Category Archives: Summer

The Midnight Soldier – My Brief Encounter with Raman, The 49ers Stadium Security Guard

When you grow up like I did, staying up late into the AMs playing video games and watching music videos on
Youtube, you start to redefine what night time actually is. For some, like my mom and perhaps the rest of the sane
world, night time is somewhere around an hour after sunset and about 9pm. For me, night time settles in at about
12:01am.

There’s something about crossing into the AM that just changes things. The air smells different —  like smoking
firewood from a nearby campfire — trees turn into ominous, black silhouettes and anyone you see jogging by
or taking a night stroll feels immediately dangerous and suspicious. But that’s just what the darkness does. So
naturally, exploring and adventuring around this time gets even more fun as the mundane things of everyday
suddenly turn obscure, waiting for you to uncover them.

Fascinated by bright lights at night, one night I drove over to the construction site where they are currently
building the new San Francisco 49ers football stadium in Santa Clara. Tripod mounted with my Polaroid
Automatic Land Camera 360, I stood outside the chain linked fence and scoped out possible shots. After two
or three, I saw a security guard emerge from a parked car. He looked at me. And I looked at him. We nodded
to each other, and he walked towards me.

Asking what I was up to, I showed him my camera. He seemed interested but to my great surprise, he didn’t seem
to care that I was up this late taking pictures, nor did he care that I was standing around in a raggedy shirt, short
shorts and a mismatching bath robe. After talking about my camera, we discussed for an hour about everything:
work, school, finding a job, and even football, despite the fact that I know very little about it.

I wanted to take a picture of him at the time but unfortunately, I only had color film which was ISO 100 so I knew
I had to return and see him again to have another midnight chat. So I did. I came back the following week, same day
and around the same time, and there he was again. His name is Raman and he’s a college student who works the
graveyard shift as a security guard while attending classes in the day time. He’s currently studying computer science.
These are some of our conversations:

Scanned negative taken from the positive (shown above.) I love how much of the detail and black levels are preserved: the rifts in his turban, parts of his beard and the building itself.

Me: Do you have to stay up the entire time?
Raman: Yea, but you get used to it, ya know?
Me: Do you drink coffee or something or what? How do you stay up the whole time?
Raman: The first time, you do. I like drank hella red bulls n shit, but after you get used to it and it’s nothing. I just
watch movies and shows n shit while I’m waiting.
Me: Your boss is cool about it?
Raman: Yea, he knows wassup.
Me: Yea, I mean, it’s not like there’s a whole lot going on so it should be understandable.

Me: Do you eat anything while you’re here?
Raman: Nah, we don’t get a lunch.
Me: FORREALS?! Why not?
Raman: We have to be on the watch the whole time so we can’t leave. But we can bring food if we want. I just don’t
eat. I’m trying to bulk up though.
Me: Yea? Been working out?
Raman: Yea man, but it’s hard because I barely get any sleep, and you know how your muscles grow over night n
shit
Me: Yea, yea, my girlfriend used to work at Vitamin Shoppe so she knew all about that stuff

(talking about his annoying ex-coworker)
Raman: Yea dude, he was a fuckin bitch.
Me: How so?
Raman: One time, I thought I was running late so I called my boss and was like “Yo, I’m on my way but I’ll be
there in like five minutes.” So I drive up and just as I’m about to park my car, my coworker is standing there with his
watch and complains to my boss about me being one minute late. I’m like, forreals?
Me: What did your boss do?
Raman: He had to give me a warning. It’s part of his job though, ya know?

FP-3000 Negative that stuck to the back of one of my shots. Caused that weird pattern

Raman: Some of these construction workers make like, $80,000 a year.
Me: Damn! That’s hella crazy! But I mean, they’re doing incredibly physical work. And it’s also very dangerous
Raman: Yea, exactly. They be hanging on this wire thing hella high up in the air while they’re welding shit. I’m
like, awww, fuck that!
Me: haha! Yea man, its almost like, shit, if I can make that kind of money, why go to school?
Raman: I know, right? Make hella bank.

