A month ago I stepped into the odd world of Curiosities, a vintage store in Dallas, Texas. Speckled throughout the collection of taxidermy and early 1900’s medical supplies (DIY liver transplant, anyone?) were porcelain dolls. They hung out like mini bouncers ready to follow you around each corner. The collection of stuff was meticulously random, like a Jackson Pollock painting but instead of throwing paint on canvas, they dumped vintage photographs and porcelain knick-knacks. Here are some of the characters I found:
Category Archives: Blind Fire/Shooting From The Hip
Night Time: for a child, this is when all the creepy crawlers and slimy monsters come out to play. But for any
adult in the San Jose/Santa Clara area, night time is when a different breed of monsters come out. Monsters
in mini skirts, tube tops, and douchey dress shirts that are unbuttoned low enough to see some pubes.
Welcome to Santana Row! Where trying hard and making a fool of yourself is abundant and plenty.
Here, I decided to take out the Fuji X10 for a spin. Honing my inner Daido Moriyama, I practiced my zone
focusing and quick shooting. Unlike the sniper like precision I’m used to at fashion shows and photoshoots,
this type of street photography calls for a different mentality. Whereas fashion shooting is about strolling
on by, picking shots carefully like a little girl picking only the ripest of blueberries, this style is more of an
impulsive reaction. You see it, you shoot it. No thinking, no autofocusing, and certainly no chimping.
Thirty minutes in and I’m already starting to realize something: the circus like show that I anticpated – the
bar fights, sidewalk barfing and random fondling of privates – was hardly visible to my 28mm eye. Where
was all the P.D.I (public display of idiocy)? It was then that I realized that although the streets were
congested with walking tube tops and faux hawks, they weren’t hanging out on the pavement, but in the bars
themselves – duh!
I spy an Asian guy.
Perhaps Santana Row isn’t that bad – at least on the pavement. I’m still not gonna eat their shit-tier food and dine
at their over-priced, over-hyped restaurants, but perhaps I can come back more often to photograph the
try-hards and people looking to be seen.
“OH SHIT, IT’S THE COPS!”
Places are much different from the outside looking in, and even more so if you aren’t even close enough to see
through the glass yourself. If you speculate and make assumptions before coming to a place, you could possibly
miss an opportunity. For you, maybe that opportunity is a chance to grind your sweaty balls all over some jail
bait’s freshly waxed leg, but for me, it’s an opportunity for a nicely pressed photo. For every tramp stamped
tramp at this joint, there is a group of Asian tourists, a family looking for grub, and a flock of socially oblivious
And me? Where do I fit in with all of the creepy crawlers and tube topped monsters? I’m a kid with a flashlight,
trying to see if there really are monsters under the bed.
There are two types of working people on this earth: the early-to-risers that zap to the beat of their alarm clock,
and the nocturnal zombies that horde through mazes of internet at night. I am, as with most of the men in my age
group who have access to Call of Duty and XBOX Live, the latter. I am the one who you see posting status
updates at 3:00 A.M in the morning while the foggy glaze over my eyeballs swirls and swirls. However, I’ve
been living a double life for the past month.
I recently sold my car some time ago and to make a very long story short, I am now on-call to help taxi my
oldest sister to work on weekday mornings at 7am. Let me get this straight: though some of you might
consider 7am the hour to be jettin’ out the front door, I see it as the hour to be flying through a mega mall
with a laser beam attached to my biceps while floating hamsters throw rainbow tacos at me. In other words,
I am passed out and lost in another cooky dream.
But not today my friends. Today, I slugged out of bed like a wounded Bubba Gump as I threw on a robe and
looked out the cold and dreary apartment complex.
Who the hell is up at this obscene hour? What tormented soul puts themselves through this crap? I understand
that some individuals must wake up at this time for their job, which I totally understand, but my confusion is
with people who choose to wake up early, as if the freshest and most fragrant part of human life must be picked
clean in the wee hours of 5 a.m.
I‘ve never been drunk thus I’ve never driven while inebriated, but I can imagine that driving while
half-awake is just the same. I loop in and out of consciousness as the swaying of my car rocks me like a baby.
Then there are those momentary dips of darkness where you crawl under a bridge and pop comes the light.
After I drop off my sister, I take a mental conquest to truly figure out: who gets up at this hour, and why? The
world is perfectly fine in about four more hours! Come back to bed, broski! Snuggle snuggle my little cholo! The
bed is cozy and here, we only sleep on the cool side of the pillow. So lay back, relax, and let the dreams of flying
and lasers begin!
