Reviving My Photoblog

It’s now officially been over a year since I last updated my photoblog. It kind of blows my mind considering photoblogs should take a lot less work than a wordy blog like this does to maintain. The process should be quite simple:

  1. Take a picture
  2. Process the photo
  3. Write a few sentences about the photo
  4. Post the photo

Yet here I am, without a post in 12 months. What a mess. Luckily I’ve promised myself that I would put an end to not blogging and doing the things that really make me happy. Also lucky for me? I get so many wonderful opportunities to take photos and make art out of them. Or at least what I consider my art.

This weekend my mom flew into San Diego to celebrate my birthday a bit early. I turn 30 next Saturday… Wish me luck on that one. More on all that later, I promise!

This post isn’t supposed to encapsulate all the fun and adventures we went on but I did want to use it as a way to hold myself accountable of making at least five updates to my photoblog in the upcoming week. Oh, quick note, all of the following images were taken with my Pentax MX-1. The most hipster of seriously-cool range-finder-ish digital cameras.

Let’s hope I don’t fail us all! It’s time you all start holding me accountable! There, I’ve passed my failure onto you.

Monkey Steals Camera, Doesn’t use Instagram

A black macaque in Indonesia stole award-winning photographer David Slater‘s camera and began taking photos of himself and his surroundings.

  1. This is awesome
  2. He is adorable
  3. This is how Planet of the Apes begins?
  4. These photos are better than most profile photos I see on Facebook

I walked with them for about three days in a row. They befriended us and showed absolutely no aggression – they were just interested in the things I was carrying.

Source.

The BART Before the Storm

BART - North Concord/Martinez

While I waited for my BART back to the city from visiting my friend Marris, a storm began to roll into the station. The scene brought me back to my Art Photo 4600 days at the University of Missouri. During my second semester in the program, I started to photograph how nature affects human infrastructure and vice versa.

The photos seemed to always show how ultimately nature gets the last laugh. With bridges being overcome with flooded rivers, trees uprooting foundations or plants finding a home in the most peculiar, engineered places.

Though, on a global scale, I guess we know that nature doesn’t really win. Perhaps it was these small victories that made the photos mean so much to me.

Resolutions and Revelations

I decided that one of my New Years resolutions…

Let’s stop there really quick. Yearly resolutions are about 90% total bull. I know that. I know that you are far more likely to be unsuccessful at a “resolution” if you put arbitrary timelines, start dates etc. But I digress…

I made a few including the following:

  • Post here more often.
  • Thinking positively.
  • Workout like I did when Max was my gym buddy.
  • Make more money doing what I want to do, not just making money to make it.
  • Take more photographs.

I realized tonight that I’ve put photography onto a back burner. I have stopped introducing myself as, “I’m Justin… yeah, I’m a photographer” and instead say, “I’m Justin… I help companies utilize social and new media systems and networks to reach customers, create transparency, build trust, gain respect and increase revenue.”

“I’m a photographer” isn’t nearly as big mouthful.

So in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, I will post here more often with a new photo every day. I promise it won’t turn into one of those annoying 365 photo blogs. Just a simple photo everyday of something that caught my eye. Whether the photo be from my nice camera or my iPhone camera (which is actually a pretty nice camera…)

I’d like to further challenge myself to taking each of the photos from the same place. Can I make 365 unique and interesting photos from my courtyard? How awesome would that be? If I miss a day, I miss a day. Giving up because one day I didn’t do what I wanted to do is insanity. It’s an excuse to give up. I will miss a day but, I will think positively, I won’t let it, let me down.

So, let this be the first one. The Image above is the night view from my courtyard. It is the view I see every night as I do the dishes. I’m totally ok with doing the dishes when that is what I get to see while I do it.

Chicago Photography Center Showing

It might have been nearly a month ago to the day but I’m still going to give this a go. On October 15th, I met up with my parents in Chicago, fresh from their flight from Saudi Arabia. We were all in town to catch the tail-end of a gallery show featuring two of my photos at the Chicago Photography Center.

