The Storytellers: Special Edition

The Storytellers: Special Edition

In GRRYO’s Instagram account  we feature a photo prompt each Monday and ask our audience to share their stories to accompany the image. You can join us each Monday to stretch your storytelling skills and enjoy stories being told around the world. We have a special digest to give you on Leap Year Day that reveals what happened in the month of January as we invited Marina to share a series of her street photography so that we could piece together a running story for that month. Read on to unfold the magic that was conjured in an Italian café.

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Story portion by @grandreopening

Antoine’s mother had always said magic was real.  He had thought she was a just a dumb hippy, that her version of magic was some Jerry Garcia unicorn pipe dream but despite a lifetime of crystals that had adorned her neck she had always insisted that sometimes things did go bump in the night.

Now Antoine believed.

The witches had been coming to his café, his very table, for two weeks. At first they seemed like normal women but a good server notices things. The sweet smell of dead flesh had hooked Antoine’s nose while reaching to deliver a basket of fresh baked croissants; in a glance he had witnessed their subtly forked tongues, tongues that twitched and tracked him like copperheads.  In a blink they were normal tongues again and he was left staring and feeling rude. The way the witches had looked at him while he looked at them; wet, obsidian eyes and the synchronized tapping of long, pointed, putty gray nails on the table had made his skin crawl.

There had been more clues since, enough that he drank wine each morning to ease the shaking of his hands.  The cafe’s china cups clattered on their saucers without it.

He told himself the spike of missing children post bills he had suddenly started to notice in his neighborhood were just his imagination.  They had always been there he told himself, Chianti in hand.

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Story portion by Cally

Today is the day. Lobelia glanced at her sisters, a slight nod echoed among them. This is the one, they had all agreed. For the past couple weeks, the three had driven down into the valley to the café, just to be sure. And they were. His name is Antoine, and sure enough, he has the sign. At each visit, Lobelia sensed his increasing anxiety at their passive observation. He knows, she thought. That’s good. Most men know nothing until it’s too late. Antoine was different. Maybe this time would be different.

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Story portion by @theliebox

By the end of the third week Antoine could see nothing but the gap-toothed smiles and pink pom-pom stocking hats; the wild eyed grins of children once happy but now lost.  New posters seemed to appear daily on light poles, taped to mailboxes and bulletin boards. Where were the police Antoine wondered, didn’t everyone notice?

Just this morning outside his neighborhood wine shop he had paused to note  a lovely girl, no more than five, with a corona of flaming red hair clutching a doll.  The photo was stuck with glue under the shakily written words MISSING, PLEASE HELP. The doll had hair that perfectly matched the girls.  Clearly handmade, the creator had teased the ends of the yarn until the exact quotient of frizzy had been reached.

Antoine had nursed wine from the bottle as he finished his walk to work pondering on what pure love it had taken to make such detail and how much love the little girl had squeezed into that doll when she’d first been given the gift.

Hours later, Antoine with his clattering hands and crimson stained lips had forgotten the doll as he served the witches.  He had thought of nothing but the looming arrival of those tallow skin faces.  His eyes downcast as he delivered biscotti he saw in the open bag at the feet of Lobelia the witch the curly haired doll, now dirty and stained the color of rust.

Antoine gasped audibly and in inadvertent panic looked directly at the witch.  She smiled a coy smile marvelously pleased with herself. “She’s done it on purpose!” Antoine thought to himself, “she wanted me to see it!”

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Story portion by Joe

As cunning as the “Terrible Trio” (as they delightfully called themselves) were, they were also forgetful. A dull black notebook was left in the restroom just minutes before Antoine stumbled upon it. Knowing this was planned to be his last living day, he scurried to the kitchen turning pages frantically and found a page titled, “A recipe for Antoine.”

He followed the directions which included “scraped human heel skin,” which Antoine quietly obliged. He poured his new spice mix named after him into the wine bottle and collected himself before going to serve the witches one more time.

As the ladies gleefully sipped their wine waiting for their opportunity to trick Antoine into drinking his customized glass of death, they unknowingly drank their own concoction that would end their lives just moments later. Antoine took off his apron, and walked outside reading the black notebook once more for handwritten directions the witches left behind to find the little girl.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the creativity of our photo artist, Marina, and the storytellers who gave words to her images. Please share this series with others by using the social media share buttons at the top of the page beneath the first image. Of course you’re always invited to drop into our Storytellers Circle each Monday to spread your imagination wings with the rest of the world.

Dancing in Abandoned Places with Austen Browne

Dancing in Abandoned Places with Austen Browne

I can remember when I first found Austen Browne’s work on Instagram. The ability to upload video was still relatively new to the app, and I was searching for creative videos to feature on an account I’d cleverly dubbed “@creativevideo”. It was tough wading through what were mostly bad selfies, in video form, and finding anything worth watching. So when I stumbled upon Austen’s videos, it was like hitting the jackpot. They took my breath away. In fact, his videos still do.

making a dance reel for @kjuniverse and this is one of my favorite sequences we’ve made together

Seeing Austen’s work raised several questions for me. How come these videos are so amazing? What is it about them that produces such an emotional reaction in me? Why can’t I dance like that? Ok, the last one wasn’t a serious question, but I decided I wanted to try and find out what the answers were.

dancer: Adrienne (@adrlipson)

It turns out that it’s not a fluke that Austen’s work is of such high quality. A child of two artists, he grew up near Minneapolis and started dancing at an early age. Along the way, he met Kevin, who has been his best friend and fellow dancer since the age of eight; Kevin is often the subject in his videos. In addition to dance, Austen has had other creative outlets, including drawing, video, photography and pottery. When it came time to choose a course of study in college, he decided to choose filmmaking. The combination of film and dance felt like something he was always meant to do.