Realistically speaking, I know that some individuals just prefer that time of day. The world can’t function without
these lose– caring and dedicated folks. I mean, who else is gonna pour that cup of coffee at the diner? Denny’s
hasbrowns don’t make themselves ya know! The world needs you early wakers, and they also need us wonderful
night owls. But on the question of “Who is up at this hour?” I found my answer driving up beside me – literally.
In comes Mr. Rich-Asian-Guy driving a $130,000 Black Audi R8.
Whatever… I don’t even like driving fast! :)
For as long as I’ve lived, I’ve always been quite the skeptic. Santa Claus? No way. Ghosts? Can’t happen. Spirits
and the after life? I doubt it. Yet for some reason, I always found the concept of the Apocalypse to be quite
intriguing and to some degree, believable. Now hold on a second Mr. Hawking, before you strike out my last
sentence with that piece of virtual chalk, I would like us to enter a world where we believe that the Apocalypse
was actually an imminent truth. Let us slip into a cozy and transport our minds to a time where the world would
actually end on a specific date and time.
Think about it for a minute. If the world were to end at a set time, how would the human race react? Would we all
sit around a garbage can fire, hold hands and cry? What would we do? Who would we hold during those final
moments of existence? A speech teacher once told me that during the attack on 9/11, the civilians who were in the
Twin Towers were faced with two options: die in a slow, giant burning ember, or fall through the sky like a comet.
Sadly, many did choose to jump out. But you know what the interesting thing was? My professor said that when
people were jumping out windows, they looked for the nearest person, held their hand, and jumped together.
Sometimes I think of the rapture because it puts my life into perspective. It forces me to ask myself “if I knew
the world would end, what would matter to me during that last breath of oxygen?” Once you get in that trance
of “wow… what if the world really DID end?” you start to remove all of the tedious things you think you care about.
Stuff like laptops, Call of Duty points, Fendi handbags, and college degrees. Remove them all, keep cutting, and
what do you get?
When you reduce the pot of problems and needs in your life, you’re left with a stock of few things: loved ones,
happiness, and self-fulfillment. That’s really it. Take this bit of info and really apply it to this new year. Stop
creating retarded New Years resolutions which are too often based on your desire to look like a Bowflex
commercial model, and make a meaningful resolution this year.
Hooray for surviving another Apocalypse! Quick, queue the random dancing black man who I saw at Costco!
A few weeks ago as I was walking through the food court on my lunch break, a man from the “Japanese”
restaurant was handing out samples of Teriyaki chicken to people passing by. I picked up the piping chunk of
greasy meat and shoved it into my mouth. Just then, a peculiar thought crossed my mind: what would it be
like to work in a food service job? Better yet, what would it be like to work at the local food court?
I wonder what it’s like to be in that position. To work in a place where all you do is one thing, and one thing only:
serve a single type of food, over, and over, and over again. In my mind, the monotony of this type of labor must
kill your brain cells in a slow yet explosive rhythm. I mean come on! How many is too many burger flips before
your go ape shit on your customers whilst chucking frozen patties at their screaming faces.
“Quick! Somebody call the mall police! A crazed Asian man is tossing frozen patties of death at
the children! Paul Blart, where are you?!”
But maybe it isn’t that bad. Maybe for some, it starts to become so routine that you start doing your job out of
sheer reflex. Maybe the Subway Sandwich artists become so engulfed in the… erm… art?… of making sammiches
that they simply make it without even thinking (or looking?!) On goes auto-pilot mode and zip! Eight hours go
by and you’ve successfully dipped 436 corn dogs, all while curling up inside that corner of your brain where you
go to escape.
I‘m thankful that I have the job that I have, but in some respects… I’m starting to feel that sense of monotony. As
of now, my job is one that rewards me for my ability to sell an already manufactured idea. To me, that’s not good
enough. To me, I want a job where I will be paid to create my own ideas, and my own concepts. I want a job where
my position is of my own, and I am the specialist. I don’t want anyone to tell me how to do it, or why I’m doing it
in the first place. Call me ignorant, or egotistical, or immature, but in my mind and heart, I know how much I’m
worth. I know the capabilities of my brain and the impact that I want to create in this world. My potential is much
too large to fit inside a simple cash register. I cannot, and will not be quantified by numbers, or sales figures.
Call me crazy, but I am one of those lunatics who thinks he can change the world… and I will.
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to fully understand the true beauty of photography. Most people (including
myself at one point) get so bogged down by megapixel count, ISO capabilities, and creative filters that we forget
the true purpose of the photograph. The purpose isn’t to take gorgeous, detailed shots with blown out
backgrounds and perfect lighting, nor is it a contest to see who can generate the best, most “liked” image on the
interweb. In it’s purest, most simplified form, photography is a tool used to capture memories.
