Even before I knew of her own photography achievements, I knew that her work in this project was special and something that I had to own. I tracked down a hard copy at a fabulous black owned bookstore in Harlem called Sisters Uptown Bookstore and began my journey into a comprehensive history of black photography. I stumbled upon a Vice article about her and it quietly relit the flame under my own journey as a black woman carving out a space for herself in this white male dominated industry. As a 30+ year old digital photography student, it comes as no shock that most of the studied “greats” of this field look nothing like me and do not capture work that reflects my existence. Representation matters and Deborah Willis’ continued effort to share stories of our existence inspires storytellers like myself to soldier on and continue sharing our perspective. Check out the Vice article featuring Deborah Willis here and Reflections in Black can be purchased here.
This isn’t entirely new news, but it’s new to me and since I made the trip down the block to my local library to renew my library card (I didn’t know they expired) specifically to try this app out, I thought I’d share the info with a few other New Yorkers who might not be aware of it. Simply put, the New York Public library decided to move with the change and now has an app that will allow you to “borrow” ebooks. The best part about it? No late fees! You download the app, enter your library card’s barcode number and pin and off you go! Like the library however, not all books are immediately available for download, some have waiting lists. For these books, you can reserve them through the app and then see a time period of when the book will be available. As a test, I reserved George Orwell’s 1984 which isn’t currently available for immediate download. There is a 4 week waiting period before an e version will be available (no coincidence there, this country is definitely starting to look eerily similar to the pages of the novel). If you enjoy reading and not paying late fees, check out the SimplyE NYPL app.
I admit, as a photographer on the go I have a thing for portable strobes and LED lights that have enough power to make me forget that I’m not using my studio strobes. Luckily, lighting companies keep answering my prayers and continue to come up with low profile lighting solutions for the traveling photographer. The new AEOS Rotolight combines lightweight capabilities, a powerful LED and strobe light combination, aluminum handles and a 360 degree ball head for maximum movement and creativity. Per their website:
Introducing the new Rotolight AEOS — a powerful, ultra-portable, bi-colour LED light that brings tremendous versatility to any shoot. Designed for portrait and location photographers and videographers on the move, AEOS is a bi-colour, location LED light with a unique ‘ultra-thin’ design concept. Weighing in at under 1.5kg and just 1cm(<1”) thick, AEOS is one of the most portable lights on the market.
Featuring a powerful light output (5750 lux @ 3ft), industry leading colour accuracy (CRI:96+) for perfect skin tones, and unrivaled battery performance (3 hours on a single 95 w/h battery), AEOS is the ultimate light for any location shoot.
Uniquely, AEOS includes integrated aluminum handles, giving you the freedom to ‘work the light’ to achieved your desired lighting setup. A high quality professional ball head is also included as standard, providing full 360° rotation and 200° of tilt when mounted on a light stand.
AEOS simply eliminates the need for time consuming lighting setups, providing you more time to unleash your creativity, and to compose the perfect shot.
That’s right. The good people over at Human Utility are sick of the shit and figured out a way for anyone with a little extra to give (and I do mean little, smallest donation can be $5) to help a family, elderly person or someone in need pay for something that should honestly be given free of charge in this land of milk and honey, water. Last year the city of Detroit resumed its practice of shutting off water to residents unable to pay their water bill. In case you missed it, Detroit was labeled the poorest big city in the U.S. in 2015 and it was recently reported that the poverty level among Michigan’s children is higher now than it was during the recession in 2008. Head over to the Human Utility website for more information and if you can, consider helping out someone in need of this basic necessity.
I don’t claim to keep up with any of the music that the young folk are bumping, at least not the rap music. I couldn’t tell you who Lil Uzi Vert is, what Lil Yachy sings (raps…whatever) or what Future or Migos latest hits are and I’m OKAY with that. It’s not for me, that is until I’ve had a few drinks or am at a club listening to their music at obnoxious levels because everything sounds AMAZING in the club at 2am. I do however seem to appreciate some of the r&b that’s being created by a couple of young ladies.
I recently discovered the sounds of an artist named H.E.R (twitter is good for something). What initially attracted me to the artist was the mystique of H.E.R.’s Vol. 1 ep cover, a simple silhouette of a woman against a blue background. I quickly discovered that the artwork added to the mysterious story of the woman behind it. Upon the release of her ep, her record label (RCA) sent out her promotional package with no information or photos of the artist. She dropped her ep, shook up the world and had everyone from Alicia Keys to Wyclef Jean talking about H.E.R. but no one knew who she was! Well, not exactly. A few Google searches and I found who most believe the mystery woman is *spoiler alert, this isn’t her first rodeo*. I spent the past weekend absorbing the 6 song EP and I love it! Her music is smooth, sensual and addictive. I’m no music journalist, so I’ll skip further trying to explain why I enjoy the ep, I just do. It sounds good to me and left me wanting more. Luckily, Vol. 2 is set to be released June 2nd and can be pre ordered here. Give it a listen.
Ever since I began my Tidal subscription I’ve been more open to trying new music that I probably wouldn’t have had it not been for its availability through the app. Occasionally, I make my way to the “Tidal Rising” section which features young up and coming musical talent and a young lady by the name of Zonnique caught my attention. What really caught my eye was the name of her ep: Love Jones. “What this girl know about Love Jones?” is what I was really thinking. The title alone seems like enough to generate interest from an older crowd and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. While listening, I discovered that she’s the 21 year old daughter of Tameka “Tiny” Cottle of the r&b group Xscape and step daughter of rapper T.I. Love Jones is the opposite of H.E.R.’s Vol. 1. It’s fast paced, catchy and has just the right balance of energy and melody. There’s no doubt that having the talent of her parental unit added to the sonic success of the project. After learning who she was, I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that I couldn’t get enough of the ep. Purchase or stream the project and let me know what you think. Happy listening 🙂
I took a much needed vacation to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and I even succeeded in not turning my entire trip into a full on photography assignment! I decided to take one camera (my camera “B” aka Nina) and one lens (Canon 50mm f 1.8). While I did get to spend days on the beach soaking up the sun, explore the island and R-E-L-A-X, I also spent an entire day in Old San Juan snapping away. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island filled with rich culture, delicious cuisine and beautiful (and colorful) architecture. Check out the photos below!
I discovered the Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski while clicking around online. I stumbled upon this post which led me to further investigate his work. I love it! I love art that sends a message and forces people to think. He’s got a lot of his work available on his website for purchase here. Some of my favorites are below.