@kjuniverse asylum improv with @durty2shoes lurking in the back… music: @londongrammar

” Being a dancer myself, I was able to film in a way that other filmmakers, who are not dancers, couldn’t. I was able to anticipate how a person would move, or what they were going to do next… It became similar to a dance duet, where the dancer and the camera were interacting through space.”

One of the first things that grabs your attention when you view one of Austen’s works is the stark contrast. Typically filmed in an abandoned location, where things have often been stagnant for decades, he captures a fervent energy being inserted into these places; specifically in the form of a dancing figure.

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dancer: Carisa ( @carisadrews )

“I loved how dancing could bring a dead abandoned space to life and create such a strong contrast between the space and the subject. The decaying, motionless backdrop is brought to life by the movement of the dancer and their interaction with the space.”

dancer: Zach (@zenquist)

A large part of that energy, as I found out, is because the movement is mostly improvised, which in turn is a large part of the style of dance that he both practices and teaches. One could call it modern, post modern, or contemporary, though Austen would contend it is more the latter than anything else. For Austen, improvisation is a large part of contemporary dance and how it is taught. However, while the improv clearly occurs within the parameters of trained motion, there is a raw energy that occurs that is anything but mechanical.

music: @humphreys.jpeg dancer: @kjuniverse 

“If I were to try and explain contemporary dance or improv to a non-dancer, I would say that it is an exploration of movement with your body, whether the moment is coming from within the body, or the body is reacting to external forces/shapes/spaces/energy. It is definitely an exploration.”

I was still curious, though, as to what caused such an emotional reaction in me when I watched these videos. Austen helped me figure it out a bit. Dance is an art form in which one’s own body is the medium through which the art is expressed. It’s different from just about any other medium I can think of. With other arts, the viewer is interpreting what the artist is putting forth through external means, whether it’s a musical instrument, canvas, or photograph. The dancer, though, is really baring their soul. What they are putting forth is literally a part of themselves, in a most physical sense.

dancers: Kevin ( @kjuniverse ) / Kacey ( @kchulk )

“I think that for most people, improv comes from somewhere deep within, and when you are truly in the zone nothing else matters in the world… I find dance to be one of the best art forms, because your body is the instrument, which makes it so raw, and the connection of the body and mind that dancers have is really something that is special to me.”

So while I don’t see myself anytime soon being able to move in the way Austen and his friends do, I do look forward to seeing more of his work, whether it’s his photographs, films, or, maybe if I’m lucky enough, a live performance. I secretly hope that the next time I’m shooting in an abandoned spot, he and his friends somehow magically appear. In lieu of that happening, I’ll have to be content with seeing his work online and sharing it with anyone who is willing to stop and watch.

If you’d like to check out (and help fund) Austen’s next project, visit here

dancer: Zach music: Olafur Arnalds

Find Austen on:  website  |  vimeo | instagram

A New Pair of Eyes

A New Pair of Eyes

Every city has its own flair and specialty. We often don’t observe and see things that are right in front of us. When it comes to exploring our city, we tend to get carried away with our life and daily routine. Many times we travel the world and express how great a city or a country is, forgetting that the grass may be greenest in our own garden. Being born and raised in Jakarta, there have been times in the past that I have complained about the city. Jakarta’s traffic can be crazy, the unending line of malls everywhere can be dull, and the pollution is bad too. Nonetheless, I have learned to look at my city with a new pair of eyes.

Kota3

There are many ways to explore a city; alone or with friends. I have managed to discover my city with a group of explorers by visiting different parts of the city. Little did I know that despite the traffic and modernization, our city is still rich in history and culture. There are many places I didn’t know about and the experience has broadened my horizons completely. I shall highlight some of the places I enjoyed exploring and learning about. Capturing moments through these trips was an interesting experience. It helped by enhancing my knowledge in photography and practicing to shoot in manual mode. Even while capturing on the iPhone I was able to learn more in terms of exposure, contrast and finding the right balance when shooting.

In Jakarta we have various aspects of culture and history spread in different parts of the city such as museums, historical sites, markets, or even the harbor. As much as I love going to museums, I’d like to highlight the places that made me appreciate my city more.

Candle

 

Glodok

Glodok is considered our “Chinatown” although it is completely different from the Chinatown in other cities around the world. The history of this area dates back to the Dutch era, where they were brought to Indonesia as slaves from China. They resided in this area and many of them have remained in the area till date. Although, currently the local chinese community have moved to different areas in Jakarta, Glodok still remains the main hub for their supplies of food, vegetables, and medicines. The tour around this place was thoroughly fun. In Jakarta, we are used to traveling around in cars, unlike other cities where you can enjoy the pleasure of walking and taking the local transportation. Thus, walking around Glodok and the markets was a new experience for me. We learned about the cultural heritage and historical treasures. The narrow alleys, the muddy streets and the rundown buildings were part of our adventure. We were able to see a few Buddhist Temples that still exist, and had a good walk around the markets to understand more about the traditional foods among the Chinese community. Taking pictures of the surroundings made one feel like part of their daily routine.


Glodok2

 

Kota Tua

Kota Tua means Old Town, which is the original downtown area of Jakarta. It is also known as Old Batavia. It’s called Old Town because it is the older part of Jakarta which was built during the Dutch colonial rule. There are a few museums around Kota Tua, namely the Wayang Museum (Puppet Museum), the Historical Museum, and the Fine Art & Ceramic Museum. Whilst touring this area, I didn’t feel I was in Jakarta. The architecture and the layout transports you to another place. There is much hope to restore this area to rejuvenate Old Jakarta’s legacy. Some of the buildings are run down but still have some heritage. On the inside of one of the buildings we found stained glass windows, which date back to older times. This was a very rare find and a fascinating one too.