Raman: So what kinda camera is that?
Me: It’s an old Polaroid film camera from the 1960’s.
Raman: That’s sick yo. Does it take hella nice pictures or what?
Me: It does. The thing that I also like about film is that it’s more permanent. You really only get one shot to
get it right. So you cherish your photos more and they’re more meaningful and sentimental.
Raman: Yea, I remember in 2nd grade our teacher had one of those old polaroid cameras and she took a
picture of me, and I think I still have it somewhere in one of my binders or something, haha.
Me: See?
Raman: Yea man, that’s pretty sick

The friendship that Raman and I shared was an interesting one. He’s a sports guy, I’m an artsy nerd. He’s into
computer science while I do communication studies. In a sad way, in our every day life we probably would
never hang out together. But in this instance, we did. Like a stray cat finding a caged dog behind a chain link
fence, that grid of metal served as this physical and symbolic representation of our separate worlds. Worlds
that normally do not collide. Worlds where, had it been daylight, we might not even recognize each other. And by
the mysterious powers of the darkness of night, we shared an intimate yet comforting conversation for just those
two nights.

Goodnight Raman, and good luck in all your endeavors.

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Filed under Full Framed, Men, My Life, Out And About, People, Polaroid, Special, Street Photography, Summer, The man/woman behind the job

Fanime 2013: Where Perverted Virgins and Artists Collide!

Ah, Fanime… the only time of the year when you can walk around downtown San Jose wearing a lolita dress and
not have people suspect that you’re a hardcore weeaboo. But alas, Fanime was today and it brought out all of the
bay area’s nerdiest and most creative minds under one wet blanket. Being the cheap ass that I am, I just roamed
the halls and outskirts of the convention looking for cosplayers with some pizazz. Oddly enough, I actually wasn’t
too thrilled to be shooting there.

You see, ever since I transitioned into film/polaroid photography my shooting style has changed. So while nerd
1, 2 and 384 were all photographing the same girl, DSLRs click-clacking faster than Michael J. Fox in tap shoes,
I pretty much had one chance to get it right. Equipped with 1 pack of Fuji FP-100C color film, 1 pack of fp-3000b
black and white and one roll of Portra 400 in my Olympus Stylus Epic, I had to be very selective with who I
photographed and how. Take this shot for example:

First off, I thought her Catwoman was fantastic. The stitching looked legit and the expressions were
pretty damn spot on. She was even hanging out against the wall like one of those stray cats you might see
in an alley. However, due to the low speed of film (100 ISO) I was forced to really grip down on my camera
and stabilize it as much as possible. A bit blurry for my taste but the silver lining is that popping red against
the blue hazed tones. I also bleached the negative which has a very 80’s-ish vibe – no?

It totally reminds of those thin, outdated hairstyle booklets that almost every Vietnamese barber shop owns.
Gerri curl, anybody? Digressions aside, the con was a little disappointing to be honest. Everyone seemed to be
dressed as the same damn thing and no one really went there. It was all just a bunch of Lolitas, obscure
characters who look like they could be from any damn anime — I mean seriously, how original do you look wearing
an Asian schoolgirl outfit? — and even more annoying was the bukkake of Princess Zeldas and Links gossiping
around their makeshift deku tree.

This was one of the few Zeldas that I actually bought into. She totally stayed in character the whole time and had
demure hand gestures as if her hand were a dolphin skipping away.

See what I mean? This kinda shit is cool. Squatting over a bird shit-stained light post just to give your fans a
good shot? BALLIN! And the black chick has that confidence that bodes well with Black widow.

Being the only polaroid photographer that day, I got quite a few compliments and questions about my camera.
After taking a photo of miss Pochahontas over here, some dude popped out of the trees like Slenderman and
was like “cool camera!” We chatted for a bit about film photography, he told me about his film background
and he eventually gave me his business card. Check out their fantastic work!

