Category Archives: Photography

Media Mayhem

I was looking at my blog page, quite blankly, knowing that I was approaching that deadline called: “I know if I don’t write soon, I’ll be among the mass of forgotten blogs.” However, my writer’s block likes to taunt me, so I found myself aimlessly scrolling through my News Feed on my Facebook page. (Which reminded me of this song.) To the right of the screen, there’s the chat bar that tells you how many people are also online. 20 people. Can you believe that at 3 am, 20 people found it beneficial to sit on Facebook? Well, I can’t pass judgement because I made it 21. But that number felt incredibly high, and I can’t help but wonder, “Why?” It made me think back to a movie I watched earlier in the evening, Crazy, Stupid, Love. In the movie, Ryan Gosling tells Emma Stone that he’s “wildly unhappy”, which has led to his mild insomnia.

What a perfect combination of words: wildly unhappy. And, while I don’t consider myself wildly unhappy, I can appreciate the value of what Gosling’s character is saying. So why am I, and 20 of my Facebook peers, up so late? I can only speak on my own behalf, and here’s where it will dawn on you, my lovely audience, that this whole spiel (including, but not limited to, TWO media references) was really just a lead-in to how I’m doing. ūüėČ Intrigued?

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I’m stuck in a rut. I’m playing a waiting game with my mailbox, hoping one day I’ll hear back from one of the colleges I’ve applied to. Symptoms may include: restless nights, irritability, and nail-biting suspense. Drat. I don’t mean to sound negative about this down-time, because good is stemming from it.

It’s now allowed me to consider what I want to do with my future. I’d like to be able to say I have a clue, but that’d be false. Yet, the breath in my schedule is nice. The monotony of schoolwork is broken up by my after-school activities, and I’m finding a new love and appreciation for those, knowing that next year I’ll be without Masco’s Photo Club and various band programs.¬†All I’ve ever known is “Go Go Go!”, but I’m living at a slower pace now, taking in and absorbing what I can, and whole heartedly loving it. And while I don’t know what 20 others are thinking about as they browse through the catalogues of their peers’ documented lives, I know that at 3 am I’m contently pondering what little I have figured out, but confident enough to know that I’m far from “wildly unhappy.”

 

 

Lifestyles that Inspire

It’s hard to believe that my sophomore year has concluded. Let me tell you, how dramatically things change. Ambitions fluctuate, dreams alter, and nothing besides the name you were given at birth stays the same. That being said, I’m making some big changes to my life.

I’m trying to live more honestly. I’m staying true to myself, and my passions. I fell away from writing, photography, running, and martial arts even, for fear of finding something out about myself that was overwhelming. And avoiding my passions only helped to suppress the person I was bursting to become.

Now, I’m more honest, not only with the people around me, but with myself. No matter how much the truth hurts, it’s better to experience all the emotions in the spectrum, rather than go through the motions with the few you’re comfortable with. I’m learning, at 16 years of age, how to not just survive, but to¬†feel alive.

That being said, I’m taking off for Fiji tomorrow. On a school trip, I’ll be traveling from Fiji, to Auckland and Rotorua in New Zealand. After that, I’ll fly to Sydney, Australia, followed by Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu.

There’s some gratification in earning something you really want. Even something you need. For me, it’s this trip. A chance to experience new cultures, learn a new language, and spend two weeks writing and taking pictures as a part of the college course I’ve enrolled in for photojournalism. I’m paying for this trip, and I think that magnifies the ¬†excitement of this trip for me.

While away, I’m seeking 5 themes to collect for my assorted “photo essays” for my college course. They are: “community”, “isolation”, “nature’s architecture”, “experimental learning”, and “repetition”. These are the themes I’ve chosen myself, and I think they’re easily¬†relate-able¬†to our lives state-side.

In an effort to isolate ourselves, we end up building communities of people who are, in turn, reaching ¬†out to those around them. Similar to doodling on the stall doors of the bathroom, what started out as a mode of personal expression becomes a group of other lonesome bathroom doodlers, and together they find sanctity in knowing they’re not alone in the small community they’ve built. No matter how perverted it may appear.

That’s what I’m searching for. A kinship of human beings, stepping into a world of¬†interdependence, where nothing’s really guaranteed or certain. Where all you have is the trust of others around you.¬†I need to know that it’s possible that two people can stay happy together forever. I need to see a true example of living for yourself without a complete¬†disregard¬†for others around you. I want to live a life of inspiration. To be inspired, to inspire others.

I’m expecting a lot out of this trip, naturally. This isn’t just a vacation for me like it may be for other students on the trip. Nothing was promised to me about these moral gratifications I’m seeking, but I’ll be damned if I don’t get more out of this than a few brilliant pictures!

( I’ll try to post on this blog while there, but if I can’t, you can follow the school blog at¬†http://mascosouthpacific.blogspot.com/¬†)

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb…

Is anyone else in the¬†North Shore area diggin’ this weather?¬†¬†Welcome home spring! Typically I dread the muggy overcast March days, but after a seemingly long slushy winter, I’m beginning to wrap my head around the arrival of warmth.

I know it’s been a few months since I last posted, and trust me, I haven’t forgotten about those of you who are dedicated to checking up on my blog every day. I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth, but I have fallen into the excitement that is high school.

