Tuesday, January 29, 2013

antisocial ?

what is anti-social? I am a very social person on most of times
this is what I thought about this project at first. 

But if I have to tell a story with pictures to express the theme of antisocial, I will use pictures of food I took everywhere around the world.

I travel alone sometimes, I go dine alone, and I really enjoy it, maybe that's me being antisocial a bit?
I take photos of food with extensive carefulness, I think at one point they are talking to me through it.
When I do feel like being alone, I almost always eat, so food represents that antisocial part of me.
Then I think of all the weight issues and bulimia nervosa, I think food sometimes make people feel alone, and helpless.

Those are just my interpretations.
When I look at some really fine dishes, I feel happy. I know it has been made with full heart. I know a chef who has been cooking for over 40 years, he has won many awards in the field, he owned a big french restaurant in the U.S once, but now after retiring, he still wakes up every morning at 6 am to go shop for the best freshest ingredients of the day for customers of his little fusion restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan. He does not need to do it for money, or survival, he simply make food for customers because he likes to do.

From the photos you could possibly tell my obsession for all kinds of food, among one, there is japanese food. For that I'd elaborate a bit more, there is this most stunning documentary I've ever seen called "Jiro dreams of Sushi". There is this man who opened a sushi restaurant in Japan, and he makes possibly the best sushi in the world. He has been making sushi for his whole life now he is more than 90 years old, he still does it everyday. I think that's just where it touched me, the aspect of knowing to not take food for granted. Those delicate, warming, nutrient, delicious, pretty food are made with efforts and times. We should always appreciate them, even when alone!

So much to be said, here is the link to my flickr account : click me!
For the snapfish photobook layout, click here!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A fantasy with Lynda Barry

Ever since I attended Lawrence, I have been to three convocations in total. the last two were merely memorable, but this recent one with Lynda Barry is definitely staying in my memory.

anyways, How could I not like this convocation when it started with such a beautiful piece of of music?

Lynda Barry herself was hilarious of course. But what I really liked is that she conveyed important ideas through funny and easy-to-understand manners, not many people could have done as well as her.  She talked about what is an image,  what has art done for us and so on. I especially remembers when she mentioned that, when a adult engages in creating art, his brain looks the same as a child who is in deep play. That stroke me at first, but then it makes so much sense. Honest artists bring the most innocent and primary parts of their senses and ideas to their work, that is exactly the same as a child in deep play, nothing else bothers him, nothing else interests him, it's only him and his fantasy world. That really touched me.

Another part that intrigues me is when Lynda told the story of asking people who gave up drawing in their early years to draw some simple patterns. She showed and described how the lines of their drawings were filled with thrill and terror. Somehow that silenced the whole audiences. That made me think about what art can do. And I do not think there is a simple answer, what I felt is complicated, and that sort of attached, shocking, melancholy feeling still remains. I probably have to ask myself about this for a while.

So I'd like to end this post with my favorite quote of this wonderful convocation, as for the same hearts of the art-loving folks out there

"we don't create a fantasy to escape form reality, we create them to stay."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dream - a sense of losing space and time

"The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past" ---- Marshall Mcluhan

as I read the part where Mcluhan talked about time and space, this was the sentence that I related to the most. It is so true, that every time when I am dealing with something or someone new, I always got so attached to it, and just put everything behind. And ONLY when the new "thing" came to me, I could really let bygones be bygones. But this is just a very personal interpretation of what Mcluhan said.

As for the video, I tried hard to approach the sense of losing track of space and time visually in the first place. I used video camera in a completely dark space and then added the smoke and lightening aside, then filmed how the smoke goes around in the air. I named it dream because that was how I came up with the idea. Whenever I tried to recall a dream, I got this dizzy and smoky image of the scenes, and the pieces of images were usually not as vivid as the actual world, more grey and white. I used smoke as my primary medium because it really gives me that sense of dreamy feeling. How I achieved this is by using a lightening diffuser. I also added one of my all-time favorite "weird" song to the background, because it evokes the same sort of dreamy and dizzy feeling out of me. Also I added the sound of waters flowing and tides waving to the video, so it feels like something is going on in this " dream", but because it is so blurry and dark one just could not tell what it is. And that is exactly what happened to me when I recall a dream that's so distant to me. And I deliberately made the music stop all of sudden, leaving only the smoke floating and the sound of water, for me that is the moment when one wakes up, just one second and the dream world is gone, but our thoughts still linger on it.

