Monday, February 28, 2011

the ocean

There is something solid and comforting, and undeniably unifying about the ocean. The ocean, huge as it is, makes the world feel impossibly small to me. It is up there on the minute list of things in the world that can have the affect of unifying countless moments of my life. I have always found refuge there, at the ocean.  It isn’t just the ocean. It’s the beaches that have continuously made me feel comforted. As a woman who has traveled this great world once and then over again since she was a child, I find beaches to be one of the most calming places I could be. The reason? Simple. I can stand on any beach anywhere in the world and there are always a set number of similarities of that beach to any other that I have stood on in the world at any other given moment. There are always memories: salty memories and sweet ones, sweet, sweet memories. Memories of the years I spent on the beaches of Baja Christmas morning with my family, or the endless days running on the hot sands of the beaches in Hawaii where I spent my summers as a little girl, or the day the tsunami of 2005 hit when I was on a beach in Bali, or the most magical sunrise of my life in a cabana on the most ridiculously beautiful beach in Indonesia, or the Wednesday afternoons when I would leave my college class’ early to run down to Ocean beach in San Francisco to catch the last of the day’s sun rays. May it be the salty smell, the humid taste, the calming feeling, the swooshing or thundering sound, all beaches bring similarities. Whatever it is, it is identifiable, and undeniably familiar to me. As somewhat of a nomad of this great earth, a beach to me, no matter what beach, is and will always be the most comfortable place to be. 

These are a few images I captured, wondering, lost in the beauty and abundance of life here at the Northern Californian ocean front.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


impermanence: a comment on the unnoticed beauty of things

Abandonment: fear. Impermanence: decay. Futility: corrosion. Emptiness: nothingness. Defeat: loss. Openness: beauty. 

These word choices are relationships. Abandonment: the subject of the image; fear: the emotion. Impermanence: the reality of all things; decay: the reality of all things. Futility: the end; corrosion: the process. Emptiness: the feeling; nothingness: what seems to be left. Openness: the ability to go where we have not ventured; beauty: the faculty to see what we have seldom seen.

These words are the foundation of my thesis work. The bare bones, if you will. The idea board.

Through the lens of fine art photography I have been documenting the intricacies of rural abandoned places to illuminate impermanence. Within my exploration of abandonment I am intern exploring the fortifications and limitations of my own experience. These photographs gently depict the inevitable imperfections of the commonly accepted notion of existence.

I have used abandoned places and things to exposing the vulnerability of our own existence through decay and loss. Metaphorically speaking, the imagery depicts the things we fear most: futility, emptiness and defeat. The images offer an opportunity to recognize the beauty within these emotional and tactile spaces and places and the beauty in an understanding that all things will eventually face decay, decomposition and gradual disappearance.

In a sense, I am challenging the viewer to see something that otherwise has felt scary and ugly in a new and openly beautiful way. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

a seed

I have a few of those books, those 365 days through…. books, where each page has an image and is matched with a quote for every day of the year. The photos are beautiful and the quotes sometimes incredibly inspirational as well. I have both Wisdom as well as Awakenings. Looking for a little inspiration to blog today I opened up the big pink and red book next to my bed titled Wisdom and searched for February 1st. Here is the quote I found on the page:

“Do we still not know that the appearance of a seed is in direct contradiction to its true nature? If you submit the seed to a chemical analysis, you would find in it perhaps some carbon, proteins and many other things, but never the hint of the leaf of a tree.”
 – Rebindranath Tagore
I am a master’s student and I am entering the third year of a three-year adventure towards my advanced degree in photography. As I approach the end of this journey I remember my college graduation and how it somehow felt incredibly anti-climactic to graduate. I had no graduation party and didn’t stir up a fuss about the whole thing because it didn’t feel that grand of an accomplishment. In hindsight, of course I regretted my choice to skip this levelheaded reason to celebrate and I promised myself that if I ever went for a master’s degree I would have a party! I had realized after all, it was an accomplishment, one worthy of celebrating and a part of my life that severely and intensely molded who I was to become.

In the recent days I have been remembering the feeling I had prior to my undergraduate graduation. These days as a master’s student I occasionally feel like my accomplishments aren’t that big of a deal, and I have found myself somehow lost on my own journey; not sure which way to progress or how much I have progressed, or where to go next. However, recently I took a photograph which I felt defined me in a way. It is the kind of photograph that I have always wanted to take. It is a photograph for me to be proud of. It is the kind of photograph who the people I admire take. It is a simple photograph, meaningful perhaps only to me. But, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that what matters most after all? Perhaps I should pay more attention to my own accomplishments – how they feel to me, and what they mean to me, and less attention to what they mean to others or how they make others feel. This image hasn’t attracted as much attention from others as it has from me, but I, for one, adore it. Though it may be only the seed that grows a tree, leaves yet to be known, it is an important step in my personal evolution as a photographer and a small accomplishment that should be celebrated, if even only by myself (and now, perhaps, a few of you as well).