Some thoughts on the art of photography

Instagram bugs me.  I can consent to the fact that it’s a nifty little application for people who want to make their pictures look less typical.  I still yearn for the days when people expressed their creativity by adjusting the ISO and aperture as well as picking the right lens for the scene in front of them.  Some guy buys a $1000 DSLR and takes a few pictures at their friend’s wedding and all of a sudden, he is a “professional”.  No.  No.  No.  No.  Professionals have a distinct style, and a certain eye that captures details that a guy playing with an expensive toy doesn’t see.

Of course, I say all this without an ounce of talent for photography.  It’s one of those things I readily observe, but have no skill to put into practice.  My personal picture-taking habits consists of trying to capture memories.

Five years ago, I went to see the Academy Is.  After hearing them at Warped, I was looking forward to a night of energetic pop songs to dance and sing along to.  It was one of those nights where I started to feel how old I was getting because there were a lot of young teenage girls around me, screaming for the lead singer to marry them.  I didn’t even know what the name of the lead singer was!  But pretty soon, I paid them little attention since I was too busy enjoying myself.  At one point, during one of my beloved song (Down and Out), the lead singer forgot the lyrics and I was the only one who shout/sang out the ending to “Bookends, Blue, and Clarity / to the Wall and Grace / Darkside, Wish AND A TOAST TO THE LATE FIGURE 8”.  I still remember the sheepish look the lead singer gave me, but graciously grinned and carried on with the song.

Then something amazing happens at the end of the show.  The drummer steps up as his band mates trot off stage and I see him scan the crowd.  I don’t think much of it, drumsticks, set lists, guitar picks get thrown out to the crowd on a regular basis.  They never come near me, anyway.  So he hurls a stick out to the crowd, and it goes to the far left of me.  So far left, that the girls who were around me running towards it would never have had a chance to even graze it.  I wasn’t an idiot… I’m not going to go running towards a used drumstick!!!  But the heart of the young does strange things to people, and the girls run towards to the elusive drumstick that has been touched by a guy with a pretty good beat.  As the area around me has thinned, the drummer makes eye contact with me, nods, and throws it out… and it’s coming straight towards me.  This whole commotion was probably spanning less than thirty seconds, but I was watching the drumstick come towards me like it was in slow motion, and I still vividly remember thinking “No freakin’ way.  Did he *really* meant for me to catch this?  What the hell, might as well stick my hand up and see what happens.” And there was was… smack dab, square right in the palm of my hand and IT’S MINE.  What a memory to be commemorated with a photograph.

I remember university to be a bit of a blur.  I might have learned a few things.  There was one absolutely dangerous lesson I somehow learned about underage drinking.  There was one night that a couple of friends wanted to see some local bands and luckily, it was at an all ages venue that served drinks if you could prove you were over 19.  So, we went, we had a few drinks, I was a lightweight then, being in my first year, and it didn’t take much for me to get hammered.  I made it home, slept it off, and woke up the next day pondering whether I should blow off my calculus class.  Aside from a vague fuzzy feeling, I was feeling fine… energetic, even.  (My seventeen year old self is such a bitch for having the energy of a seventeen year old.)  So, I headed to campus… I’d paid my tuition, might as well occupy a seat.

Upon my arrival the lecture hall, a few minutes early even, I begin to notice that my classmates had a sort of panicked look amongst them, and they were furtively looking at their notes.  I didn’t have much time to process it before we were let into the room.  I was still a little curious about their obsessiveness, but I had a good night so I shrug and daydream about it.  Then, the professor comes in with a stack of papers in his arms and says “I hope you’re all prepared for this midterm.”

MIDTERM?!?!?!?!  WHAT MIDTERM?!  Well, it was too late to fake being sick, as I’m sitting there and all.  So, what is a girl to do than take a big breath and just do the best she can do from what she remembered about previous lectures?  And that was all I could really do.  I go through it, do the calculus questions as best as I could, breath a sigh of relief as I reached the end and got to leave the disastrous experience behind.

