Captain and the Kid

Captain and the Kid

Captain and the Kid written by Cally and Grandreopening
The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It’s a story about a girl and a boy on the subway, right and wrong, life and death. Actually that’s not entirely true; this is just a very short story about Captain (C) and the Kid (K).

Serkin_Gwen

 

 

(K): Four schools in four semesters. It’s not a record; we set that in grade school; 3rd through 4th grade. To be specific, Ms. Elwood, Mrs. Derringer, Mr. Dicks, Mr. Raji, Mrs. Bergdorf, Ms. Gutierrez, and I think there was one more with a Spanish-sounding name, and I’m pretty sure she was really nice to me but I honestly can’t remember.
But this is now, that was when. When there was a reason. There is always a reason, always some never-seen emergency. Ma says I’ll make new friends, like the ones I made at the last school, at the last “Buy-the-Week” Inn which she insisted we call the ‘apartment’. It was nothing but another shithole motel and Ma will never understand the only friend I have is Tiger. Tiger is black and white and ugly, just like me but he’s the only friend I’ve really every had.

(C): Captain’s Log, Star Date 68557.5. It’s been one a hell of a night. I’ve been walking for five hours in the horrible cold and strange frozen precipitation, and still no sign of Lieutenant Cox. Never hire a man for your communications officer; they refuse instruction and ignore directions. Neither the tricorder nor the communicator is functioning property, apparently disallowing our return to the ship. I should never have let him out of my sight, never mind the novelty of alien porn. I’ve taken temporary refuge in an arcane transportation system that appears to simply crawl around in circles on strange metal tracks attracting what I deem their plebian citizens. Again, Cox dropped the ball on the civilization research. We were supposed to be observing signs of mating and/or fertility, but all I’ve actually seen is this ugly ass dog dry humping on one out of every five beings entering the car. Seems random, yet somehow very focused and specific (insert bookmark here for further review). I’m beginning to feel like the ship’s transporter isn’t even functioning or someone surely would’ve beamed me out of this shithole, Cox or no Cox.
I will now attempt to coerce one of the natives to aid me in a physical respite (primarily sleep and nourishment) outside of this rolling tin can. Captain out.

(K): I’m on my way the “Diss”, that’s what everyone calls D.E.H.S.; Who ever heard of a ghetto high school being named after Dwight D. Eisenhower? I take Tiger because Roy in maintenance lets him hang around his shop in the boiler room. I don’t trust my Ma and the folks she has over; not that they would hurt him on purpose, though a few that might, no, most are cool, they’d likely just get drunk then something dumb would happen to him.
This ride sucks. It’s a two-train jump that starts early, and in this neighborhood the early trains still tend to smell like puke. Sometimes all the bangers’ are still coming home drunk and mean; god they suck. Its been pretty mellow lately, which is nice. This morning it’s strangely empty except for this weird-ass woman behind me. An empty car and she’s been leaning on the door murmuring under her breath. She keeps looking around all twitchy, it’s like she’s looking at everything around here for the very first time. Fricking weird.

(C): “Pssst, hey kid.” Kid looks up at me like I’m some kind of freak. “Hey, I need help and I’ve got barter material. No I can’t show you here but take me to your place and maybe we can strike a deal.” I wasn’t too sure whether this was a good idea, especially now that I can see the look of stoic, yet frightened indignity plastered across his face like a half-assimilated Borg. Kid turns around, clearly lost in thoughts that might include jumping up and racing away or pissing his pants and deflating into a ball of liquid alien goo (not pretty−I’ve seen it before). The dog just stares at me, lower jaw jutting out, slow trickle of saliva shining on its slightly trembling lip. All of a sudden the dog emits a low, yet surprisingly menacing growl, and leaps from Kid’s lap, through the near-empty train, just as the train slows to a stop and the doors begin to open in a bizarre, slow-motion screech. Kid looks at me with wild eyes akin to a Klingon in heat, screams “NOOOOOOO, TIIIIGEEERRRR” and panic ensues.

(K): “NOOOOO, TIIIIGGGGER!” I scream. “What did you do you crazy bitch?” Fear and anger seized me. I hate it when it happens, it reminds me of Ma, how she loses it sometimes. I guess I’m the apple and she’s the tree; that anger bug that’s been chewing her trunk forever has me now. It bites deep and hard as I see Tiger bounding down the aisle, tail between his legs then out into the blur of legs on the platform. He’s never done that; he always stands his ground when the drunk bangers start to push and shove on the early train. Something is wrong.
I shout “crazy bitch’ and shove her hard. I’ve never done that, to anyone, much less an adult. I feel like I’m watching myself; this is so weird. Then I turn and run, tears streaming down my cheeks, to find Tiger…to find my only friend in a city of 15 million.

(C): Damn. The little shit pushed me. But, seized by the anathema of empathy that propelled me into this line of work in the first place, I took off, following the kid as he ran, wailing and cursing. I ran, thinking I’m definitely not logging this, chasing Kid chasing Tiger through the throng of underground life. I wasn’t sure exactly where we were going or if Kid actually saw the damn varmint, but I felt somehow responsible. As I rounded a corner I just glimpsed the kid’s back as he rushed into a “public restroom.” I had, quite painfully, found out about public restrooms several hours ago and stopped well short, knowing there was no other way out, and I sure as hell wasn’t going in there. I waited, torn between internal disgust at this ridiculous situation and the haunting realization that I’m pretty much lost, stranded, and pitifully ignorant of the species I was here to observe in the first place. I started looking around at them, all of them different. Hair color, eye color, skin color, clothing, expressions, all different; some subtle, some not so much. I never knew a race so different, yet so similar. A firm grasp on my shoulder bolted me out of my daydream; it was Cox! Looking down (yeah Cox was short and quite stocky) I was at once heartened and somehow horrified to see that Cox had emerged from the public restroom, Tiger tucked quite snugly under one arm. A second later, I saw (over Cox’s head) Kid emerge from the public restroom, just as Cox whipped out his communicator, breathed in a low, throaty drawl, “beam us up,” and the familiar tingle of my own matter breaking up began to overcome my body. The last thing I heard was, again, “TIIIGEEERRRR.”

(K): I saw Tiger’s tail disappear around a corner through the salty blur of tears. I just wanted to get to Roy’s office, drop off my dog and get through another day at the “Diss” with as little attention as possible. I was good at fading through the day, at being unseen. The teachers remembered my name; most did anyway. None of the students did. I had forced, semester-long lab partners that had no clue what to call me. I knew how NOT to draw attention to myself. Now I was crying and wailing on the subway station chasing my only friend.
He went into a restroom—thankfully it was the men’s. I race in to find him and ran into the chest of a thick bald man. He’s not mean looking but has distant, faraway eyes. They are raincloud blue, his eyes. Ma always said ‘the eyes tell no lies’ but this guy’s eyes were mute, maybe deaf and mute because it was like I wasn’t even there, in front of him, like I wasn’t tugging on his sleeve and blubbering. He just gently brushed me away like I was a cat and he was done petting and walked out. He walked out with my best friend whimpering under his arm.
I follow him out, getting mad. That molten coal that had burned before, glowing, starting to sear my guts. I charge out, around the corner and he’s there, talking to that same crazy woman.
“What the hell is…..” Then they start to glow, a little, then more. There are people everyone in the station but no one is noticing, only me. It’s like they are fading. I don’t think. I yell “TIIIGGGGER” and leap, the last thing I remember is grabbing that crazy black bitch’s pant leg, and then I’m glowing and fading too.

(C): Captain’s Log, Star Date 68775.5. We’ve got two unregistered, unvaccinated mammals aboard ship. Cox has been severely reprimanded and sent to the brig for disobeying orders, illicit cavorting with the native species, and several suspicious contraband powders that are currently being analyzed. I’ve ordered full medical scans of Cox, the kid, and the dog. Once cleared, I will escort our erstwhile guests back to their planet, and hope this incident doesn’t get us all (myself) into hot water. I’m stating for the record here that this entire fiasco was completely due to the incompetence of Lieutenant Cox, who I am recommending for psychological evaluation. Captain out.

Off the record, I have been persuaded to, and will in all good conscience, escort the kid and the dog to the “Diss” as he calls it, which seems to be an educational institution of questionable repute. As I learned from a hard-fought conversation with him that ended in an awkward, yet sloppy tongue kiss, the kid seems to think my mere presence will assuage his extreme anxiety that was apparently gained in the current situation, and serve to dissuade him from “calling the law” and “bringing me down.” He must know I could kill him and his scruffy little snaggletooth right here and now. But never mind that; I kind of like the little shits. At present, we are in the control room and will beam down momentarily. Having finally won him over, he smiles sweetly, hugs Tiger, and we stand quietly for a few minutes. Kid is still all eyes, still doesn’t quite comprehend where we really are, then Kowalski nods from the control panel and the tingle begins…… back to Earth

 

Photo credit: Sheldon Serkin

Story credit:

Cally Lence  & @grandreopening

Storytellers Circle Vol.2

Storytellers Circle Vol.2

Every week we ask our community to continue a story based on a photo. We have been surprised and overwhelmed by the response. Join us every Monday on Instagram  to lend your words to story.

Story written by Tommy Wallace 

Photo credit: Kurt

Al watched the third letter from the city drop through his mail slot. He let this one lie in the pile with the others because tomorrow . . . he was leaving this place. Oh yeah, he had told himself he was going to leave before but there was the sudden return his daughter made after running from him two years before. There was also that new opportunity handed down to him from the top of the company that made him think, “maybe there was hope after all.” No, he couldn’t think of leaving then.

That all changed when just as suddenly as she had returned, his daughter was gone . . . again. The company that had become his savior had folded. He felt trapped by life. The chair that he had become a part of, and that had become a part of him, was what he detested the most. It seemed to have this power that kept him there, eating at him from the outside in. The city’s letters would continue to pile up and if he stayed the big boys would come and get him if the chair didn’t get him first. So now was the time. He was going to unglue himself from this chair and leave the peeling wallpaper and cesspool of an apartment that he wallowed in for these awful seven months. The city would no longer taunt him, the chair would release him, and he would find the freedom he longed for because there would always be tomorrow.

 

Honest Moments by Caleb Stumpfl

Honest Moments by Caleb Stumpfl

Nina 6

A word from Caleb:

I’m pretty lucky to have creative friends, Nina being one of them. Last month we started talking about making a film together and the rest is history. The final product was following her around Minneapolis for a day, documenting it all. Having a mutual sense of dedication is important in creating great work and I think it shows in the film. Her narration gives insight into what inspires her photography, the style of her work and her thoughts on the artistic process.

Nina’s work inspired me to start this project in the first place and it’s been cool to see the aesthetic of her photos progress over the years. But one thing has been a constant; the way she photographs the natural qualities of her subjects. Nina turns people’s insecurities into something beautiful.

