Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Big Issue

At first it was a sad day because I had planned on shooting but ended up having to go to a sight visit for my architecture class, check out books and then write a paper. After class and printing pictures I decided that I needed to just stroll and shoot. So down Portobello I go with Canon snapping away at some Portobello Road signs (mini fun project... to capture em all with diff backgrounds) and then I see a Big Issue seller. I buy one because its a nice thing to do and then I asked the guy if I could get a portrait of him. Stuck around and talked to his friends and the doorman guy infront of the oh so ritzy Electric bar. Good experience, will work harder for better pictures next time.

Oh and I brought some charity xmas cards. Didn't matter how much they cost, I just think that it is awesome how contributing money to buying a goat for a family in a third world country can provide them with a means of living.

"Goats for peace. Repair the ravages of war by gibing a goat. but no ordinary goat: this is a revolving goat. where communites are slowly rebuilding themselves, a revolving goat ( with the aid of a revolving ram) starts families. kids go to restock families without goats. and so on. a goat is milk and fertiliser factory and goes a logn way to improving the local diet, a four-legged step towards self-sufficiency. Buy a fine goat for a grateful family. And it really helps."

Charles Ommanney. The first thing that I noticed about his photographs is that they are well composed. He has all the angles down. Everything seems so perfectly c

One of they guys on Portobello.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

O christmas tree!

Didn't do too much today. Printed out 5 in copies of my pictures from the semester. I really need to get cracking on my photo story! Shot a tree lighting in Trafalgar Square. Didn't really get too much out of it. Went to dinner with some Spanish boys that Erika had met. Shot a bit there, nothing too grand. Oh we got into a conversation (actually I'm more of an observer!) about a little part of town in Spain that was known for homosexuality. Where the men sit outside drinking their beers, speciality shops as in clothes, clubs and even food. (sexual shaped food that is) What are my first thoughts on this... how freaking awesome and that would make for such a fun photo story!

Bruce Davidson. Saw his pictures in a Magnum photo book at school. I enjoyed his pictures and I think that it is convenient because he lived in such a place as NYC and documented just everything that seems to be taken for granted. The subway and Central Park were such fun refreshing pictures. I know that when I get back to Texas, I am on a mission to capture what it is that is Texas! I have lived there all my life and cannot show you a picture that I've shot that really says Texas. I'm excited!

Tree lighting! (the tree is hiding on the left!)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wonderful weekend

So I spent my weekend in the beautiful countryside of Scotland! I went with a host family who took me in and fed and cared for me! Twas a wonderful or shall I say lovely way to spend my Thanksgiving weekend. Aside from the slightly drizzly weather we had some nice walks through the woods and by the water. Not as much of a photo weekend as I'd like for it to be, don't get me wrong, I shot. I shot alot... but they were more of the family hanging out and being a family. I want to one day come back and follow the father around. He's had the farm in his family since the 1940's (if I remember correctly). He grows potatoes and barley. Owns hundreds of cows and sheep. I tried petting the calves but they backed away from me. Tried taking pictures of the sheep but they were meters away from me. Ate haggis! I actually liked it! Didja know the boys wear kilts to the village social? Its as a suit is to a man in our society! I found that fascinating! And another didja know that they don't have cliques like we do in high school. People are just people... no distinction of nerd, athletic, band, drama or anything of the such. Lots more to tell... but this is a photo blog! I have some pictures of the kids... but I don't know if its a good idea to put minors up... so I guess I'm sticking to the safe side for now... oh and I tried taking family portraits... man the 3 younger kids are squirmy and really didn't want to sit still for very long!

Two photographers of the day... to make up for last time...

Al Bello. Very nice... still partly looking through his stuff... (extremely slow connection). Very clean and thought out pictures. My goals for the Austin-American Statesman! Alot of fisheye stuff, which I don't see too often. The Seniors of the Freeport Recreation Center seems like such an enjoyable and rewarding story to have done.

Spencer Platt. His images give me a feeling of intimacy. Well the images on his profile do... having to look through the thousands of photos used as a wire service kind of thing... well it's sort of killing my experience... having to see everything just in chronological order to the way he shot it versus actually putting it together as a package makes such a big difference. The lesson today... organization is key... too bad he doesn't have a real website... not one I could find at least...

was gonna do Joe Readle but can't find a large sum of pictures... enjoy his work but wanna do a full and thorough look at it...till next time!

