Albert Tang, Nemesis Coffee
For the October 2017 issue of LINK Magazine, I shot our Student Spotlight for the cover. Our Student Spotlight was Albert Tang. Albert is an Architecture Student and Entrepreneur (among other things, he's also a great photographer). He owns Nemesis Coffee in Gastown with his business partners. I don't really understand how he works part time and goes to BCIT simultaneously, but somehow he does and excels at it. I can only assume he stopped sleeping. Nemesis Coffee has a cool logo of an upside down heart, and outside the cafe they have a large glowing, neon sign of their logo. We wanted to utilize this for the cover. I met Albert after hoursand we took some photos around Nemesis. I wanted to capture the blue glow of the sign, and showcase the graphically interesting sign.
I recently visited Salt Spring Island with Ayase Kay. I feel like I have been working in a tornado for the past year, so getting away to a Gulf Island was a welcome escape. As soon as I stepped on the ferry, I felt responsibilities melt off my shoulders. Plus, the added bonus of nearly no cellphone reception was fantastic. On the island, we stayed with Ayase's Dad who is an artist. He is a painter, sculptor and musician. His home was eclectic, with every corner full of art, instruments, books, photos, sentimental knick-knacks and odds-n-ends. I felt inspired and in awe, his home was like the mix of a library meets an art gallery.
We explored the property, went swimming in Cusheon Lake, had lunch at the farmers market. We danced at Beaverton Hall to electronic DJ's late into the night, barefoot while sipping cans of Yerba Matte. I had a potluck dinner on Aloha Aina Farms the next day, went swimming in Spirit Lake and soaked up a long, pink, summer sunset. I felt time move a bit slower, the sun and gravity made my foot steps a bit heavier. I left for the ferry Monday morning feeling relaxed and happy.
Stand Up to Racism
I attended Vancouver's Rally Against Racism on August 19th, 2017 at Vancouver City Hall. It was hot and summery outside, blue skies and the sounds of news helicopters beat in the distance. I walked around and shot some photos, and listened to the speakers. The Alt-Right protesters did not show up, to my relief. I was nervous about attending the rally with all of the violence happening in the world, but that also made a stronger case for myself to attend. I don't want to be afraid to stand up for equality and what's right in the world, and especially not in my own city.
The speakers were inspiring and came from all different backgrounds and perspectives. The crowd was friendly, people would apologize to me when I bumped into them moving through the crowd. I left feeling inspired and light.
I recently travelled to Kincardine, Ontario, to photograph a wedding. I managed to make some time to explore, and took some photos of Kincardine and the surrounding area. I had only been to Ontario once before, to visit Ottawa. Although Ontario is not exactly an exotic, far off country, I was curious to spend some time on the other side of Canada and see if I noticed anything different. Spoiler alert- I didn't. Except I think people are much friendlier in Kincardine than they are in Vancouver. The weather was interesting as well, very humid some days and storms with fork lightning that struck into the lake would roll in and out.
I drove my rental car outside of Kincardine, and through some farm land. I drove down an empty road, and only saw only maybe 1 or 2 other vehicles. I pulled over to take some photos and explore a decrepit farm. It was perfectly silent, I couldn't hear any buzz of city sounds- only birds and a breeze that would catch a piece of stray tin roof and make it clang gently once in a while. I'm not sure if there is a word for this, but I experienced the feeling of being completely alone. The pang of realization that no one has any idea where you are, you are completely alone in a new place. It's kind of thrilling and liberating to be completely cut off and alone. Maybe this is felt so much more from living in a culture and age of connectivity, and being glued to my phone. The last time I felt like this I was travelling alone in another country.
There was an old, abandoned farm house on the property. The yard was completely overgrown, with plants growing up to my waist. Part of me was nervous about exploring it, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't take a few photos. I walked carefully through the tall plants and carved a path to the front door. I looked through the window, and saw abandoned furniture and clutter. I went around the backside and the door was unlocked.