I shot this film in the same style of her portraits, trying to catch a smile or candid moment of her. Some of my favorite images are happy accidents, where it seems like the subject doesn’t realize they’re being photographed. You’re seeing a true representation of the person and that’s what makes Nina’s portraits special.

 

After getting to know Nina through Caleb’s eyes, I wanted to find out a few more things to share. I asked Nina to oblige me with a quick interview and she agreed.

How did you start taking photographs?

I started taking pictures in middle school. I was definitely that annoying friend who took pictures of everything, and I never really thought anything of it. They were pretty terrible. My dad encouraged me, though, and taught me a few things. I began engaging with the photo community on Flickr at the suggestion of my favorite teacher in high school, which is where I really started making major progress. By my junior year of high school I began doing senior photos, and the rest is history!

 

I would love to hear more about your growth through Flickr. Could you share more about how it affected your photography?

Absolutely! Flickr really helped me to understand where I stood in the photography world. There were tons of photographers who were much better than I was – and I learned from them. There were also people out there that hadn’t yet gained some of the knowledge and skills than I had. It was important for me to have those balancing factors so that I could see myself rightly in the spectrum of photographers. Flickr at that time was a thriving community filled with feedback, so I gave and received a lot of excellent critique on my work. Of course, that lead to growth. It was definitely instrumental for me in getting a better idea of who was creating what at that time.

There is definitely less emphasis placed on traditional learning now that art is more accessible to the masses. iPhones and other devices have brought photography and digital design to everyone’s doorstep. Do you think that it hurts or helps?

It used to be a little disconcerting to me that everyone was considering themselves either a professional photographer or an artist in general. As I’ve become more confident in myself and my work, though, I’ve really come to appreciate how easy it is for the everyday person to start engaging with and making art. Wouldn’t it be sad if nobody was trying to make anything beautiful except a select few who had an official title? To everyone who feels drawn to photography or art making of any kind, I say go for it! If you can add more beauty to the world, do it.

Thank you Caleb and Nina for sharing more of your craft with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Find Nina //  IG  // website //

Find Caleb //  IG  // Website  //

 

Tell Us Your Stories

Tell Us Your Stories

Before I started to write non-fiction, I told myself all kinds of other stories. Our lives are filled with fantasy and fiction. The stories we tell ourselves and others, to entertain, to explain and to connect to one and other. Just as all stories aren’t fact, all photography isn’t the documentation of life.

While historically Grryo has given the space for photographers to tell stories of true life, Grryo simply means storyteller. So, in the interest of true storytelling, in all it incarnations, Grryo is excited to announce that it will begin taking open submissions for works of fiction. Have a work of fiction you want to share? Short story, essay, poem or haiku? Please submit your words and photos …we’d love to share your stories.

Roundabout USA

We Are Juxt Rewind: this article was originally published July 29, 2013
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Roundabout USA by Bridgette S

What if you had the chance to drop everything and travel the world?  That’s what Joe and Kevin did a month ago when they decided to explore the USA and meet Instagramers across the country.

I was lucky enough to meet them both, thanks to Scott and Susan, over at Gas Works Park here in Seattle last week.  I got word from Scott the day before their arrival that they would be in town.

“Face Off” by Susan – Seattle, WA 

To be honest, I hadn’t been following their #roundaboutusa adventures but once I heard about it, I had to look through the gallery.  I read about their meetups with photographers they met along the way but what really drew me to them was this story by Breanna Mueller:

“Lately I have been following along a journey of two amazing photographers and Instagramers who are making their way across the US. Every day is a beautiful new place, picture and story that leaves me feeling as if I were there along with them. Thank you @sittingingodspalm and @sweatengine for taking the Instagram world and myself along with you thru #roundaboutusa. Following your inspiration, I will attempt the same on my mini 10 day journey up the Chesapeake Bay on board the 52 foot GB3. Although my journey and overnight stays are planned, I hope I still find some adventure along the way just as you have, on my own #roundaBOATusa :] My first instagram video of our wake departing from the Lynnhaven inlet. Hope you’ll come along with me… calm winds and following seas.. xoxo”

So awesome, isn’t it?!

“All American” by Bethany – Seattle, WA

Being from the east coast myself, I found an instant connection between them.  I wanted the world to see and listen to what they had to say so I asked if they would take part in an impromptu interview.  Needless to say I was stoked when they accepted the idea!  

The following is my first video interview so bear with me… I tried to edit it as best as possible ;]

As a special tribute, photographers across the USA were kind enough to send me their favorite image of their meet-up with Joe and Kevin which you’ll see throughout this article – pretty spectacular!

These are for you, guys!  Continue to follow your dreams!

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B: Bridgette // J: Joe // K: Kevin

B:  How has traveling together been so far?

J:  So far, traveling has been very easy for us.  We’ve been able to get along very well, and surprisingly, we still like each other!! The funniest part of this is, we met only 2 weeks before we decided to go on this two month trip together. So, I’m amazed that not only do we not want to strangle each other, but we actually work so well together, that it would seem we’ve been friends for years.

K:  Traveling together has taught me a lot. Every decision on this trip has been a group decision – and this something I had to get used to. Other than that, it has been a major blast since our departure from New York City. The trip has evolved into something way more meaningful and dynamic than had anticipated.

“Joe and Kevin’s first visit to the very small town of Columbia City, Indiana .

From the first day of this groups meeting, long-term friendships began.” by Dave 

B:  What have you learned about each other?

J:  What I’ve learned about Kevin, is that now, he feels free. I’ve been lucky enough to have done a lot of the things we’ve been doing, traveling, jumping out of planes, cliff jumping, etc.. He has not. So to see this new found, childlike, zest for life, it actually is quite endearing. I’ve also noticed how driven, passionate, creative, thoughtful, and sensitive he is. I can see how he is searching for not only the perfect sunset, sunrise, or cityscape, but he is also looking and hoping that he will find the one, who he can call his own. He’s a very sweet guy.

K:  I had only known Joe for 2 weeks prior to this trip. But from his photographs I thought he would be my perfect “partner in crime” for this trip. And I’m glad I was right about that.

During our time together, I’ve gotten to know Joe very well. He’s driven (pun intended), focused, and adventurous. His energy and enthusiasm pushed me to places I would never thought of going. Joe’s very vocal about making the most out of every minute – so that’s definitely a major contribution to this trip’s success.

“J0-bombs-Joe Murray style!” with Jolene – Columbia City, IN // Photo by Kevin

B:  Has this trip been what you’ve expected? What has surprised you the most?

J:  This trip has taken on a life of it’s own. It’s been incredible. I originally was supposed to take this trip alone.  I had an Investor who was willing to give me a lot of money to take a lot of pictures of landscapes, and my bike.  I was going to write a book, and he was going to push it.  When I met Kevin, he told me how much he dreamed of doing what I was about to do, and I said, “come along.”  When I went back to the Investor, he didn’t like the idea of us going together, because we would have a lot of the same shots, which would make images harder to sell. I was sort of forced into an ultimatum. The money, or Kevin.  I took Kevin.  We put our savings together, and decided to live out our dream.  We originally thought this trip was about pictures.  It evolved quickly into something more.  The people.  The people is what made this trip worth while.  The connections, and relationships we have made, are more important than any picture I have, or could have taken.

K:  Absolutely not. This trip is much, much more than anything I had in mind. Initially my plan was to explore and experience some of the most beautiful places this country has to offer. I wanted to go home with unique, refreshing photographs that are worthy of being put in a portfolio or photo album. And I also wanted to meet people and get to know their stories.

“Into The Unknown” by Ryan – Chicago, IL

B:  What cities have you been to so far?

K: We’ve visited many major cities along the way since our departure from New York. Some of the most memorable ones include New Port, Augusta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, Jackson Hole, Seattle, and Portland.

“Touch and Go” by Ivan Vega – Chicago, IL 

B:  Where do you plan to go next?

J:  After today, we will head to San Francisco, to hopefully get into the Instagram Headquarters.  What we’ve realized, now a month in, is that this whole trip would be nothing without Instagram.  It’s amazed us each, and every day, how the community that makes up Instagram, has skyrocketed our idea, of living for today, and getting out of your comfort zone, to live that life you’ve always wanted to live.  So, we want the people of Instagram, to know that because of the community they’ve created, they’ve helped in changing our lives. We want to work with them, to push others to do the same.  This way, everyone can just be a little happier!

“In Instagram We Trust” by Jason Peterson – Chicago, IL

B:  Tell us about Skydive Chicago and any other adventurous things you’ve done.

J:  My whole life I’ve been extremely adventurous. This is a trait I attribute to my beautiful Mother Sallie. I was always climbing trees to the highest, most brittle branch, climbing mountains with no ropes or nets, jumping from cliffs into clear and murky waters, skydiving, etc.  I’ve always been that type. So, adventure has always been very important to me as a way of life.  I need it to feel happy.

I thought I had it all figured out until I realized I actually didn’t, back in Chicago.  I was taught a valuable lesson from the crew Skydive Chicago. They made us seem like being there, was just the perfect way of life. I walked through the Hangar, day one, after a long drive, tired, sweaty, probably frowning, while everyone inside had a smile, ear to ear. I quickly realized why. For them, this was heaven.

Skydive Chicago is very unique in the sense that it actually is a community. Not only can you camp there, but the people who work there, live there. What I quickly realized, is that these people, were no different than me. They were chasing something, and that something was happiness. No matter what it was, all they wanted to do was jump. I asked Alex, head of Marketing, what they did in the wintertime so that they can keep that happy grin, and he replied, “we chase the summer.” That quote is going to stick with me forever, and I’ll mold it to make sense for me, and my life. They’re travelers, thrill seekers, but most importantly, they’re ALIVE. I’ve skydived before in New Jersey, but this place was different. This place opened my eyes. It reminded me what I was here for, why I decided to leave everything behind. It’s because in order to really be happy, you need to find that passion, whatever it may be, and fight tooth and nail, to make it your life. I walked out with a better understanding of what I already thought I understood, and it makes me think, now that I’m following my dream, the “sky” is no longer the limit.

“A Skydive Chicago Sunset” by Holly – Ottowa, IL

K:  Skydive Chicago has changed my life in a drastic way that was completely foreign to me. Never before had I imagined jumping off a plane at 13,500 feet above sea level. I was so eager to try yet extremely hesitant about it.

I can’t say I remember much of it to be honest. For the first few seconds after jumping off the plane, my body was in a state of total denial and confusion. I was disoriented, shocked, and overwhelmed by the foreign sensation of free-falling. The sensory overload was an experience I can’t properly describe – yet I’m sure I’ll remember it forever.

There have been many exhilarating moments like this throughout the trip. For example, I went cliff jumping for the first time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That was similar to skydiving in terms of free-falling, yet completely different because of the intensity of diving into Phelps Lake at the end.