Haggis! Quite a strange sight huh?

Calves I tried petting.

Youngest daughter playing in the village.

Ducks in a stream alongside a house on the side of the village.

Lindsay's, the store that the kids liked for some reason!

Walking back from the wood... they use all the land in the pic.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

How sad I am that I don't really have a picture to post today... But no fear, I promised a picture daily... so I will see what few I have from today. I already know that it is not of the photoj nature... it is mostly of people eating thanksgiving lunch/dinner. Oh also there is this wonderful toy that I want! It's a war journalist! All mine for only $60! I don't think I'll be buying that anytime soon... although I want to buy the professional photojournalism book when I get back to the states in Dec.

We put our stuff into a pre-portfolio today in class and most of my pictures came from the last few weeks... that actually makes me happy because before then I didn't really have any shots that I particularly enjoyed. After class we went to The Frontline Club for dinner. Its the club that was designed for photojournalist as well as video journalists. Good food.... Happy Thanksgiving!

I broke my promise... no photographer of the day.... I fell asleep and would do it this morning but I leave for Scotland in 4 hours! So I won't be updating until Monday!

Oh also it takes me a lil while to find a good photographer that I like.... so suggestions are greatly appreciated!

War Journalist


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Photo day

Day started early, but I didn't actually leave the house until later. Perfect timing actually because I caught the vendors as they were almost finished setting up their stand. Shot some of the people that I was planning on reshooting. Eventually went off to find my bus picture for class as well. Rode around them for a bit, didn't really like too many of my shots until the end of the evening. By that time the sun had gone down and my hands were beginning to freeze! I'm home now and will hopefully be shooting a 24 hour pub tonight. I didn't pick up an Evening Standard for some reason so now I'm not sure which ones will stay open.

Raghu Rai. He covered Mother Teresa as well as the Bhopal gas accident that killed thousands and injured thousands more. His goal fot society is what I want to accomplish in my life. Photos of extraordinary people as well as accidents that need coverage. I still want to visit Vietnam. Actually shooting the bird flu there is something up my alley as well.

My friendly produce guy.

Ron the barber who I talk to almost everyday that I'm on Portobello.

Routemaster bus 159 back window.

Bus 159 and Big Ben!

Extended pub hours.

Big Ben

Hmmm woke up this morn and went to try to shoot some portraits before school started, but at 8ish in the morn the guys are still setting up and not ready for me yet. So I told the few people I wanted to do a portrait on that I'd be back tomorrow later in the day. Today in class Virga sent us out into the London to bring back a picture of a double decker bus for Thurs. I didn't get quite the picture that I wanted so I'm gonna try again tomorrow. While out shooting I came across a rather large building... and that would be Big Ben. Not such a photojournalism type picture but rather a touristy one... well hopefully tomorrow it will be much more photoj... at least 2 pics...

Sergio Larrain. First of all he shot PORTOBELLO ROAD in 1956!!! It was great looking at those pics! He had some pictures of animals and window and mirror reflections, which of course I truely enjoyed. What I think I learned most from him was that taking pictures of places and people during a time will of course make so much more of a difference 20-30 years down the line. It also makes me regret not taking pictures of home (texas) because it is already changing more that I'll know. A whole shopping strip is already runnning parallel to the main road... it used to be pure green grass, now its just cement and cinderblocks. When I get home... I'm being more of a tourist, or rather I'm gonna explore my neighborhood, I definitely take it for granted sometimes!

A rather uncreative picture of Big Ben.

Tomorrow I promise will be better!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stroll through the park

What a peaceful day today turned out to be. I went to the Diane Arbus exhibit with Meredith (who is visiting from the states), then we strolled through the park and went to the Princess Diana memorial as well as Buckingham Palace. Very relaxed day, a step away from work. Much needed and appreciated. Shot few shots but saw a beautiful park. Today's shot is more a fun shot for me. Self portrait of some sort.

W. Eugene Smith
. I really like his story on Dr. Ernest Guy Ceriani, who was a country doctor at age 32 and tended to the towns people of Kremmling and the 400 mile radius around it. Also the one on Maude Callen, the 51 year old midwife. His Haiti pictures as well as his Japan shots... definitely my all time favorite photographer. Health related photo stories, just amazing photographs, and his images the toning in the black and white are just beautiful.

