GREEN. Models with green eyes are just stunners. But color is of course never the sole matter, not with eyes, not with skin, not with anything. For eyes, there are certain shapes (I've yet to determine how to describe them) that are especially fanciful. And aesthetically speaking, the most powerful, important aspect of eyes is how you use them--how you stare at the camera, so to speak, how your gaze is conveyed, what sort of emotion you use behind them. I don't care whether you've got green, brown, or blue eyes if you do/don't know how to put some personality into them, which brings me to another ideal aspect of qualities I look for in people, in models...

Even if someone doesn't have an angular, chiseled face, or shockingly piercing green eyes, this is the one quality that could win me over in a heartbeat--ATTITUDE. PERSONALITY. CHARACTER. This is the defining, decisive point. Nobody cares much for an empty shell who looks like they don't give a damn for what they're doing in front of a camera, swathed (or not) in garments many a soul could never afford or lay eyes on. Au contraire...let me think. I classify a lot of models by the persona they convey, both on and off the runway. Typically all the models that are my muses exude power--they are/can be FIERCE. I'm totally enamored by people in general who can walk and talk with conviction, who have fierce gazes and deliberate actions. And certainly, people who exhibit sensuality--though I tend to group them with the power type, since you've got to have a certain power to be provocative and sensuous...or to stop traffic (that's a story for another time). But oh, I love people who can bring smiles with their playful/mischievous charisma equally as much. There are so many other personalities, but I think you get the gist.

The bottom line of the ideal form I envision is a lean or toned body and tall stature. But interestingly enough, much of what I covered above in regards to the face applies to the body, too. Sharp, straight bone structures give a refined, noble image. Voluptuous, curvy figures ooze sensuality. Both are equally fine.

When we think about it--the image I envision is essentially a stereotype. Stereotypes certainly have EXCEPTIONS and flaws. But that's just like how this world is, how life is, and yet it is nonetheless beautiful, as are those exceptions and flaws.

Some random photographs of a few of my model muses that I just randomly thought of for no particular reason (but are still gorgeous nonetheless):

Julia Stegner

(via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Tao Okamoto

Okay...Tao Okamoto. MUST say something about her. Hair. I just love this haircut. Absolutely fresh compared to her in long locks. I could go on forever about this, but...

Anja Rubik

The camera loves Anja Rubik, I'm lead to believe. She is the model that drew me into fashion, which I sort of explained in this Tumblr post, and although I don't like playing favorites, I have to say that she ranks very highly amongst my muses.

Jaco Van De Hoven

Jaco Van De Hoven - HIS EYES ARE KILLER. He's a pretty new face in the fashion realm, and I normally have an aversion for androgynous guys, but he's an exception.

Oh, and about androgyny...
Splendid. A few of the female models on my top muse list can pull of androgyny perfectly, like Tao Okamoto and Freja Beha Erichsen. my opinion...male models ought to be what they are--muscular (but not colossal like The Hulk, please) and lean, and distinguishably male.

Quentin Matthys

Mark Cox

(via TFS)

Benoni Loos

(via TFS)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

[fashion] dynamite dress

If you haven't checked out Magdalena Frackowiak by Josh Olins for Dazed & Confused February 2010, TAKE A LOOK RIGHT NOW @ FASHION GONE ROGUE.

The dresses are the designs of Viktor & Rolf.

I find it pure genius, and quite beautiful--powerful, solid angles and cuts, bizarre but beautiful shapes, the solidity of color and the color palette itself... Tell me, don't you find them thought-provoking? I do.

Very fresh concept. Love it.

Photo credits via Fashion Gone Rogue.

[news] painfully inevitable, saddening, and satisfying - The Times to charge readers starting 2011

At 3:02 p.m. today, I opened my e-mail inbox. A subject line immediately caught my eye from the News Alert - "The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Website". (Yes, I have the The New York Times delivered to my inbox around the clock since I subscribe, duh). My heart skipped a beat. The Times? As in, The New York Times?

I quickly clicked the message open.

"Starting in early 2011, visitors to will get a certain number of articles free every month before being asked to pay a flat fee for access."
Oh goodness. My heart died a little when I read that. So my paranoia was right.

"The New York Times announced Wednesday that it intended to charge frequent readers for access to its Web site, a step being debated across the industry that nearly every major newspaper has so far feared to take."