Photo by Sam Bakshian – Minneapolis, MN

B:  Where do you sleep? How do you find places to stay? Do you pre-book?

J:  The sleeping issue is one that has become a complete different way of life for us.  I was used to sleeping in a nice, comfy queen size bed, waking up to a nice breakfast, and hot cup of coffee.  I miss those days, haha! Now we do a lot of camping, and sleeping out of the car.  Before I met Kevin, my idea for this trip was to live very simply.  I wanted to see how I could survive, living with nothing but the clothes on my back, sort of, and out of my car.  I soon realized that the idea I had, was a better, more glamorous story, than what reality has shown. Kevin still laughs, because I actually am very comfortable sleeping out of my car.  I don’t know why that is, but its true!  We often will pay for a camp site, and he will use his tent, snuggled up cozy in his sleeping bag, and I will very comfortably sleep out of the drivers seat. This has occurred more often than not.  I think it actually really bothers him that we are paying for the site, yet I sleep in the car, but to each his own.  We will also, very often sleep in parking lots of hotels, and thanks to the community of Instagram, we’ve slept in many homes of people we don’t know, and even tented on people’s lawns!  It hasn’t been the Ritz, but who needs the Ritz, when we’re meeting and experiencing all we have thus far. I don’t!

K:  We have a large selection of lodging options – and by that I mean we don’t have any plans at all. Let me explain what I mean.

This unsponsored trip is largely based on serendipity and kindness of others. With the help of Instagram and other social media – we have been invited to people’s homes or backyards where we’d camp. Because our funds are limited and our budget is extremely tight, we have yet to stay at a hotel. I’d say camping in a campground once every few days is what we’ve been able to afford. And there have been times when we slept in our car (mid-size SUV) for 2~3 days in a row.

The way we’d connect to people is that we’d often announce our arrival or plans prior to entering a city or location. We would ask if anyone wants to hang out and show us around, and we’d tell them our stories and about our trip. Quite often people would come forward and offer lodging suggestions after getting to know us. And there have been times when complete strangers opened their doors to us as well.

“CAUTION” by Kevin Kuster – Chicago, IL 

B:  How are you documenting your travels? Where can we find your images and videos?

J:  In order to see our pictures, you can find them on Instagram, by either our names – @sittingingodspalm (me) or @sweatengine (Kevin), or you can find each shot of ours from this trip under the hashtag #ROUNDABOUTUSA.  We both have a passion for pictures, and I have always had a passion for writing.  You can read all about our daily adventures on each post that we show.  What I’ve noticed, and Kevin agrees, is that he is an Outstanding Visionary.  He sees the picture way before he takes it.  That makes him, in my opinion, the better photographer out of the two of us. I learn something new from him every, single day.  When it comes to writing, I find that to be more my passion. Together, we are a great team, because we both bring a different passion to the table, which helps us reach greater heights each day.

“Cheese Balls” by Kevin Kuster – Chicago, IL 

B:  Have you traveled outside of the USA? If so, which was your favorite place to visit?

J:  I have never been out of the country.  My dream though, is to see the world the way it was meant to be seen.  Not through others pictures, or stories (though others’ journeys are what inspire me), but through my own experiences.  I want to live everything first hand.  The world is way to big for me, or for any of us to stay put.  This trip is step one of a thousand. I cant wait for step 2!

K:  I haven’t been out of USA for about 20 years – believe it or not. And this is my first time traveling since entering my adulthood. I would love to spend a lot more time seeing this country if I had another opportunity like this. And also I want to see the rest of the world one day.

“May your travels be safe, and your adventures wild.” by Eric Mueller – Minneapolis, MN

B:  What’s the meaning behind your usernames: @sittingingodspalm & @sweatengine?

J:  A lot of people often have asked me why I chose @sittingingodspalm as my username.  The truth is, @Joe was taken.  So, I went with my second choice.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become very faithful, in the sense that I feel that everything happens for a reason.  I don’t believe things happen by chance, I do feel I’m part of a plan that I will never be able to predict or understand, so I’m going to go with the flow.  The “flow” is the Palm Of God.  It doesn’t matter what God you believe in to me.  It doesn’t matter what higher power you believe in either.  To me its all the same.  God will put me where he wants me, so in the mean time, I’m sitting in his palm, waiting for him to place me.

K:  Prior to this trip, I was a biomedical engineer, designing orthopedics devices. I am also very passionate marathon runner. When I signed up for Twitter, I picked @sweatengine because I’m a sweaty (from running) engineer. Here’s something funny about my username: someone once thought I was “Sweet Eugene”.

“Little Bro Lu” by Kristin – Minneapolis, MN

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“Had the pleasure of meeting up with two inspiring IGers who are living the dream and traveling around these great United States.  I’m still amazed at how @instagram is bringing so many interesting and wonderful people together.

Have a great and safe rest of your trip @sittingingodspalm and @sweatengine!”

by Matt Treiber – East Calhoun Beach, MN

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 “~ lights, camera, action! ~” by Michael – The Badlands, South Dakota

This was a Behind the Scenes look at me getting a shot of Joe setting up his shot of me on that windmill.

Joe’s gallery has the final product.

And Kevin was the consummate DP on the set.

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“Insta Pals” by Bridgette Shima – Seattle, WA

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“Union Station Hangout” by Fayth – Chicago, IL 

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[ Gold Stars, Part 2 ] by Dana Marie – Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN

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“Rise Above” by Eric – Toledo, OH

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Joseph D’Amelio 3rd

Bio:

Joe is from NJ, the only boy, and youngest of four, with three older sisters. He currently lives out of a 2013 Ford Edge. While in NJ he was working as a Butcher, trying to be a NYC Police Officer, but decided to leave everything behind to live the “American Dream,” to see the world through his eyes.

A personal message from Joe:

“I’d really like to mention, that the generosity of people has been incredible. The Relationships I’ve made through this trip, has blown my mind. For us, the trip really took off in Ohio. A fellow IGer, Eric (@Littlecoal), let us not only camp on his lawn, not only show us all his favorite spots to shoot, but he also introduced us to a few really good guys. Dave (@Kewiki), Kevin (@KevinKuster) and Jason (@JasonMPeterson). These four guys have pushed this trip so much for us. Eric made us feel like we were a part of his family. He is a very faithful good person, and to me felt like a big brother. Dave took us skydiving with his amazing family, who also made me feel like I was a brother, rather than a stranger he had just met. I wish we could have spent more time with Kevin, who featured us, and our story on his feed, along with giving us a ton of advice. Jason is a powerhouse. He has pushed this trip more than we have, hooking us up with more people to meet, and for me, he’s been a bit of a mentor. These four guys, have made this trip better than it ever possibly could’ve been. My favorite city thus far has been Chicago. They welcomed us with open arms. @Ivanvega, @relaxocat, @brandonexplores, @ryanpostal… these people made us feel like family. I miss them.

What I came to see, is that though I occasionally miss home (always miss my family), I often miss people who I’ve met along the way, and who I only knew for a day, or two. That amazes me more than anything else. This trip for me is just the beginning, I want everyone to live the way Im living, through their own eyes, and experiences. I would never say, “everyone should quit their jobs” to do what we do, but taking a day, or weekend trip, and step out of their comfort zone, to do things they’ve never done before, I feel would make the world a little warmer, a little happier.”

Email // Instagram

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Kevin Lu 

Bio:

Kevin Lu is a biomedical engineer and marathon runner from New Jersey. He loves photography and enjoys outdoors activities. He’s left everything behind and taken a huge leap of faith to be on this road trip around USA, in hopes of inspiring people to see and experience the world differently.

Tel: 201-696-5366 // Email // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Find My Heart in India

Find My Heart in India by Anna C.

*[REWIND] Originally posted on We Are Juxt on August 15, 2012

Anna’s Introduction

I love stumbling across beautiful feeds and more importantly I love India.  I traveled there with my father many moons ago and fell in love instantly. When I was tagged to Jessica’s, @jessuckapow, feed I was blown away by the humanity that stared back at me from their neat little boxes. I could almost smell the markets and hear the vendors. Looking through her feed and reading  her blog brought back so many happy memories. I do hope you will take the time to soak in the sites and  sounds that are Jessica’s life.

Oh! P.S. she is an Andriod photographer! Wahoo!

A:  Anna  J:  Jessica

A: Tell me a story about India. The one that you always want to tell when people ask you about India.

J:  I was in Goa and during “the season,” as everyone calls the time between November and March, it’s flooded with tourists so during this time a contingent of what the locals call “gypsys” come to town to do their seasonal begging.  Some are rather aged, some are children, many are younger women who have infants and small children with them. A lot of people consider them a nuisance and treat them like crap, which is difficult to see.  I was sitting at my favorite falafel place and had just finished filling one of the gypsy’s bottles with fresh milk for the infant dangling at her side as a feeble looking woman with the harsh years etched into her face approached wanting money for food.  The restaurant owner, Shimon, offered her chai and a sandwich and with much appreciation she squatted under a tree to wait.  I smiled at her and she shyly smiled back at me with a toothless grin and we watched Shimon’s young daughter, Gia, play around the outdoor patio.  All of a sudden, his daughter slipped on a chair and tumbled towards the ground.  This woman, who looked like she couldn’t run from a bull if it charged down the street, bolts from her squatted position and dives to catch Gia, managing to save her from a massive thud.  She brushed off her knees as Gia wailed in shock as Shimon came out to help and the woman gently passed Gia to him.  He placed his daughter into the safety of the cushions on the floor and went back to preparing the food for the woman.  Witnessing the display of compassion from two beautiful people, who belong to different rungs of Indian society, which is very rare to see here, was incredibly touching and epitomized the goodness in humanity.  The black and white portrait I sent you, is the woman who helped Gia that day.

A: Tell me about your life right now. I know your traveling. Where have you been were are you going? Why?

J:  I don’t know if I would consider what I do “traveling,” because I REALLY don’t like the whole traveling part of traveling and I usually find a place I like, stay for a few months and suck up all I can from where I choose to live.  I’m more of a gypsy, you can say.  Since December 2010, I’ve volunteered on a bridge construction project in Lesotho, Africa, visited a number of friends in Europe and Australia, meditated and bummed around Thailand, and a few visits home to Seattle to see friends, family and tie up loose ends but a majority of my time has been studying yoga and meditation in India and I plan to stay here for rest of the year.

