All Posts Tagged ‘life

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Alone but Moving

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*A thank you to Deets for unknowingly introducing me to the song that inspired this post.

 

I’m walking down the stairs of a building that I’ve known my whole life, a place I’ve known better in the past seven years than the previous 17. I feel strangely nostalgic, but this is no stranger of mine. I’ve felt this way before. I’ve been exactly here before.

I’m hit deep in my gut . I can feel a wave about to break and crash down forcing tears to surface. Tears that feel like the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen—the dreamiest fall day where all the leaves in their changing colors sway because they have nowhere to be and all the time in the world.

It feels like loneliness and completeness together at the same time. I can see everywhere I’ve been and everywhere I’m headed, all the people I’ve loved and those I’ll love until the end of time. In this moment I think I feel loneliness, that I’m missing someone to know me through my life, who has been there most intimately as I’ve existed in one way, and with me again when I’ve grown into new skin. Who has known my thoughts and felt my feelings, who knows not just my present embodiment but the entangled sum of all the kinetic force that has brought me here. But this feeling, this craving to exist beyond myself with someone to defend its truth is the exact sense in which I feel complete.

I’m moving through this world, through the places that have held me and seen me through my most extraordinary and banal moments. The agnostic buildings, streets, steps, lights, and trees that have bore witness to my entire life existing before them, each day only slightly different from the last but each year unrecognizably new, just as the summer leaves change hour by hour, day by day, until you turn just in time to find them sleeping under a blanket of snow.

I’m alone in this moment, but how beautiful this life has been. The places we’ve called home who don’t think, feel, or know, but have undeniably been. Who have watched us grow, watched us love, watched us cry, watched us yearn, watched us laugh, watched us change. The places who have listened to the millions of words spoken between friends, family, and partners. Who have seen these words for what they really are—us, looking at each other, seeing each other, and sharing in love. So precious these moments have been. How incredible it is to be, if only just to feel the world pass through us. If we stop to feel, we can see the magic in the life within us—the life that has held us and hurt us, that has promised and betrayed us, that, in the end, is nothing more and nothing less than simply, us.

I’m walking down the stairs of a building that I’ve know my whole life. Here I am. Alone, but moving.

 

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*35mm film photographs taken during my senior year of college, 2013.

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Ice Cream Social For Grown Ups

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Do you miss being hyper? Do you miss cotton candy? Do you miss sun? Do you miss what hot dogs meant to you before they meant ground up pig scraps? Do you miss having food smeared on your face cuz you didn’t know what a mouth was? Do you miss peeing your pants? Do you miss being so dumb that everything in the world was fun? I do too and it’s called being in 5th grade. And what was the best part of 5th grade?! ICE CREAM SOCIAL!!!! (Of course these are not exclusively held for 5th graders, I know that) but 5th grade is the general time of life that your ice-cream-social-going selves peak, beyond which you can expect a steady decline of enthusiasm, immunity to fat, and sexual vigor. But that’s why god made Smorgasburg: the closest you’ll ever come to heaven/your childhood ever again (just see “baby” below). The first time I discovered this place was on a sun-drenched Saturday stroll in Williamsburg, the pulse of spring reverberating through the streets as we approached an inviting mass of pedestrian traffic. In my subsequent stupor, I stood wide-eyed as plate after plate flashed in front of my face: ice cream sandwich pork belly buns chicken ‘n waffles milkshakes fries donuts bubble tea bbq baguettes macaroons salt water taffy (this could go on forever and I was literally just overcome by exhaustion) so to make a long story short, we ran in and stuffed as much food would fit down our throats despite having just eaten two bags of pastries…and then went back to Brooklyn Heights to do it again the following day. Here are some pictures:

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Mood Update

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I really feel like a pubescent butt sniffer again (it’s ok, I mean that in the colloquial sense). I have all the telltale signs: mood swings, fantasies of being strapped down against my will while having macaroni and cheese shoved down my throat, spontaneous and unpredicted bouts of sobbing (see: mood swings), obsessive finger curling of my hair, eating my own fingernails, being too lazy to consider doing laundry, and general distractedness (debatably early onset dementia).

All I’ve done the past three nights is sit in bed with kendrick cranked to 1 above mute so that my white yuppie roommates don’t get spooked to find that their well behaved Asian roommate blasts rap while eating 6 take-out containers of Chinese food alone in granny panties from 6th grade. And after that, you can find me choking down whatever candy and “oriental” snack mixes (thanks Lisa) I can find stuffed in unmarked plastic bags on the floor, making phone calls to friends and family to feel less embarrassing. But even if this all makes me feel like a cheap prostitute, I can’t get enough of it. I stretch out to lay on my newly dressed bed (thanks for the sheets, mama) and feel like a P.I.M.P. as I melt into my flannel sheets and picture gold chains and jewels falling weightlessly from the sky, Kendrick bumping in the background “I been hustlin all day this a way, that a way…,” the taste of chinese food stuck in my throat and a smile spreading across my face like a pair of tanned & oiled legs easing into splits. And I succumb to a complete state of relaxation that I never want to wake up from. Today it feels damn good to be 21 and hungry.

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It’s Fall in Ann Arbor

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Or at least it’s supposed to be. Actually a weird pseudo-fall where the streets are littered with leaves and everything smells like pumpkin pie yet we’re all bogged down and stenched with a heavy heat of 80+ forecasts to come (roughly 27 celsius, Jonatan;)). But I wanted to update since it’s been awhile, and felt in the mood for fall. These are some photos I took in random places of Ann Arbor featuring (but not in order): downtown streets and scenes, Jacob and his cat, my mom and electronic menus, bored server in elevator of a steak house (yes I AM obsessed with Robert Frank so sorry for the poorly done imitation), DD with the Beatles bob pounding on his drum pad, Keaton and smoke, my parent’s house, and a trying-to-be-epic-not-so-epic college party. Circa last year/late 2011. All taken with my 50mm Canon film camera courtesy of DD Gao, all unedited (for which maybe I should apologize but hope you enjoy nonetheless)

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Self-Portraits, Self-Obsessed?

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Sup everyone, I’m taking a class and our first assignment was to take 30 self-portraits…Have a looksie, would ya? Tell me what you think. These were some of my thoughts that I wrote up for the accompanying journal entry for class:

The thing that is always so elusive to me is how to make photos that can accurately and succinctly tell someone about a time, a place, a person, a society, a culture, or a feeling. What is much harder for me than picking up on these things in someone else’s photograph is knowing when or if I’m successfully doing so. I find it difficult to abstract myself from the experience itself and thus I feel I lose the ability to see the image as a snapshot in isolation from the living moment. Therefore it’s often hard for me to assess how objectively strong or interesting my photographs are—whether I’m too quick to defend them or too desensitized to appreciate them.

As I was brainstorming about how to approach this assignment, I was thinking of photographs that portray everyday people in interesting ways. I came to realize that it’s important to make the subject relatable…or unrelatable i.e. something that is stimulating either because you can relate to it, or because you immediately know that you can’t relate to it. I’ve also been increasingly more interested in assigning greater weight to the context within a photograph (i.e. everything besides the subject such as furniture, walls, space, background in general), rather than having the overwhelming focus be the subject itself. This assignment was a productive exercise in negotiating what I think strikes the appropriate balance between the subject and context, and moreover how to even represent context in an intelligible way.
What I’m most excited about is to hear your comments on my photos so that I can grasp a greater sense of what you as strangers are able to pick up from my photos, and see how that compares to my intentions and own self-evaluation.