Mannequins Play a New Role

  Since the lockdown in March, many things in our world has changed. Besides the fact that much of the country is in shutdown, we are also getting used to new rules and trends, such as masks, plastic partitions, virtual interactions, and refraining from any social interactions that involve touching (like hand shakes and hugs). It’s a whole new world, and humans once again prove that during challenging times the creative mind can produce some entertaining solutions.   Later this year I will be releasing my second book, Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel. In my book, I explore the history of mannequins and how they have played an important role in our society. These fashion figures reflect the social norms of the time, showing what is popular and desirable to own. When stores began closing their doors due to the pandemic shutdown, I wondered what would become of mannequins. So much of their existence is dependent on people shopping in brick and mortar stores. A friend sent me an article from The Guardian, which reported that restaurants were using mannequins and blow up dolls to occupy some of the tables to creatively implement social distancing. While some people might […]

Rosie’s House

  A couple of weeks ago, I was hired to photograph a Mardi Gras party that was raising funds for Rosie’s House, an organization that offers music lessons to disadvantaged children. The festive event was a huge success, and it was pretty clear that everyone was having a great time. One of the young students from Rosie’s House performed a very difficult piano piece that received a resounding applause from the audience. Even though event photography can be exhausting, I truly enjoy it. I always meet such incredible people, and there’s something very satisfying about contributing (even if it’s a small part) to events that benefit such organizations. Over the years, I have done many different types of photography ranging from concerts, fashion, portraiture, and weddings. Event photography can be fairly easy or really difficult depending on how well the photographer prepares. Before this event, I practiced with a mannequin to make sure that I knew how I would handle different lighting situations. The important thing to remember about event photography is that very little is in your control. Chances are you haven’t seen the venue, you can’t change the lighting, and the attendees are busy, which means you have […]

Packing Tips for Photographers

Travel Photography First of all, I want to state that this blog is more for the person who enjoys photography and wants to take full advantage of their traveling opportunities. Professional photographers already know what they want to bring and why. However, on that same note, I’m a photojournalist and when I started traveling more, I used to pack everything but “the kitchen sink” (so to speak). This is why I’m writing this post.   In 2018, I traveled to Spain and Portugal to perform with the Oregon Arts Orchestra. I was excited and nervous. I had only been playing the cello for about four years, which is little compared to all the other talented and experienced professional musicians. As I was getting ready for the trip, I decided that this would be a great opportunity for me to get incredible photos. I couldn’t pack every single lens and accessory, but I sure did cram as much as I could. My backpack was so heavy that I had to see a chiropractor after I got back from the trip. And do you know what the real kicker is? My Sony camera never left the bag. Not once. I ended up […]

My Top Five Favorite Places to Photograph

In the past, I’ve been very grateful to other photographers who have shared locations they have used for their photoshoots. Location shoots are a lot of fun, but they do require some planning. For me, I’ve always looked for places that offer a variety of different looks. I also wanted to find locations in different parts of the greater Phoenix area, so that I could more easily accommodate the models or clients. So without further ado, here are my favorite places to photograph. Downtown Phoenix     I have say that Downtown Phoenix is my favorite place to photograph people. There are so many cool graffiti and other textured walls that make for some awesome backgrounds. Since there have been a lot of construction and changes to the area, I do scout the location before a shoot. For example, there was a really cool graffiti wall and, shortly after I did a fashion shoot there, the art had been painted over. The area that these photos were taken were around Roosevelt and 5th street. This is one area where I haven’t really worried about it being too crowded because there’s a few blocks of nice photographic spaces. If you’re creative […]

A Cup of Joe and a Slice of Humanity

My adventures with coffee shops   About a year ago, I wanted to create a space for myself to overcome my anxiety with writing, so I created a website called Demitasse Wanderlust where I blog about the different coffee shops in the greater Phoenix area. I’ve been writing most of my life. My degree is English Literature, so you can imagine the amount of writing I did in those four years. However, after I graduated from California College of the Arts with a MFA in Creative Writing, I noticed that I had developed a lot of anxiety when it concerned sharing my work with others. The workshops in graduate school made me acutely aware of all my weaknesses, but they also affected my confidence. The main and original purpose of this blog was to remind myself to lighten up. As my mother often tells me, “Even the longest life is a short one.”   As I’ve been working on this blog, I’ve realized that coffee shops are more than just a place to satisfy your caffeine addiction. They are symbolically significant in our society because they offer a place to gather, meet, and to feel a part of a community. […]