My first trip to Lesotho, which was only for a few weeks, in 2008, initiated a dramatic change in me. I looked around at my well paying corporate consulting job, which I was great at but hated, my recently purchased home, my car, ALL the crap I owned and thought, “what am I doing?!”  For the first time, as an aware adult, I saw people living a simple life, they had just the bare necessities and they were HAPPY and I…was not.  I received the biggest present after returning from a volunteer trip to Peru in early 2010 – my company was eliminating my job!  They offered me the option to either take the “promotion” or take severance and after a few moments of being completely bummed out, I smiled, accepted the separation package and never looked back.  I had a few little trips planned with my new freedom but there is a familiar story with most long-term travelers and it always seems to start the same way, HEARTBREAK!  All of a sudden, my planned 6-week trip to Africa turned into 3 months and now, I was planning a trip to India to throw myself into studying everything there was about yoga.

Heartbreak starts so many journeys but it doesn’t sustain long term travel.  Once you leave the comforts of everything you know, for more than a few week vacation, you taste what else this world has to offer.  You see just how small and insignificant we are as individuals and realize, globally, everyone just wants to be happy.  When you’re thrown into new challenges, new obstacles, new surroundings, unknown languages, customs and people, you also realize just how big of a foreign world you have inside yourself.  I thought I was leaving home to understand the full depth of yoga, what I’ve recently come to realize is that I actually left home to understand the full depth of ME.  India has a suction cup attached to me, the more I’m here the more I’m learning WHY I’m actually here and when I’m not here, my plans have always been about getting back here.  It’s the kind of country that will guide you everywhere you need to go, as long as you keep your eyes and heart open for all the opportunities that present themselves.  It’s such a weird and beautiful place!

A: Wow! it must be hard to be so far away. How are you using mobile photography/ social sites to connect with the people you love? 

J:  I don’t know how I would be able to do what I do without Facebook, Blogspot, Skype and Instagram.  I’m ridiculously close to my family and friends and being away from them is so difficult but I know I’m doing what I need to for me right now.  The way I view my photography is sharing my eyes with those I love and sharing experiences I wish they could have with me, in that moment.  Some of those in my world may never find it in themselves, for whatever reason, to make the changes they really want to make in their life.  Some want to join me but I know “life happens.”  I know how hard it is to break from a very comfortable routine, to be terrified of making that first step and risk leaving the security you think you’ve built for yourself, all for what… the unknown, the moment?  I’ve had so many friends thank me for allowing them to live vicariously through me but when I’m sitting on a cliff in the Himalayas, watching the thick fog dissipate to reveal the most majestic view I’ve ever witnessed, being able to snap a photo, edit it to capture the beauty and mood my eyes see and upload it to Instagram, which I’ve made my photo journal, makes me feel like they are with me.  They thank me but really, I should be thanking them.  The support and love they have all showered upon me has been a huge driving force and I don’t think I could ever thank them enough.  Sharing myself, my experiences, my stories and my lessons through my writing and my photography is the best way I know how to show them my gratitude.  I’m here for me with the full awareness that all I do for myself is only what I would love to share with everyone else.

A: India is a beautiful place. How does your life influence your photography ?

J:  My entire life, up until 2010 had been so calculated, meticulously planned and organized.  When I decided to make a change, I threw all that away and the personal transitions I’ve experienced through yoga have shifted me to enjoy the present, not brood in the past or day dream about an unknown future.  I’m no longer looking for the top of the ladder, I’m just enjoying my present stair and with each photo I take I want to capture the essence of what I’m experiencing, right then!  I toyed with the idea of having consistency to the feel of the photos I take but when I tried that, it just didn’t work.  The only consistency there is in my life is that there is no consistency, which is true in all our lives.  I want my photos to epitomize that reality and to be as true to what either I’m feeling or the environment is feeling.  Visiting foreign lands, specifically 3rd world and developing countries, ignited my passion for photography because I saw so much unique beauty in the faces, architecture and landscape, a beauty that wasn’t necessarily produced meticulously or manufactured specifically to be beautiful.  Often times I’m in places where most in the Western would view them as destitute, disgusting or ugly but finding the beauty among all the filth, the rubble, garbage, dirt, grime and poverty is where I find the magic in life.

A: One last question. Is it all worth it? Leaving everything behind, striking out on your own, and finding a new place you can call home?

J:  Nothing in the world would make me want things to happen any differently than they did.  I studied for a very short time with this bizarre-o tantra yoga teacher and while he said a lot of crazy stuff like, I should drink my own menstrual blood (ummm EWWWW!), he did say something that struck me. “Before you meet a girl, be happy.  Meet a girl and be happy.  If the girl goes away, still be happy.”   I was so happy before I met this woman, was just as happy when we met and became good friends, was just as happy, ok, maybe a lot more, when we started dating but after it didn’t work I was a complete mess.  Something was wrong with that picture and I knew it.  Everything changes, everything goes away, relationships change, people leave or they die, jobs come and go, houses are built and destroyed, cars go vroom and then go kaput (or BOOM as was the case with mine) but through it all, the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, we should still be… happy.  This whole journey isn’t necessarily embracing my independence from others or from things because I still learn so much about myself through the relationships, of varying degrees, I have with everything, from people to my towel.  I am just learning to be completely happy with the relationship I have with myself and that’s more important than any relationship I’ll ever have with anyone or anything else.  I’ve never felt so grounded and for the first time in my life, I can’t attribute my happiness to anything in particular and it feels amazing!  So, I think it’s worth it…if I didn’t, I’d probably be doing something else.

Thank you Jessica for sharing your heart and your home with me. I am so excited to be able to travel with you through your words and photos.

To read Jessica’s travel blog go here.

To see Jessica’s photos go here. 

The City of Angels

“Lucifer Rocks On”

The City of Angels by BP

Email / Twitter / Instagram / EyeEm

* [REWIND] Originally published on We Are Juxt on September 7, 2012

Southern California is home away from home.

I took every opportunity to get out and shoot, especially the Streets of LA. It’s my first time to since finding how much I really like doing street. My son’s godmother (who is from LA) always told me I should shoot down there.  That if I could get lost (metaphorically speaking) in Seattle when I go out to shoot, then LA will be totally crazy for me.  Well my son’s godmother, this is for you!

I shot the streets.  This time around I took down notes.  Notes that helped me remember the moments I shared with folks when I talked to them,  both strangers and family/friends and just my own thoughts and opinions – I wanted to make sure I caught the moments outside of the shots I took.  I had the opportunity to walk one of Sam’s routes in DTLA with him.  Sam is a street shooter who I totally respect.  I got to see his process, his style.  It’s great to see others at work.  I was so caught up in watching him, that I only took a few shots and then my battery died.  Earlier that day, I had shot the fashion district – specifically around Santee Alley.  That in itself was a crazy ordeal.  Santee Alley is a swap meet of sorts – used to be known to sell bootleg brands until it got broke down by the Feds.  Rumor has it it is run by some international cartel.  Not really hard to believe.  I had a lady chase me down and call me out (I’ve never been called out before. She thought I was “filming/recording.”  You just know they still trippin from the Fed raids).  After this encounter, I noticed two guys following me and my cousin just about every where.  It was nerve racking for sure.  That’s definitely a “neighborhood block watch.” It was one of them stories I’m definitely going to share in another article.  That one will be about some of the craziness of shooting street.

“The No-Music Ice Cream Man”

Sidenote: For all you street photography purists; only 2 of these photos was where I asked to take their shot.  Can you guess which two?

I wanted to see what I could do in LA.  Although time was REAL limited, I wanted to take some opportunities to capture what I saw and heard in the City of Angels. The light is real harsh mid-day.  I wanted to try for those shots.  All of these shots were taken either on Melrose, Venice Beach, Hollywood and Highland, or Downtown LA.  All of them were taken between the times of 12-4 PM.  The light is truly unforgiving during these times.  I saw it as a huge challenge.  I tried my best.

“Anyone able to take Spidey back to Burbank? Meet Hitch-hiking Spiderman.”

Hollywood and Highland.  The famous Walk of Fame. Full of tourists.  I MEAN FULL of tourists.  It was overwhelming to be honest. We had just gotten back from visiting the “Wild Card Gym” owned by Freddie Roach, where Jamie Fox, Mark Wahlberg, and of course the pound for pound World Champion Manny Pacquiao train.  Come out of the elevator from the parking structure and bam…OVERWHELMED by the tourists.  Along with the tourists come the likes of Spiderman, Dora, Bumblebee, Samuel Jackson, Zorro…just a whole mess of people dressed up in these costumes for tourists to take pictures with…at a price.  I tried to take a couple shots of these folks…one saying I owe money and the other (dammit all to hell it came out blurry) of Cat woman, flipping me off and calling me a whole mess of names with cuss words in the front.  I even saw one of them “taking a break.”  She looked nothing like a celebrity. My cousin whispers to me, “all the costumed folks are either homeless folks or drug addicts…you have to choose wisely to who you give money to.”

Ain’t that some shit.

This is not the Walk of Fame you see on the TV and movie screens.  The removing of the masks and costumes is pretty indicative of the society we live.  Without going into too much social commentary, we are all trying to live the good life, and some of us have to hide behind things in order for it to show some fruits of labor (shoot I’m in this bunch for sure).

“The Mannequin’s Mannequin”

“This photo is going to make you famous.” – Al, DTLA Street Musician

Downtown LA is rich with amazing architecture.  Unused and abandoned, its a deserted land full of new highrises shadowing some great detailed old relics of the past. Forgotten to the Staples Center, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the new Cathedral, these buildings scream stories to those who try to listen and pay attention.  I talked to a friend and his wife about it.  They would tell me of stories of coming down with their parents, who owned a business in the area and even back then, remember being scared to come down after sundown.  It wasn’t just the people in the area after dark, it was the buildings that shared its anger towards LA citizens.

“It was like the buildings, beautiful by way of architecture, turned into scary horror movie dwellings…the ones only the stupid people would want to break into.”

The city needs to replenish this area to make it vibrant again.  DTLA is too beautiful to stay like it is.  Who am I to say this though?  It’s been this way for decades.

DTLA is where I really saw the parts where not too many tourists want to go.  The “Skid Row” in DTLA is nothing to mess with.  Sam recognized some of the homeless folks that he had taken portraits with and we took some photos of them.  Again I was more enamored with Sam walking his streets.  We came across a sidewalk with about 7-8 homeless folks.  A couple of them singing songs.  Sam approached them and a couple of them obliged with their photos being taken.  The guitar player who was the more interesting of the bunch was real elusive.  I didn’t want to push trying to snap his photo so I ended up talking to another man away from this bunch.  He told me a couple of his stories despite not wanting his photo taken.  He said these streets were hard, but since he’s lived on them his whole life just about (27 years) he didn’t really know any better.  He just knows its hard because people like me tell him so.

“I’m still alive and thats really what counts don’t it man.  I mean, it would be fucked up if you were out here taking photos of dead bodies and shit. I ain’t dead, by no means am I dead.”

