So to anyone reading, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
A camera turned out to be one of the best investments to not only capture some of the most priceless moments in my life this year, but develop a photography style. Here's a look back at the best moments:
1. Culinary | Hope you don't mind that I take a moment to be a little prideful. There is something extremely gratifying about paying for things using your own hard-owned salary, and owning an apartment is one of those major points in life that you start to feel independent and adult. One of my favorite times spent in my new home was hosting a cooking night with my friends; there were some moments where I was truly afraid we would burn the house down, but those stressful moments only made the food even more delicious when we were finished. We ate huge mouthfuls of the fruits of our labor - panko-crusted salmon, tomato frittata, and asparagus - as we thanked our lucky stars for being alive.
2. Art | Moleskines for life; they are an overrated notebook for sure, but there is a reason why once you use them, you just can't let go. The rubber bands keep the pages neatly bound, and the paper weight is just heavy enough to prevent ink bleeding. The cover prevents water damage, and the color and finish is discreet yet refined. If I ever see a moleskin user casually on the street, I immediately reach an understanding with them. Their taste in a universally recognized, affordable and simply designed notebook characterizes them as inquisitive yet modestly so. I first thought of the idea to sketch something and photograph them in the same frame at the San Francisco Museum of Modern art. It communicates two things: yes, I was really there, and the trip was productive.
3. Style | I feel that the category "vintage" is often overrun with Parisian cityscapes and European dish ware; however, this year I truly appreciated the beauty and history of my own heritage, which made my interests feel more authentic. This tiny Asian-American general goods store in Seattle was filled with tiny treasures, and I love the narrative that immediately forms with these objects: the old-fashioned romance of the 1950s combined with Asian aesthetics of heightened sensitivity to negative space and understated elegance. No one should be afraid to just love what you truly love; others will love you more for it.
4. Character | Meeting prominent contemporary painter Hung Liu shattered all stereotypes of artists as condescending snobs. This lovely woman let me call her (ayi, auntie), and within minutes of meeting, we joked about losing weight, snapped a few pictures on her iPhone, and bonded over a shared love of pikachu. A life dedicated to studying artists and their artwork has so far truly been rewarding and humbling.
5. Aesthetics | Since its inception in the nineteenth century, I've found that the best kind of photography is not accurate or documentative, but as aesthetically pleasing as paintings. I love this particular picture of my apartment; the oval at the bottom is the edge of my wine glass, and creates a deep space, separating foreground and background., becoming a shape rather than an object. It creates this aura of contemplation; it's neither happy nor sad, and geographically nonspecific. The only color is green, but it's from nature, so it's practically a neutral as well. I find it calming, soothing, poetic, and quiet.
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