Robert Capa: Photographer Profile

Whenever I interview someone, I usually ask them about their greatest influence. You can learn a lot about a person from their influences. What qualities attract us? How do these individuals shape our style, workflow, methodology, and etc? Maybe this influential person is someone in our field, or maybe it’s someone we know well.   I had been involved in photography for a few years before I had learned about Robert Capa, but when I had watched a documentary about his life, I became fascinated with the way he worked, his courage, and his incredible talent. Capa was a Jewish Hungarian photojournalist as well as one of the founding partners of Magnum Photos cooperative. As a young man, Capa witnessed the violence that was consuming Europe. He was part of a generation that watched Spain fall into civil war and Hitler rise to power in Germany. Capa was undaunted by the danger all around him. For example, during World War II, Capa parachuted with American troops where they were dropped into Germany. Hundreds of paratroopers died and Capa could have easily died with them, but it never stopped him from capturing footage of the war. Because of Capa, we have a glimpse […]

Antiquing

Before I got into photography, antiquing never appealed to me. I’m actually more of a minimalist when it comes to my personal life. I’m very “right brained,” so I like to keep things as simple as possible so I have more time to do my art. However, I love taking my camera or phone into antique stores because I like taking pictures of objects from the past. It’s like walking into an interactive museum, and I get to take all these interesting things home with me, but all on my camera. Some places prohibit photography, which I always respect, but fortunately most antique shops are okay with photography. I’ve actually used these outings to practice composition and angles. I never move or touch the objects, but I will move around them to get the right photo. The nice thing about photographing mannequins is they can’t talk back. I don’t have to worry about what they’re thinking as I’m taking a bunch of pictures and trying to figure out what angle I like best. I found all these antique stores in Central Phoenix along the 7th Ave corridor, and these photos were taken exclusively with my iPhone 7. Even if you’re […]

Junkyard Photoshoot

Finding cool spots to photograph takes time, and I’m always grateful when photographers share information on new places to photograph. There’s something about junkyards and abandoned places that both terrify and fascinate me. There were so many things to photograph. The possibilities seemed endless. By the way, the entire time I was shooting, I kept thinking of the junkyard scene in “The Brave Little Toaster.”

Photo A Day Challenge

You might think that as a photographer I get behind the camera every day, but there are many days where I’m just sitting in front of the computer editing, writing, or scheduling shoots. Last year I heard about the Photo A Day challenge and for about month I tried it out until I got caught up with life. This year I joined a Facebook group where photographers are invited to post their daily photos. It sounds easy enough, right? Some of us have a closer bond with our devices than with humans. However, there are days where I’ve completely forgotten or just didn’t feel inspired to take a picture. When I saw this challenge on Facebook, I decided to give it another try. I started the challenge on New Years Day (naturally), and I’ve learned a few things about myself as a photographer. I’m very hard on myself with everything I do. Some self criticism is helpful, but too much pressure, for me at least, leads to stagnation. This challenge is forcing me to let go of some of that pressure and allow myself the freedom to try new things and even make mistakes. Sometimes I get frustrated because I’ll be stuck behind […]

Mannequin Magic

Mannequins go back to ancient times. When King Tut’s tomb was opened, in 1923, Howard Carter found a mannequin which matched the Pharaoh’s measurement dating back to 1530 B.C. The European fashion doll was the beginning of the modern mannequin. These dolls ranged from a foot tall to life size and were beautifully clothed and sent abroad to show the fashions of the day. These dolls also had porcelain faces. These models of fashion were so popular that they received protection and safe passage across borders, even during times of war.   After the French Revolution, these fashion dolls were replaced by drawings and dress forms made of wire, leather and wicker. They were often headless. Fortunately, the French came back to life and introduced the full body mannequins in 1870. It was at this time that window shopping became a form of entertainment.   The mannequins of the 1890’s had full bosoms and broader hips. Waists were wasp thin and, even in those days, many women were willing to have their lowest ribs surgically removed to achieve this illusion.   When a mannequin modeling a corset appeared, a religious group tried to banish mannequins completely, but they were unsuccessful. […]