“They know of each other, but don’t know each other”

Melrose Avenue was a typical spot for me.  Boulevard for urban style and wear.  It’s like the anti-thesis to Rodeo drive.  I actually think its considered the Fairfax district.  It’s supposed to be the alternative area.  Reminds me a lot of Capitol Hill or the Ave in Seattle’s U-District.  It’s the boutiques and the tattoo shops and other shops like this that give this street character.  Street art lace the buildings and alleys that compliment the neighborhood persona.  It was just OK for me.  It wasn’t like I haven’t seen anything like it in any other major American city.

“Venice Beach 911”

“The Watchers”

Venice Beach. The infamous Venice Beach right?!? It was like I walked onto a movie set.  Palm trees line out the beach horizon.  Tourists and locals alike all in one spot.  The latter trying its damndest to squeeze out a penny.  Street performers, muscle builders, store vendors, tattoo shops, skate boarders, the basketball courts…all centered around the police station.  I would say that the amount of police in Venice was based on a quota system for sure.  Maybe 15-1, 20-1, general public to one police officer.  Heavy concentration around the hustlers selling their hip hop CDs south of the basketball courts.  Scene of “White Men Can’t Jump” and “American History X” plays in my head when I was walking through this part of the beach.

Many years ago when I had first come to Venice Beach, a friend of mine told me that there were days specified for when the “gangs” of LA would come out.  For instance Saturday was the day the Bloods would come out.  Sundays the Crips.  It’s crazy to walk through and think of the under belly of places, like its a beach, really?!? There are designated “gang days.”

I think from the places I shot in LA, Venice Beach was the one that was like a playground feel for me (as far as shooting).  It seemed that everyone really wanted to have their photo taken whether they knew it or not.  It would seem that I was taking a candid shot and then afterwards walk away feeling like, “damn, did they know I was taking their photo?”  It seemed like a show, a small amusement park at times.  I actually heard a tourist tell his wife, “I think next we should go to the skateboarding area.  I heard that they put on a great show over there.” His wife responds, “Sure but Muscle Beach is supposed to start with a few bodybuilders and I don’t want to miss that.”

My friend who told me about the “gang days” grew up in Venice Beach.  She said this the epitomy of LA (at least to her).  Los Angeles is a tourist trap, hiding all of its glory in smoke and mirrors.  Sometimes you can tell its fake, other times it inspires you to become what you may think is real.

“The Dodgers Fan”

My friend, Chris, told me, “It’s like the Dodgers, right…either you love them or you hate them…if you love them, you are ride or die…you hate them, you can’t wait to see them falter…Los Angeles is exactly like the Dodgers.  Actually the Dodgers is exactly like Los Angeles.”  This coming from someone who was born and raised in Los Angeles.

Really it was fun to shoot down there.  Possibilities were endless for a photographer.  The City of Angels does not disappoint for sure.

So hopefully ya’ll enjoy the photos and enjoy my memory notetaking ramblings below.

___________

It’s this love hate relationship.

Boulevards seperate fast cars and money from street vendors and bootleg DVD’s.

It’s the beauty of America.

Gangsters who are classless, nameless, raceless, and faceless.

Their names can be Aniston or Acevedo. Chavez or Clooney. Kardashian or Kortajarena.

Their addiction can be money.

“We all love ice cream”

“The Frame”

The freeways are the veins; ill-thrust between pockets of countries that carry us – flush inside the ugliness of Pre-Americana and Post-New World Order.

405 to San Diego. I-5 to the Valley. Sunset sleep walkers searching for the next fix – on life, love, and hate.

We walk by them everyday with ticker tape parades and news channel slogans.

Homicide rates up, unemployment rates up, heat index up.

Human consumption up, human compassion down.

“So a hair stylist, his dog, and a photographer walk into a bar”

We became them in another life. I saw myself in the reflection of the window and I disappeared.

It’s the Maserati blazing down the 101; bobbin and weavin past us. Blonde hair, hands raised, celebrating nothing but the gas prices spent on their 6 digit whip.

It’s the Toyota Previa; full to the top with boxes of tourist paraphernalia; slang at the corners of the fashion district, hands raised, celebrating nothing but the chance to haggle down; stealing milk and bread from hungry children’s mouths.

I saw the real citizen.  Ugly with dislike for Obama and Romney. 4 for $4 sunglasses, tipped at the point of the nose, slip middle finger – disdain for anything other than Los Angeles. Now I understand the love for the Dodgers and the Lakers. They represent the golden ticket.  It’s the stars in their eyes.

I can hear them when they wake up in the morning and tell themselves, “I’m gonna make it someday.”

“Hats and Agua”

It’s her love for being in this dirty moment.  His want to get that hit passed his costume uniform standing on the stars of Hollywood as a fire truck sits in wait for the next heart attack. It’s chance to give a show to the masses. That Hollywood sign up on the hills hides their addiction real well.

I saw the real citizen.  Louis Vutton and Deja Vu sellin’ the same shit to all of us.  It ain’t about the backroads, it’s about the quick slant to get the fuck out.

Cat woman by day, stripper by night.

Spider man by day, dealer by night.

Seek the shade, the sun is unforgiving.  It’s light will show us the truth and noone wants to hear it. Don’t go downtown in the dark. You may not come out. It’s been dead there for years. Those people been dead there for years.

There was an earthquake the other day in Beverly Hills. It gave the Kardashians type folks a chance to get out to the hood. Ryan Seacrest has another idea for a reality show. It’s him looking at himself in the mirror.  It’s pretty fucking dramatic. and real.

It will probably only last one season.  The networks don’t want this kind of shit.  Leave it to the indie studios.  They aren’t in it for the money.

If they do it’s real low so watch you’re back.

“Live for Now”

“The Modern Day Samurai”

The homeless become landscapes and structures. Step over them, or around them. They are mute because when they do choose to have a voice, it ain’t loud enough for anyone to hear.

What you doing man with that camera phone? This ain’t some child porn shit right? It’s not, then take a shot of my good side.

Play me a song again.

Dance man, Dance.

Some angels here choose not to fly anymore, others are always flying above us, they just don’t know where to land.

“Meditations and Lines”

I pieced as best as I could the thoughts and lines I wrote down.  I didn’t want to make each line a caption for a photo as I think all the captions could work for any particular photo. I hope ya’ll dig it.

SHOUTOUT to the LA Folks/ Shooters.  Next time hopefully we will shoot together.

OH yeah…I love my family!

Peace.

Brendan O Se: Travels with my Camera

Brendan O Se: Travels with my Camera by Andy B.

I first came across the work of Brendan O Se last year thanks to Mark T Simmons. Brendan is an award winning photographer from Cork in Ireland. He is a master in the use of motion and blur with his photographic portfolio incorporating a unique blend of abstract art and street photography, shot either with his trusty iPhone or his DSLR
Looking at his iPhone work it is not surprising his portfolio has caught the attention of so many people especially when you look at such images like ‘Sitting on a train’ or ‘A diet of Blur’.
I caught up with Brendan during a trip he is currently taking across East Asia which he is documenting through a series of street photography images. I wanted to dig a bit deeper to find out more about his work, approach and his travels through Asia.

AB: Andy Butler
BOS: Brendan O Se
AB: Firstly, tell us bit about yourself and your introduction to mobile photography
BOS: Firstly, thanks for this opportunity Andy. To give you some background, I am a university teacher from Cork, Ireland. I am married with two small children. My main hobby is photography. A trip to Asia in 2012 was the first time I realized the potential of the iPhone as a camera. It was a liberating experience being able to get up close to capture street moments and also being able to process and share with friends and family immediately was incredible. I took hundreds of images on that trip and began to post regularly on Instagram. When I returned to Ireland and back to posting on Flickr I discovered there were many mobile photography groups and the quality and diversity of the images inspired me to experiment and explore more

I am believer in the old saying that the best camera you have is the one you have with you, and the iPhone is always with me; always ready. In the past two years, I have taken many more photos with the iPhone than my DSLR. I believe that while the genre at the moment is still called mobile photography, the mobile part will, in time, be dropped. After all, when has a camera not been mobile?

 Tokyo 2012

AB: Your portfolio is a mixture of abstract art and street photography. How would you describe this style and approach to mobile photography

BOS: Street photography is what interests me most. The photographers whose work excite me most all do street work. The story that evolves from a street image can be powerful. It can cast us back or project us forward in time. It is about connection and the personal impact an image can have on us. Street photography has the wonderful ability to allow us to step into an image and at the same time allow a distance for us to begin to understand its impact

Then there are things which do not need to be understood or examined, things which just have a beauty. Things like lines, shapes, colours and movement. Blur, for me, is the most beautiful and enchanting of photography. It can transform the mundane and dull. I am intrigued by contradictions and blur can reveal and conceal.

 Last note heard

This coincidence continues

AB: What apps do you use for the production of your abstract work?
BOS: I have downloaded many apps over the past two years but the one I have stuck with is Snapseed. It is simple to use and gets great results. The one thing I wish it had was the ability to paste from previous settings so that a series of images could all be processed in the same way.

The warmth of the womb

AB: Where do you get your inspiration? Are there any particular subjects or photographers that have influenced your work?

BOS: Subjects would be movement and form for blur images. For street work it is people; people with character and attitude. There are many photographers who inspire and influence me; mainly contacts I have made on Flickr. Of course, I admire well-known and world-famous photographers, but the ones who impact on me are those whose work I engage with on a personal level. People like Michael Kistler, Shel Sherkin, Mark T. Simmons, Mimo Khair, Albion Harrison-Naish. These photographers have a signature style and the ability to compose stories with their street work. I have made many friends on Flickr and learned so much from them that I wish I could name them all here.

AB: You shoot with a DSLR camera as well as your iPhone. How do the two compare and do you have a preference?

BOS: With the DSLR I know I can produce a technically better shot because of the different ways it can be managed and with the iPhone it allows me get in close and to get in discreetly. The DSLR is bulky. Carrying it around my neck is like carrying a bucket of water around. It weighs too much and on a hot day it is not comfortable. The two cameras are great. I love both and would struggle to choose, but as I said earlier the best camera you have is the one you have with you, and more often than not it is the iPhone.

Everything everywhere

AB: You are currently travelling through east Asia and documenting your travels in a series of street images. How did this trip come about?

BOS: My wife is Korean, so we came out on a trip to visit family. We are lucky to have some really great friends in Hong Kong and we stayed with them for a few days en route. Part of the trip was business for me and this took me to Seoul and Japan. I also took a short break to Taipei to experience a new city in Asia.

AB: Looking at the street portraits from this series. There seems to be a different feel and approach to the images you’re capturing. Have you found your new surroundings have changed the way you approach your subjects?

BOS: In Taipei, I was surprised at how camera-friendly the people were. Sometimes, understandably, people do not like the camera being pointed in their faces and often you can be met with a scowl when you raise the camera or they may cross their hands to signify they do not want their photograph to be taken, but in Taipei most often they smiled when they realized I had been shooting them. Sometimes, they wanted me to take more photographs and began to pose for me!

