tryin' to throw your arms around the world

Today I fulfill a promise I made.

To Write Love On Her Arms is a registered non-profit based out of Florida. Their mission statement, ripped from their website, is "to present hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide." Personally, I discovered them via t-shirts sold at concerts, but many others have found them through MySpace or Facebook, or simply by word of mouth.

I'll admit I was initially hooked by clever design of the shirt, but what sold me was the story.

This isn't theoretical Christianity. This is real and raw. This is compassion and grace. I was inspired, and I was convicted. It's saving a precious life through prayer, coffee, music, and cigarettes, but mostly through Love.

The Love that seeks to rebuild. The Love that pulls someone back from the brink. The Love that gets dirty. The Love that gives and gives and gives and gives.

Today was To Write Love On Her Arms day. What is beautiful about this event is that it was not started by TWLOHA themselves...no, it began as an event created by a fifteen year-old girl in Ottawa. She was filled with the desire to affect change, and once she posted said event on Facebook, an astounding 499,000 (and counting) people identified themselves as taking part. Nearly half a million people pledged to write love on their arms today.

I was one. I took a black Sharpie and wrote 'LOVE' on my left wrist. I had been screwing around in Photoshop with a concept drawing involving the word for a while, and I tried my best to recreate it using marker and skin.

I learned that I am a terrible artist when it comes to using tangible things like pens. I have way more success with computers and cameras, so I think I'll be sticking to them.

But it did the trick. I was asked several times why I had written on my arm, and I was able to share the values and goals of TWLOHA with them. Awareness was spread.

I'm under no illusion that I personally made any huge breakthrough today. But I was one of (maybe) eight at work today with love on his arm. I was one of a half million around the world. Did I make a difference? Maybe, maybe not. But did WE make a difference?

Unequivocally, yes. I firmly believe it.




I am officially a professional photographer.

My friend Josh released his first CD and his photographer for the release party canceled at the last minute. I happened to be going to his show anyway, so he asked me to take pictures of the event in exchange for money. For money! Can you believe it? I've hit the big time.

This was the first concert/show I'd shot, and it was fun to try out lighting effects, metering and exposure levels. I love the halo of light created by the spotlight behind Josh's head. And interestingly, because the guitar picks on the mic stand are translucent, they positively glow in this picture. I had initially edited them out, but I think I prefer them left in.

I must credit my friend Jessie for teaching me this technique. By using a slow shutter speed and zooming your lens halfway through the exposure, you can create this interesting blurring effect. The black background helps to define the streaks, and I ended up with a cool lens flare from the spot in the corner.

This one frustrated me to no end in post-production, but I am really happy with how it turned out. The shoes are the crisp and clean and stand out in the picture, especially in black and white. I probably edited this picture at least a dozen times before I came up with this version. In the end, so worth it.

18.10.08. Cropped to 3X5, increased contrast, slightly increased highlights.
18.10.08. Cropped to 3X5, slight colour correction.
18.10.08. Cropped to 3X5, increased contrast, reduced highlights, increased black clipping, sharpened clarity.


ultraviolet (light my way)

After a whirlwind trip to NYC, I flew on to Los Angeles. JFK to LAX. Just another typical Saturday.

I was sent on to LA/Anaheim with a number of other people from work. Part of the trip was spent in Disneyland doing team-building and brainstorming excercises. We were broken into groups of 3-4 and sent out with a task: to capture on film how families interact in the park.

We were given Polaroid cameras and two packs of film to capture the moments with. My group's camera was straight out of the 70's, so I ended up cruising around Frontierland with a giant box hanging around my neck. It was sweet. So many comments, so many strange looks. Having never used a Polaroid camera before, I was having a blast.

We used 14 exposures during the exercise, which left me 6 to experiment with.

These are the three I liked, but the middle one is my favorite. It's a picture of my laptop, camera and phone - the peak of modern technology captured by the peak of 70's technology. So meta, in a really cheesy way. That pretty much sums me up.

I absolutely fell in love with the Polaroid camera. I enjoyed the challenge of finding the right shot in such a limited format. I'd love to find one of my own, although I better do it soon.

27.10.08. Cropped to 3X5.


new york

I spent 39 hours in New York City - not enough time to capture a whole lot.

I saw a good deal of Broadway, from Lincoln Center to Columbus Circle to Times Square, and Central Park West. I saw the original Macy's and Carnegie Hall.

I saw the Boys in Blue, and what had to have been members of the Mob. I often saw them together.

I missed only one stop while navigating the subway.

I spent time with some great friends. I ate at interesting restaurants that did not belong to a major chain. I was harangued by a woman with a Bronx accent about putting her two-year-old into commercials.

I shot almost exclusively in black and white. New York has texture and depth that can't be replicated anywhere else. After seeing it in movies and television, it felt real and tangible while simultaneously surreal.

I spent 39 hours in New York City - just enough to draw me back.

10.23.08. Cropped to 3X5, increased contrast, decreased exposure.
10.24.08. Cropped to 3X5, slightly increased contrast, increased highlights.