Certainly. Yes, I've always contemplated about the future for newspapers, and I certainly have always sensed that newspapers would find ways to deal with their situation. But...I never quite expected that, well, it'd come down to this, The New York Times, my most beloved newspaper...

After digesting the article, many thoughts immediately came to mind...

The first was something along the lines of, "Oh my goodness! What am I going to do after this?! How will I be able to religiously read the paper (online) after this happens?" And the second was a slow, sad realization--that this was perhaps a necessary measure taken by The Times. And then, I realized that if this was what it took to salvage a newspaper, so be it--I'm happy they've decided on something to address the problem, though I can't say for certain that I believe it's the solution.

We'll see how things go from here on out--I wouldn't be surprised if other newspapers followed The New York Times's lead.

Monday, January 18, 2010

the beginning of my foray into photography

"So my question is, or what I'm hoping you'll share, is when you first picked up a camera? Any memories, anecdotes, and certainly details (what kind of camera? did you buy the camera or was it a gift? what did you shoot? did you save the picture?) about that first experience. Do you remember your first picture? I'd love to hear about it."
Inspired by Courtney Eldridge and her Saccades Project, here's a recap of the beginning of my foray into photography:

All of my cameras (I have three but mostly only use one, and it's my first) have been given to me, since I don't exactly have the money/income to buy one for myself. The first camera I got was in the summer of 2008. I remember this because it was first year I went to Beijing (though I've been to many other parts of Asia every summer(, and at the time, there was all the hype about the Beijing Olympics.

Also, it was my birthday present from my cousin. Right before I got my first camera, I somehow became very interested in the idea of capturing a moment--photography. Those feelings were always present--I'd always wanted to have a tool that could capture whatever I wanted. I remember going on summer travels years before, being very disappointed I couldn't keep a memento of those places.

And as I grew older, my eyes seemed to change and they started becoming aware of the vast world above our heads--the sky. The sky was my first inspiration--the one thing that truly made me angry when I didn't/don't have a camera. I would see beautiful, ethereal clouds and skies, gorgeous sunsets, the shining moon, and I would end up being crestfallen that I couldn't record those moments with something like a camera. Of course, I realize how silly I actually was--to take a stellar shot of the moon is much harder than I realized, hahaha!

The moon has always had a strange appeal to me--maybe it's because I read about it being my birth planet (I'm a Cancer, June 30, 1994) as a child, or maybe it's because it's my birth planet that I feel some sort of inexplicable fixation to it, but I was madly captivated by it, especially on the nights of full moons where they was cast an unnaturally white light over the ground, gleaming with a celestial sheen.

So I guess that I was predominantly influenced by nature in my first forays into photography. Now? Well, now, that's a slightly different story, though I still find immense happiness in shooting at the sky. I just don't do it as often as I did before, which often saddens me.

I was sad to realize that I didn't have anything to capture the beautiful things I saw in my life.

But getting back to my first camera... (and the camera I still use most of the time): Fujifilm Finepix F50fd. A digital point and shoot. In the summer of 2008, my cousin was preparing to go to Asia (she does it annually). She asked me what I wanted for my 14th (?) birthday (I'm 15 now and will be turning 16 in June). I unabashedly told her that I wanted a camera, though I didn't expect that she would actually buy me one! (When she came back with the camera, I was extremely surprised and happy). Ah, never say never, huh? A classic example of why you shouldn't be afraid of a 'no.'
The first photograph of mine, gee, I don't quite remember. It was either the sky or a portrait of my friend on the day of my birthday when we were at the movies, since there was a life-size (hah) statue of the Incredible Hulk on display. But I'm not too sure. Quite clearly, I didn't save the first shot. (Actually, I think I did--it's on my old computer. I'll look it up later). I do remember that I started off with color, and most of my shots are still predominantly color. While I do like black and white photography, I feel more comfortable with color. And color is just too vital of an aspect to a lot of the things I photograph--it gives a distinguishing character to the subjects.

late nite snacks - lifesaver (and destroyer), motivation, and incentive

School is frustrating for many, many obvious reasons.

The first reason is that you are forced to take several classes that you have absolutely no interest in. Nobody likes to do what they don't, well, like to do. Or have any interest in.

The second is that it doesn't matter whether you like the classes you take or not--regardless, you are forced to take several classes--many of which you probably have absolutely no use for in the future, really. Think about it--if I am going to be a a journalist or historian, will I have to apply Calculus or Chemistry in my daily life? Is it a practical necessity? No. (And no, I am not going to be a historian.)

