May 2018: a note to you,
his issue is about uncertainty. All of us can relate to this feeling, whether it be about something big or something small. Whatever the magnitude of the feeling, uncertainty creates an opportunity for us to lean into our fears. All of the work in this issue captures how different artists have used their work as a way to engage with uncertainty. For some, their work served as a sense of navigation through difficult times. For others, their art seeks to portray the feelings of uncertainty. Regardless, these artists and their stories opened up an interesting dialogue within myself about the way I approach my own uncertainties. I hope it does the same for you. We also received many wonderful submissions. Thank you to everyone who submitted. We really appreciate all of it. Enjoy this issue, and please feel free to get in touch! Always,
founder / editor-in-chief instagram: @inbtwnmag
what page is ..? 07
Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber
“A Different Kind of Mother’s Day”
“East Village Journal Entries”
A special thank you to everyone who supports this magazine. Whether you have submitted work, skimmed through an issue, or read each page, we’re thankful to have you as a part of our community. Like the title says, we’re inbtwn where we started and where we hope to be, and your support is helping us get there.
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ON THE COVER
TAYLOR SEAMANS WRITERS
Sabrina is a NY-based photographer who uses her apartment rooftop as a frequent landscape for her film portraiture. Her work generates
a documentation of female grace and strength, an attachment to the
sky, and an exploration of a fantasy world within reality. Outside of her
Refinery29, and more.
personal work, she’s also recently been involved with projects for ASOS,
JENNIFER LANGEN AVALON NUOVO
CONTACT US CONTRIBUTORS
SABRINA SANTIAGO DENICE QUIMBO
MICHAEL DUMONTIER NEIL FARBER EMMA TRIM
LOREAL ELDER SOME GIRLS
LAURA PRIETO-VELASCO COURTNEY KNIGHT
CHUVA FEATHERSTONE STELLA LO
OSAME OSAYANDE CAROLYN KNAPP LOLO BATES
ALECZANDRA CARDA AGENT X
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SUBMISSION INQUIRIES email@example.com
in rhythm Why Do You Lie? // The Grinns Ditch // Gus Dappteron Heart Basel // The Drums summer depression // girl in red Can I Call You Tonight? // Dayglow How I Feel Now // Hot Flash Heat Wave Talk a Lot // SALES Lean // Blonder Freaks // Surf Curse Orpheus Under the Influence // The Buttertones Swing Lynn // Harmless The West // Les Krills Spring Has Sprung // Skeggs Get in My Car // BRONCHO Naturally Lazy // Native America Somewhere Somehow // Oddnesse
music Selection: Garrett Seamans
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ROOFTOP HEADSPACE PHOTOGRAPHY // Sabrina Santiago WRITTEN BY // Rennie Svirnovskiy
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New York released everything Sabrina Santiago had pent up inside of her. Sydney – where she worked and wrote for Vogue Australia, RUSSH Magazine – was fine, but New York was all she wanted to talk about when I got her on the phone toward the end of March. “I put out more work in the first two months of getting back to New York than I had the whole time in Sydney,” Santiago said. “I thought about New York every day when I was in Sydney, and I think I came up with all of these things in my head that I wanted to do– you know when you just step away from something?” She’d only stepped away for a bit. Now she’s back, obsessed with the city that puts photo opportunities right at your feet– you just have to take them. “There’s this one image I took that has three triplets in the same outfit,” Santiago said. “I felt like it was unreal. The lighting was perfect, and I was just shocked at how I could stumble upon this moment.” Santiago started her professional life early, flipping through the fashion magazines her mom kept around the house and growing interested in the world of fashion editing. But her curiosity piqued at photography, specifically with 35mm color film: she started developing black and white film, experimenting in a dark room of her own, radiating from the visceral feeling of it all and shooting just 36 photos per day. It challenges, she says, what she sees in one day and influences how she shoots video. She does that with a Super8 film camera– all for the colors. “When the sun hits the film, it makes those light flares,” Santiago relished. The videos she makes – some for herself, some for brands that have reached out to her to develop their promotional material – have a nostalgic quality only Super8 film and editing on iMovie can make. They have the stunning composition only a lifelong photographer could get together. Her subjects? “I find that I gravitate toward women,” Santiago said. “Someone told me the other day that my photos are just women that are bad-asses doing their thing. That was the best compliment I’ve ever gotten because women are so beautiful and deserve to be photographed more and documented that way.”
