Happy 2018 y’all!!!
I can’t believe we’re already nearly halfway through January. I feel like I’ve lost all perception of time. I haven’t made a post on here in almost two months, I haven’t been shooting a ton, and I’ve also been going through a rough time creatively. I took photos yesterday with two of my dear friends (which I’m sharing in this post– the model and makeup artist actually came up with the concept before I joined this project, so the credit for concept all goes to them– my brilliant friends) and a couple days ago did a really fun birthday shoot for a client, so I’m slowly easing myself back into it.
Model: PS Kaguya
Makeup: Laura Shynn
I’ve been feeling drained recently. I think social media makes us feel entitled to other people’s lives a little bit, and it’s double hard as an artist because the pressure to constantly post content (because our livelihood often depends on it) is too much for me to handle right now. I think it’s too much for a lot of people to handle. I feel worn down and at a point right now where I’m questioning my work and what it all means.
I got a normal job which I start next month. It’s just a restaurant job, but I’m so excited to step back for a while and not constantly think about self doubt. I realized it’s important to put myself first, and to remember that no one is entitled to my work (or a constant stream of it).
We’re all allowed to put ourselves first, and I know that this isn’t the first time in my life I’ve had to put my career on hold in order to allow myself to heal mentally, and I’m trying to accept now that this is 100% okay to do.
With that said, I do have some amazing work lined up for February which I had previously booked so I can’t back out now– not that I would, because I love these projects. But when they’re over I can finally breathe again <3
Take care of yourselves y’all
Hi hi hi!!
It’s Thanksgiving weekend!! and I don’t believe in Thanksgiving for obvious reasons (like, I don’t celebrate genocide obviously) but it’s always a good time to see family and friends who you normally don’t get to see because it seems like everyone in the world is always busy. Yesterday I got to meet Meiying Thai, a fellow Vietnamese-American artist and curator. I’ve been a part of an ongoing project that she started a while ago, and it was so nice to meet her face to face and eat pie and drink wine together. And her mom sent me home with some turkey (Meiying told me that her mother is the patron saint of feeding lost artists. It’s true). And then I got to see a bunch of friends from my old job. I hope everyone got to spend some time with those they love <3
Anyway, the other week I went to Switzerland to shoot landscapes for a super cool project for Brave Wave Productions. I met Mohammed, their creative director, at Zurich airport, and we spent five days just taking the train around and shooting in different cities and eating way too much chocolate.
We spent our first day in Thun, where I got within two feet of a swan for the first time in my life (!!!). The weather was pretty gloomy but fortunately gloomy weather is my absolute favorite. We attempted to climb up to Thun Castle, but it was closed so we couldn’t enter. We did spend some time hanging around outside the castle though, and I took some pictures on my phone. We returned to the castle another day instead.
The following day we went to Interlaken from Thun via boat. I took the most stunning photos of my life on this boat ride. Most people on the boat were having brunch, so I very clearly looked like a tourist in comparison. I spent most of the time shooting on Mohammed’s 85mm f/1.4 which I fell in love with, and now I’m looking into getting an 85mm lens myself.
Interlaken itself was also a stunning city– I really loved all the architecture there. And the mountain views with all the fog. I think autum was really the best time for me to go to Switzerland, because everything was so colorful.
After spending a day and a half in Interlaken, we went to Zurich, where I didn’t take too many photos but instead spent most of the time napping, editing photos from the previous days, and eating more chocolate. I did spend a long time at the river watching this elderly woman feed the birds one day, though. I love birds, especially big birds. We just have small ugly pigeons in New York (sorry New York birds but y’all have pooped on me too many times for me to still like you) so this was extra exciting for me.
On our last full day in Switzerland, we took the train from Zurich to Lugano.
The climate in Lugano, which is the largest city in Switzerland’s Italian speaking region, was completely different from that of Zurich. It was sunny, with deep blue skies, and was warm. At some point I took my coat off, and we walked around the park and lake before having pizza for lunch, which was transformative because it was the first time in my life I’ve ever had egg on a pizza. It was life changing.
And for sunset, we went to the top of Monte Bre. I don’t need to write about this because there are no words to describe it.
