Below are some of my best portraits. These photos were taken as part of on going photo series with the subjects in the photos.
Release the Beast
This photo was taken Summer of 2018. The story behind this picture is that people often hide who they truly are in fear of judgement from others. This photo captures people hiding parts of their true identity. People often put on a mask when they portray themselves on social media and its difficult to see through it sometimes. This further demonstrates people hiding their true identity. By no means was this photo intended to make people show off their “toxic traits”, it was merely designed to raise awareness for hiding behind the mask.
ALL THINGS SHALL PASS
The inspiration behind “ALL THINGS SHALL PASS” was the subjects tattoo. The subject in this photo was going through a rough patch and got a tattoo on their fore arm that read “ALL THINGS SHALL PASS”. When I asked him what it meant, he said,”everyone goes through a hard time in their life. Some people don’t make it through it and take their own life. I put this on my arm as a reminder that no matter how bad things get, they will get better. It just takes time.”
The photo series was taken in two separate times. The first part was taken during the “rough patch” and the second part was taken a year after the rough patch ended. This photo series was created to help not just the subject escape his mind, but to help raise awareness for other people that may be going through a rough patch as well.
How I Got the Shot
This photo was taken for an exercise in my advance photography class. The guidelines for the exercise were to demonstrate extreme forms of shutter speed. I knew I wanted to use the stars for long exposure shots, and got really lucky that the weekend before it’s due date was a New Moon. Since when I took this picture was in February, I knew that the Milky Way wouldn’t be visible all night. After some quick research, I found out it would be visible around 5 am, right before sunrise. So I woke up at 5 am, set up my tripod in the freezing cold, and sat there for about 20 minutes taking trial shot after trial shot, until I finally got this one. Totally worth the wait, the cold, and waking up early.
This photograph was taken in early September at Santa Monica Beach. Being one of the most popular beaches in California, I knew I would need to go out of my way to get the perfect sunset picture. People were everywhere trying to get a picture of the sunset. This made it very difficult to get a “person free” image. In order to get out of the way so no one was in my shot, I rolled up my jeans, took off my shoes and went into the water. Although it still gets hot in September in California, and is arguably one of the hottest months of the year usually, the water was ice cold. I snapped some photos real quick and got out. This image is one of my all time favorite photos.
This photo was taken in August of 2019 in Chicago, Illinois atop the John Hancock building. When my dad told us where we were going for dinner, I knew it would have amazing views and I should bring my camera. I was tempted not to bring my camera however because of the imminent thunder storm. Walking over to the building for dinner, it begun to rain a little and I was worried I was going to ruin my camera. I threw the rain fly over my camera bag and walked a bit faster to make sure I got there before the rain started again. We got extremely lucky that the thunder storm went right through the city with out much rain allowing for this amazing picture. The colored version of this photo was entered and awarded first place in a photography contest hosted by WCTheRock on Instagram. WCTheRock is an organization on Whittier Colleges campus that engages with students to help them feel included, especially during times of COVID.
These next 4 photos are pictures of close friends that were taken for fun small photo shoots. Each of them stands out to me for various reasons and all are unique for different shooting techniques.
In March of 2021, I was asked by a close friend to capture their proposal. This involved my hiding throughout the day in order to make sure I was there for the proposal but also wasn’t seen. The end result was truly amazing and I am very happy and humbled with the task I was given. Following the proposal, I asked that the couple took their shoes off for a quick photo shoot in the water/ocean.
As a student in the creative industry, I often find myself working on a multitude of individual projects, for either a class or for personal use. The following are some of my most well received creative projects created over the last 4 years.
We the People – 2020 Photography Final
With the students across the country now having to adapt to the online learning atmosphere, digital art classes seemed to be affected the most. Students no longer had access to the software suite the college used, they no longer had the materials needed to print photographs or develop film. As certain parts of the country began to reopen, California remained on lock down. This project shows and documents the various people protesting and breaking social distancing protocols to protest the closure of Orange County Beaches after being open for one weekend. The full project is available here.