Kota

Kota2

 

Mosque and Church

The Masjid Istiqlal (Independence Mosque) is known to be one of the largest mosques in Southeast Asia. The national mosque was built to commemorate Indonesian Independence. When entering the Mosque, as any other religious holy place, you feel peaceful and calm. It was a fulfilling experience to explore the architecture of the mosque and feel the atmosphere inside it. It is a massive building and can accommodate up to more than 120,000 people. The building near the Mosque, the Jakarta Cathedral (Roman Catholic Cathedral), also has a very fine and intricate architecture. This building reminded me of the churches we see in European countries. The way it’s built, the feeling inside the church and the complete structure of it is beautiful. It was irresistible not to take a snap or two to capture the details of these buildings.

Mosque

 

Sunda Kelapa Harbor

Lastly, our famous Sunda Kelapa harbor, located north of Jakarta, is the old port of our city. Although it is now only a minor port, Jakarta had its origins in Sunda Kelapa and it played a significant role in the city’s development. While walking around the area, there were some interesting spots like the Watch Tower and Maritime Museum. Some of the buildings and the Museum in this area have a lot of history and make one feel nostalgic. The way the ships were lined up, as well as the people and the scenes from the harbor, make you want to capture the moments.

 

There are still many more interesting sites to see in my wonderful city. It is filled with various colors and exploring it like a tourist, has made me value it even more. I look forward to many more moments of discovering the wonders of Jakarta. I hope you enjoyed walking with me through my pictures and short story. Jakarta may not have a perfect description but it is a part of Indonesia, a country which is diverse, yet united.

Simran is a passionate photographer. She writes for INK361 and with this article we welcome her to the GRRYO team.

Barbie’s secret life

Barbie’s secret life


We find quite an uncommon Barbie in @mssolobarbie‘s account. Here the icon prototype of successful beauty is a normal girl, able to move (her eyes are, if necessary, now blue, now gray, black, cheerful, full of tears for no reason) and to be unhappy (someone said: she has something on her, kind of unhappiness) 

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It’s a muffled world in which Barbie lives, far away from the limelight; a full collection of 48 dolls is shown in elegant images where vibrant colours are softened by dim light. It’s a gallery full of details where Maria Soldi accompanies her delicate images with words both personal and borrowed. Barbie is shown to us in her everyday life. There’s nothing spectacular in what she does, but she is magical, like special people are. This Barbie is us.

She leads a normal life: goes to the supermarket and cooks homemade pasta, does laundry and goes to the swimming pool and loves being in contact with Nature (the wind ruffles her, with no other purpose than to blow) (and what in the foreground? Ah, whatever, as long as it’s a bird just passing in flight)

IMG_4117 We scroll her daily life and her thoughts (every beginning as a matter of fact is a sequel; and the book of events is just half open) and her desire of living all the little things around her femininity (brooches, this or that comb, a twine so that I can say: I don’t regret anything)

Traces of the icon’s mundane aspects are still present, but we find the same attention when showing the pleasure of coming back home.

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Mother consoling (why don’t you sleep, my love?), adolescent waiting (as I don’t know when dawn comes, I’ll keep open every door), woman in love (I have to shorten the distance) and determined (if someone is stepping on my feet or pricks me with a pin I feel nothing), fresh bride with traditional white dress (yes, I will) and very private person (no one knows what she does when at home). A soft vignette makes her world separated from ours.

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Barbie crosses all the ages of life, without a chronological order. A gallery where “the right balance” is metaphorically between two birds’ weights and where freedom and initiative are shown with an “I fly alone“. What is here still of the Icon? Just a woman receiving flowers, but soon after we find her shining her husband’s footwear…

…sewing a hem, ironing or doing housework. The woman supposed to be an Icon looks in a mirror not to admire herself, but rather to clean it with a spray and catch that instant to reflect about the fact “each mirror gives me different news“.

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She is still a bejeweled Barbie sometimes, but jewels are also the raindrops on the window glass (how light is this light in a raindrop). A melancholic beauty, she is not sure about her own loveliness (a face who didn’t know she could be lovely) as often happens to those who are naturally beautiful.

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She does not spend her time facing a mirror to admire herself, but rather to love the beauty all around. In spite of all that, she is doubtful about living up to the world’s expectations of someone it deems beautiful. Barbie is a woman whose desires are both simple and deep. But she is aware that she is an icon and accepts her role: the world wants to find hope in a face.

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Maria Soldi | @mssolobarbie is a 55 year old Italian photographer living in the north of the Country. As a child she never owned a Barbie, and her playmates didn’t have one. But having since met the famous doll, she has been cultivating a passion she was a little bit ashamed of, until a friend gave her the first Barbie at the age of 40. Since then Maria and Barbie have never left, and now that doll is part of a collection of 48. Maria has enjoyed shooting since she was 18, and the desire to take shots daily, combined with the lack of a model for portraits, made her decide to open an account dedicated to Barbie.

La vita segreta di Barbie

È una Barbie inconsueta quella che ci viene descritta da Maria Soldi nel suo account @mssolobarbie. L’icona prototipo del successo è una ragazza normale che si commuove (ha gli occhi se occorre ora azzurri, ora grigi, neri, allegri, senza motivo pieni di lacrime) e può essere infelice ( qualcuno diceva: ha qualcosa addosso, come una specie di infelicita’ ) . È un mondo ovattato e discreto quello in cui si muove Barbie, lontano dalle luci della ribalta. La collezione di 48 esemplari ci viene mostrata in eleganti immagini dove i colori vibranti sono attenuati dalla penombra. Una galleria piena di dettagli che Maria Soldi accompagna con pensieri propri o presi in prestito.