After dark, we took the train back to Zurich, where I filled my suitcase up with chocolate the next day and flew back home to New York. Tragic.
Switzerland was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my life and I hope I can return again some day! Thank you so much to Mohammed for having me. I can’t wait to show everyone what we worked on there!
Hi everyone, I hope you’re all doing well!
I’m currently in Switzerland shooting landscape photos for Brave Wave, a Japan based record label. My sleep schedule is still totally off, so I’ve been up for most of the night and now I’m making this post at 8:30 AM from my Airbnb in Zurich.
Two weekends ago, after months of attempting, I finally got to do this shoot with Annika, who is one of my best friends, and Carina, who I hadn’t met previously but had been following for a while. Carina came up with the concept, really– if styled appropriately, she and Annika could definitely pass for creepy twins. It was fate that Sideara (who I shot for the first time over the summer) found Carina on instagram just a few days before this shoot, and we got her involved as a triplet.
Models: Annika White, Carina Allen, and Sideara St. Claire
Styled by Carina, with accessories and clothing from NIN3 and Feng Sway.
Shot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, November 2017.
I’m so glad we finally got to shoot these images after 2+ months of planning. I love these girls, and they’re all multi-talented. All three of them are actually talented photographers as well, and Carina was the perfect stylist for these photos. NIN3 is actually owned by Sideara, who also designs their jewelry, including the earrings shown here.
And lastly, Sideara is in a new Amazon pilot called Sea Oak directed by Hiro Murai and starring Glenn Close. If you have Prime, please watch it and leave a positive review so she can get her first real job– she totally deserves it! <3
Wow hi! So I did my first engagement shoot. I was always like, I’m never doing an engagement shoot. I’m not that kind of person. I won’t do engagements, or like, baby portraits, or whatever. None of that, I’m too cool! I was wrong– both about never doing an engagement shoot, and about being too cool, because I’m not cool. I don’t even know why I let that get to my head.
Last month, when I was in Los Angeles, the radiant/beautiful inside and out Lindsey had me take engagement photos for her and her fiance Zach. She told she didn’t want any of the traditional beach or forest shots, and opted to shoot at the Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles instead. Months ago, she got three tickets– one for her, one for Zach, and a third one for a photographer, and texted me asking me if I would be in LA in October (I said, I can be!!!).
This was a super fun shoot. Lindsey and Zach were easygoing and made my first engagement shoot seamless despite my nerves. And they’re a really stunning couple. And I got to eat ice cream and chocolate and gummy bears?? My dream.
Thank you to Lindsey and Zach for having me! Also, I’m going to take this quick opportunity to plug Lindsey’s work even though no one asked, because she’s a photographer/retoucher whose portraits I love. My favorites are her pet photographs! Here’s her website and pet portfolio.
Hi everyone! Happy Halloween!
I personally don’t celebrate Halloween in any way and I haven’t dressed up for it since I was 14 years old but it’s still a good excuse to take some cute costume-y type photos, if you’re the type of person who needs an excuse to do that.
When I was in Los Angeles the other week, my friend Sadie and I got a room at an hourly motel, and I invited my friend Jenny over to model for us. I was super stoked about this shoot because 1.) I love seedy hourly motels, but this one had a heart shaped bathtub with hearts painted on the ceiling which is my absolute dreaaaam and 2.) Jenny has the most amazing style, and I knew that whatever she brought would look great there. To avoid doing anything way too kitschy (the location was already kitschy itself), she did two Halloween inspired looks, knowing that it would be perfect for this month. The first look was a spider web lace set from Ashley Graham and the second look featured a badass bunny mask.
Hope y’all enjoy these special pictures <3 if you make it to the end there’s a video of compiled behind the scene footage!
I hope that today you eat all the candy your heart desires, and if not, that all the candy sales starting tomorrow treat you well!
Two months ago, I shot a photo essay for The Photographic Journal with my dear friend Annika at the New York Transit Museum. It was just published on their site yesterday.
I don’t want to write about it too much here, but these photos are special to me, and you can read and view the full thing up on TPJ’s website.
