Adventure is out there, or, the one when I wrote a book

Photography fascinates me. It’s still on my mind all the time. I’ve been looking at the talented SZA and Ab-Soul in this picture lately, after the release of CTRL, and just this still conveys (mostly just SZA’s) raw talent.


There is such story telling power in this shot. Here’s another of Richard Bourdon, an artisanal baker in Massachusetts who inspired me to make my own sourdough.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 1.22.48 PM

You get his vibe so fast! He’s doing the work of food restoration. I love it. I love the image of youth here, and in SZA’s photo, too. The story is told in the blink of an eye, the scroll of the mouse.

To tell the stories that I see told through the lens, I wanted to tell in a book. Writing is a true skill of mine (MUCH more than photo taking myself, as you may remember from earlier posts…!) There are pertinent stories for me to try and tell in today’s world. Feminism, socialism, issues of racism and discrimination, non-gender binary identifying folks are amongst the groups I wanted to be heard. So I wrote a book!


The story summary is included in a promo hand-out-y thing at the bottom, but the jist is the book follows four narratives of people running up against preconceptions of their worlds as said worlds are being drastically changed in a divine, cataclysmic upheaval. Ya know, like 2017 basically.

I love writing and am glad I got to do it. I am also in love with the world and country I live in and wanted to connect with folks in and around it, so I hope I am able to do that.

You can read the book here. Proceeds of the book go to local nonprofits in Washington.

If you don’t feel like jumping into a book, I’ll be releasing a separate story I wrote. This one is more traditional noir and horror, but with a non-dominant narrative main character. I hope this, too, is helpful to our shared world.

The first issue of this new character, the brooding Judas Sycamore, is a hoot, and I have about four more already written. If people enjoy it, I will put them out there! In the mean time, Sea and Smoke.

Pictures and picture related things are still important to me – I am actively searching for a justice-based photographer in the Seattle area for an awesome nonprofit I work for, for example – but will be focusing on these projects for the foreseeable future.

I wanted to include a few dope pictures I have been thriving on, though. Here’s one more that inspires me when it’s cold, it’s morning and I (still) live in Washington. Believe me when I say this photo captures the mood much more so than the techies may want you to think.


Thanks for reading and, well, reading ūüėÄ


  1. I wrote a book! Read online.
  2. I wrote a noir horror story! Download it above.
  3. Photos are still awesome! I shan’t be quitting talking and thinking about the lens-based goodness.




Inspiration as a restorative foundation

Inspiration as a restorative foundation

I am working on a project that scares me. I am at times unconvinced of its necessity and importance to the world. I run on the fumes of inspiration, and a ridiculous amount of caffeine but a health blog this is not.¬†What I’m working on is not a photography project.

How do pictures and photography tie to this, then? In the transformative power of a simple photo, as I’ve mentioned in, well, every post.

Check the end of the post for deets on this champion.

The above picture is of a man who inspires me all the time. In this quick, well-crafted shot I am restored, and I think of this specific picture often. What I want to write about today is this kind of restorative foundation that good photography has. If we are not foundational in our approach to life, meaning keeping ourselves healthy and well, we cannot contribute at work, in our relationships and to our passions for social justice. Consider the three following styles of photos as tonics to a discouraging time.

Photos that make you see people in better ways.

I won’t consider myself unique enough that I am the only one who constantly looks to artists, thought leaders and uplifting social leaders for inspiration. This video¬†featuring Kendrick Lamar, who hustled so hard to get to a level where he can simply show up to an English class and inspire kids¬†with his work, shows what I’m talking about. A collection of these photos, portrait style,¬†can be seen¬†in TIME’s recent 100 Most Influential People of 2017¬†and again in something as obscure as the Sierra Club’s John Muir vault photos.

Hugely inspirational Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images 
Movie of the year creator Barry Jenkins. Thanks again, Barry, for the American narrative the country at-large refuses to support. Rudy Waks/Modds/CPi

By seeing their photos I recognize what skills I want to develop. I remember why I am slogging through a project I may not be inspired about at the moment. I re-convince myself to keep going for the hundredth¬†time that day. Whenever things seem grim it’s important to look at that photo of the person who inspires you. Who inspires you? Who took their picture?