Barbie è raccontata nella sua quotidianità. Non vi è nulla di spettacolare in quello che fa, eppure è magica, come lo sono tutte le persone speciali: questa Barbie siamo noi. Barbie conduce una vita normale, va al supermercato e fa la pasta in casa, fa il bucato e va in piscina, ama essere in contatto con la natura ( il vento la scompiglia, senza altri motivi se non quello di soffiare ) ( e che cosa in primo piano? Ah, qualunque cosa, purché sia un uccello che stia giusto passando in volo).

Vediamo scorrere insieme alla sua vita quotidiana i suoi pensieri ( ogni inizio infatti è’ solo un seguito e il libro degli eventi è’ solo aperto a metà ) ed il desiderio di vivere tutte le piccole cose attorno alla propria femminilità ( spille, questo e quel pettine, uno spago perché io possa dire: non rimpiango nulla).

Sono ancora presenti gli aspetti mondani (mi metto le scarpe e arrivo) ma vi è altrettanta cura nel descrivere il piacere del ritorno tra le mura domestiche (finalmente a casa). Mamma che consola (non piangere- amore, perché non dormi?), adolescente in attesa (non sapendo quando l alba arriverà tengo aperta ogni porta), donna innamorata ( devo accorciare le distanze) e determinata (se qualcuno mi pesta i piedi o mi punge con uno spillo non sento niente ), fresca sposa col tradizionale abito bianco (si, lo voglio). Ma anche riservatissima (nessuno sa cosa faccia a casa).

Barbie attraversa tutte le età della vita, senza un ordine cronologico. Una galleria dove “il giusto equilibrio” e’ metaforicamente tra il peso di un uccellino e un altro, e dove la libertà e l’ iniziativa viene rappresentata con un “volo da sola” . Dell’icona qui rimane una donna che riceve dei fiori, ma la troviamo poco dopo a lucidare le scarpe del suo compagno (mi prendo cura delle tue scarpe) a cucire, stirare o fare le quotidiane pulizie di casa. Barbie si riflette in uno specchio non per ammirarsi ma mentre lo sta pulendo con uno spray e coglie quell’ istante per riflettere sul fatto che “ogni specchio ha per me notizie differenti“. È ancora una donna ingioiellata, a volte, ma gioielli diventano anche le gocce di pioggia sul vetro ( “quanto è leggero tutto questo in una goccia di pioggia “).

Una malinconica bellezza che non è sicura di se stessa (un viso che non sapeva di poter essere bello), come spesso accade a chi, pur essendo bella, non passa la vita davanti ad uno specchio ad ammirarsi ma piuttosto ammira la bellezza attorno a se’, e si chiede se ne è all ‘ altezza. Barbie è una donna dai desideri semplici e profondi. Ma consapevole di essere anche, per gli altri, un’icona, ne accetta il ruolo : il mondo vuole vedere la speranza sul viso.

Maria Soldi (@mssolobarbie) è una fotografa italiana di 55 anni. Vive in una cittadina dell’Italia Settentrionale e da bambina non ha mai avuto una Barbie, come del resto le sue compagne di gioco. Ma dal momento in cui ha incontrato, più tardi, la famosa bambola, ha coltivato una passione di cui un po’ si vergognava, fino a quando un amico non gliene ha regalata una all’età di 40 anni. Da quel momento in poi Maria e Barbie non si sono più lasciate, e adesso quella prima bambola fa parte di una collezione di 48 esemplari. Maria sin dall’età di 18 anni ama fare fotografie e la necessità di fotografare quotidianamente associata alla mancanza di modelle disponibili per ritratti ha fatto si che si decidesse a creare un account dedicato a Barbie.

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A Phone-y Film Experiment

A Phone-y Film Experiment

It all started with a flea market find. I stumbled across a box of old cameras; sifted through them and picked a couple out, not knowing anything about them. At five bucks apiece, though, I figured that at the very least, they’d make good bookends. But then, I had an idea.

The idea was this: shoot a picture using film, shoot from the same spot using my iPhone, then attempt to edit the latter to look something like the former. After all, there are so many apps that seem to be designed to replicate film. Even the term ‘filter’, which is sometimes mocked due to its frequent use in mobile editing, comes from what was originally a film camera method. Anyway, I roped a couple friends into the adventure, and, many (many!) months later, we are ready to report to you, the esteemed reader, the results of our experiment.

from Megan:

Film photography is the only photography I really do. I prefer negatives to image files, I just always have. So there isn’t really any story to how I got into it, I’ve been lugging a camera around since I was a kid. The first was a plastic point and shoot, the sort you could pick up at any pharmacy in a hurry for cheap. It took AA batteries, it was bright blue, the lens cover broke and the photos it took were usually blurry. Basically, it was awful, but I carried it around all the time anyway. I made the jump to an SLR my first year of college, a gift from my parents. Since then I’ve experimented a lot with camera types and film formats. I wandered into digital photography a bit, at the urging of a friend, but didn’t stay long. They’ve always seemed like two different arts to me, only sometimes having the same goal. So I think that was the most challenging part of this project for me, taking one and forcing it to look like the other. Even though they look the same or, if I were any good at editing digital photos, practically identical, they don’t feel the same. It’s a silly observation, really, to most people the end result is more important than the process, if the photograph is good then everyone feels exactly what the photographer hoped they would feel. The process doesn’t matter. Well that and not destroying a roll of film so completely you couldn’t even tell there ever were images on it, but mostly the other thing.

 

Click on any photo to start slideshow. Order is as follows: iPhone shot, film shot, then edited iPhone shot. 