May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
May 17th was International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. I was photographing a pride event when an older man approached me. He was wearing a rainbow hoodie and had been lingering on the outskirts of the event. He told me he was 62 years old, and only recently came out of the closet openly. He had been living in a smaller community in the Fraser Valley, and had been afraid to be open and participate in the LGBTQ community there. He was afraid to start any clubs or events for fear of what other members of the community might do. He attended his first pride parade last summer, and moved to Metro Vancouver. He has been open since. This story was both sweet and sad. On the one hand I was happy for him to finally be apart of a community that accepts him and where he can be himself, and be surrounded by like-minded people. But on the other, it was a reminder of the homophobia and bigotry that still permeates our society. I experienced a similar feeling when Donald Trump was elected. LGBTQ rights hits very close to home for me as many of my good friends and family are apart of it, and I think it's my job to be an ally to them and support them whenever I can.
But really, can you imagine not being comfortable being yourself, or being afraid to be yourself in your community for 62 years?
Winter in downtown Vancouver, BC
I recently visited LA with a couple friends. The sun was hot, the air was dry. The city is not a beautiful city, it’s palette is of browns and beiges, but it is a city full of energy and character. I felt thrown into a thriving and swirling current, bigger and stronger than what I’m used to in Vancouver. The stereotypes of the city were real- celebrities walking down the sidewalk, everyone pursuing their dreams and creative endeavours. I landed back in Vancouver on a sunny, mild, spring afternoon with an excitement hangover. After a couple days acclimatizing back into my routine I felt happy to be home. I missed Vancouver's green trees and clean air.
Warm evenings, late night roof tops, cocktails, a desire to be seen, palm trees, expansive highways, a city where even familiar street signs evoke excitement, poverty, celebrity and wealth, creativity, and electric energy.
Recently did a photoshoot with Alexis Cornwall for her new website. Alexis is a ton of fun and full of personality. Here are some of my favourite photos of this smiley gal
Some overdue, quick and dirty photos from my time in Mexico in December. Exploring Puerto Vallarta, old town.
I recently photographed two dancers for the February issue of Link magazine- Alex and Case. One is a hiphop dancer, one is a ballerina.
On the Upside
Published in the December issue of Link Magazine
The night after Donald Trump was elected, I was driving with my dad. The radio was playing Tom Petty, like it normally does. Just as we crossed a bridge, out of nowhere he announces to me that he’s been inspired by the Trump phenomenon. My dad and I don’t talk about politics much. We’ve talked a bit about the outrageousness of the Trump situation, and the headlines-of-the-day, but really we just talk about funny things that happened to me on the Skytrain, or the day-to-day events that occur in our lives. But on that November night, my dad opened up and told me that he wanted to do better. He said he was making a personal effort to call out casual racism and people who make “harmless” comments.
This was pretty cool for me to hear. I’ve never considered my dad to be any shade of the bigotry rainbow, but I do think he (and a lot of other people) have reasons why they don’t speak up most of the time. My dad’s name is Rocky and he works in the construction industry. He owns his own business, and many years of managing large projects and employees inside the “trades” culture has made him into a “Rocky” kind of guy. However, I know him well enough to know that he is a bit crunchy on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside.
I think everyone has their own reasons why they might not speak up about the harmful words they hear around them, and I can’t claim to know what all of those reasons are. Maybe they’re just too polite, or don’t want to rock the boat too much. Sometimes it seems easier in the moment to ignore it, brush it off and move on. But I’ve noticed a shift after the election results rang in. For a lot of people, like my dad, something about Donald Trump has changed them.
Rocky told me that he was making a personal pledge to do better, and combat the off-the-cuff bullshit he hears on the daily — little racist remarks, sexist comments and homophobic jabs. Because it’s little comments like these that snowball into larger problems. It’s hard to imagine how a dumb joke that someone makes on their lunch break contributes to a culture of violence. You may laugh it off politely, but what if that joke was directed at your kid, your neighbour, or your friend? I get it though; it can be uncomfortable to call someone out when they make an off-colour joke. But you know what else is uncomfortable? 1 in 4 women in North America will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The degree of separation between yourself and the victims of abuse, harassment and violence is not that large of a gap.