Photos that make you see the world in new ways.

The changing culinary space in Wongkok. Elise Hu/NPR

Learning about a different culture through travel is enormous for personal development, and seems to be one of the most celebrated parts of a typical American Millenial path. This not an option for most folks, and even if it was traveling to every country will never happen (I find this video by Casey Neistat a great video for those of us who want to go to Vietnam without a ticket lined up quite yet).

What is a fantastic middle path? Reading about the countries we may¬†never make it to. More than reading,¬†seeing¬†those countries. With digital story telling being what it is we can invest in new places in beautiful ways . This article on a changing and evolving South Korean village has beautiful photos displaying the changing culture of Wongkok, which is populated by many Chinese transplants. Isn’t that picture of the diverse food market so telling, and inspirational for those who will never¬†go¬†to Wongkok? What about this article about the burgeoning chocolate industry in Vietnam?¬†(Vietnam. Food. Two of my favorites, if you haven’t gathered.)

Ho Chi Minh laborer. The kind of people you may be working for, so be inspired by their photos so you can keep working on your projects to serve. Full circle. Justin Mott/NYT

These bits of inspiration found in a picture gets me through the day. Truly. And that foundation is what fuels my ability to serve people. Picture -> joy from learning -> better ways to connect in a productive way. A trip to Bangladesh may be a phenomenal time, but perhaps a quick glance on National Geographic can save some time and resource better used for your start-up.

Photos that fire you up in an intense, authentic way.

I get pissed when I read this article. The destruction, manipulation and coercion of this rural, beautiful land is inciting to learn about. Not even tortilla shops are safe! What the actual fuck, 2017?

Neighborhood police scans in La Laja. Daniel Ojeda/VICE News

So¬†it infuriates me. Good. That’s the point of good journalism. To keep on educating the sedated, comfortable middle class so they¬†act. I try to use this flame to¬†fan the intense roasting of justice. I wrote that as Crimson Chin-y as possible.


What pisses you off? What are you working to fix? If it’s food justice, great, look at the photos of¬†the rural communities you’re trying to serve. Maybe you’re working to dismantle garbage wealth gap in our country – it’s horrible. So look at the Portland May Day riots.

Plutocracies can only last so long. Dave Killen/The Oregonian

Infuriating, right? ¬†That’s why you’re working. Use that inspiration to keep yourself on point.

Look at Al-Jazeera with this interactive climate change article featuring the great melt of the Arctic. For those working for climate justice, who want a little extra boost today, scroll through this visual masterpiece.

With inspiration running thick in the blood of a (potentially caffeinated) citizen, we see our communities, cities and worlds expand in the¬†best¬†of ways. Miyamoto Musashi says if we stick to the path we will see our minds “spontaneously broaden.”¬†This means not allowing the world to beat you down, and to connect with positive, uplifting content that keeps you focused.

As I wrote¬†this post I see my own projects shining through the highlighted content. This blog inspires me! Even if nobody were to read it, it’s a cathartic gift given to me by photographers. I hope seeing these three forms of photography as ways to keep you sane and powerful in your ventures has been significant.

Thanks again, photojournalism class at Western Washington U., for the re-aligning of pictures and visual mediums as keeping me grounded. Maybe this was grounding for you, too. Excelsior, be excellent and, most of all, keep it up ūüôā

Oh, and about the¬†picture at the beginning of the post: his name is Bertony Faustin and he runs Abbey Creek Vineyard, Oregon’s first recorded¬†black winemaker. If you need some inspiration on your social goals, look at this dude once in a while. He runs a vineyard and is producing a documentary, all in a system designed to keep him subjugated. Damn.

The Power of Intention (Again)

Jonathan Bachman of Reuters captured this startling moment in Baton Rogue, July of 2015. Many consider this image iconic.

It’s been too long. I write that mostly for myself, not for the followers I’ve managed to garner somehow or for anyone who I hope has the joy of reading this at some point by going down the rabbit hole of hashtags and such.

The lack of attention on this blog is because it was initially devised as an assignment by a professor in one of my photojournalism classes at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. I took the class, managed the blog, decided it was a nice collection of posts and moved along. Folks would follow me periodically, which was good for them I figured, but it was not that interesting to me. I have since then moved to Seattle, one week ago yesterday, and have been so inspired.