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Specifically where? “I love roofs because I’m so drawn to the sky,” Santiago said. “I got lucky that my apartment has a huge roof. It really challenges me to think about space.” She’s photographed – by her count – “probably more than 40” people on the rooftop, each in different positions than the others but all against the sky as the primary backdrop. She’s moved by the city lighting and tries to use it at all times, on all subjects. “I took photos of this girl with a yo-yo because I love the idea of things from your childhood that randomly make their way back into your memory,” Santiago said. You can tell by looking at her photos that Santiago loves faces, loves eye contact and the evidence of contact between the person in the photo and the person taking the photo in the photo. Sometimes, Santiago admits, she gets a little in her head about it. “It takes me a while to reach out to people sometimes if I want to take their photo,” Santiago said. “I’ll think so much about what kinds of photos will feel like them but also feel like me. I guess it’s about making pictures of people feel like them but also that are nice to look at if you don’t know them.” How does Santiago find her subjects? “I think Instagram is such a great tool for that these days,” Santiago said. “I’ll go on a whole hunt for people. I like to find new faces – sometimes that’s on Instagram, or sometimes it’s on the streets.” She’s made entire relationships out of the people she’s photographed and collaborated with– friendships with high school students, older German women, Parisian blondes and strangers’ dogs. That foundation of friendship with subjects made it almost easy to launch VISCERAL8 – an art platform that she put together with her best friend, where she picks one word every month and asks visual artists to submit their interpretations of the word. “I feel like the art world can feel daunting, and so it’s nice to create a community or a collective,” Santiago said. “I feel like bringing people together over one word was always interesting to me, you can have so many interesting interpretations. I love seeing illustrations alongside photography– it’s nice to see all these things alongside each other while surrounding one common word.”
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“You can see so much from someone’s eye contact. The way they look at you as the photographer is something I find so interesting about images— the contact between the person in the photo and the person taking the photo.” - Sabrina
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MICHAEL DUMONTIER NEIL FARBER Two artists combine painting and illustration with “un-ironic” affirmations and messages, creating a space for reflection, for sentimentality, and even a bit of humor. Q: Could you introduce yourselves a little bit. What’s your story, as individuals, but also how did you meet and begin this collaboration? Neil: Michael and I met at the University of Manitoba in the mid 1990’s where we were both fine art students. In 1996, we helped found an art collective called the Royal Art Lodge. Our current collaboration is a continuation of the work we did in the collective. My own story is that I grew up on a farm, and most of my interests relate to music. Michael: Yes. Neil is right about where and when we met. I was born in Winnipeg and stayed here. I am married and I have two children. Q: What are your main mediums? Neil: We mainly use acrylic paint and paint on mdf boards. Michael has been using spray paint a bit recently, and we have been doing some small print editions.
Michael: We started off drawing together and over the years it has moved primarly to painting. Our solo work is quite different. Neil makes really intensely layered paintings and I mostly make sculpture these days. Q: Did you ever consider doing anything else aside from art? Neil: You mean for a living? I never thought I would be able to make any money selling art until it started to happen. I would probably be buying and selling collectibles if I wasn’t making art. Michael: I assumed I would have to teach or do some kind of design work, but I never went to grad school so teaching is out. Fortunately, Winnipeg is relatively affordable and we’ve been lucky to sometimes sell things. If I did something other than art full time, I imagine myself working the night shift baking bread. Q: How would you describe the style of your work? Neil: The paintings I make by myself are almost abstract, and full of inbtwn. — 19
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information. The paintings Michael and I make together focus a lot on writing and matching writing with imagery. Michael: Our work often has the appearance of illustration. We want to create a lot of imagery quickly, and that’s what it ends up looking like when we work that way. We draw from books a lot too, which also influences the style. The images serve as the basis for our writing and so the painting itself has become secondary these days. In my own work I avoid language and I reduce things as much as possible. I guess that makes it minimal, but there’s usually some emotional content. Q: What is your creative process for creating a work? Are there lots of iterations, or is it more just a visceral process, where you make it once and stick with it? Neil: Most of the time our paintings are small and simple, so most of the reworking is in the wording involved. We also never finish a lot of the paintings that we start. Michael: We also work a lot in series. If we find an image that can be used in a lot of different ways, we’ll paint that for a while. The Flower series is a good example. I’ll paint a flower or a group of flowers and we’ll look at it to see what it might suggest to us. The flower might look a certain way, or be relating to others in a certain way. We’ll write a text on the painting to go with that feeling. Library and Animals with Sharpies are a couple other series we’ve worked on--Essentially these are formulas or set-ups for facilitating writing.