But I'm not here to rant about school being frustrating.

I'm here to say that it's very sad that I've come to rely on late night snacks as prominent sources of motivation, incentive, and lifesavers.

Food late at night is not exactly a very wise decision. Certainly not healthy.

But they've become lifebuoys for me. When all else fails, there'll always be something delectable to remind me that I can still live, that I can still muster enough strength and soul into getting something done.

day 17: late nite snack

Oh, food.
I love food.
I love life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

pantsless, yahaha!

Some people look freaking amazing in leggings and tights, to the point where they look like they were born for wearing such leg-huggers.

I, on the other hand, fail.

You see, in my eyes, only people with the right build can wear leggings and tights (and other such paraphernalia)--perfectly slender, toned legs (*cough*skinny people*cough*)--not me.

My aunt recently came back from a trip to Seoul and bought fourteen articles of clothing for me (a whole suitcase, pretty much). Of those 14 items included a pair of striped cotton tights and soft but sturdy leggings, black-colored.

I've always dreamt of myself wearing leggings. But ultimately, that vision never really materializes.

But the bigger problem of wearing leggings, for me, is how vulnerable and somewhat limited I feel. I'm afraid I'll be too klutzy to wear them in fear of tearing them. My envisioned clothing combination consisting of leggings has to have a really long/oversized shirt. Y'know, the pantsless look. But if I were to wear that, how severely conscious and limited I'd have to be! When sitting, bending down, running, etcetera. Yeesh. (The same goes for my wearing short shorts). So I guess I'm still quite boyish at heart.

And self-conscious.

But anyway, getting to the point (hah, that took like 10 paragraphs)--I went pantsless today. It was quite refreshing. Maybe I'll do it again soon.

day 16: le pantsless look

Maybe this'll give me some incentive to tone myself and work out.


"Hey, come to my party!"
"I'm sorry, I've got science fair and this and that to do."
"Hey, you wanna hang out tomorrow?"
"Yeah, but I've got this and that to do, too."
"How about next week?"
"Uh, I think I have an appointment of some sort."
Dammit. I hate having to decline invitations just because of school. Am I going to live the life of a hermit for 20 years to be a stellar student?

Friday, January 15, 2010

[update] week 2

This week has been tiring, to say the least. Let's say I've been frequently staying up til cuatro de la maƱana.

I haven't the spirit for words right now, but my photographs will do the talking for the time being. I wonder if my photographs live up to "a picture speaks a thousand words"?

day 8 day 8: th'ink
day 9: day 9: it'll never happen
day 11: day 11: worknight
day 12: day 12: ick
day 14: day 14: i don't know her. wait, which one?

Maybe you noticed days 10 and 13 are missing. I took crappy pictures those days. Meh. Really crappy ones.

So now I feel like talking after I look at my photographs. I've been taking a more modern style as opposed to my formerly traditional, landscape photography. Now, my photographs are mostly portraiture. Just speculation. It's not a bad thing, but it's not good either. I have to wonder though, which is more my style--modern or traditional photography? Portraiture or landscape?

This week, yes, has been taxing. My own fault, yes. But nevertheless, it was also fun towards the end (i.e. today and yesterday) mostly because of TPT. As ironic as it may sound, I think that the newspaper is my salvation despite its stressful nature. I feel very much at ease (though rushed to meet deadlines, but hey, that's only natural) when I'm working for the newspaper or in the class--couldn't ask for better people or ambiance.

Yesterday I stayed after school until 5 ish. Today I stayed after school until 5:30 p.m. But I think it was well-worth it. For once I feel somewhat useful. And tomorrow, tomorrow will be work day. Rise and shine at 7, get to school by 8:30 a.m. Wonderful.

Now I have to worry about newspaper again, science fair, and an annotated bibliography.

I love photographing people. There's something unique and redeeming about each individual I encounter. Makes me want to throw myself out to the world.

day 14: i don't know her. wait, which one?

This is my life right now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

i miss you, seoul

I still reminisce fondly of the time I spent in Asia during the past summer. Seoul this time around. This happens frequently--I'll hear music that reminds me of a place, see a photograph that I can connect with a location... that sort of thing.

I was listening to "Getting Closer to You ft. Lori Fine" by DAISHI DANCE and it reminded me of Seoul.

Often, I close my eyes and let my mind wander miles away, across the oceans, to none other than Asia. To imagine the people, the chatter, the streets, the colors, the smells, is all so very nice.