Asia has a different dynamic to Europe. It is frenetic. There is a pace and sensation to it so different to where I come from. Wanting to shoot street can be frustrating when you come from a place where there are not enough streets or people. Here in Asia, that is not a problem. Find an interesting location and you know you will not have to wait long for an interesting character to pass. I once waited in the cold and rain for over an hour in Cork to get a shot in a cool location.

On this trip, I promised myself to be brave to get that shot. It has worked, I suppose. I got this shot of a Seoul policeman. He was not too pleased it seems.

 Soured Faced Cop

AB: Are there any interesting stories or incredible encounters that lie behind any of the photographs captured on your travels?

BOS: My bravery did get me into one or two tricky situations, like when I was trying to get a shot of a woman who was sitting with her legs crossed and dangling her shoe on her outstretched toes down a side alley. Her shoe was in a perfect pool of sunlight. I was on my knees with the DSLR setting the shot up when I suddenly heard shouting. I ignored it at first, but then it dawned on me that the shouting was directed at me. I had not realized that this alley was where prostitutes hung out and this guy, probably a pimp, was shouting at me and the woman with the dangling shoe had stopped dangling it and was now also shouting at me. I got up off my knees and with the camera swinging around my neck I scarpered.

Prostitute Alley shot with a DSLR

Heading back to the hotel one night in Taipei I walked past this open door to an apartment block and noticed the doorman was asleep. I turned back, got the iPhone out and as I passed again I took a shot. It was blurred. Now, I had promised myself that on this trip I would be brave. I would not pass up opportunities to get that shot. So, I went back and crept in to get as close as I could to get it. The following night I passed again and noticed he was awake. I popped my head in and he growled at me. I can only imagine what might have happened had I woke him when I was getting the image.

The things I did not reveal in the job interview

AB: Finally, how can people connect with you?

My Blog  //  Instagram  //  Twitter  //  Flickr – iPhone  //  Flickr DSLR

50 Kids. 50 Cameras: Silent Tapes Gives Children a Voice

The sun balances on a haze so thick you taste it, encapsulated in a swath of life from below.  Smoke rises from the earth sending flavors of masala, the previous day’s used and discarded plastic, the sweet smell of sandalwood and the unmistakable aroma of charred flesh to swaddle the ball of heat attempting to cook everything below.  In Varanasi, India, the holiest Hindu city along the banks of the Ganga, a cacophony of stimuli envelop every sense a human possesses. The chaotic orchestra of Baba’s chanting mantras from along the Ganga shores, temple bells echoing from every corner of the city, chai wallas and street peddlers shouting their days merchandise options to those resting along the ghats, childrens’ laughter and infant cries penetrate straight to the heart as you inhale the smell of a beedi from the businessman leaning against a wall and spot the thick red splat of betel projecting out the door of a tuktuk as it honks its way through the obstacle course of people, cows, cars, motorbikes and vegetable carts fills an entire soul.

Amidst the potpourri of sensory overload a life altering experience unfolds as Stephanie Lane, a former philanthropy and fundraising student at NYU and half of the inspiring duo from the non-profit Silent Tapes, walks the shores of the holy Ganga.  She pauses to take it all in as a dog comes to her feet and starts tugging.  As she looks down she sees him digging through the rubble of unidentified ashen mess at a pile of human bones to chew.  “I just knew!  Wow, this is what we become.  For a moment I felt all of my insignificance and that our physical bodies are entirely meaningless in the realm of bigger things,” Stephanie says.

Those bigger things amass to using her newly realized, impermanent vessel of flesh, in partnership with her husband, Francis Lane, as a vehicle to change the world one slum at a time.  She brings to the table a solid foundation of truly knowing herself and what her purpose is in life, having trudged her own infinite path to self-discovery, self-realization and self-acceptance.  Having a yoga practice made her learn to accept all the parts of her, “mostly the bad things,” she says.  “Without the realization of those horrendous truths about myself, it’s possible I would have never embarked on the path I’m on now.  The most important thing for any person to do is really embrace and accept their faults.  Without that step, there is no way to become the greatness we are meant to be.”

Growing up below the poverty line in America, which she knows from experience is vastly different from other parts of the world, gave her a unique perspective on the choices we make.  In a community riddled with the typical challenges of those under dire financial stress, like crime and drugs, she made a conscious choice rooted in her passion in the arts.  “Art gave me a safe place, an outlet to express myself about everything that was going on around me.  I had a choice to either end up in jail in my teens or dream of sharing my art one day.  I chose the latter and not only because I loved art but because I wanted a voice. I wanted to live.”

The seed for Silent Tapes blossomed from that foundation and Stephanie, and Francis, decided to use their combined talents and love of travel, philanthropy and photography to provide the gift of a voice to the children in slums around the world. “Our vision is to have these pockets of empowerment all over the world.  I know it’s a big dream to rid the world of poverty, disease, child abuse and so many other things but the least we can do is try.  I feel strongly about having a social responsibility and a commitment to helping others,” said Stephanie.

Their philanthropic work originated in Klong Toei, Thailand, at the orphanage Stephanie volunteered at while she and Francis were living there.  “Bangkok is very strange in the sense that one of the largest shopping centers in the world, with all the riches you can imagine, is just down the train tracks from 300,000 residents living in a notorious slum.  The juxtaposition is really unique and interesting.”  Their original efforts were focused on volunteering for an established organization and using funds from their own photography to donate to the local day care, which provided children with a meal plan, basic care supplies and a safe environment to stay while their parents worked.

Their latest project, slated to take place this summer in Fortaleza, Brazil, coincides with the World Cup, where $400 million USD, in Fortaleza alone, has been spent and 200,000 residents displaced for the sake of tourism, in a country with over half a million child prostitutes and 16 million people living on less than $1.30 a day.  In Fortaleza they have partnered with a local organization that will help them organize efforts to provide 50 children with a 5-week photography workshop focusing on the basics of photography and how to capture varied emotions.  “The aim is to have the children capture their surroundings and also capture how they translate their personal emotions into what they see visually around them.  There is so much the heart can feel that the eyes don’t see, so we are hoping that with clear and simple guidance, they will be able to communicate those feelings with their cameras,” Stephanie said.  “There are so many things that we would never be able to capture ourselves that are in the hearts and minds of these children and we want to guide them through the process of finding their voice.” 

An exhibition in New York City, later this year, will showcase some of the selected photographs from the project and books of the children’s work will be published and distributed to selected school libraries and community centers in the twinned cities.

Want to help with their efforts?  I know you bunches of supporting and loving people do! Stephanie and Francis are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to run the project and the mobile photography community has already come out in droves to support them.  “So far the response from Instagram has been mind-boggling.  We really had no idea everyone would be so supportive and are running out of ways to say thank you!  It’s been really surreal.”  The campaign has 2 days remaining and while their original goal has been shattered, they are in the process of working on a stretch goal that will allow them to work with an outside group and film maker to produce a documentary and provide a platform for wider distribution.

“I am very blessed to have the basic things I have.  I don’t need anything else.  I guess what I am trying to say is to love selflessly, live fearlessly and spend time contributing to this beautiful world we are all born to share.”

From Jessii:  It’s with immense gratitude and appreciation that I thank Stephanie for taking the time, during this very busy period, to have such an open heart and speak so candidly with me.  It’s been a wonderful few weeks getting to know her and I’m overjoyed to see what sort of success and changes she and Francis will bring to the world and those we all share it with.  Please take a moment to view the video below for their Kickstarter campaign, which ends Saturday, May 3 at 10am PST.

Kickstarter / Website / Instagram / Facebook

 

Hipstamatic Thailand with Tim Bushell

Hipstamatic Thailand with Tim Bushell by David N

All the way from rural Thailand, Tim was able to connect with me through some sort of miracle in WIFI. Tim runs a website dedicated to Hipstamatic and explained Hipstamatic as being like the third party: you have the person taking the photo, the subject in the photo, and the character Hipstamatic itself.

“Hipstamatic has brought back photography in a way. They’ve taken out the digital in digital photography. Quite clever.”

T: Tim Bushell D: David Norbut

D. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

T. I’m English, and have had a number of jobs, and I ended up getting into IT in my 30’s, teaching IT and computing to children. That led to me learning how to program, and I left that teaching job and started developing. Later I joined the company I am with at the moment, which is CourseMonster.com. I am working in partnership with them: basically we are training brokers. My job is set up for me to be able to travel, which I love to do. Four years ago I left the UK and lived in Italy for a year, went back to the UK and then out to Asia. The plan was to travel around Asia but I ended up staying most of the time in Thailand; I’ve got a girlfriend here now – whom I’m staying with in the north. I have been here on and off for nearly three years. I really like it here, but it’s tricky because I’m here on tourist visas. I’ve already had to replace one passport because it had so many stamps in it (laughs).

D. Tell me about how you got into photography.

T. Years ago I bought a nice Olympus. I was interested in bird watching at the time – I still am a bit of a bird watcher – and I was into nature photography, but on a budget – so the Olympus with its 10x zoom was perfect. It was more for exercise than anything; I just wanted to get out of the house. So I was getting a bit into photography then. I actually went to a photography club for a while, about 2 months. It was just, so… I don’t know… (laughs)… a little too much on the technical side.

During a trip to Australia, I bought a Nikon D40, and that was a great purchase. I spent a good amount of time taking photographs, and at the end of the day I would upload 300, 400 photos to a PC. I would be looking through them, and then never look at them again.

In Thailand, after my smart phone got stolen from my hotel, I ended up buying an iPhone. I didn’t use it to take photographs at all until I downloaded Hipstamatic. For a month, I suppose, I was taking pictures with it but I didn’t really understand it. There were all these lenses and films and stuff; it was easy to get a bit lost. After using it on and off for about six weeks I ended up spending a couple of hours one night photographing a flower with Hipstamatic, and that’s when I started to notice it took some nice photos. Around the same time I found Instagram and I would go back and forth posting DSLR photos and Hipstamatic photos.

At that time, in the early version of Hipstamatic, you could only take one picture at a time. This restriction changed the way I started to take photographs. I had decided to use this app to take photographs of all this beautiful scenery in Thailand. So I was using it, and when you took a photograph you had to wait; and for me that’s what really made me start thinking about photography. With a digital camera you tend to just snap away and you think “oh, I’ll just sort the picture out later in Photoshop.” With Hipstamatic, you take the picture and there’s no going back. You can’t change it, you can’t even rotate it to align the horizon straight, you’d lose the frame. Pretty much anything you do with Hipstamatic you are stuck with, and I quite like that idea. I think that’s what Hipstamatic is really all about, almost taking you back to a time before digital, making you more careful with the framing and composition before you snap the image. It really made me think about the photographs I wanted to take, and I started taking a lot less photos. I also decided I would start deleting the photos I didn’t like; I became more ruthless.