Fun self portrait.

Mobile tickets

Today. Lets see, today was spent mostly organizing my 20 image portfolio for the end of the semester. Most of it probably consisted of images that I shot from up to 2 weeks ago. When I did finally get out of the house I went to Covent Garden in search of Santa Claus and search the grounds as I may, I never found the jolly ole man. Then off I went to Trafalgar Square to see some snowboarding. Too bad I never realized that you had to book in advance. So instead I decided to shoot the outside of the event. They had a thing where you had to book in advance online and then they would raffle the tickets by mobile phones. Quite a different concept, but they've probably been doing it for a while.

Eli Reed
. Looking at his work on "Black America" makes me actually want to do something of a similar nature, only with Asian or Vietnamese Americans. That would be interesting to see how life is lived. I know how my life as a Vietnamese-American works but since I don't really know many other Asians I don't know if what I do is common or just something that happens in my household. Possible new project idea.

Snowboarding event.... hard to tell from where I stood!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Woke up this morning and walked by the cheese shop again. I talked to them the night before and they told me to stop by in the morning. I stood there and couldn't figure out how I wanted to to set them up. I though of one thing... but well it didn't work out quite right and before I could reset them the steady rush of people started coming in so I told the guys that I'd be back around sunset. I also shot about 2 shots of a fishmonger. Although I explained to him that I wanted a picture of him standing in the middle of his stand, he still didn't comply too well. There are a few other fish sellers along the road, but I liked his selection the best. My white balance and exposure awareness was a little bit off today.

Lauren Greenfield
. She photographed such things as youth culture, women, and beauty in society. Very much documenting life on the culture of things. I enjoyed all of her projects, she got great access and her pictures are very intimate. I think that it would be fun to think of a project of a similar nature and pursue it.

Great light on one of the cheese stand guys. I'm gonna try to redo this one.

Cheese yay!


Friday, November 18, 2005


What a fun day. Started out slow since I woke up later and then got distracted cleaning up the house a bit. Went to Portobello Road and shot a guy wearing gloves and a hat and he was selling winter wear. Very entertaining and good conversations. I also found a woman standing in some very nice light on the side of Portobello Road. After that I went with Jessa to Little Venice. It makes me miss my trip to Venice. I shot some pretty geese, which I will put in my blog. (because I think they are way too cute to not add... but just for fun!)

"Susan C. Edson, director of athletic communications at Syracuse, threatened to revoke the photography credentials issued to the student newspaper and a local newspaper if staff photographers did not remove images posted to a member portfolio area on the Web site" Full Article. My comments on this? Why is this even being questioned? I hope that the solution is a painless and quick one... but some reason I'm not so sure about it.

And my last comment of the day (aside from my feature photographer) I will be interning at The Austin-American Statesman this coming summer! YAY! I have a home for summer! I have a whole new world to explore and have fun with... and the best part? I get to shoot and only shoot all summer and get paid to do what I love!

Ami Vitali. Her pictures are just perfect. They make you pause and look at them for a bit. Very good photographer.

Woman in pretty light on Portobello Road

My fun picture of a goose in Little Venice.

Workers gloves.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

British journalist

I woke up today thinking it was just going to be a morning of shooting the road before heading to school. Instead I get a call from Virga asking if I wanted to follow Lefteris Pitarakis. He's an AP photographer based here in London. We ended up going to a book signing with Mike Tyson. Tyson didn't write the book, but he wrote the forward. I had a fun and great learning experience. First of all Lefteris told me that the british journalist tend to set things up and also that of course its going to be a little bit of pushing and what not from everyone to get the pictures. As soon as Mike Tyson arrived I heard alot of... Mike! Mike! Mike look this way!.... Mike move the water bottle! Mike! Mike! Mike! Mike stand on the chair we can't see you!

Steve McCurry
. The first thing I noticed about his portraits were how natural and well exposed each picture turned out. They were just perfect down to every detail. Each picture is just so well thought out, every detail to the image seemed to be set exactly how he wanted them.

Mike Tyson

Fun day!