They partnered with FilterPhoto for a photo contest and gallery show, sponsored by Canon, Adobe and others. The photos were supposed to be Bauhaus inspired…

The Bauhaus movement was brought to Chicago by Lazlo Maholy-Nagy and Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe Germany and eventually centered at the IIT. Maholy-Nagy had been at the forefront of the development of photography in the 1920’s and 30’s in Europe and continued his experimentation and teaching of the medium at the New Bauhaus in Chicago. Throughout, he championed the opportunities that photography offered for a “new vision”, emphasizing new ways of seeing, surprising points of view, and unconventional techniques.

Two of my photos were selected for official entry into the competition. More on that a bit later.

We had a wonderful time exploring the city, taking advantage of the L and enjoying all the wonderful food Chicago has to offer. We didn’t, however, make it to any shows or do anything specifically Chicago. Instead we opted to wander the city, stopping whenever something truly interesting popped up. This is how I like to visit a city.

Seats on the L

On our first full day in the city we made our trip to the gallery to see my art on the walls, check out the competition and figure out how I was going to get my work shipped back to Columbia. I was hoping I would bump into Maggie who notified me about the show but that didn’t work out.

Walking up to the gallery the first thing you see from the street is one of my photos. That was as awesome as it was surprising. The letters on the window cast their shadow across my photo. Pretty cool!

One of my photos at the Chicago Photography Center

Unfortunately none of my photos won outright, though I did get Honorable Mention. Honestly though, I really do think I should have won, at least placed. I can admit when there are better photos, and there were some that I thought were better than mine. However, none that I felt were better than mine scored as high or higher than mine and the photos that did win certainly didn’t seem anything too interesting or intentional. It’s all subjective and I try my best to not get bent out of shape for not winning but… if I’m going to lose in a competition, I want to lose to a better photographer.

I probably shouldn’t rant but, it’s my blog right?

After the gallery trip we hit up the John Hancock Observatory for overpriced drinks and an unbelievable view. The overpriced drinks are totally worth it for the experience, seriously.

Chicago Skyline

With only a few more hours left in the city, we hopped back onto the L, got some delicious dinner at The Chicago Diner and headed back to our hotel. An early flight the next morning would bring me and my mother home to Columbia while my dad started his voyage back to Saudi Arabia after a short trip into Texas.

Trash Can be Beautiful

Despite not winning first place in the show, I’m still honored that my work was deemed worth enough for the walls and enjoyed the stiff competition like I got from some photographers in particular. If I had the money, there were easily six photos I would loved to have purchased. In addition, the trip provided me to visit my parents, the first time since they were in America for my graduation back in May.

Oh, and the show got me “featured” (using that term loosely) in Time Out New York which is baller. Check the link below.

The Beast Arrives

My new Epson Stylus Pro 3800 arrived on Tuesday.  It was very exciting.

This printer, for those who don’t know, is just abotu the best you can get in it’s class.  Actually, it is!  This Week in Photography (TWIP) reviewed it just last week as the number one 17″ wide printer with prints as high quality as it gets.

And though it is missing the Vivid Magenta that the 4880 has, I’m pretty damn happy with this printer.  And it’s BIG!

My Epson Stylus Pro 3800

Ryan and I had to rearrange the livingroom to fit it.

I used it to print the pictures for my photo critique on Thursday.  Almost everyone noted that there was a distinct difference in quality between my prints and what we have on campus (Epson Stylus Pro 2400s).  I was most impressed with the black and white reproduction.  Incredible.  I am so happy to be able to have this printer.

Though… I am a little bit nervous.  It costs around $500 to replace all nine 80mL ink cartidges.  Yikes.  Though they are about half the price per mL, they are also 4-8 times larger than most regular ink jet printers.  At least it isn’t the half liter inks you can get for some of the larger printers haha.

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