How the video relates to this particular assignment is a bit complicated. When we dream, our senses get distorted. there is no sense of time, sometimes people dream for 5 minutes but when they wake up, they would feel like just had a long day. Of course there is no track of space either, because everything was not real.

Hope this video makes whomever's watching feel the same way!  And I hope you like the sound too!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter is really pretty
if you just see it from there

"confession of this blog"

as for me, photos are a way of recording what I see and how I feel in a silent motion. And it is probably my closest relationship with art.

I have used several different kinds of tools,  SLRs, digital cameras, film cameras, instant cameras and of course, cell phones. But my favorite of all ,  is digital cameras. They are small, portable, handy, and with the right choice they capture the moment just as amazing as expensive single lens reflex would do.  Most of times, they do render a rather plain image, but I love that simple texture too. I think they have a sense of reality.

I took photos for fun, never learned and studied anything about photography.  However, I do think my perspective of photography came from several resources that I was exposed to when I was young.

I was not a fan of photography when I was a kid, but I was very attracted by pictures in fairy tale books, traditional chinese water colors, Ghibli movies, and any kinds of watery color images. Now I think of Chritian Anderson's fairy tales, the pictures that accompanied the stories pop up on my mind. And I will be posting about all kinds of inspirational works I've encountered earlier in the blog.

However, most of time I prefer the view not the people.
(Well if people just happen to be in the picture, that is fine)
I love it when the picture reminds me of feelings I had at a specific moment.
As I consider all of my pictures sort of intimate, what I appreciate best is how pictures can provoke different interpretations when shared..

There was one time that my friend just had a break up and she saw one of my pictures on a social websites, later she told me that somehow that picture made her feel better and she used it as her pc's wallpaper. That one picture somehow had a healing power for her. That was the first time that I realized that the picture I've taken is mine, but it can also be more than that. And that is exactly what I am interested in for now--- the power of an image to speak for itself in ways that's open to interpretations and make people feel able to relate to. But the most important part it, the image has to be honest. I am not referring to photoshop or other kinds of post editing, but the part that it was taken in an honest way. That's a bit hard to explain, so I'll let my pictures speak for themselves.

And another reason that I prefer taking pictures of the "nature" rather than people is that I think any places look best when it's natural. People pose, but the nature always stay the same. yet, everybody would have taken different pictures even if they were asked to take photos of the exact same thing on the same spot. That is where the intimacy of the picture taker and the nature itself blends in. I could not explain clearly how I feel about it--- but in a nutshell, I love exploring all that.

 If you happened to have watched the movie "My neighbor Totoro",
 you'd feel what I feel
 that Mei-chan had just ran through the pathway with the corns in her arms.

    the ultimate way of artificial romance
    fires in the summer breeze
    lights up the winter darkness
    short-lived as a summer bug, yet lingers for long in the hearts

    happy new year everyone
   kyoto in fall

  if i make a list of my favorite pictures 
  this goes on to top 3
  even though there's nothing so great about it
  it is so ordinary
  it was taken by a normal digital camera on a random morning
  I think it was in the spring
  But whenever I see this picture,
  I feel happy and tranquil 

    sunset at heian shrine
    When I visited kyoto, I know there is a place I have to visit
    that's where charlotte went alone in "Lost in Translation", the heian shrine
    As I stepped where she stepped in the movie, I think I know what she was seeing and thinking
    and there it was, the moment when the sun sets so beautifully

    an overview of paris I took while standing in front of Basilique du Sacré-Coeur 
    it was said to be the highest point in Paris,
    Paris was, and probably still is the most beloved city 
    As I walked by the chaotic streets in Montmartre, through the happy crowds in Sq Villette
    I finally get to see the city spreading it's greatness in the sunglow, non-throbbingly
if there's anything so Chinese about the nature in China
I'd say the bamboo
there used to be many great poems about it
bamboo represents an unyielding and strong spirit
and whenever I see that watery green, 
I can't help but staring for long
even though I do not even remember a complete sentence of those poems any more