One of the moments that truly stuck out to me was when I saw Zero Suit Samus. When I came up to take a
picture of her I noticed this Super-Cholo dude with his hood lookin’ buddy asking to have their photo taken
with her. Arms around her shoulder, they cheesed as the other brother snapped away on their camera phone.
Now, I’m not going to say they were out of place since who knows, those guys could be closeted weeboos,
but what I did take note of was her expression.

Her face was cringing when they were touching her; it was as if she were 5 years old again and her parents
were trying to feed her vegetables. Maybe other people didn’t see it, but I know I did. It was subtle, but it
was definitely there. I guess when you do street photography you end up training your eye to notice
microscopic moments: a bright red high heel on cold pavement, a little child dancing in a pocket of
sunlight or the forced smile of a woman trying to maintain her composure. Which brings me to my final
point of this drawn out post: IS Cosplay consent?

I love how much dynamic range is restored when you scan the negatives of fp-3000b. Pro tip: DON’T keep your unpeeled pictures close together or they will magically warm up and somehow get sticky, leaving this weird pattern that you see.

Oh, what the hell am I saying? Of course Cosplay isn’t consent! Yes, some of these women are dressed more
minimalistic
than your average hooters girl, but the outfit a woman wears should never dictate whether a man
(or rather, a boy) has the right to touch her in any way. Come to think about it, most of the photographers that
were there seemed rather pervy. I kinda just took my shots and walked away while these other peeping toms
looked like they were completely getting off with their camera lenses. WHY DO YOU LADIES EVEN COME
HERE?! SAVE YOURSELVES! LEAVE, NOW!

I kid, I kid. But in all honesty it does make me wonder: during these types of conventions where you have
women dressed up as characters, is there something about the environment that makes guys feel like it’s
okay to touch women? Or should we just learn to expect this behavior from virgin boys who claim to have
reached first base when in reality, an elderly German lady simply patted down their jeans during a TSA
inspection. It really goes to show you that both nerds and jocks can be assholes.

Oh, and I also saw Ironman.

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Filed under Details, Models, Out And About, People, Photoshoots, Polaroid, Rants, Street Photography, Summer, Women

Blue Moon: Backstage At The 2011 Art Institute Fashion Show – SOMA, San Francisco

As I was posting this blog, I was listening to Julie London’s “Blue Moon” and realized how nicely
it fit this collection of photos.

“Blue Moon…

You saw me standing alone…

Without a dream in my heart…

Without a love of my own…

Blue Moon…

You know just what I was there for…

You heard me saying a prayer for…

Someone I really could care for…

And then there suddenly appeared before me…

It’s interesting when music fits so perfectly with whatever it is you’re experiencing at the moment. You start
to wonder “Was this song made for me? For this very second of my life?”

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The Details: The 2011 Art Institute Fashion Show – SOMA, San Francisco

 

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Dear Fashion Gods: Moments Before The 2011 Art Institute Graduate Show – SOMA, San Francisco

Dear Fashion Gods,

I come to you for a helping hand…

I come for warmth and protection…

I‘m not one for speeches (since they’re quite a drag)

But I look up to you…

And I pray…

That you will enjoy the next few posts I will be publishing soon <3

AMEN!

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Steampunk Princess: The Jewelry and Accessories of The Black V Fashion Show – San Francisco

Some of you may disagree with me, but I get the feeling that some of this jewelry was inspired by steampunk.
This fashion show was the bastard child of steampunk, Roman Warriors, and early 1900’s Cinema.

Or something like that :)

Steampunk fashion… hmm… I think I have a new source of inspiration ;)

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Eyes Without A Face: Backstage At The Black V Fashion Show – The Mission, San Francisco

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Old Hollywood: Backstage At The Black V Fashion Show

After mulling over the images for a few days, I couldn’t help but feel this overwhelming 1920’s vibe.
Everything about the show (or at least, everything backstage) felt so… classic. The makeup, the hair,
the styling, and even the attitudes. The only thing that wasn’t specifically 1920’s were the clothes.

