People Connecting with Food and Each Other

Food has helped to form many of the important bonds I have in my life. It has brought me closer to people in ways many things can not. Breaking bread with people allows you to understand the person, from their eating habits, their likes and dislikes, and anything that comes into conversation. In most societies, food is a communal affair. You eat with those around you and words are exchanged. Relationships are formed and celebrated with food. When you go out on a date, food is usually part of that event. Holidays are not truly holidays without grand meal. Food is a necessity to our livelihood, but it is also important to the social aspect of our life. It is a part of our identity. It signifies our interests and gives people insight into who we are. In a sense, the saying, “you are what you eat” can considered to be true. If you are filled with warm, delicious good food, it generally makes you a warm and happy person at the time. Give someone a cold cheese sandwich, most of the time they aren’t the happiest campier. Of course this is all situational, but food and hunger does tie into our personal happiness. This sentiment is also echoed in the saying, “The way to any man’s heart is his stomach.”

Penny De Los Santos thoughts on photographing food are similar with opinion of food. She sees it as a means for us to communicate to one another, even though we may not understand each other at times. Food transcends language. It is something that we all understand and need in our lives. Precious moments are shared with people where there is food and when it is absent. The food that we eat signifies our culture, our well-being, and our relationships with each other. Some food for thought is that food is more about the time shared with each other or our thoughts, rather than the food itself. Sure you can enjoy some delicious spaghetti all by yourself, but this information is something you would share with someone else. In instances where you eat alone, you still find a way to connect with others. Food is about people and we would not people without food.

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Environmental Portrait Series: Jeffrey Cruz

Jeffrey Cruz has been dancing for close to 10 years now and he continues to grow and excel in this creative art form. These images are a peak into the creative process of a choreographer and dancer. Just like photography, it takes patience to decide what is the perfect moment. Dance requires your entire body in order to illustrate the message you are delivering. This was a fun shoot to do since it was a very organic flow. I gave him very minimal direction when it came to the shots. I told him just to go through his process and we both just got lost in creating.

Catherine Opie

I love Catherine Opie’s understanding of time. She plays with the concept of time throughout all of her work. Each standstill moment captured in her photographs depicts such emotion and vibrance that is very unique. I really enjoy her documentary style photographs and how she mixes it with landscape aspects. Her work is so interesting due to it’s multi-layered nature. You can tell from her work that she really understands people, no matter if that is her subject or not. She know how to pull emotion out of image and have it speak to her viewers. Just by looking at her work, you can tell she is a very interesting person and that there is something to learn from her. I like that she is a an all-around photographer and not being stuck with a certain niche. It makes her more versatile and more dangerously creative. It allows her overlap concepts, ultimately making her work more interesting. The concept of time and fleeting moments is something that really stayed with me when viewing Opie’s work. It is in those fleeting moments that we can truly learn about ourselves and the environment involved.

Narrative Portrait: Daniel Kirk

This is Daniel Kirk. He is a close friend of mine, someone that I also consider to be a brother. I have watched him grow into his potential as a dancer and I must say, I am so proud of him. Day in and day out he continues to better himself and those that he directs on the team I helped found. I will continue to watch his growth because I know he will go far in his dance career. He has so much ahead of him and it always excites me when he has new stories to tell about his dance adventures.

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Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

Dorothea Lange lived quite a life. Something I can definitely see in her is resilience. A lot of them it seemed like she the cards stacked against her but she made it work for her. She was able to have her voice heard and it was game changer for the photography world. Her images showed the truth. She showed real people going through their real lives. Her depiction of people is a testament of true story telling. Her work evokes such emotion. I think the reason she is able to pull out so much emotion in her work is due to her emotionally rocky family relationships. Having felt her own emotional discomfort, she was able to recognize distress in others. This then would lead to her very captivating, emotional pieces of work. I truly appreciate black and white photography so much more after being exposed to more of her work. It truly adds to her way of story telling. The way she plays with light captivates her audience and lets them know that this alone can only have been done by her.

Portraiture with Chris Orwig and Charles Stagg

It is always nice to see an artist like Charles Stag that is proud of their work but not too boastful. He is very modest about his grand creations. There was a bunch of interesting light going on in his little glass bottle house. I also like seeing how other photographers work, it helps me to add to my workflow when I’m shooting. Having new ways to look at photography and art makes it refreshing every time you go out to create.

I really liked Charles Stagg’s quote, “Happiness is not having to measure anything.” We get so busy thinking about how we can reach perfection and we sometimes lose track of our creativity. The more organic a creative processes usually lead to more interesting work. I definitely tend to gravitate towards images that feel a bit more organic than completely posed. A mixture of the two is always nice as well.

I can definitely agree with Chris Orwig that photography allows for a unique privilege to get to know people. We get certain into their lives that wouldn’t really happen in a different scenario. There is something about a person opening up their world to you visually that really stimulates creativity. In the case of Chris Orwig and Charles Stagg, Chris was really feeding off of Charles Stagg. He began to be more and more creative as he entered more and more into his world.

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I create to inspire. May it be myself or my peers. Creating fuels me to continue to creating. It allows me to connect with people at a different level. Sometimes it gets really personal and sometimes I am able to see a part of people that they don’t really see themselves. People are what make photography enjoyable with me. Interacting other creatives and having others in front of my camera. Human interaction is as essential to my work as it is to life. I aspire to be able to capture all the fleeting moments that will never exist again.