With the time and energy we have on the planet I believe it is critical to our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental selves, which affects¬†the intersection of them, to do what we are meant to do. It has to be different for all of us, so don’t worry about that pressure. Just do things that bring you closer to your natural, joyful¬†self. This blog allows me that, and may for you, too.

Ultimately it is intention we seek to implement in our lives. Deciding in the morning what the day will look like, deciding on Monday what Tuesday will be like, and so on. Your intention, the why of your life,¬†does¬†matter. It’s not always what you do, but how you do what you do.

If this blog can continue to do anything, I think that thing is to serve as inspiration to those who continue to read the posts and find inspiration, and also serve as inspiration to myself in intention setting. For this returning post, I wanted to include photos that inspire me to work harder for my¬†communities and world. To enrich those photos, I will include a few quotes that bring me progressive power. Love and light, let’s decide to begin.

Kamasi Washington, a leader in the West Coast Get Down jazz group, would lock himself in his room for 16 hours a day to create his fantastic sax heavy music. Credit: Janice Wang of Atom Photo

Thich Nhat Hahn survived the Vietnam War and global persecution to become a leader in mindful living. Some of his quotes on how to live the life we want for change:

“We must be aware of the real problems of the world. Then with mindfulness, concentration, and insight, we will know what to do and what not to do in order to help. If we maintain awareness of our breathing and continue to practice equanimity, even in difficult situations, many people, animals, and plants will benefit from our way of doing things. Are you planting seeds of joy and peace?”

“If you want to have a lot of money, you have to work hard and quickly, but if you live simply, you can work gently and in full awareness. What would it take for you to enjoy your work?”

“We have to combine our individual insights to create collective wisdom.”

“When we walk, we walk for our whole family and the whole world.”

At Home in the World, 2016

Mick Jenkins, a Chicago-based hip hop artist, speaks his truth while creating art, and as Ralph Ellison says “I see no dichotomy between art and resistance.” Credit: Bryan Allen Lamb

Stephen King is influential¬†has been honored as one of America’s iconic literary contributors. He writes prolifically and with purpose, covering huge spans of genres and topics. His work ethic is inspiring.

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”

“If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”

On Writing, 2000

Edward Curtis comes as no surprise to those who study photography. His passion for capturing the changing ways, and historic ways, of Native Americans is jaw-dropping. Credit: Edward Curtis

Miyamoto Musashi is Japan’s most famous samurai. From the 17th century and on he has been known as a legendary figurre His work¬†Gorin no sho¬†or as it is known “The Book of Five Rings” speaks about art, discipline and a good, important¬†life. I gain inspiration from his teachings.

“1. Think of that which is not evil.

2. Train in the way.

3. Take an interest in all the arts.

4.Know the way of all professions.

5. Know how to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of each thing.

6. Learn to judge the quality of each thing.

7. Perceive and understand that which is not visible from the outside.

8. Be attentive even to minimal things.

9. Do not perform useless acts.”

“Do not go agains the way of the human world that is perpetuated from generation to generation.”

“Never stray from the way of strategy.”

“When in this manner you have finished polishing, you will spontaneously acquire freedom and excellent ability, and in this way you will be able to gain access to supernatural power.”

The Complete Book of Five Rings, 2000

These are three influencers in my life. Who are some of yours? Find them and listen to them so you can lead lives that build up your skills, restore justice and craft love in your world.

Capstone Kung Fu

Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
Dave Hutchinson, 40, chats during a training session He leads Ving Tsun Evolution, a small group of people who get together three times a week for Wing Chun instruction in Bellingham, Washington. He shares his dojo with a Hung Gar group and CrossFit school. 

The final assignment for our photojournalism class asked us to tell a story with photos (aka a photo story – a stretch, I know). I had a few ideas, but only Dave Hutchinson stood out to me.

I’ll let this last assignment speak for itself: post the pictures, the captions and the story I wrote about the dude. I would post the video I created as well, but I do not have the correct plan for this website to upload video!

My headline, the last hurrah, is “The Core of Wing Chun with Dave Hutchinson,” intentionally campy. Ironically so, if I had some neato graphics to accompany it.