I now present to you, in lovely Black and White, the story of Black V!

**In order to enjoy this experience even more, please listen to this song while
viewing the images**

Click Here: Gershwin – Rhapsody In Blue

How are ya dahhhlin’?”

Madam, I am terribly sorry but you can not go to zee Opera!”
But vy?! Singing on stage is my PASH-YONE!”

Oh, Felipe! Why? WHY?! Why did you leave me for Madame Jaqueline?!
Is my love not strong enough? Have we grown apart? Please, I beg of you,
love me, and only me!”

Muahaha! You sink you are ze star of ze show?! HA! I am Madam
Jaqueline, and I am now and forever ze Opera queen!”

(Side Note: Isn’t this girl PERFECT for silent films? I mean come on! That face is PERFECT for
the silver screen!)

But, but! What is this thing?! Are you from the future?!”
Yes. I need your boots, your clothes, and your motorcycle”

*Sorry, I had to :)

Now shweet hot, I told ya to give me passion! I need fire in those eyes, ya
hear?!”

Did you attend Monsieur Felipe’s party last week? Oh, it was DIVINE!”

*boop-boop!*

Herro! ^0^

…to be continued…

*No seriously, I have more pictures for you, but I’ll post them later this week :P

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Are You Lost Cowgirl?: The Castro, San Francisco

The difference between bad photography and good photography is perspective. And what’s the difference between good photography and amazing photography? The story.

Here ate the Falco.com, my office is currently located on the streets of Union Square, San Francisco. I’ve walked around those streets so often that I’ve even begun to see the same employees taking their cigarette breaks. In order to change things up, I drove over to the Castro in search of some real style. The Castro district is famous for being the epicenter of the gay community. So why not search there? Gay people dress well so…so why not?! I mean hell! EVERYONE is probably swimming in rich fabrics from Prada, Burberry, and Chanel! This is going to be AWESOME! YAY!!!!

yay? When I got there I was expecting finely tuned suits but instead, I got assless chaps and leather boots. But hey! I’m bound to find at least ONE immaculately dressed man, right? Nada. I was walking around for about an hour and just as the sun went down, I started to lose hope. Then…at the corner of my eye…I saw this woman. It was dark and she was poking her head into an outdoor menu of a Chinese restaurant (the kind that probably sells items such as “Kung Fu Chicken Crispers”).

This was such an odd sight. Here I am in San Francisco, taking a picture of a urban cowgirl who is looking at fake Chinese food. WHAT IS GOING ON?! Needless to say, there was something about this outfit I liked. There’s an innocence to her look and the outfit is actually tailored quite well. However, the question still remains: What’s her story? I’ll never know the answer to that question but I guess this is one of those moments in life where it’s best to just shut up and enjoy the view. See you Space Cowgirl.

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Roger Sterling’s Son: Union Square, San Francisco

One of my favorite things to do when I post pictures on this website is to figure out “who does this person look like?” Do they resemble a cartoon character, a celebrity, or a creature made of complete and utter beauty? For this guy it was quite easy: Mad Men.

I mean seriously, do you really need to look longer than 2 seconds to know that this guy just came back from a Mad Men casting? PUHLEAASE! But now the question remains: which Mad Men character is he? He’s too slim to be Don Draper, and his clothes are too fitted to be a Peter Campbell…Hmmm…AHA! He looks like a young/modern version of Roger Sterling! (If Roger was very…very…very young.)

This past year I’ve grown to love–NAY! OBSESS! about the color blue. Blue is fresh, it’s Fall, it’s Winter, it’s Spring, and it’s neutral. Blue is the new black. From the blue pants, the tinted blue jacket, and his light blue checkered pocket square, you really forget that it’s all blue and instead, you just feel a sense of neutral wonderness. I love this outfit very much and if Peter Campbell had a child with a very young Roger Sterling (surrogate mother perhaps?) then that baby would be very proud of this man’s outfit.

GIBSON UP!

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