Today was a pretty good day. Dropped off a CD to one of the guys I shot a portrait of on Portobello Road. I was on the architecture class tour and we walked by a store window with a cardboard cut out of a cartoon woman and behind her there were workers remolding the store. I stayed there for a bit and of course lost the class again. My next shoot was during tube rush hour again. Take 2 is drastically better than yesterday, which of course I'm happy about!

Henri Cartier-Bresson
. wow. Wow is such a common first word for me but this of course is an amazing photographer. These moments are real, they make me really excited to shoot. There are so many pictures that I have yet to look at and I'm trying to break my habit of staying up, so tomorrow I will definitely keep looking through the albums until I've seen all of the pictures. So far this is exactly what I would love to do, the exact message or view that he sees is something I would want to portray in my photography.

Looking up?

Working a 9 hours and 45 minute shift

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Light lesson

Classes then shooting. I went down to the tube to try to do my London shot for class. I wanted to do the tube because, well everyone knows what the tubes look like in London if they've visited the city. Oh in class today we learned a bit about the light kit.

Sebastiao Salgado. When I first see the pictures it makes me stop and stare at it a bit. His pictures seem to portray life as how a quiet observer would see it. His topics are powerful. Disease, famine and just world problems; topics that need coverage and gratefully Salgado was a photographer that was effective in doing that. I missed his exhibit in Paris... opps, well I realized when it was too late anyhow.

Drew and Virga

London Tube System

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Vertical lines

I was a little bit lazy again today. I just wasn't feeling it when I walked up and down the road. Found a meat seller guy, he wasn't as enthusiastic. I guess I didn't warm him up too well. Not much photo today for me, mostly catching up on work.

Arthur Fellig aka Weegee. He photographed urban life but more often he shot crime, violence and the onlookers. Shot the streets of NY. I could never do this, but I do respect how he could.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Being productive

Productive day today. I woke up and shot 2 of my portraits for the road. A bookseller and a clothing designer. The clothes designer was a very unique looking character. Then Si called and we eventually met up and walked down the road shooting pictures. His girlfriend and a friend showed up about 45 mins to and hour later to join us. Made it to Camden Town eventually. Wow I love that place! Fire breathing and flame spinning didn't turn out that well because I didn't set my exposures correctly.

Dorothea Lange.Wow. There you go, I am much more interested in her work. She photographed during the Depression and her pictures were of the hard times and suffering that came from the Depression. Much more on what I would rather do... not so much war photography, not social landscape (Friedlander style)... "photographic study of the American social scene," as quoted online. I'm not sure about American society... Vietnamese society maybe?

Sara Sankara Designs

Roaming round the tube

Beth and Si at the bar

Beth peeking through Si's hair

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Today I seemed to have slacked a bit with the photos. I ended up going to the Lord Mayor's Show. We went as a class and then of course I lost them in the first 15 minutes because I took some pictures of the carnival workers. Ended up on the sidewalk with a million other people trying to take a peek at the parade going down the road. Didn't get a shoot that I liked. St. Paul's Cathedral with the class... nothing else photo wise because by the time I got to Portobello Road it was dark and everyone was packing up already. Not so great of a pic today guys, sorry. I'll try harder for Sunday's.

Lee Friedlander. His work is interesting to me. I was recently introduced to social landscape and am now looking further into it. Social landscape seems to me pictures of everyday life but then again I might be missing the whole point. "Social landscape photography expresses a distinctly personal vision." I do like some of the images very much but then some of the others don't appeal to me as much as I thought that they would. So do I really want to do social landscape?

Sign language

Sent off my package to The Philadelphia Inquirer. I think the post lady misunderstood me when I said that I needed it there by Tuesday. Lets hope it makes it. Didn't really shoot today like I wanted to... Although I did shoot these two guys who were signing to eachother on the tube. I wrote on my notepad asking to shoot them and got a thumbs up. Didn't get a great picture but the experience was something I hadn't experienced before. It was kinda fun asking for information from them by writing it down and passing the notepad back and forth.