Attachment-1-01

{shot with an iPhone 5s}

{shot with a Nikon N80 with damaged Kodak Gold 400}

{iPhone shot, edited with VSCO, Mextures, and PhotoWizard}


{shot on an iPhone 5s}

{shot with a Nikon N80 with damaged Kodak Gold 400}

{iPhone shot, edited with VSCO, Mextures, and PhotoWizard}

from Cally:

I’ll have to admit I know very little about film photography, despite being the only kid I knew that had a SLR, a camera I used for at least 15 years. But looking back through my childhood film adventures, quantity seems to reign over quality. I do have a decent collection of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes, not to mention a good number of mid-nineteenth-century thermoplastic cases that are works of art in and of themselves. The fact that they secretly scream out to me in the middle of the night, “sell us on eBay; you only look at us once a year; you need the money!” just makes me want to tell them all to screw off, but the ability to date them to within less than a decade (hair, clothes, and case mat styles) makes my little historian heart happy, although I guess that’s the thing about photos, right? You can look at one and just tell almost immediately when they were taken (with some research, of course, unless you were born before 1839). So here we are trying to subvert this little bit of fabulousness that has literally defined the photograph in all its forms, formats, and styles for the past 175 years.

That said, once I was asked to contribute to this project, I at once jumped at the chance while secretly, selfishly, mourning what a poor choice Jeff had made to include me, the procrastinator of all procrastinators. In any case, I went once again to the old Minolta SLR. I replaced the long-expired batteries (yep). I turned it on. Nothing. I cleaned it; I shook it. Nothing. Next choice was grandma’s old 1970s Instamatic 314. I removed the even-longer-ago-expired batteries (yep). I cleaned out the corrosion. I wistfully thought about how many pictures of my childhood were produced of this little gem. Then I found out they no longer made batteries or film for it. Film is easy; batteries…not so much. Moving on, I at last decided to brave the romance of the Brownie! A great idea, I told myself. Just point, er, look down and make sure your subject is level, and click. I found a decent one at an antique store for $20. Of course, the original 620 film isn’t made any longer, so I purchased an expired roll of 1983 film and hoped I wasn’t wasting more time and money.

The second camera and film experiment, another that harkens back to the retro days of the 1980s (yeah, baby, yeah!), is, of course the Polaroid. During the 80s my trusty Polaroid and I spent many hours documenting my stuffed animals, my live animals, and, of course, my very own self animal. I took selfies. I used a stick. A real stick. If only I knew then what I know now, I’d be rich. Rich, I tell you! But then again, 11-year-old girls don’t think too far into the future, as a rule. Just put on a hat and makeup, grab a stick from the yard, stabilize the camera, and, you know, selfie. But having said all that, I never really enjoyed the way Polaroids look. Still don’t, actually. But because of our history together, I HAD to go there. Again, I bought some expired 600 film, but this time I declined the stick method in order to see if I could actually take a decent photo with this thing. I couldn’t.

What did I learn? There’s more to film than just film, and the least fun part of this was recreating it with the phone shots. Especially the Polaroids. And old photos are pretty damn cool. If I had a ca. 1860s wet plate camera…I wouldn’t know what the hell to do with it. I would probably sell it on eBay for a decent amount of cash. The end of this finds me at a point where I am not in the least bit interested in editing right now, and making these pictures look worse didn’t help. So I did spend some time making edits I actually like. So, in the end, it’s been cathartic I suppose. And I do like the physical act of taking a picture with a Polaroid camera. So, yeah, maybe I’ll continue that, just for shits and giggles if nothing else. Hell, maybe I’ll pick up a stick and use it.

{shot on an iPhone 5}

{shot on a Kodak Brownie with expired film}

{iPhone shot, edited with Analog Film and VSCO}

{shot on an iPhone 5}

{shot on a Polaroid}

{iPhone shot edited with Mextures, ArtStudio, Afterlight}

from Jeff:

I think the last time I’d shot film was with a Kodak disc camera (anyone else remember those?) that my grandfather had given me. I was probably ten. I actually still had it, and tried it, but it was no longer working. Next, I tried one of the flea market finds–an old Ricoh–with some DIY damaged film. The pharmacy mail-order developer returned it with a note: “Film Received Damaged”. Duh. Then, a borrowed Polaroid camera from a friend, with some Impossible Project film. Success! After that, I tried out some water damaged film given to me, and then, developed by, our resident film expert. (that would be Megan, from above.) Finally, I had a handful of images I was able to work with. What did I learn? Well, for one, the random results that film will give you are really cool. I think, in fact, I’m starting to enjoy not knowing what I’m going to get, rather than trying so hard to achieve a particular look- it’s rather freeing! I’ve since had fun trying other films and cameras out, and I’m now constantly looking for thrift shop bargains. It’s like my photography journey has gone from one extreme to the other.

 

 

 

FullSizeRender (1){shot with an iPhone 5}

IMG_7370{shot with a Polaroid, using Impossible Project 660 film}

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{iPhone shot, edited with ArtStudio, SnapSeed, Mextures, Polamatic, Union}

FullSizeRender

 {shot with an iPhone 5}

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 {shot with a Ricoh TLX Focal 1000, using water damaged bnw film}

IMG_7513 {iPhone shot, edited with Snapseed and Mextures}

We’d love to see your film experiments, whether they are mobile phone comparisons or just straight out of the camera photos. Add the tag #wearegrryo_phoneyfilm on Instagram and share them with us.

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Sistan & Baluchestan – Ebrahim Mirmalek

Sistan & Baluchestan – Ebrahim Mirmalek

 

Ebrahim Mirmalek takes us on a hypnotic visual and sensory journey that is infused with stories within stories … as he passes through rugged terrain in the small border towns of Iran he is not only observing, but living, breathing and sending visceral echoes over and through these vast landscapes and majestic mountains to his lens …. He stays in the homes of locals, entering their lives as a stranger but leaving forever changed after immersing himself into the everyday reality of a people often ignored and forgotten.
Sistan & Baluchestan is a south eastern, underdeveloped region, with vast areas of rugged, mountainous terrain, bordering the neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here, smugglers illicitly enter in and out of the lawless borders through risky routes, in order to survive the poverty inflicted by the high rising unemployment. A province isolated due to its relentless droughts and desolate lands – its people repleted with pride and poetry, but bonded to their ancestral soil where they endure the harsh climates throughout the dry seasons. Mirmalek’s dusty impressions will long leave their trace where few photographers have tread before… 

 

Why did I choose this area?
 