Dave Hutchinson, 40, leads Ving Tsun Evolution, a small group of people who get together three times a week for Wing Chun instruction in Bellingham, Washington. Wing Chun is the Chinese kung fu style popularized by Ip Man in China and Bruce Lee in America. Ving Tsun is just one name for the ancient fighting style.

Training is an incredibly important to Wing Chun. The art is a simple, non-combative form that relies on only one punching style and a few kicks. Hutchinson practices the same punch and kick over and over, and claims he still has never thrown the perfect punch. ‚ÄúIt isn‚Äôt about acquisition,‚ÄĚ Hutchinson says about perfecting the forms.

Striking the wooden dummy is a key part of Wing Chun. Hutchinson instructs one of his students in the proper striking forms. The dojo at the edge of Old Town that Hutchinson trains in is shared by a Hung Gar academy and a CrossFit class.  Spears, kettle bells, swords and barbells line the room that Hutchinson teaches in Tuesday and Saturday nights.

Thursday afternoons Hutchinson moves his class across the street to Elizabeth Park. The gazebo in the center of the park replaces the mats of the dojo with wooden slats. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a shoe art,‚ÄĚ Hutchinson says. There is a different dojo in downtown, but the owner wants students to be barefoot. That‚Äôs problematic for Hutchinson. A smattering of twigs and flower petals have been arranged in the center of the often unused gazebo.

Balance and harmony are integral to Hutchinson‚Äôs practice of Wing Chun. Hutchinson was taught by Matt Johnson in Chicago, who was taught by Ip Man‚Äôs son, Ip Ching. Johnson taught that if violence can be avoided, one always takes this route. Hutchinson learned that lesson quickly; it is not a ‚Äúbootcamp‚ÄĚ practice.

Teaching others about Wing Chun is important to Hutchinson‚Äôs approach. Hutchinson says that Wu, a Cantonese word often appearing in names of practice, means ‚Äústop spear.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a defensive practice,‚ÄĚ Hutchinson says. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs the martial end of it.‚ÄĚ Unlike many dojos, Hutchinson will turn students away that seem too eager to hurt others.

The rote aspect to training can be hard for students to grasp. ‚ÄúIt takes a little bit of faith that if you keep practicing, keep doing the same things, working at it, polishing, that it‚Äôs going to get better. It‚Äôs going to get automatic and fluid. Instantaneous, in the moment. You will get there,‚ÄĚ Hutchinson says. ‚ÄúAnd that‚Äôs amazing. That‚Äôs the work. That‚Äôs all kung fu really means.‚ÄĚ

Kung fu is in everything Hutchinson does. ‚ÄúIf I‚Äôm sweeping the floor, I‚Äôm using kung fu. When I‚Äôm driving, I‚Äôm a much more focused driver than most; that‚Äôs my kung fu,‚ÄĚ Hutchinson says. That‚Äôs good, too, because he is a professional car driver. Sometimes a taxi man, other times a mechanic, Hutchinson has a knack for the garage.

As Hutchinson practiced in Chicago he was confronted by another student. The student was bigger than Hutchinson, but if Wing Chun is practiced correctly this is not a problem. The problem came when Hutchinson kept throwing everything he had at the opponent, who redirected the energy and threw Hutchinson across the room. He learned an important lesson then: take what comes and follow what leaves, move forward when the opening is clear. Unnecessary aggression results only in pain.

Maintaining his practice has become one of Hutchinson‚Äôs most treasured pieces of life. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs what gets me out of bed in the morning,‚ÄĚ Hutchinson says. It has benefitted his relationships with his family, girlfriend and dogs. It has improved his mountain biking, one of his favorite past times. The harmonious philosophies of Wing Chun continue to seep into everything: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs literally changed my life,‚ÄĚ Hutchinson says.


Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
“Take what comes, follow what goes, move forward,” Hutchinson says. These are principles to understanding combat in Wing Chun. They have become a part of Hutchinson’s approach to life.¬†
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
Wing Chun is not a fighting style that has fancy moves, but it can inflict serious harm. Hutchinson shows his student how to slap away a punch and strike simultaneously. This is called “pak da.”¬†
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
Hutchinson steps in for one of his studets during practice. Properly hitting the wooden dummy can make or break proper training. This dummy is struck thousands of time by a Wing Chun practitioner. 
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
To build elbow strength, called “gong lik” in Cantonese, where the energy flows from in Wing Chun striking, Hutchinson wraps an elastic band around his hand and a wooden dummy.¬†
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
On Thursday afternoons Hutchinson teaches at Elizabeth Park. The gazebo gives Hutchinson a chance to slide across wooden slats instead of the mats used for the CrossFit team. Wing chun is traditionally a shoe sport, and the hard floor is better for this art. 
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
Wing Chun is strictly a simple art. Hutchinson understands this as he practices the same punches and kicks over and over. “I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a perfect punch,” Hutchinson says.¬†
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
Teaching his students about the history and context of Wing Chun is important to Hutchinson. A student who could harm that harmony is not accepted to train. If someone messages him “How much 2 train?” he considers it already a waste of time.¬†
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
Meditation and harmony are important to Hutchinson’s teaching. The kung fu style relies on a mindful use of energy, extending from only certain points of the body while relaxing all other parts. Simply teaching students to relax while fighting is a great feat for Hutchinson.¬†
Dave Hutchinson Photo Story
Practicing kung fu is essential to Hutchinson’s happiness and health, he says. If he did not get into this form of fighting, he says he doesn’t know where his path would have taken him. “It was pretty dark,” Hutchinson says. He has practiced boxing, Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do and more.¬†


I hope everyone enjoyed this story, and this blog since I don’t know if I’ll post any more. How did this exemplify social justice? I don’t think it did, other than pursuit of things that bring us total joy and are life-giving is one of the biggest keys to a successful life. If we all had access to this pursuit of happiness, as we are promised in this country, we would be closer to our foundational hopes for this nation.

Excelsior, true believers.


Time Crunch

We sat down in class only to head right back into the Bellingham mist. Our professor asked us to get a photo of people dealing with the weather or of people studying. In Bellingham, those topics are tied together like a sailor’s knot. The photo was due at the end of class.

When the sun comes out in Bellingham, the Great North as my friends and I call it, all the pasty peeps come and bask in it, anywhere they can. But when the gray is up, the usual, people crowd in the campus buildings to get all their work done (or watch Youtube videos in defiance of their to-do list).

That’s where I found Rachel Benson. She was studying for a math final, and looked not too happy to be doing it. This summed up the time crunch of my assignment with the time crunch of her quarter’s end. The gray of Bellingham was all around us, even in doors, as folks studied like feverish peons.

Dramatic, I know, and totally the atmosphere. Even for the kid with the Donald Trump sticker on his laptop.

Western Washington University sophomore Rachel Benson studies for a math final in the campus eatery Zoe’s in Bellingham, Washington on May 23, 2016.


If I were to do this again I would have approached Rachel in a less-weird way. I was uncomfortable, and I think it made her uncomfortable, and that’s just, well, uncomfortable. It’d be best to be more prepared instead of just talking to a friend until the last moment before approaching my subject, and that’s weird for them! More experience always ends these things.


Also I didn’t charge MY camera, so I had to use a friend’s. Making moves in the photojournalism industry one step at a time!

Counterstories From Behind the Lens

David Stovall in his book “Born Out of Struggle,” which recounts his time with the development of a Social Justice school in North Lawndale and La Villita, discusses the power of¬†counterstory telling.

In his mind, and the shared ideas of other critical theorists, it is one of the best, most necessary ways to disrupt dominant narratives. These are the same narratives that perpetuate white supremacy, patriarchy and other words that are slapped on the “PC band wagon” and often not taken seriously. But they are serious. And you can tackle them in the same ways folks have for years.

Taking damn good pictures of things that matter. Namely, telling the right stories. There are lots of outlets doing this already, as I’ve mentioned with Ta Ne-hisi Coates, like this radio station in Minnesota.

The term is used because we are told that the stories of white, heteronormative, middle-class folks are the “moral, right and good” way to live, as Stovall would say. ¬†The process of exposing the dominant group to other stories is of course beneficial to them, but it is more important to¬†reclaim the humanity of those who are able to tell their stories.

Photography is a beautiful place for this, and thankfully (in my experience) it seems to be a popular place for it. Granted the historically best photographers are still steeped in whiteness, but this is changing (remember Sebastiao Salgado?)

