I’m working on a poster project for a photoshop class. The task is to create a large poster with a word and fill the word with images, words, phrases that correspond to the chosen word. This is my first draft…I’m thinking my version is more visual / has more of a photographic element. I’m a photographer so I need to see images when I work in photoshop. The good news: my instructor gave me positive feedback on my rough draft.

My creative process…I began with the word joy. After reading a book by Joyce Meyer and seeing such gloom and doom in the news I want to focus on something positive. I think people can use a pickup. Using tools like laughter to embrace joy and happiness to help make sense of these difficult times.

Joy Poster


The human race has  one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

-Mark Twain

We need to lighten up, enjoy life. Even when things are not perfect you can still laugh in the face of it. I recently read some information about joy and specifically laughter by Joyce Meyer. Children laugh on average 150 times a day, while adults laugh 4 to 8 times a day. Scientific studies show that laughter is like a medicine because it can cause the release of endorphins that reduce stress, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, stimulate the nervous system, and increase cardiovascular health.


Most know laughter can pull us out of depression or sadness; it can even give us boosts of energy; and it can completely change our attitude or outlook on a situation.

~Joyce Meyer




Paul Strand

I admire the photographic instinct and intent of Paul Strand. I also admire Lewis Hine, who was Strand’s first photography teacher and introduced Strand to the idea of using photography to better humankind.  It’s also interesting that Strand embraced other mediums such as film. (How neat would it be to have the great Lewis Hine as a photography teacher?) Paul Strand got quite an education at the Ethical Culture School. After graduating from this institution he happened to be part of the New York Camera Club another member of which was Alfred Stieglitz. The Photo-Secession movement had just begun also. In 1911 Strand began to work closely with Stieglitz who was a proponent of Straight Photography. Strand’s photographs appeared in Stieglitz’s publication, Camera Work, in 1916 and Stieglitz declared, “Strand is without doubt the most important photographer developed in this country since Alvin Langdon Coburn.” Strand’s work along with that of Edward Weston and Stieglitz helped define American modernism and the elegant photographic print now carried incredible value.

After viewing an exhibition at Stieglitz’s at Gallery 291 of avant-garde European art Strand began studying cubism and abstract art. In 1916 at his family lake house he began to experiment with abstraction. These became his first significant  abstractions made with his camera.

Abstraction, Twin Lakes, Connecticut, 1916

Strand often visited the Lower East Side immigrant slums called Five Points (this particular location is featured in the film, Gangs of New York, staring Leonardo DiCaprio). He would approach a scene with a camera and fake lens (to distract his subject or trick them perhaps), the real lens would be concealed beneath his arm, pointing toward his subject. He was often able to take his photograph unharmed, the subject unaware. Strand sought to capture classic New Yorkers of his time and catalog the diversity of humanity before him:

“I like to photograph people who have strength and dignity in their faces; whatever life has done to them, it hasn’t destroyed them. I gravitate towards people like that.”

A good example of this is Blind, 1916

Like Lewis Hine, Strand sought to capture the crush of cultures that inhabited his urban landscape and document their struggles and poverty. “It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.”

In the 1920’s Strand took his photography to another level in an effort to describe the movement of the city and became involved in documentary filmmaking beginning with the short film Manhatta (composed of stills and motion film). From 1920 to 1932 Strand made numerous photographs of his wife, Rebecca Strand. Later, Strand moved to France and studied architecture, landscapes, and portraiture.

Urban Landscape

Last month I was tasked with an urban landscape assignment. And fortunately for me two things happened. 1) it rained and 2) there was an awesome rainbow…rain and rainbows: two things that are rare occurrences in Arizona.

Next time I hope to better capture the intensity of the rainbow. Like sunsets, rainbows don’t last long.

Outdoor Portraits

Some more portrait power! These portraits were created last summer in the great outdoors (in this case downtown Tempe) using natural light.

I am more accustomed to using natural light with a flash as a fill light. It’s a different look and feel compared to studio lighting. So far, I really enjoy doing on location photo shoots using natural light, although studio photography certainly has its benefits.

Moving is a Good Reason to Buy Art

As I was preparing to move last month one of my favorite photo labs just happened to have a blow out sale. So I took the opportunity to get some large prints made. There’s something incredibly fulfilling about having large art prints on the wall…I’m the type of person who craves color. White walls start to make me uncomfortable…for me it’s a blank canvas itching to be covered. So I’m all about paint. Adding to this with art, lighting, and other pieces just adds more flavor.

wall art close up

wall art with light

The prints are mounted but haven’t been hung yet. I had some fun here with light…couldn’t help myself…haha. In addition to moving I have new roommates 2 of which are of the canine kind. We get along great. And I was babysitting last week a german short-hair called Coco. She seemed to take to me well…even curling up on my bed for a nap.










Portrait Power

A major benefit to studying commercial photography is learning to take better portraits in different settings (outdoor or studio), using different equipment, and different lighting conditions (natural light vs. tungsten). Hard vs. soft light.


portrait 2


portrait 3


portrait 4


Each portrait was done in studio using different lighting conditions. Number 1 is soft light, number 2 (profile portrait) is using side lighting, number 3 is soft light again but in different ratios and a different background. In number 4 two lights were used (a hair light and key light).

Standing Before the Storm

Originally the top photo was done for a class last semester. I was standing on a bridge overlooking a vast expanse of riparian habitat where 3 rivers converge…in this direction though you only see the bridge, mountains in the distance. From another vantage point you will see the river, which I posted previously (last image of the series). During this same outing I captured the second image a mile down the road…the sky was filled with clouds heavy with rain. I just moved and had these images mounted for my new room…and I think they look awesome =)