Tor Challenge Complete

The Tor Challenge has opened me up to my photographic fears and preferences. I now see fears as that, and feel more capable of photographic challenges. I still have my favorite things to photograph- food people and abstract. Yet, how I approach them is changing. The challenge was most important in giving me a reason to try new things. It was also an excuse to make photographs everyday, something I wasn’t making enough time for. The Tor Challenge gave me the excuse to take my camera, when before I would have just left it at home.

I think the thing that made the Challenge effective was the writing down of goals. Making a list of things that need to be photographed made it much easier for me to make photographs. I love cupcakes; they are cute, sweet and edible. If I want to be taken seriously as a food and desserts photographer I should have pictures of these delicious pastries in my portfolio. Because one of the assignments in the Challenge was to photograph cupcakes I now have some images, as well as ideas for where to go next time I shoot cupcakes.

I also found that I don’t really want to be taking photographs everyday. The process of going through my images, and editing the ones I like gives me the same adreniline rush and fills my creative needs. While I have found it important to be taking a lot of images, it is the working with those images that really completes the creative process.

Week 3 Tor Challenge

This week has been challenging. I had a vision of what my Couples project would look like. I was imagining taking the same approach with the project, as I had the last two weeks. I wanted to go and photograph a couple in their daily life, no posing, just a document of that couple.

My first choice couple was my friend Oahn and her boyfriend Marco. Oanh is a friend from work; she is a server assistant at the Georgian Room where I serve. She is probably the smartest, and wittiest person there. She is the type of person that only needs to be shown something once, and she remembers it and performs it perfectly there after. Oanh keeps herself very busy, working full time at the Georgian Room as well as selling life insurance on the side. There wasn’t a time she had free for having her glamour shot this week.

On Thursday my mom and I took Justin down to Olympia to show him the Evergreen State College. In the car ride down mom asked me how the project was going. I explained that I was discouraged, I didn’t want to think about what angle I would take to complete the assignment. That’s when she suggested I just shoot pictures of random couples I saw out in public.

I hadn’t even thought about photographing people I didn’t know. As some of you may know, this idea is very scary to me! Strangers!!! I managed to take my camera out one night and snapped a few shots. One of the couples I got permission from, the other I just shot. I enjoyed the later much better. I was surprised that they didn’t notice me taking their picture. The over all experience defiantly wet my appetite… I look forward to documenting more couples in Seattle….

The main focus of this assignment became my best friend Gabby, and our friend Dan. Dan and Gabby have a long history together. Dan actually introduced Justin and I, back when I was the third wheel to him and Gabby. I was hesitant to use them for the Couples assignment because they are not officially a couple any more. Their continued connection and chemistry made me reconsider when shooting them for the assignment. Dan and Gabby have a natural spark together; you can see they truly care about each other and are great friends.

This assignment made me think about the different relationships couples have. In my final edit there are the images of Dan and Gabby- two great friends who are also lovers. There is a pregnant couple who are not wearing rings- the father looks so proud as he plays dominoes with his lover. The pretty young nurse with her husband, with their matching tattoos. My Chinese friend Yi with her husband of 20 years, watching as their 5 year old climbs the fence. Romance and love come in so many forms, it was fun to document a few of the ways.

Week 2 of the Tor Challenge

So far in the Tor Challenge I have learned……

…people get used to you snapping pictures in their face, they relax and act like everything is totally normal.

….it’s hard to get the camera in exactly the right place. There are so many well timed images where I wish I could move the camera over just a little bit, wish I taken a step back, wish I had adjusted my f-stop.

Grandpa watches TV

For example, this picture of my grandfather with his artifacts, watching the history channel. He is a big WW2 buff; I haven’t been to their house in a long time and not seen Hitler at some point during my stay. He collects all sorts of memorablia, from Nazi flags to Military food rations. This summer they had a garage sale where he sold a lot of his artifacts, to make money so he could continue shopping.

Grandma finishes her makeup

….then there are those pictures where it works, and you have moment from exactly right angle to make you want to stay and look….

In this image my grandmother has just finished her morning ritual of applying her “mascara” (mask in Spanish). She told me that no matter what, even when she was sick in bed, she takes the time to do herself up for my grandfather. This picture shows her pride, and satisfaction at a job well done. She is enjoying the beauty of her face.