Went to a discussion at The Frontline Club. The club is for journalist, cameramen and photographers, it has a restaurant downstairs as well. They had a discussion on "Is anyone taking notice?" a few things I wrote down....
-a picture is never worth your life, its the evidence you leave behind
-photos are a record of history, they make people aware... Rwanda.
-Leading cause of death for photographers-Murder.
-a really good point that Philip Jones Griffiths mentions... covering the war through the mass of people who actually make the bombs and weapons that are used.
-it seems like the population in America would say, "look at what these blacks do to eachother," as said during the discussion about how if a picture ran in the American press about fighting in Africa.
-Lack of photojournalist in America?
-Images can be dangerous as well as powerful.
-If 1 person responds your job is done
-"Don't discover things by reading, you discover things by being there." -Philip Jones Griffiths

And the sad part of my night... after the discussion Philip Jones Griffiths shakes my hand and tells me he has seen me before. I would have no clue because I don't know about photographers and their work. I'm ashamed. So in this sense I'm going to feature a different photographer everyday. (everyday that I post; aside from my daily pictures... I will post a new picture everyday... even if it's not great, it will be inspiration to for me to make sure that I have an awesome picture every day!)

My reasoning... every since I was little, the only bits and pieces of photojournalism that I knew were what I looked up. I never had a class, until this semester that focused on photojournalism. Henri Cartier-Bresson. I didn't know who he was when I started college. In my lifetime photography was not an important factor in my education in Texas. The school system cease to even acknowledge the existence of journalism as a whole. The chance starts today for me.

My first is going to be Larry Burrows. I've seen his pictures before but never really actually looked at them until I walked into a bookstore in London. I couldn't put the book down and now own it. I don't know what it is that captivates me... maybe it hits close to home because my parents have told me about their experiences during that time. Seeing pictures of the Vietnamese villages, the Vietcong and just getting a feel of what it must have been like to be in Vietnam during the war is something that I am grateful for.
Larry Burrows worked for Life Magazine and died while shooting the war. He covered the conflict in Vietnam from 1962 until 1971 where he was shot down from a helicopter while photographing.

Philip Jones Griffiths. A magnum photographer. He extensively shot Vietnam. I'm really sad that I didn't spend more of my time talking to him. His work is amazing. As I have said before, the pictures of Vietnam are really important. In history as well as just what they mean to me. After looking at his pictures I really regret not asking him alot more questions. Currently trying to find the next time he will be attending a public event... because I have so much I want to say and so much I want to ask him.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Passionate photojournalist

Today we had a guest speaker. Heidi Bradner. The way she is living as a freelance photographer and doing stories that she is passionate about brought out a part of me that I was starting to worry about. When I got to London, my spark and my love for photo seemed to have faded a bit, but after seeing her images and talking to her, I'm pumped and ready to go back and shoot.

I may be spending my spring break with John. He is a friend I have who is from Kenya, went to SU on a cross country scholarship, is now going to John Hopkins and studying about cures to disease (malaria I think is his interest right now), and when he graduates is going back to Kenya. He actually had to put cross country on the back burner so that he could focus on the more important thing in life, his career and the medical field. He is from a very poor family and sends money back home. When I talk to him he is an inspirational person, very optimistic, never complains about his role and how he supports the family. He's very open to me photographing. I want to be there to document the next couple years of his life.

Milk and beer was all over this gentleman. Shot the same day as the falafel guy.

Simon. The guy with the spikey hair is coming back to London this weekend and I am doing portraits of him. He is also a fire breather and fire spinner! I'm excited, I think I'm gonna take him down to the tube and take some fun pictures down there!

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

First portrait

So I went out today with Jessa and then Erika joined us in shooting my newly revised photo story. Instead of being just Portobello Road and running around. It's narrowed down to portraits of the different vendors that set up on Portobello Road. I'm so grateful for the two of them, or else I wouldn't know where to start! The picture below is the falafel seller on Portobello Road. Picture made possible with the girls giving me suggestions and helping me set up the entire thing and then being the cheerleaders to encourage my subject!

This is really great for me since I've been pretty distant to my subjects lately in my shooting and also I have never had the confidence to tell set anyone up to shoot their portrait. So yay, I'm really excited and happy about my story! It's great to have that excitement back again...

Applying to The Austin American- Statesman, The Star-Telegram, The Wichita Eagle, The State and The Philadelphia Inquirer for summer internships. I think that if I don't get one of them, I will prob still go into The Star-Telegram this summer and get them to edit me and hopefully freelance. (They mentioned it last summer!)
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