I came up with this system: Since Hipstamatic photos are square I would upload them to Instagram or my website in a set of four with the same lens, film and theme (or shoot). I create a title page, and put the four photos into a square. It helped me edit down the number of pictures from each theme to the best four. If I had a really good set, I would use nine, again in the square. It really made me re-think the way I take pictures. Of course it also got me out and about in Thailand!

D. I guess that would lead us into how you started your website. Can you tell us about it?

T. It all started with me taking a bunch of photos of the same thing with the combos I thought I would like, and making a chart for myself. That’s what I really wanted, a chart so I could see all the different lens, film and flash combinations in different situations. Including flashes there are something like 9,200 combinations now!

So that’s what I did. I created a website and did a series of sets of one photo with different combinations. At first I was trying to take the same picture with every combination, but that wasn’t practical at all. One of my first sets was of the sunset, and it was moving, and it really wasn’t working well. I was trying to do what I call a Comprehensive Set, where I would do all of the lenses, with all the effect films, and all the flashes. But by the time I had finished, the sunlight had changed too much. After a while, I thought there must be another way of doing this. Being a programmer, I did eventually find a way. Hipstamatic still processes the effects, but, simply put, I hacked the queue. I’ll take the picture, but will close Hipstamatic before it develops, so it just saves the raw file. I’ve written software to turn this file into an enormous queue of combinations for Hipstamatic. Before that I was literally standing for an hour and a half or more, arms tired, taking the same photo with all these different combinations. Now I take the picture, do some clicking around in the software I wrote, and upload the results back into Hipstamatic for the app to process all the different combinations for that photo. It might take the iPhone all night – sat on my desk – but I don’t have to do all the work anymore. I think the biggest upload I did was 2500 versions of the same image (a Black and White combination set – with all flashes). More importantly because I have the original photo saved, any time there is an update with a new film or lenses I can go ahead and update my sets with the saved image. I really think that’s why I have an edge over the other guides out there – all my sets are kept up to date with the original image.  Let me say, that is not how I take the photos myself: the raw photo for processing is for the guide website only. I enjoy using Hipstamatic and I shoot it the way it’s meant to be.

To learn more about Hipstamatic and the many combos and see more of Tim’s work please visit his one of a kind website and guide:

Hipstamatic Combo Compare Website / Personal Website / Instagram / Backspaces / Twitter

On the Street with Maktub Street-Dog

On the Streets with Maktub Street-Dog by Dilshad C.

His name is Sacha Dohmen aka maktub street-dog, and he is 36 years old. Sacha lives with his beautiful wife in Belgium in a very rural area in the middle of nowhere between Liège (Belgium), Maastricht (Holland) and Aachen (Germany). “I´m a self taught amateur photographer” as he likes to point out. His work has been featured on P1xels, Mobiography, the Appwhisperer, Mortal Muses and IPhoneography.com, IPhoneography Central, in the first issue of IPhotographer magazine and in the second issue of MobFiction Magazine. He also has got an honourable mention at the Mobile Photo Awards and made the shortlist with 2 of his images on the last IPA quarterly. His work has been exhibited in Prague at the Gallery Kvalitár and in Holešov at the New Drive Club. He is co-organizer of the second Belgian International IPhoneography Art Movement exhibition in Brussels this year. I came across his work sometime ago now, and fall in love with Sacha’s photography straight away! We have spoken many a time and I consider him a friend and a person that I respect, so, to be able to interview him it’s only a great honour, for he is a true source of inspiration for me!

You talkin´to me.

 DC. When I look at your work I truly feel as if I knew what you are feeling, I can see you roaming the streets and trying to catch what other people don’t see! We both have been inspired by the same people or style, so talking to you now gives me only great pleasure! And I thank you for accepting my offer! Before we get into the nitty gritty of this conversation, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? Why maktub street-dog?

M S-D. It´s a pleasure for me. Why maktub street-dog? When I start doing street photography, I did not want to publish under my real name. Street photography is not really legal in Europe. So I needed a pseudonym. Maktub is an Arabic word and literally means: “it is written”. Street-dog from the German “Straßenköter” which mean stray dogs.

Arise And Shine In Necro-City

 DC. Your heart, quite similar to mines, is dedicated to street photography, or specifically to catch peculiar and particular faces and expression or people that, most of the time, are left alone by the general crowd. What is street photography for you?

M S-D. For me, street photography is not a genre of photography. It´s a lifestyle, street photography is the time you can give yourself to watch, observe and understand the people around you. It has changed my life so sudden and with unexpected result, my life took a new direction. I’m more attentive about the people and situation around me and I found an activity that allows me to express myself. I capture a fraction of life and later, build my own storyboard for this person. All I need is a street and my camera to make something extraordinary out of the banal, to create a social drama, to awake emotions.

My motivation to document life and take street shots is to capture and awake emotions. Photography is all about emotions. Street photography is also a social study and a mission; you show the world what life is like.

Dead End Friends

M S-D. Yeah, that is the extraordinary about street photography. You can talk about everything, love, pain, solitude, anger… My camera is a mirror that I tend to the society. It´s not enough to go out and press the shutter, you must have a genuine interest for people and their life.

The Tombstone Blues

 DC. With me, probably because I am pleasurably inspired by Koci, it’s all about people with hats too, but I love them to wear a heavy beard, or to have their faces lived, wrinkled, old… used and abused, I want to see someone that everyone else tries to walk away from, or no one pays attention to, that’s what takes my attention, what is your trigger?

M S-D. I feel like you. Nowadays the world is getting smaller and smaller and people are tending to look more alike. I´m always on the search for people with a certain individuality, in the way they dress, the way they walk, the way they look…

Down So Low

DC. Each time I see one of your photos I am overwhelmed by the capture, their expressions are jaw droopingly good! How do you manage to catch that moment?  Who are these people?

M S-D. Cartier-Bresson called it the decisive moment. Well, in my case I would call it luck. I’m lucky to be at the right moment at the right place and pull the trigger at the right time. In candid street portraiture you have only one chance and this opportunity will only take a fraction of a second. The only thing you can do if you’re fast enough is to shoot twice; the killer in the film shoots always twice. Street Photography is like a game, you get lucky or you get nothing.

Insomnia And the Hole in the Universe

 DC. The characters of your photos are those that I have been looking for all the time, I am truly boggled, how do you find them? Do you talk to them? Is there any one story that will always resonate in your mind?

M S-D. I don´t think when I shoot, I’m a walker, or like the French poet Baudelaire said a flâneur, and my camera is part of the walking. My eyes are always 10-20 feet ahead and search for something to catch. If I´m alone and found an interesting person, I can follow this person for a quarter hour, waiting for the right situation, before I show up out of the crowd like a shark to take my shot. I never talk to them, I´m too shy. As soon as I show up, I dive under again.

Evil Man, Don’t Play Your Games With Me

DC. There are, of course, many ways to do street photography, for me two resonate most. The first just walk around and shoot each time I see a character that tickles my senses! But with this I have one problem: the composition or the background might not be there as I wanted, hence I go into the heavy apping and blurring and scratching, which I also like as a style but it all started because I wanted to cover what I did not wanted to see and concentrate on my main character. The second is to find a location and patiently wait there as a fisherman waits for his catch: I have the story and I just need the protagonist, which hopefully will fall in my net… Where do you see yourself? How do you plan your day? I would love to know how you shoot?

M S-D. For me, the real originator of Street Photography is Garry Winogrand with his book “The Animals” and the streets as zoo. I never plan when I go out in the urban jungle and like Winogrand, I can walk down any street without taking photos. In 99% of cases I shoot from the hip, without thought on the background. I´m only interested on facial expressions, emotions… The background would only distract, regardless of the quality of my composition.  Only in a few of my shots like “Before I Die…” the background is more important or just as important as the protagonist.

Before I Die…

DC. Your editing style is wonderful, how much experimentation does that involve? Do you know exactly what do you want to achieve or sometime you are sitting there, scratching your head and thinking “I Love this one but also this and this, which one should I go for?”

M S-D. Thank you. I think the most important thing is to find one’s own style. Once we found the style, the rest comes from alone. I use primarily black & white, it´s the purest form of photography. As I said earlier, photography is all about emotions and I think black & white focuses the emotions better. Then I heavy blur the background. Black and white and the blur reduce my picture to its essential elements. My third step is to add scratches and texture, for this point, I´m very influenced by the music I listen while I work on the photo: dirtier the music, dirtier the edit. Bruce Gilden said “If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it´s a street photograph”. This is my workflow to make people smell the street.

 DC. You have a few on-going series, can you talk to me about these? The one with the 99 shades of crazy characters is my favourite! How did you come up with the idea?

M S-D. As I start with street photography 4 years ago, make series was a way for me to learn to see. I went out of the street with the purpose of only photographing bearded man, the next day only smokers, and so forth… After 4 years on the street I´m not sure if this is something that lets learn, but this little series help me a lot.

The idea after the “99 Shades Of Crazy” project is simple, find 99 extraordinary character that many would call crazy and thus show that there is no “normal” in our wonderful crazy world. In one or other sense, we are all crazy. That we are all different makes the world just interesting.

99 Shades Of Crazy (04)

 DC. Does having an on-going project help you? What would you say to some that maybe is struggling with its motivation?

M S-D. Yes for those who have a problem of motivation, a project is the perfect remedy. Starts a 365 project (1 image/day/year). Or the IPod shuffle project may be a good idea, I don´t know if it already exists, every morning you press the shuffle button and during the day you try to make a picture that has to do with the title.

Personally, I think this kind of project does not help me. The first reason is that if I’m too focus on something, I miss other occasion. The second reason is that if I force myself to post a photo every day, I will publish photos that I regret later.

99 Shades Of Crazy 01

 DC. Do you get stuck? Do you sometime doubt what you are doing? If yes, how you come out, what is that one thing that inspires you?

M S-D. Street Photography is an art that nobody wants to hang in his living room. Of course I doubt from time to time. But like Robert De Niro says in Heat “I do what I do best” and I don´t know how to do anything else.

 DC. Out of all the photos you have taken, which one are the three that you really are in love with? And why, what is the story behind?

M S-D. My favourite picture is definitively “It´s Coming Down”, a simple street portrait. I always want to take pictures that stimulate the imagination of the viewer and I´m not really a fan of a picture saying, “this is what it is”. I think this works very well in this picture. The story of this picture is really simple. Non-scheduled I take the bus to Aachen, the next town near my village. When I get off of the bus, I start directly to shoot. After two minutes, I realize that I forgot my bag in the bus. Damn, my IPad, my papers, my money, and my keys… A non-stop one-kilometre sprint to the central station, but the bus was gone. After a lot of discussion and phone calls, a driver told me my bag was found and that I should wait until the bus come back. Always worry if everything was still in it, I was there when this woman came studying the timetable. I knew immediately this is my picture of the day.