In Iran this province has been given the least attention for certain political and social reasons… the image of this province has been crippled mainly because of the security and political issues from hostage crises to kidnapping and sectarian attacks to smuggling. It’s interesting to note that Lonely Planet, the most popular book on traveling, has only devoted a few pages on this the 2nd largest province of Iran. I have since realized that for foreigners it’s considered a red zone, meaning that their government takes no responsibility for their risk of traveling here and so it remains deprived from being seen…

 

I’ve seen the dark side of this place as well …

 

Because of a misunderstanding, my iPhone got smashed on the floor and I was close to getting beaten up… but nothing changes the fact of how lovely these people are. I think one should experience the extreme dark side of a place as well to better understand the mentality and extremities of these people, and avoid romanticizing, as often people do, when they travel to these places. I was lucky though, but bad things can happen.

 

I never separate my everyday reality from what I see through my lens.

 

It is all part of it, every picture I have taken is a reflection of my own personal feelings and it embodies a reality I choose to capture. Since I’m working alone and not on an assignment I’m free to connect to whatever hits me and that’s the joy of being a photographer and traveling for yourself… Other than photos taken for certain historical and cultural reasons, I take photos for the story I want to tell…

 

Even landscapes are like monologues to me, they ignite an emotion and feeling to the one who sees it.



There are plenty of sunrises and sunsets taken everyday all around the world, we all see it and they all look the same, but only the ones you take speak personally to you … working in the field of film and documentaries has made me more aware of how the mind and perception works when you are faced with a reality – that’s why I’m interested in fiction. They say to understand the truth one needs to know and understand the myths behind it… I feel it is the same in art and photography in general, there are plenty of documentaries of the same subject and not one of them are the same, as they are all bound to their own unique perspectives… that’s why I believe in journeys, diaries…

 

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Ghaleh no in the Sistan province.
The village is slowly being abandoned due to the devastating drought hitting the region.

 

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An old Sistani shepherd with his livestock grazing in the drylands of the Hamoon Sea, behind him is Khaje Mountain. This black volcanic rock used to be called Rustam Mountain which is derived from an old famous Persian myth character, and also sanctified by the followers of Islam, Zoroaster and Christianity.

 

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An abandoned British railway custom house overlooking a skeletal tree located in the desolate town of Mirjave in the Baluchestan Province of Iran. The building has now turned into wreckage, walls covered and etched with scribbled words of regret, the rooms covered with drug addicts needles and ashes…

 

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Young people drive for days making a risky journey into the borders of Pakistan, illicitly smuggling gasoline to support their family. They are forced to do this work for many reasons, but mainly because of the high-rate of unemployment in this province. They often get arrested, fined or shot by army police, the dust is made by the smugglers trucks taking off-road routes to avoid official check points.

 

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A Baluchi man holding a klashnikov while climbing a hill in the Bamposht mountain area in Baluchestan. It has been one of the most insecure provinces of Iran due to the abductions and insurgencies by rebels.

 

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A Baluchi girl helping her family washing the dishes in Sirkan, Baluchestan. In the Baluchi culture children play an important role helping the family’s household responsibilities from a very early age.

 

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In the untouched mountainous region of Bamposht / Baluchestan during sunset.

 

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A Baluchi man collecting hay for his farm in a village called Nahook.

 

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A Baluchi peasant holding a bundle of harvested crops he gathered early in the morning in Nahook. Traditional farming is still widespread in the small villages of Baluchestan.

 

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An ancient local tradition, weaving baskets, home accesories or bags for transporting goods out of a very common local tree called Daz.

 

 

I started filming when I was a teenager with our home video camera, it is then that I became interested in filmmaking and started working as an editor, making documentaries and short films, it was up until my 25th year when I moved to Dubai with my ex-wife that things changed after our separation. It was during the financial crisis, I bought my first digital camera and started shooting the streets or anything that would reflect my internal feelings of isolation and remoteness. Photography wasn’t anything I wanted or was interested to do but rather a necessity, to capture and share these reflections and imagery that I could hardly put into words or even film. The timelessness of photography is magical to me, and allows me to tell stories within a fraction of a second… images turned into a voice for me unlike any other medium I’ve experienced.

 

Photography has become my closest and only medium of expression.

I believe in the subjectivity of truth and the power of personal photography wishing the mainstream media breaking into small streams of personal truths told by genuine and passionate story-tellers all around the world, where the significance of a story is not based on the hype of our time but purely based on personal connections of the individual with it’s subject matter he/she is photographing…

Ebrahim Mirmalek is a remarkable documentary / travel photographer and documentary video editor who is currently based in Iran…. His background is in film and documentaries. These images are a sample from his Sistan & Baluchestan Travel-memoir, where he traveled overland for 2 months trying to capture his own personal experience as well as the feel and spirit of the people and the lands they dwell in… the rest of the series can be found on his website, he also shares his daily / weekly stories of this trip and many more on Instagram.