We all can become really passive to these statistics, but I think Donald Trump obnoxiously dominating the news for the past year has lit a real fire. People want to do better. I think now more than ever, Rockys are realizing that when they stay silent about the stuff they know in their gut is wrong, it’s like saying that it’s okay.
But there is good news. This situation is a reminder of a couple things. First, it’s a huge reminder about the power of voice and influence. What you or Donald Trump says has an impact on listening ears. Second, spawning from the first point, you can be influential and make positive change. I think Donald Trump has exposed a repulsive, hyper masculine part of our culture, and people, like my dad, no longer want to be associated with it and let it carry on. So he’s speaking up, which I think is a real shift away from just complaining about it. Don’t like what Trump stands for? Do something about it.
I was going through some of my photo albums and found instax photos I took a couple years ago in Montreal, basements, industrial parks and Ottawa.
I wrote about my experience visiting with a psychic back in 2015, but never published the story. Below is my experience having my cards read by Madame Carmen, September 2015.
I slept in quite late this morning, tossing and turning with vivid dreams all night. Those weird dreams where you are floating through your regular day-to-day, nothing really too weird, but everything and everyone are kind of different and twisted. My friend is 50 lbs heavier than she is when I’m awake, my house is twice as big and old as it truly is, I’m loosing my teeth and lost all of the beer I bought for my house party with none of my close friends.
Last night I went to the fair at the PNE. I walked around, ate junk food and went on some rides. I went to a psychic who had a booth between a slushy drink stall and frozen dipped desserts on a stick.
A man with shoulder length, black, wavy hair, wearing a jean jacket and baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, leaned against the entrance. He was swaying slightly. I stood outside the stall wavering about going inside or not. My friend walked up to the front table and asked a woman with large, thick-rimmed red glasses “she wants to get her palm read, who do we talk to?” Madame Dolores was with another client, so I got the next psychic in line. She stood up and said, “I’ll read her,” as she led me into a small semi-private stall with blue draped satin curtains. There were two folding chairs and a table, cards and pamphlets scattered across the table, a crystal ball and a clear plastic tablecloth stretched across a blue trivet shaped like a flower. My friend wasn’t allowed to come inside.
The psychic didn’t smile and was chewing gum to one side on her jaw. She introduced herself as Carmen and asked if I had ever had a reading before. “You want a palm reading or your cards?” “Huh? Palm reading I guess”. “You guess? Do you want to know more about yourself honey, or do you want to know your future?” She had round features and inexpressive eyes. Her hair was tall and neatly pulled back with a little swoosh of bangs across her forehead. “Ok, cards please”. She picked up the pile of tarot cards with her stubby gold ring clad fingers. She asked me to shuffle the cards. I started shuffling the cards, wondering when do I stop? Will it make a difference if I shuffle the cards once, or if I shuffle for five minutes? Is the way I shuffle the cards telling her something about my future? I stopped when my OCD let me and put the cards in a pile on the little table. She asked me to put my left hand on top of the cards, take my time and make some wishes. “Do not tell anyone what you wished for or the wishes won’t come true.” I stared blankly at the stack of cards and made some wishes, trying to concentrate on wishing and not let my mind wander. “Okay I’m done,” I said and she picked up the pile of cards. She laid out eight cards in two rows. She warned me that I was not to tell anyone of what we spoke of in the stall. As she flipped over the last card in the second row she asked me, “do you believe in magic?”
We flipped through the cards and finished off the deck. I reached down to make sure my purse was still sitting beside my chair. “God bless you, and do not tell anyone your wishes or what we spoke of or it will not come true. God bless you. That will be $25”
There were some predictions and advice given to me that was accurate and encouraging (and no, I will tell you what exactly). I am not a firm non believer or believer in psychic ability, magic or faith, that this booth was not a scam, but I tend to always look for signs in my life. My mom always told me that if it is meant to happen, things would fall into place. I have been looking for direction in my life, choose a direction but self-doubting each of my possible decisions. I think I know my next step now. It’s silly how my loved ones, friends and coworkers can all give me good advice but the advice I’m following cost $25 in a 4x4’ room at the PNE from Madame Carmen.