Here are some of the finest examples I’ve stumbled upon recently that fit the concept. How will you further this goal of telling the stories that need to be heard?

Ansel Adams

Capturing the life and times of farmworkers, the people who create our food but don’t have the money to buy an apple at the end of the day.

Thousands of demonstrators ascend on Union Square and Times Square in protest to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman
Kevin C. Downs

Activists at a Trayvon Martin rally in 2014 asking for justice. When do activists get the attention they deserve when they’re alive, before they become martyrs?

Riccardo Bononi
Riccardo Bononi

Photos of the “City of Flies,” an enormous dump site outside of Madagascar’s capital,¬†Antananarivo. The operators of the dump deny that these people live, eat and sleep in this site. But they still deny journalists from coming in.

Jurgen Augusteyns

Protestors rallied outside an Islamic festival in Belgium. These young women decided to take selfies with the protestors. Telling their story in the midst of the hatred. Exactly what we all have the power to do.


Illustrations of a Washington Family

I didn’t get this assignment at all. I had to look up some terminology (which made things a lot more confusing) and think about it for a while. Better part of a week.

“Photo Illustration” sounded like a pretentious way to say photo, so I was confused as to what the difference was. The point was to do the opposite of what we have been learning; instead of a caught emotion or snapping a random biker¬†speeding by, the idea of this assignment was to stage some shots of topics that interested us.

I didn’t understand the assignment in time to capture some social justice or comic book related shot, clearly the two topics that most defines my interests. Thankfully my brother who studies in Ireland was coming home for the weekend to surprise my mom for her birthday. One topic I’ll always care about is family, and I was able to come up with a couple of worthwhile, eye candy shots for the assignment.

I want to be explicit¬†that the caption stories are, like the photos, staged.¬†My mom doesn’t know how to use her phone very well, and my grandfather does have a pacemaker and trouble sleeping, but both parties chose to be in staged shots. Mom can make calls, and my grandparents have a great marriage.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Generation X Loves Their Smartphones ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†How the parents of Millenials are using their phones, a lot ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Trina Lanegan, 54, struggles to take a photo with her HTC Desire on the front porch of her Ellensburg, Washington home on Sunday, May 15, 2016. Lanegan says she doesn’t know how to use her phone, but the pictures of her sons are fantastic.


I think about the generational differences in use of technology a fair amount, because I certainly use my fair amount of screen time every day, and as my mom was taking mad snapshots of her kids as we milled around her house the image occurred to me. A photo of someone taking phone pictures at the lens seems to me to accompany the headline really well. If I was scrolling through NPR and this image and headline popped out, I would read this article (but I¬†guess I’m biased!)

"Concerns Rise for America's Oldest Marriages"
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Concerns Rise for America’s Oldest Marriages ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Matrimony gets harder when life’s knicks and wounds pile on elderly partners. ¬†“Marco and Barbara Bicchieri, 87 and 66, find themselves at odds in the kitchen of their home in Ellensburg, Washington on Sunday, May 15, 2016. Marco is having trouble sleeping and recently had a pacemaker implanted.”


The institution of marriage and the hardships of growing old are also on my mind a lot. ¬†Aziz Ansari’s show “Master of None” was tackling this in one of the episodes I watched before I went to Central Washington for the weekend – is marriage worth it is a question that millenials think about a lot.¬†My nonni have a terrific marriage and dynamic between the two of them, but since I was visiting for the weekend it seemed like a great shot to set up: how marriage moves from fun dates to doctor’s appointments as time goes on. These two are beautiful and put¬†us grandkids before their own happiness.¬†A lot.


UPDATE: I found out what an actual photo illustration is! And I made this ūüôā so creepy, and my attempt to say “don’t be on your phones too much,” basically.


African Fables

Story telling is my goal. It’s what makes something meaningful – was it self-serving or for others? Marvel’s Black Panther and a collection of recent photos have inspired me lately on this question.

Using the lens to give attention to an underrepresented, poorly or difficult-to capture group of people or way of life is what I’ve talked about before. It’s what I’m really liking about photography. But I haven’t seen the modern (besides Eric Kim) as well as this in a while.

