Words on the Street

I recently watched Slumdog Millionaire with my mom and sister, and much to their surprise and bemusement, when the movie was over, I burst into tears. When they asked me why I was crying, I couldn't explain it. I felt ridiculous.

The film starts with a multiple-choice question: “In Mumbai 2006, Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees. How did he do it? (a) He cheated. (b) He’s lucky. (c) He’s a genius. (d) It is written.”

I wasn't crying because I enjoyed the movie - I didn't. (I have a low tolerance for violence in my entertainment.) And it wasn't the love story that got to me, with it's choreographed, dance party resolution (although admittedly that was my favorite part.) What really, really struck me, were the simple, white-on-black words on the screen – the answer to the opening question: "It is written."

Those three little words seemed huge. They encapsulated the idea of destiny, of struggle and redemption, of biblical importance. If that tiny sentence had not been at the conclusion of the movie, I would not have been blubbering into my popcorn. That is the power of words.

I especially love the random words of people, sometimes in unexpected places, expressed through graffiti, flyers or signs. With my cell phone camera (and sometimes my Nikon) I try to capture the occasional phrase, warning, exclamation or opinion. Here are some samples from this growing collection:

To see the entire set, go here.


Reckless Abandonment

Since abandoning necklace making, community gardens, and drumming, you'd think I'd have plenty of time to blog. But I have abandoned that too. Here are the things taking up my free time instead: taking pictures, pro bono design projects, and making copious amounts of crock pot food. When it went from 85 degrees to a brisk 80 here in San Diego, I put on my warmest sweater and got a hankering for hot stew. I should take pictures of these concoctions, bringing my current loves together, to be abandoned at a later date.

In the mean time, I will share with you some of my recent photo and design endeavors.

My friend Jason (producer of the not-ubiquitous Secret Life of Spiders) asked me to do the artwork for his band's first CD. I have long been obsessed with macro photography featuring miniature people, so I thought I'd give that a shot for this project. I went to the model train store, acquired some tiny things, and rented a macro lens. Here are some of the results:

To see the entire set, go here.

I was also recently asked to help a friend polish up a poster for a play he had written. Initially, I was just supposed to take photos of the existing components for the poster, which consisted of some hand-written lettering and many dismembered doll parts, (my specialty) and sort of clean it up. Instead, I steamrolled the project and rebuilt the whole thing. Because I am a control freak. But I had so much maniacal fun doing it.

And then, just when I thought I had run out of things to do, my old friend Stacy asked me to design the CD artwork for his steel drum band, Tobago Bay. This project is still pending, and I'm not sure I nailed the right cover for them yet. But what we have so far involved a photo shoot, a suitcase, and a fake airplane ticket:

(With special thanks to my pal Tawnya for all of her photo shoot assistance.)

Some other creative things come from the wedding of my good friends Tone and Melissa, who were joyously married on October 17th. First, I had the honor of doing their wedding invites, using a design borrowed from Martha Stewart's Super Rad Weddings You Can't Afford Magazine. It was a lot of fun to create, and we were very happy with the way it turned out:

On the wedding day itself, I wanted to capture some magic moments, and maybe get a feel for what wedding photography is like. Unfortunately, I am lacking the proper equipment. But with my pee-wee built-in flash and slightly decrepit Nikon, I pushed onward.

This is my favorite shot from that day, and as Melissa said, it captures their relationship beautifully:

Yes, that is the groom in the background, daintily enjoying a delicious chocolate cupcake provided by the Burger Lounge.

I really love the look of high-key photography, which I know nothing about. I found a Photoshop tutorial intended to produce that effect, and tried it out on this photo of one of the wedding attendants:

I think it's blown-out and lacking in detail, but I love the dramatic effect on the eyes.

Thanks for making it to the end of this lengthy update. I hope to have more photography efforts and creative projects to share with you soon.