Here’s a sneak peek– I hope you take a look on TPJ and like it! :)
Hi! Wow so I realized I need to get better at naming my blog posts because my complete lack of creativity is really shining through here.
Last week, my friends Sadie, Morella, Sheila, and I went to the Madonna Inn, which is something I had been wanting to do for over two years. And I finally got to do it!! We booked two rooms, Carin and Floral Fantasy, and I took pictures of all three of them there after we first spent a few hours drinking champagne and sitting in the hot tub (and rolling around on the carpet, because their carpet is really, really soft).
Last week, I took a flight from New York City to Phoenix, Arizona, which is not something I ever thought I would willingly do. It was never on my list of places to visit. But several months ago, my cousin Myha told me she had a work trip in Scottsdale planned for early October, and asked if I would join her the weekend before her conference started to do a short trip through the state. Neither of us had ever been to the Grand Canyon before, so it was a good time for us to do it. She flew in from Minneapolis, we met at the airport, got a car, and started our drive to Sedona– a cute, small touristy town about two hours north of Phoenix.
On our way to Sedona, we pulled off the highway at Bumble Bee to look at cacti. Myha was super excited because she’s from Minnesota, and Minnesota has no cacti, lol.
From Bumble Bee, it was another hour to Sedona. We actually hit Sedona right towards the end of sunset. We checked into our lodge there and had dinner at Elote Cafe, which had the best empanadas I’ve ever had in my life. We also went to an art gallery and talked to some local artists (and bought some ceramics). My cousin picked the town as a stop for us and I didn’t know anything about it but I was kind of surprised by how closely knit their local arts community there seemed, which is something I wish were the same for New York.
The next morning, we woke up at 5 AM (something we would continue to do for the remainder of our trip) to hike up Cathedral Rock, a popular hiking spot in Sedona. We made it there a little after sunrise started, and hiked about 1/5 of the way up before we realized we were way too afraid of heights to keep going, lol.
After breakfast and packing our things, we got in the car for another few hours and drove to Page, a city that attracts viewers due to its close proximity to Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon. We went to Horseshoe Bend, completely underestimating how scary it would be for us, and army crawled to the ledge. Some people laughed us, but we weren’t going to risk dying that way. I managed to get ~the~ quintessential tourist shot of Horseshoe Bend on my iPhone by lying flat on the rock, closing my eyes, lifting my arm over my head, and clicking the shutter. I didn’t even see it in person!
The following day, we visited Antelope Canyon, which was definitely the highlight of the trip for me (other than the potato empanadas at Elote Cafe in Sedona).
Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land, and you have to book a tour with one of the companies run by Navajo families in order to get in. We went with Ken’s Tours at Lower Antelope, and were unexpectedly fit into an earlier time slot than our reservation since we showed up early and there was space. Our guide was a friendly young man named Nolan, who was super nice to everyone– he was helping people change their cameras to the ideal settings and going out of his way to do things for people that he didn’t have to do. He told us the story of how Antelope Canyon was created according to Navajo tradition, which was so important to hear because what I read online previously was white people’s words when this land had a history before white people.
After Antelope, we drove to the Grand Canyon and waited for sunset. We ended up viewing the sunset right by Yavapai Geological Museum on the south rim of the canyon.
And for sunrise, we went to Mather Point, which was a little more crowded but still had a beautiful view.
We spent the rest of the morning viewing the canyon from different points of the south rim, and by noon we were on our way back to Scottsdale for Myha’s work. We spent the last day at her hotel, and I flew out for LA the next morning while she was at her conference. Arizona turned out to be a really beautiful state, and by the time I left I was actually feeling pretty sad. As soon as I got to the airport I was already missing Myha, who despite living halfway across the country from me for most of my life and being 14.5 years older than me, has always remained emotionally close. When I was a kid she was the one taking all the family pictures, and over the years we really bonded over our mutual love for photography. I’m about to cry writing this so I’m going to stop, lol. But yeah this was my trip to a beautiful state <3 Thank you for reading and have a nice day!!
The other week I shot Olivia Wilson @ Jag Models! We had so much fun running to several different spots around Brooklyn to take these.