That is it.
A few weeks ago, Olivia (my girlfriend) and I drove up to Oakland to visit my brother and his boyfriend James’
house. After a hearty meal of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage, they took us to The Alameda, a small island just
ten minutes away from their home. We strolled through the thick cold Northern California breeze, and sipped
teas and peppermint hot chocolates while walking our three little dogs.
During this time, I found myself in one of those “PHOTOGRAPH ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS!” mode – which I did.
Now, I did get a handful of shots, but in all honesty, some of them were just… okay. None of them blew my
brains out like a loaded double barrel shotgun.
As I sit back in my bed looking at these shots, I wonder: how much did I miss out on by gluing my eyeballs
to that camera? Was I too busy trying to capture memories on camera and not enough time actually
experiencing them myself? I look at these shots and I feel… disconnected. It’s as if I were never even there; as
if I watched Olivia, my brother, and James experience these events while I floated in the air like a wandering
Thinking about this actually makes me sad…
Looking at this photograph makes me especially gloomy. My girlfriend, the woman I’m deeply in love with, who
is photographed within arms length actually looks lonely. I’m not even holding her hand…
So what can we do to cut down the time in front of the glowing screen and more time experiencing the memories?
Well, for starters, I can tell you that owning a nice point and shoot (like my X10) makes it very convenient to
snap a quick shot without gunning down your subjects with a giant DSLR. The quiet nature of this camera seizes
the photographic moment as swiftly as James Bond’s silenced handgun snips the neck of a Russian terrorist.
However, the final a-ha moment in learning how to reconnect with your subjects is to stop worrying about
perfecting all aspects. Who gives a fuck if your shot is shaky, and grainy, and non-photoshopped? Does it
really matter? Step away from your technical side and shoot from the heart. Shoot because you feel like
you’re stealing a piece of life – not because you want a Facebook thumb up your egotistical ass.
In the end, you will either understand this or not. But one thing is for sure: our ties to technology may have
simplified our lives in ways we never expected, yet at the same time… it has removed us from the experience
of experiencing our life. Our one and only life…
Crikey! Have a lookey here mate! What we got here is a wild Asian husband. If ya take a look at his expressionless
face, you can tell that he’s awkwardly waiting for his wife whilst avoiding eye contact with everyone else. HOLY
smokes! Look at the way he holds that bag! SUUUPPPER AWKWARD!
Whenever I see a straight guy in Sephora, he always wears this dumb look of confusion on his face. These guys
who look so miserable, as if they were gang raped then forced into prostitution, are now sitting in the middle of
Sephora without a clue as to what to do. It’s as if they’re so afraid to touch or look at anything without having
the word GAY stamped on their forehead. And while all of this is happening, I’m in the store asking for samples
of cologne and hair products.
Tips For Men: When entering a Sephora, don’t stand in the middle of the aisles like a tossed out gum wrapper.
Instead, GET CHO FREE SAMPLES ON, HOMIE!
Oh how the mighty has fallen…
There was once a wrinkle in time when this quaint little blog had star power. It was a little engine steam rolling
it’s way into popularity. It helped me book fashion shows, appointments with designers, and it even started to
catch up with my other blog (which is a year older than this one.) However, due to the lackluster fashion scene
in San Francisco, work started to slop in the mud. Fashion shows weren’t popping up in the summertime and I
was out of things to post. In essence, time is what killed this blog.
Now, after almost half a year, I’ve finally mustered up enough courage to do another post. Not exactly the
fashion show post, or the street fashion one either. This, my dear friends, is a reawakening. A grand reopening
of a once famous relic of a blog. I feel like I’ve just polished off a dusty old record, and I’m ready to hear it sing
once more. But this time… thing’s have changed.
I‘ve decided to transform this blog from all fashion, to all art. It is, as best as I can possibly do, a total
shit-storm of any pictures I’ve managed to capture + my random commentary on it. From the ordinary
mundane-ness of life’s simple pleasures (pictures of my dog, food, random artsy shit that I find cool to look at)
to snapshots of my life in the world of fashion retail (you didn’t hear? I work at Tory Burch!)
So here’s to the new blog that has sprung itself out from under the soils of the internet. It’s new, it’s fragile, and it
has the potential to be just as shitty as the next photoblog. But you know what? I don’t give a damn. This is my
blog. It might not be all fashion, but it is all me. Don’t think of this as me quitting fashion photography – if I did,
what the hell would I use my Canon 7D for? – but rather my segue into a new period of photography.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the stars…
P.S. I got a new camera so most of the new shots will be posted with my lovely Fujifilm X10.