It´s Coming Down

“Just You And Me” This is a shot from a trip to Maastricht Holland. One of the rules in street photography is be invisible and adapt yourself to the environment. When I left my house in Belgium three hours earlier, the weather was just awful so I dressed me accordingly. My thickest Barbour Jacket, leather boots, a hat… That and over 1 meter 90 tall is all you need to be discovered if the local weather conditions are not the same. Impossible to photograph unrecognized. So I have to rethink my options.  For this shot I saw this guy take a cigarette and instead to stand still and to photograph him, I distracted him “can I have one too?” and while I went up to him I shoot from the hip.

Just You And Me

“Got To Find A Better Way” The first thing I noticed when I saw her, was with what dignity she wears her age. There was nothing to do with the sad, the miserable and pathetic of most of my street shots. Full of vitality, she looks just great, and for sure, a lot of young lady´s would love to be like her when their get old.

Got To Find A Better Way

DC. Flickr is your home, and you have been incredibly popular in there, what’s the secret behind this? On the other hand, it seems that Instagram is somewhere that you don’t really post, why?

M S-D. Ok, let´s start with Instagram. The main reason why I´m not active on Instagram are all the, follow me, follow me and “a like for a like” type of people. Naturally, every time I have a picture in the “Flickr Explore” twenty people added me to their favourites. The difference is that these people don´t harassed me. Why I am so successful at Flickr?

I think the secret is to just follow the work of someone we admire. I have roughly 200 contacts that I follow on Flickr. Some four years. Among others Richard Koci Hernandez or John Fullard whose work I admired for years, they still have never comment or fav on one of my photos. It’s all the same to me. I prefer people who do not like what I did and ignore me that people who “likes” anything without looking.

DC. Where can we find you? And if someone would like to learn how to edit with your style, what should they do? Do you have some tutorials around that we can check out?

I just start my own website and blog about street photography

The aim is to give tip and tricks about street photography and feature photographers I admire. If you are interested?

DC. Thank you, is this an offer? (Happily Smiles).

M S-D. MOB Fiction Magazine just published in their second issue one of my tutorials. The complete issue is about street photography and worth every cent. Otherwise you can find me on Flickr and Facebook

DC. Would you like to add anything that I have missed?

M S-D. I thank you from the bottom of my hearth for this opportunity, I noted that the questions were chosen carefully and with passion like all what you do.

DC. Again, thank you ever so much for your time and please don’t stop, for each time I see your photos I just want to go out and shoot!! You are one incredible person and I hope that I will have the honour to personally meet you and go out for walk!

A Passionate Woman in Seattle

We Are Juxt Rewind: This article was originally published September 7, 2012

Instagramers Seattle Spotlight – Nicole Lock @passionatewoman by Rachel S.

Rachel’s Intro:

I’ve enjoyed Nicole’s photography for a while now, and I think what draws me to her work is the mood and emotion she captures in places that are so familiar to me.  Likewise, her images of places I’ve yet to explore leave me wanting more and feeling almost as though I’ve been there…

R:  Rachel  N:  Nicole

R:  Tell us about yourself:  Are you from the Seattle Area?  I noticed in your feed that you recently graduated from UW.  What did you study?

N:  I was born in Spokane and lived there until I was 16 when my mom moved us to Redmond. When we moved I skipped high school and went straight to Bellevue College. At first, I didn’t have many friends besides my younger sisters, my car and a camera.  That’s where my love of photography really began. I guess you could say my first Seattle best friend was my camera. At the same time another passion began to grow as I began taking Sociology classes focusing on feminism and activism. Eventually education led me to UW where I majored in Social Sciences with a focus on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity studies.

Currently, I’m taking a year off to just be, take the GRE, and apply to graduate school. During my break I want to continue focusing on my interests and begin merging photography and feminism in to something new and unique. I’m thinking of some self-portraiture ideas that would make a statement about my beliefs and fears regarding the state of the world and views on gender and sexuality, but it’s quite a challenge because I usually never plan photos out. Traditionally, I just follow my eye.

R:  This is one of my favorite shots from Seattle’s new Great Wheel… why did you choose this perspective over the more common up-shots of our newest local attraction?

N:  As I said, I’m really not one to plan out a photograph; I just let them happen. My boyfriend and I were riding the wheel at sunset for the first time. When I looked out across the network of metal structure, I was fascinated by the contrast between angled firmness and the soft rolling landscape behind. It felt like the frame was leading my eye to the beauty behind it, as if it were a railroad. To me, this perspective alludes to my belief that man can make nothing as beautiful as Mother Nature but rather only help lead you back to her glorious landscapes.

R:  This particular image will be on display at the IGers Seattle / We Are Juxt mobile photography exhibit at Neptune Coffee this month.  We selected more than 100 photographs from local mobile photographers based on the theme “summer vibes.”  To me, this photo embodies Seattle ‘Summer’ up until about the first week of August. 😉  How do you stay inspired through all of our gloomy weather months?

N:  Haha! Funny thing is, I actually went on this ferry ride looking for inspiration. It seems that Seattle gloom causes us to do well in finding the brightness around us. This photo was taken on a dark Seattle day but I chose a brighter more cheery edit to bring out what light there was. Sometimes when you can’t beat the weather, the dreariness becomes its own source of art. There is still a lot of freedom when it comes to rain and darkness, you just have to learn to work with it in unique ways. Though, the upside to always dealing with grey weather is that when the sun does finally come out, I am filled with inspiration and excitement. You know how crazy this city gets when the first sunny spring day occurs – everyone gets outside and soaks it in! You learn to appreciate the sun so much more.

R:  What’s the one photo editing app you would be lost without, and why do you love it?

N:  Hmm… It depends on the month really. I tend to get obsessed with one app at a time, though I usually process an image with more than one app. The first app I fell in love with, which I still use quite frequently, was Camera+. Its ability to capture photos quickly while processing them in the background makes it very useful. For a while I was obsessed with Phototoaster as I enjoyed its bright highly contrasted filters and how easy it was to make and save your own filter designs. Snapseed is a constant love of mine though I definitely didn’t get obsessed with it. I prefer it mostly for its selective adjustments where you can choose one part of the photograph to edit. Most recently, I’ve been in love with Picfx and Photoforge2. Photoforge2’s Pop! Cam is a lot of fun and allows for great creative freedom while Pixfx is great for its lovely preset filters providing the opportunity to quickly edit and transform an image.

Photo Credit: Alex Bergh

R:  What came first:  the iPhone or the Rebel? What is it about photography that keeps you shooting?

N:  I’ve been shooting with a Rebel since I was 18, so four years. I only got the iPhone a few years ago. Now I mostly shoot with my Rebel and then process through my iPhone. I also just recently got an iPad and processing on that thing is AWESOME. I feel like I don’t really have a choice in whether I shoot or not, I just have to! Sometimes it feels like a craving to take pictures is so strong it radiates from my chest – it’s kind of ridiculous. The iPhone saves me in that regard because I always have it with me. New apps, lenses, toys, and traveling whenever I have the chance help keep me inspired. I feel it’s impossible to go to a new place without taking at least 200 photos.


R:  What are your personal pros and cons to shooting with iPhone vs your Rebel?

N:  I love my Rebel and my iPhone but they both do very different things for me. The Rebel allows for more freedom, better ranges of my depth of field, long exposures, and lower aperture. It comes with a lot more creative freedom in those regards. The extra megapixels are quite nice as well. But it’s a lot more of a liability to carry around, it doesn’t just slip into your pocket, and those photos are stuck on there until I can get them home and on my computer. My iPhone on the other hand is just a photography machine. It takes lovely photographs, allows for me to process them with millions of different apps, and then upload and share them with the world. It’s just amazing when you really think about it. I really love them both individually but my favorite trick is using my iPhone and iPad for processing images from the Rebel.

R:  What are some of your favorite Pacific Northwest places to shoot?

N:  We are so blessed to live here aren’t we? There are so many places to see and capture. One of my regular spots, which is obvious by my Instagram feed, is Golden Gardens. That place always amazes me and I don’t think I will ever have enough photographs of the sunsets. Beyond Seattle, the Oregon coast is one of my most favorite places, but I don’t get there often enough. I just love the combination of lush forests, ragged rocks, sandy beaches, and tide pools. There is so much to photograph down there! I love the rivers in the Cascades and even the one’s on the Eastern side of the state. Green Lake is also a pretty frequent stop for me, it’s so close and one of the most spectacular city parks we have. Discovery Park is named very well, as there is a lot to discover and capture. Every time I go my photos look completely different than the last trip. Mt. Rainier is a fantastic place for photographers, but again I don’t get out there nearly enough. I also do a lot of camping outside of Ellensburg and it’s fun to shoot there because the trees, flowers, and landscapes are so different from this side of the state. I still have SO much to explore…

R:  I asked Nicole to shoot a special Northwest series for us, to tell us a little bit about what inspires her and why she chose these images:

N:  When I got this challenge I was very nervous about it, planning out photos is not my strong suit. Luckily I had a road trip planned to go see my dad, best friend, and my baby brother in Eastern Washington. When we started out I felt like the photographs I was taking were so mediocre… I got really worried about it. But once we got out to my dad’s home and started adventuring, things just came together. I have been so nostalgic for Eastern Washington summers. My childhood was filled with lakes, camping, swimming, boating and all kinds of outdoor adventures. The hot weather and the lack of people is just something that isn’t easy to find this side of the mountains. So I wanted to go with a soft edit that made the photos appear sort of dreamy, like something of the past. I used Photoforge2’s Pop! Cam and the Soft Optics lens with the washed out effect from the processing option. From there I used Fotor to add some more color.

N:  This trip was absolutely amazing. The photo of the power lines was taken on our way there, in the desert. I love the drive on i90 towards Spokane; it’s something I’ve done countless times in my life, as I’ve always had family on this side of the state. The photo of the trees and the clouds was taken at my dad’s property, which is as beautiful and relaxing as I attempted to capture. The last picture, of the river, was taken during a hike to some natural water slides out at Priest Lake. I haven’t had that much fun adventuring in a very long time. This series really reminded me of the nostalgia for childhood summers I feel every year. At least I could capture it.

Nicole Lock

Nicole is a northwestern native, and continues to believe it is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, regardless of where she travels. She spends most of her time working towards a future in education putting her time and energy in to studying. But, during those few moments of calm, she reconnects with the world through her lens.

IG username:  @passionatewoman
Hometown:  Spokane, WA
Current location:  Seattle, WA
Camera(s):  iPhone 4 and Cannon EOS Rebel