If you read my post ¬†A First Time for Everything, you know how excited I was to start high school back in September. And although I can’t say I share the same thrill that my alarm feels at 6am¬†every¬†morning, I can say that there’s never a dull moment in high school.

So let’s see what’s new… I am working at my martial arts academy as a Junior Instructor as of February…so exciting! I gave a¬†testimony about my experiences in martial arts, with shaky knees but conviction in the words I wrote. I’m still in band, and somewhat of an assistant in the Jazz Band. I’m also in my third year of Clarinet Choir for NYSO (North Shore Youth Symphony Orchestra), which is a select group of clarinetists from the area. I’m learning how to conduct, and I’ll actually be conducting a piece titled “Spring” (how appropriate) in an upcoming concert. I joined Photo Club, and the mentoring program, which allows high schoolers to be advisors to middle schoolers. All in all, I’m a busy girl, and that doesn’t even include balancing friends, family, and a relationship.

But I’m not one to complain. In Sifu’s words: “Even in the worst of days, nobody can take my happiness away.”

I feel like this school year has flown by. Typically this would be reason enough to celebrate, but the reality of the situation is starting to sink in. There will be a day when my best friends won’t be a five-minute car ride and a text message away. There will be a time when my year won’t be regulated by my school hours and vacations.¬†The truth is, that time is sooner than later. Even scarier: I spent my whole life wishing I was older, looking forward to the stage of my life that I’m in right now. And now I have to savor it, and make the most of it in the next 3 1/2 years, because in the blink of an eye it will be gone.

That’s why my best friend and I have created a list of 50 Things To Do Before We Graduate. Our idea was modeled after an MTV show called¬†The Buried Life. On the show, four guys try to do 100 of the most impossible things before they die. For each task they accomplish, they try to help a stranger cross something off their own list. While nothing on our list includes playing basketball with Obama, or dancing with Ellen Degeneres, our tasks are equally important to us, or just plain fun. We are determined to make the most of these years.

In short, I’m constantly learning, observing, and taking baby steps into the world of adulthood. I’m adapting, facing my fears, and coming to new realizations. And¬†that’s¬†what’s new with me.

Food and a Photo for Thought

My Sunday morning began in a bit of a rush to get out the door in order to snap a few shots of the sunrise over the water in Beverly. Since my starting photo class at school, I’ve been a camera fanatic, and I took advantage of this weekend to learn some things about speaking through your photos.

My dad photographs with the knowledge of a professional, in my opinion, but it’s always been a hobby for him. He was putting up with my amateur questions about how to get the best picture possible all weekend, and he threw out the idea of setting up a dark room in the basement. I was thrilled, as you could probably guess.

We drove down to Hunt’s Photo & Video in Melrose to look into this possible idea, and I’m sure 30 minutes seemed like 30 days to him as I peppered the air with: “Oooohhhh look at this one!” or “Do you see this??!!” while looking through a photography book filled with macro photos of vibrant flowers and sunsets over places I could only dream about.

The trip ended with a big smile on my face, mainly because we did end up buying the necessary equipment for a dark room, and at a fairly reasonable price, if I do say so myself.

That night, Dad asked if I’d like to get in some time photographing so we could experiment with¬†aperture, focus, film, and all the basics. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

And so I was woken up, per my request, at 7:00 am. Yikes! We drove down to the beach to catch the sunrise, mist lifting off the water, or any other natural phenomena we might have missed if we hadn’t been looking through a lens.

It turned out to be a pretty successful expedition, in terms of pictures taken, and lessons learned. However, the dark room isn’t completely set up yet, so we had to take the film back to Hunt’s to get it developed. I can’t wait to see how the pictures come out, considering they’ll all be in black in white.

Tonight at Prep for Life (a church group that paves the way for high school students to have a relationship with God), Larry asked me why I liked photographing in black and white. What I didn’t know before-hand was Larry is an experienced photographer. So as sixteen eyes of¬†my eight¬†group mates¬†stared back at me in the classroom, I found myself grasping for any words that could explain why I enjoy photography; a career I might want to pursue when I get older.

My answer was the following: “Well, I like telling a story through photos. You have to work hard at it, especially if it’s¬†black¬†and white because you don’t have any colors to work with so you’re turning a disadvantage into an advantage.” At least, that’s what I meant to say. I’m sure it sounded much less thought out and very put-on-the-spot. But that’s the jist of it.

This makes wonder: How often are we asked, by ourselves or by anyone else, why we do what we do? And even more interesting, how often do we take the time to answer?

I think my answer to why I like photographing in black in white says a lot about me. Telling stories, turning disadvantages into advantages. I know the world is never black and white, there’s always a gray area. But as Atticus Finch says in To Kill A Mockingbird, “If you take away the adjectives you have the facts.” Well, if you take the color out of a photograph, you see an unbiased image, free for your interpretation.

And so I end this post, not with my more thought-out answer to why I like black-and-white photography. But a challenge. I’m challenging all of you as of right now to think about why it is you do the things you do. If no one’s ever asked you before, I’m the one asking you now. There’s probably never a definite answer to every “Why?” in life, but it’s most definitely food for thought. Not like a ballpark frank that you can eat up before the ump says “You’reeeee outttt!!!” More like popcorn kernels that get stuck to your teeth in the movie theater; something that’s going to stay with you for a while. (Sorry for the mental imagery there ūüėČ )

Thank God for Larry, the one who always seems to make me think every time I talk to him.