I put it out of my mind for a week, and then the dreaded time came when the professor comes back with the same stack of papers, but marked this time.  I reluctantly shuffled to the front and went digging for my name, preparing for the worst.  And then I see my name, and then next to my name on the top of the exam paper:

97%

What the hell was that?!  I checked, and I checked, and I checked… to make sure I didn’t grab someone else’s paper, that those were the actual numbers, and that the marks were given for my answers and not because the professor was absentmindedly marking the answers right when they weren’t.  But it all came down to one conclusion… after a night of drinking and staying out way too late to be called responsible, forgetting that I had a math midterm, definitely not studying for it, I ended up getting a better grade than I would have if I had been a diligent student.  Oh yes, that really set the course for pretty much the rest my university days.  Fun times.

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Source of Inspiration

Listen to Andrew McMahon (Jacks Mannequin, Something Corporate).

He has answers to a lot of life’s worries.

Some Days All I do is Watch the Sky

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that the biggest source of inspiration to me is music.  Kris Roe has been one constant in my life where I can put his music in and just relax.  My admiration grows each time I see him in person.  I don’t think there is anyone else out there who has provided me with such guidance to life, from the beauty of his lyrics to the example he sets about pursuing one’s dreams.

Last time I saw Kris Roe, he was selling his photography prints at the merch table as well as the assorted band merch.  I had way too many ataris t-shirts already, so I decided to show my support by picking out a few prints.

Amazingly, he had the print from the cover of his second album.  It’s an album that inspires me to this day, and I never really noticed the beauty of the album beyond the songs on it.  But looking at the cover sleeve now and looking at the effort he put in to frame the sign against the sky… it’s just right.

Lately, when I have been having a bad day, all I have to do is come home and take a look at this.  Then, I am reminded that as stormy as life can be, the days of blue skies will come.

Punk Rock Princess / Ice Queen

“Maybe when the door gets broke down, love can break in”

Punk Rock Princess by Something Corporate has been my “anthem” for as long as I can remember. Even though I have grown up quite a bit since the song was released over ten years ago, the song has stuck with me.  It reminds me of who I used to be, who I am now, and who I strive to be in the future.  There’s always room for improvement, and reflecting on who I used to be helps me reflect on the changes I’ve made in my life and the changes that are yet to come.

I don’t usually give my crafts and art titles, but when my friends visit my place and ask about her, I have always referred to her as “The Ice Queen”.  On a superficial level, it’s because winter is my favourite season, and at the time of her creation, it was during a heat wave in the middle of summer and I was yearning for a cold winter day where I could just curl up with a cat at my feet without sweating on his fur.  On a deeper level, I suppose one can say that she’s a subconscious reflection of my personality.  At that moment in time, I would rather see the world covered in snow than to see spring bloom.

But a quick cursory glance at her would not tell the whole story.  Anyone who bothered to spend the time for a closer inspection will see that the words written on her are all Something Corporate lyrics that speak of “home”.

So she is not cold all over… just more comfortable around ice and snow.  Eventually, the memories of home will melt the ice, and flowers will blossom.  It’s just inevitable progress in life.  And it’s one of many snapshots during a thin slice of life.

“I never thought you’d last, I never dream you would.  You watch your life go past, you wonder if you should”

She’s a black cat hanging ’round my doorstep

Partly inspired, partly plagiarized, I created some resin accessories based on the new Jack’s Mannequin album “People and Things”.

At the end of October last year, I once again saw my Hero 1.2 live in concert.  He was as brilliant as always; to support the band, I bought some merch and one of the items was a song book of lyrics and art designs that represented each song on “People and Things”.   This particular hair clip image was from “My Racing Thoughts”.  It is not my favourite on the album, but it does have a really good line “She’s a black cat hanging ’round my doorstep.”  The mechanical cat is probably my favourite image from that book.

Using the same image, I also made earrings, a necklace and a second set of hair clips to give to my best friends.  I wish I had taken pictures of those, but they were given over the Winter Holidays already.  At some point, when they wear them out in public, I will get an opportunity to take pictures of them.

In the meantime, I have my own clips to remind me how amazing and inspirational Andrew McMahon’s lyrics have been.