 

website   instagram   facebook

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i carry your heart: Ephemeral Summer with the Grryo Contributors

i carry your heart: Ephemeral Summer with the Grryo Contributors

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

by E.E. Cummings from Complete Poems: 1904-1962. © Liveright Publishing Corporation

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

 

 

Valeria @ _soulkitchen_
Valeria @_soulkitchen

 

Tommy @pastorwallace
Tommy @pastorwallace

 

Andre @shutter_se7en
 Andre @shutter_se7en

 

Joe @joe_montoya

Joe @joe_montoya

 

Natalie @natmaddon
Natalie @natmaddon

 

Jeff @postaljeff
Jeff @postaljeff

 

Hector @hnato_nf
Hector @hnato_nf

 

IMG_0752
Andy @mobiography

 

Abe @abori
Abe @abori

 

image
 Giulia @giuliam

 

Rebecca @repinsk
Rebecca @repinsk
My Small Way

My Small Way

Actopan is one of the communities near the city of Pachuca which is the capital of the State of Hidalgo, in Mexico. The name ‘Actopan’ comes from the Otomí: Man’uts’i and means my small way. On the 13 July 2015, they held the 469th anniversary of the founding of the town, a tradition which they continue every year. This is where my story begins of how Don Juan Erbinio Pérez López worked for more than 40 years in the very heart of this fair.

Don Juan talks to us about the traditions of the fair, which was created to celebrate the anniversary of the Actopan district. This place is full of culture and amazing food, and is home to a unique style of grill cooking.

A competition exists specifically on the subject of barbecue and at each event there are three places, first place takes the title of being the best barbacoyero of the country. For the winner this is a huge honour, since Actopan is known as the place where the best barbecue exists in all of Mexico.

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Don Juan who now works the streets of the fair, shows us photos of back when he was a truck driver. Even after his accident where he lost both of his legs, he continued working as a trailer driver.

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After a time he was already very tired from so many years of being on the road and driving, it was then that he chose to continue his life as a bolero or shoe shiner.

In the words of Don Juan he says “there is no better way to describe this fabulous fair than with photography”.

It is here while he works that Don Juan sees all walks of life on the streets of Actopan, and creates his pathway, in his own small way.

 

Sorry Dad, You’ve Been Chopped

Sorry Dad, You’ve Been Chopped

Do your kids love to watch reality TV cooking shows? Mine do. I thought it was a good thing — though lately, I’m not so sure.

My wife and I both like to cook, and honestly, it’s one of the few common interests we have. So when our children began to take interest in a variety of these shows, we were excited. Here it was, a fun family activity we could all enjoy together! Little did we know what path we were about to embark upon. Here — along with photos taken by some Instagram friends — are a few things to watch out for.

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photo credit: Meredith Rilley

It starts out innocently…

They begin speaking in a British accent at dinner time.

Usually this is manifested in phrases like ‘needs a bit more seasoning,’ and ‘I don’t think mine has quite enough sauce.’ It’s endearing. The first time.

They ask why you don’t own an assortment of specialty kitchen equipment.

It may start with the color-coordinated stand mixer. But soon it’ll be the kitchen torch, the mandoline and maybe even a sous vide machine. (Go ahead, google it)

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photo credit: Richard Hill

Then, things start to get worse…

You’re out at the local family diner and they order ‘frites’ instead of french fries.

You cover by translating for the waitress, after you finish telling her that it’s OK that the chicken nuggets aren’t panko-crusted.

They request a birthday cake that requires fondant and, upon completion, four grown men to move it.

Never mind that they even know what fondant is now. In addition, they expect you to sculpt it into 1/20th scale models of their favorite pop culture icons.

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photo credit: Darren Johnson

Then, this happens…

You get a call from the school because they brought in a ‘mystery basket’ and challenged the cafeteria cook to create a dish for them.

The contents are dandelion greens, quail and kumquats. Admittedly, it might taste better than a corn dog and canned fruit.

They comment on your “plating technique,” and critically smell/examine a carefully assembled forkful before tasting it.

It’s just a grilled cheese, kid. And no, I didn’t use gruyère, sorry.

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photo credit: Leah Minium

And then, finally, the day comes…

They taste your meal, and resolutely declare “I’m sorry Dad, but you’ve been chopped.”

Hopefully, this is followed by them taking over dinner preparations and fixing gourmet meals for you. I’d happily take over dish duty, were that the case. Although I wouldn’t count on it. Perhaps they need to watch a few more seasons of MasterChef Jr. first.

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photo credit: Jeff Kelley

1000 Words, Instagram Showcase : July

1000 Words, Instagram Showcase : July

 

Grryo believes that mobile photographers/artists tell stories through the photographs/images and art that represents their families, their environment, themselves. This is important because of the level of communication that is portrayed in imaging today. We want to support the mobile arts community having a place for artists to share, discuss, and critique (if requested by individual). These dialogues help the individuals and the community to grow. We look forward to you and your art. We thank you for your contribution to the mobile photography/arts community. Join us by tagging your images #wearegrryo or #grryo. We hope to see you there!

 

Emma Amar

Blue Hotel

Blue Hotel

Through my pictures I try to communicate a sensation, my different states of mind. I’m an unconditional lover of David Lynch and for this image I watched Blue Velvet. I shot this palm tree on the road and after I blended this together with my self portrait, et voilà!

I have quickly become passionate about iphoneography and the power of differents apps, with my pictures I use several softwares. For this one I used Paintfx and Icolorama. Generally, I take my picture and make it really by feeling, depending on the mood of the day. I almost always do self portraits.

instagram  |  eyeem  |  facebook

 

Cedric Blanchon

We Can Be Heroes

We can be heroes

Why this title? Right now I am listening to David Bowie a lot, and when I created this picture I was listening to his song We Can Be Heroes. The title goes well, you can imagine a lot of things, a photo, a reference title and we can use our imagination to make a story. This is a photo exhibition created with the dual Union app, Mextures, and Cameramatic. I love this kind of photo double exposure, it is not new but it’s always beautiful.

You can see more of my images on my website cedricblanchon.com.

instagram  |  flickr  |  website

 

Mimi Svanberg

The mother of most if not all

•The Mother Of Most, If Not All•

She is the queen-bee she holds all the answers and she is our protector, she is the root of all and everything.