A collection of African artists have released some of their work, and it is stupendous. A friend pointed out the way that gender and masculinity is addressed in a few of these photos, because other shots are landscape, is the work of narrative-empowering story telling. And the quality is just supreme.

Lakin Ogunbanwo
Kristin-Lee Moolman
Namsa Leuba

The one-time foe of the Fantastic Four is an example of this, too. Author of “Between the World and Me,” another of these such art pieces, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is penning the recently redone book.¬†T’Challa, King of the Afircan tech-nation Wakanda, is a world-traveling super hero and adventurer. His origins in the 1960s is another way of telling the “other” story. He’s in the new Captain America movie, and will get his own soon. Isn’t this work great?


Emotional Shooting

Not as sinister or abusive as it sounds! For my most recent photojournalism assignment I was asked to take photos of real emotion and honest relationships.

I was taken aback. Could I make this work with a social justice framework? Probably not, I thought. But I believe through capturing underrepresented folks and the depth of their emotions I, at least for myself, felt like I captured true moments.

By taking pictures of the norm, status quo we only perpetuate those narratives. No thanks.


Nathan Kamkoff struggles to open a jar of pickles in his apartment in Bellingham, Washington on Monday, May 2, 2016. Kamkoff worked tirelessly on this project for entire minutes before finding salvation. 

This photo immediately conveys frustration – I was so glad that I caught this true emotion. Nathan is a member of the Lummi Nation, and was hungry for those pickles.

Long-time co-workers Ciera Jackson, Na-moya Lawrence and Rosa Sanchez hug good bye after having dinner at Shari’s in Bellingham, Washington on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The group has a tradition of eating at Shari’s after each time their workplace, Western Washington University’s Center for Education, Equity and Diversity, hosts Noemi Ban, a 93-year-old holocaust survivor.¬†


This picture means a lot to me. Western Washington University hosts this beautiful woman to speak about her tragic childhood during World War II a few times each year. I was going to eat at Shari’s, a 24-hour chain restaurant, after the show when I saw this group of people outside. They were the ones who put the event together! And it’s their tradition to go to this place after each speech. The way that the co-workers were laughing and shouting, having tons of fun, is captured in this picture. Also their bond over working together and on such intense material is definitely shown. Lucky to capture this picture, and to be in this class learning these techniques like blurring and Photoshop!

Learning and Yearning

Action shots; motion based photography. Blurred shots. Panning photos. Stop action frames. Having just started this photography business I felt out of the loop. A mile out.

I managed, though. In fact I not only made this assignment work, but found some cool aspects about the art. Learning new things about composition, lighting and motion. Learning about things I want to learn. Seeing even more potential with this once-foreign medium.


Admittedly this was my weakest third of the assignment. I needed help from a friend to finally get any good shots of anyone still in a blurred background (that wasn’t a car). ¬†This one is my favorite because¬†my other shot has two people, which seems cheap. This woman seems determined. I think panning could be used well in justice based photography – Sebastiao Salgado certainly thought so.

A woman bikes in downtown Bellingham on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. 


A man bikes in downtown Bellingham on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. 


I had one quirky shot for this. What’s unfortunate is that I have misplaced the file, thus making me an amateur blogger AND photographer. I’ll describe it.

A candidate for Western Washington University’s Associated Student Vice-president of Activities was campaigning in the quad. Alex Lavallee is a jovial and unique guy, with a big beard and shaved head.

I took a picture of his hand waving and a big smile on his face. Blurring was easier for me than panning by a long shot after I learned how to manipulate the shutter speed.

Stop Action

I see the most potential in this basic style of shooting. It’s easy. A higher shutter speed means quicker pics, so the movement of a subject can be captured at any rate. It was a total joy for me to realize that I could take these pictures. My roomie and his dog were outside and I got to snap some pictures of them. The ability to convey a moment in a direct way is enormous. I dig it.

Erik Swanson finishes a run in the Sehome Neighborhood of Bellingham, Washington on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Swanson is conditioning himself for a family summiting of Mount Baker in May.
Anthony Swanson is trotting about the yard outside his apartment on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Swanson is 56 years old and looking forward to retiring to a small villa in the Austrian countryside.


I hope Anthony gets that villa. Pup sure deserves it.