In the summer of 2010, I traveled to Idaho to visit my grand parents at their lake cabin and took a side trip to Montana’s Yellowstone Park. That was definitely the most incredible part of the trip. Overall, Montana had a very rugged, natural beauty. It was like nothing I had seen before back in the Northeast and I treasured everything I saw there.
Yellowstone was akin to going to another planet. Everywhere I looked, there was steam rising from mysterious looking, bubbling pools and magnificent vistas of mountains. Apparently, the pools were sulfur springs and animals gathered around them for warmth during the winter months.While driving around in Yellowstone, my family and I also saw tons of buffalo walking alongside the road. It was like they could care less about the presence of humans. We were in their territory. In the picture I took above, there is one lying down by one of the sulfur springs.
I stayed at the Old Faithful Inn during my trip. The rooms are pretty old-fashioned and spare but visitors at the inn get to see the famous Old Faithful geyser. Interestingly enough, it starts off slowly and then eventually builds up to a powerful jet of water. It is very much like a water version of a volcano. Besides the Old Faithful attraction, the food is also quite tasty — I highly recommend their buffalo steaks.
For anyone who likes nature, Yellowstone is a unique place to go to. It has everything from petrified trees to intriguing rock formations. There’s nothing quite like it.
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring. Who, being loved, is poor?” ~Oscar Wilde
I am a freelance photographer working mostly in digital medium, although when I started out I shot on film. I am trying to find my way back to film and developing the prints myself again.
4) Links to/Examples of your work:
5) Brief biography:
I am an LA native, born in Torrance and raised in Santa Monica. I got my first camera when I was a senior in high school and fell in love with photography. Up until that point I had tried my hand at everything: painting, sculpting, sketching, but nothing held my interest like photography. I plunged head first into this new love and reached out to others in the community, despite my lack of confidence in myself at that age. I soon found myself with an apprenticeship with a well-known fashion and celebrity photographer from France, who taught me how the industry works. At this point in my life I am just emerging from that state, developing my self as an artist, and venturing further into the challenging world of the self-employed.
1) What does wholehearted and mindful living mean to you?
I believe that wholehearted and mindful living means following your dreams, living life to its fullest, and being true to yourself while still being aware of other people’s wants, needs, and boundaries.
2) How do you practice wholehearted and mindful living?
At this point I am living more wholeheartedly than mindfully. I am following my dreams and being true to who I am. I am venturing out to work on my own projects. I am trying to work the way I want for the people I want. I am living, for the most part, in a way that makes me happy. But I stay conscious of those around me and I do my best to treat everyone and everything with respect. But, I do feel that I have room to grow. I think that that is true of everyone.
3) What or who inspires you?
I think inspiration is more broad than loving just one or two artists. Inspiration can come from the smallest things: wind in trees, sunsets, by losing yourself in a moment and feeling at peace. As far as people go, I am inspired by anyone who is brave enough to go their own way and do their own thing despite what the cultural norm is.
4) Answer this quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild, and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver
I wish I had the answer to this question. But, to be honest, I am happy that I don’t. Sticking to a plan for the sake of “because I said so” can make you miss out on the unexpected opportunities that come your way. So, for now, I am content to live my life one step at a time.
5) What words of wisdom would you offer to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self: “Don’t put so much value and waste so much energy being concerned about what other’s think of you.” That is something I have been learning and practicing recently. In the end, we only have to live with our own feelings and thoughts. Your feelings and thoughts of yourself are what’s important; no one should be able to affect you more than yourself. But, that being said, I may not be the person I am today if I had heard and followed that advice, and I am happy and comfortable with who I am now, even if I wasn’t then.
1) What is “Primal” and what inspired you to create it?
Primal is a fine art photo series exploring and celebrating the human body through the juxtaposition of people and animals. I was inspired to create this project for a couple of reasons. The most direct reason came in two parts. First, I have always been fascinated with faces and figures. Even when I was painting and sculpting, my focus was on the human form. And second, I grew up in a big city with very little access to nature. I had a fascination with animals as a kid (and still do) so instead of watching cartoons I spent my Saturday mornings watching the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. The combination of these interests and photography was inevitable.
2) While working on “Primal,” what insights have you gained regarding the relationship between natural and human beauty?
The biggest insight I have gained is that I am not alone in my appreciation of wild things. At first, I was timid approaching people for this project, but I found that I was greeted with enthusiasm and genuine excitement. I feel like people have a longing to reconnect, or connect for the first time, with nature. You can see the PRIMAL Kickstarter here, and hopefully reconnect with the wild yourself.
3) What is your creative process?
My creative process is very much like my life. I don’t like to plan too far ahead. I like to let things occur and unfold naturally. That is not to say that I don’t prepare and take precautions. I just don’t let my plans become so rigid that I can’t recognize the unforeseen developments and options that may be better than what I had originally envisioned.
4) How have you dealt with the challenges of being an artist?
Like any artist, I experience many challenges. The two biggest are finance and self-doubt. The term “starving artist” is, sadly, very accurate. It is often a struggle to line finances up and I often find myself living project to project. Self-doubt is something that I have dealt with for as long as I can remember. I think it will be a constant in my life, but I am learning to recognize those inner thoughts as just thoughts and not facts and to continue on anyway. I don’t ignore these thoughts, but I also don’t let them control me like they once did.
5) What do you hope is the impact and meaning of your work?
I want my work to affect people, to make them feel. But, I don’t have any illusions that my work will bring about big changes, but if I can connect with people, to pull a feeling or thought out of them for even a moment, then I’ll feel like I have accomplished my goal. I like people to find their own meaning in my work rather than forcing them to feel one way about it. Certain pieces have specific meanings to me, but I try to keep that private. The beauty of art is that everyone brings their own life experiences and emotions to how they see it. Stamping my feelings on a piece limits how others can connect with it.