I’m inspired by the mystery of nature, the human body and our psyche and especially insects and the process of the metamorphosis. The mystery of life itself the hidden parts of our psyche, secrets within that we can sense but not see with complete transparency.

My images are never planned from the start, it’s a process where the image takes a life of it’s own, it’s a journey for me. A journey where I search for questions and that feeling of mystery, where the answers are almost in reach but still always hidden. I wish for the viewer to find their own mystery in my photos, their own questions and answers.

instagram  |  flickr  |  facebook

 

Natali Prosvetova

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Who knows?

This is my sweetest personal model, who is my niece =) Her name is Nicky, she is 12, and is one of my favorite and graceful subjects for shooting. I would not say that all other children are my favorite subject for shooting. No! I find it [photographing children] a pretty complex process, requiring serious psychological knowledge. However, I loved Nicky, at first sight. You know, with this child who is already 12 years old, it is quite difficult to control the balance; to not cross the line when the photograph becomes too provocative. However, I really like to work with her.

One day I was fortunate to work with a russian director, who is one of the best at working with children in the russian movie industry (which is my main profession, I’m an actress). I chatted with him, asking him a lot of questions and watched him work finally making a lot of conclusions and discovering a few secrets about how to work well with children. Since then my shooting with Nicki has been great fun, filled with new discoveries and positive emotions.

And now we are just happily playing around and get great enjoyment from this process! Every new photo session with Nicky is like a new play with some rules which are agreed beforehand, each has its own story and circumstance behind it (like a screenplay). Then, forgetting about real life we immerse ourselves in a fictional story. We just have fun and I shoot it!

Apps used : Native camera iPhone5S, Retouch, Relook, Provoke (for b&w)

instagram  |  facebook  |  website

 

Manuel Rodriguez Hermoso

And the party started, summer already arrived

And the party started, summer already arrived

This image was taken in the Nautic Club of Tenerife (Canary Islands), I don’t know this person, she was a stranger, but when I saw her, I knew I had to take a picture. I followed her and took four or five photos very nearby with my iphone 6. I like street photography very much and although on my main instagram account I have not developed this style too much, it is with my other account @shotandmore where I started with the real street photos.

To edit this image I used the apps Skrwt, Oggl, Snapped and PSexpress.

instagram

 

Namrita Bachchan

namritabachchan_3ringcircus

Why the mind is a three ring circus….

I’m a trained painter, and I’ve always in my paintings had a tendency to layer.. So transparencies, double exposure, and the like, come naturally to me in my photographic compositions. This particular image is a three-part portrait of the dynamics concerning the ego, the superego, and the id… and how in a given situation they will all three react in a different way which is what creates confusion and push-and-pull in the individual, because each of those psychological constructs is built to protect varying interests of the psyche, from values to image… 

I used colour as a tool to divide the portraits whilst also uniting the whole space by its overlapping, which is probably also a visual device connected to my being a painter.

instagram

 

Lumenaire and the Celebration of Youth

Lumenaire and the Celebration of Youth

I was more or less a novice on Instagram two years ago, and I can still remember that jaw-dropping feeling when I came across @lumenaire’s account: a guy was sitting as a king on a purple sofa, with a girl lying on another sofa in the background, with her legs artfully saying “Hi!”. Viewing the scene and its elegant composition, the gorgeous staging and the vibrant colours– I was in awe.

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I’ll never get over this place.

Instagram is full of users taking shots of their kids, so why is her work so different and impressive?

The answer is in how powerful her characters are; when framed they stop being her children and their friends, and become something important to the observer. Through a superb editing process she turns them into icons of youth: they are there, but far away. Not common human beings, but rather, deities living in another dimension.

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I don’t want to hold her down, don’t want to break her crown.

What she does is this: she takes something strictly personal, and gives us rather a timeless sense of youth’s myth. The power of this period of life explodes in her images, through vibrant colours and their bodies’ sensual details.

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I’ll be waiting in my trunk, with the engine of your car.

There are many ways of looking at her work, depending on the observer’s eyes. Adolescents may feel a sense of pride and identification.  If the observer is a parent, then tenderness,  or perhaps a nostalgic sense of the lost golden era of youth for those who are young no longer.

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Van Gogh’s favourite swimming hole

Going back to that initial purple sofa, and to the shameless beauty of the scene, I remember the feeling of being a dwarf facing a giant. It wasn’t just an aesthetic result due to a cascade of colours, as compared to my first steps in the black and white world of photography. It was the deep emotion the images conveyed as these shots give us a joyful sensation of the eternity of our dreams.

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Right before you forgot about me

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There ain’t no other language I know how to speak

Some like their water shallow and I like mine deep so very deep

Tied to the bottom with a noose around my feet …

The Challenge Of Twitter Poetry

The Challenge Of Twitter Poetry

How do you write a poem in 140 characters or less? Actually, less than 140 characters, because I usually tie the poem to one of my images. That cuts the space down to 117. Even with a link shortener, like ow.ly, that still leaves me with only a skimpy offering of 95 characters to wax poetic. I can forget hashtags like #poetweet and #twaiku. I don’t like being long-winded, but writing something meaningful with rhythm and rhyme in 95 characters is a challenge. I’ll give it my best go. I’ve already tried a few. Here are a couple of my recent Twitter expressions. Never mind the title. Not enough characters for one.

Gloomy gray 

California day

 

I wanted my latest to be a thought stirrer. The image wasn’t so serious, so I kept it light.

He rides from point A to point B

Not very fast but definitely free. 

 

I got a little motherly feedback on Instagram for allowing my kids in be on train tracks, which happened to be disassembled. But my mini controversy got me thinking of a sub-100 word poem for Twitter.

  Warnings they refused to heed

To sit on the rails with books to read. 

 

Here’s the next one in the queue. Do you have about 95 characters?