Model/styling by Olivia Wilson (@ohhdoubleyou)
Makeup by Laura Shynn (@laurashynnart)
We started the shoot by shooting on my block. There are so many cute houses on my street! I spotted an adorable pink house with hanging potted plants in front of it last month, which I hadn’t noticed before despite living in the same building for three years.
Olivia then drove us over to my friend Annika’s apartment. Annika has the cutest apartment in the world probably. Thank you Annika for letting us shoot at your place I love you!!
Our next look was shot at Wild Oleander (@wild_oleander), a retro, 70s paradise in nail salon form in Bushwick. We were allowed to take a few shots there so I also wanted to thank Sandra and Jessica for being so gracious! I would totally recommend going there for a manicure– I’m obsessed with their nail art. Since I’m a musician though, I don’t get my nails done because they would just get ruined ;_; Y’all have to go to live out my adorable manicure dreams for me though! You can check out their beautiful, vibrant, and super fun nail art here.
And for the last set of images, we just went back to my apartment and did some studio shots with a pink light and my baby blue backdrop which is at the very end of its life </3
One of my favorite things to do when someone approaches me to shoot is asking them what their preferred color palette is. My work revolves around color and location scouting with a specific palette in mind is one of the best challenges. Location scouting is definitely one of my favorite parts of my process, and for this particular shoot, I was so excited to hunt down pastel pink, blue, and yellow places!
I really had a blast during this shoot. Olivia was great to work with, and so was Laura! I haven’t known Laura for very long but she brought wine to our first shoot together and we watched Kitchen Nightmares during our break so I knew it was meant to be, so I asked her to join Olivia and me. Olivia was super sweet, easy to shoot with, and did an amazing job at styling herself <3 Here’s more to working with amazing women for the rest of this year and the rest of my life.
I’ve never done this before but I thought I’d start sharing my photos via blog posts. I find Instagram to be pretty limiting because of the pressure to keep my feed looking pristine (because it’s 2017 and artists use Instagram as their portfolio, lol) and my site is only supposed to show the best of the best, but I’m proud of and love so many more of my photos that aren’t posted on either platform.
It’s Monday, September 25th and summer technically ended three days ago. I had a really turbulent summer full of all kinds of weird emotions. If I hadn’t dropped out of school, I would have graduated in May. Everyone else I know did, but I feel like now that all my former peers are no longer in school, this summer I really started to move on and stopped comparing myself to other people. Success is not linear, especially when you’re an artist.
My summer started off with a trip to Iceland with three friends– Sadie, Flora, and Roshi. We stayed in a country cottage by a river, ate a lot of pasta and instant noodles and hot dogs because we couldn’t afford anything else, and were on a mission the entire time to spot the cutest animals (and if you love cute animals, Iceland has a lot of them. Everywhere). And we made our first short film.
After we wrapped up our time in Iceland, Flora, Roshi, and I (tearfully, at least internally, lol) said our goodbyes to Sadie who flew back to Los Angeles, and headed to France. We stayed with Flora’s mother in a suburb outside of Paris for the first two days before making our way to the city, where I met up with my friend Alex who I hadn’t seen in years.
After a week in France, I went back home to New York where I spent most of the rest of the summer exploring seedy motels, seeing old friends, and eating a lot of tortilla chips.
And! I went to California in early July and reunited with Sadie and our friend Chloe to shoot a video for Dre Green, a musician whose music I immensely adore and respect. We drove out to the desert and booked the cutest motel for the shoot. Afterwards, I went back to my friend Morella’s apartment in Los Angeles. We’ve been friends since 7th grade when we met in Yearbook class, and I stay with her every time I visit LA. For the 4th of July we went camping with her friends in a 1970s camper bus that I loved so much that I didn’t want to leave it to explore outside. LA was/is a dream and I always look forward to returning <3
I could write about my entire summer in detail but I’ll spare you the pain since 1.) I’m not good at writing, at all; 2.) pictures say more than words anyway probably and 3.) the more I think about summer the sadder I get because I don’t think I’m ready to embrace fall yet.
I just wanted to do an introductory post, but hopefully I’ll be doing more of these in the future.
Lil Bao Wow