This is what I do a lot.
Imagine. Dream. Reminisce.

[fashion] dream duo

Wow. I just looked at the scans from Vogue Italia's "Runway" editorial, and two things struck me...
1) Photographed by Steven Meisel
2) Featuring Freja Beha Erichsen along with many other models

I've heard this through the grapevine here and there, but it seemed as if Meisel refused to photograph Freja. In "Runway," she's made at least three appearances. Though I'm somewhat puzzled by the turn in things, I also feel that it's good that Freja is in "Runway," photographed by Meisel.

Source: Fashion Gone Rogue

Saturday, January 9, 2010

[update] week 1

Hi all. I think I've broken 50 million of my New Year's Resolutions already. Anyways, here's the recap of week 1 for my 365 project on Flickr...

day 2 sucked. day 3 never happened.

day 1
day 1: lovely start
day 2: the keys
day 4
day 4: greeny
day 5
day 5: bent over
day 6
day 6: pointing fingers at me and me
day 7
day 7: you should meet her

Thursday, January 7, 2010

[video] Rag & Bone at NY Fashion Week

Did I ever mention that Rag & Bone are one of my favorite labels? I love everything about them--their inspirations, the models that walk their shows(!), their design style. Also, kudos to Marcus Wainwright & David Neville for the fact that they had no formal fashion training when they first started out. Their characters, to me, seem really honest and down to earth about what they do, which is something I love and respect.

See more videos on

Karlie Kloss vs. Wally Green

"Are you gonna play in those boots?" Hahaha.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

i have a column crisis

So I have had this feeling in my bones...
My columns in The Purple Tide are losing their edge and appeal.

I just know it.

They are not nearly as amusing, funny, or relatable. I'm missing those elements. And I feel like I'm probably one of the most annoying columnists ever--the one with a preachy, overly reflective, old wisdom crap. My columns are on the verge of having a patronizing tone, are they not? (Great--just the thing I hate. I hate it when certain people try to sound patronizing). My columns sound matter-of-factly, and are loaded with seriousness and lack a bit of flair here and there.

But there's nothing that I can write about that's not a serious topic, I think. There's nothing hilarious and meaningful enough to be put into words. Or maybe I just don't see it, but it's there.

Or maybe I shouldn't be worrying at all about my columns and let them be the way they are.

What do people think when they read my columns?

What's my purpose in writing columns? I love writing columns because I can be personal and have jurisdiction over my tone and diction. I could be outrageous and obnoxious, scathing even, and funny. At least, that's what I thought when I started out. Now, I feel like I'm a one-trick pony or on a one-way track that is all serious stuff and, well, not as fun as I thought it might seem to others.

Do I make any sense?

Can someone honestly tell me what they feel about my columns? I don't want a polite response; I want the truth.

Are my columns too boring? Too unrelatable? Too preachy? Too serious?

And I need ideas. Ideas. What has happened in my life [recently] that people could connect to and still find interesting all at the same time.

disappointment has never been so ugly

I don't ever recall a time where I was this profoundly, deeply, disappointed with myself. I don't think I've ever been this disappointed to the point (hah) of getting teary-eyed. And yet, all this disappointment has been wrought with my own hands, quite literally.
I shivered as I sat on the leather-upholstered bench.
Perhaps an imaginary cold draft rushed at me as I lifted my hands up to the shiny, black and white surface.
A breathe. A deep, deep breathe and momentary stillness, quietness.
And then, away I go, hands aflutter and sprawling across with uncertainty, hesitating here and there, tripping up, getting tangled.
My rather un-elegant hands tremble and shake even more uncontrollably than before.
I felt my face burn up. I felt like I could burst into flames of shame.
And then I knew that it was enough. The horrid sound I created stopped as my hands retreated back to my side as I sat there in a dumb stupor.
Does a person have the right to feel disappointed in something that happened that was the result of their own fault?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

beautiful strangers

Occasionally, I will encounter strangers I consider beautiful. There are many ways to interpret beautiful, and many types of beauty, but in the end, beauty is beauty nonetheless, whether it be by appearances or character.

1 day 4: greeny

Often, I have the simple urge to want to get to know these sorts of people. Who are you? Do you know that you're a beautiful person? What's your story?

These people could be just about anyone from anywhere--on the street, in boutiques, photographers on Flickr (hah).

And then, I wonder, do you have to be a beautiful soul to be able to take beautiful photographs?

2 fade away into the darkness
3 day 1: lovely start