Q: What is it like working collaboratively? Neil: It’s a productive social activity. In our collaboration there is a lot of listening to and talking about music. Michael: We’ve been working together for over 20 years now. At this point we’ve kind of figured it out. It’s much easier to collaborate as a duo than when we were a larger group. The larger the group the more you have to let go. Letting go is good, but you sacrifice focus. Q: Can you explain “Personal Messages”? Michael: Personal Messages is an edition we made which consists of 15 small printed cards in an envelope. Each card has a typed message. The messages are intended for romance or friendship. Ideally they would be given out in a respectful manner to someone you are fond of. Although, some people have interpreted them as self-affirming--giving them to themselves. There are two volumes so far. Neil: We also have a blog called “Personal Message” where we post paintings and sometimes prints from an ongoing series we have called “typing” which shows a girl typing messages. We will also post info on our shows, or new prints, or anything else. Q: How do you come up with the quotes on your pieces? Neil: I write down anything I think of that seems interesting. We have a bunch of different projects that use the writing. Sometimes I use what I’ve written and sometimes Michael and I will work up a inbtwn. — 21
piece of writing based on a concept. Q: How would you describe the tone of the quotes in your pieces? I feel like your works all have a distinct tone and style. To me, the wording is very matter of fact yet creative at the same time. For example, “drops” there’s a piece that says “0.05mL of Human Sadness” or, “Is a flower still a flower without its flower?” I feel that you subtly play with words in so many of your pieces. Neil: It’s just lots of thinking, and writing. I think we tend toward dark humour or more recently maybe sentimentality. A lot of what we do when we work together on the writing is trying to get an idea across as simple and clear as possible. Michael: Yes. A lot of what is written these days could be seen as unironic self-help/affirmations, but it is usually balanced with our use of bad jokes and puns, and the more depressing stuff we do. Q: You have a lot of pieces where the quote is painted as if it’s the title of a book cover. What’s the intentionality behind these works? Neil: These are a series of paintings called “Library” where we imagine book titles. We’ve been working on this series for many years and there are thousands of paintings at this point. It’s a good place to put ideas that don’t seem to fit anywhere else, and it’s also proven a good way to generate ideas for other projects. Michael: When we exhibit these Library paintings, they are shown in grids, sometimes made up of thousands of individual panels. Q: Some of your pieces are shot where a thumb or part of a hand is visible holding the pieces. This gives a sense of scale— that many of your pieces are small. Why do you choose this scale for your works?
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Neil: We work at a table, and we like to work on lots of paintings at the same time and to work quickly. We do make large works, but they are generally made of many small paintings. Michael: The small scale seems to help for generating ideas quickly without worrying about the preciousness of a large canvas. Occasionally, we will remake something at a larger scale. Also, we live in the middle of nowhere in Canada, so shipping small works is much less of a hassle. Q: What’s the best way to experience your work? I’m sure many people view it just digitally, but is there intention for people to see it in person, to hold it, to see it in a gallery setting? Would that change the way the viewer experiences the work? Neil: The work is made for shows we have in art galleries, but it translates well for viewing on the internet. Michael: Our work is flat and simple enough that it translates well to print. I like books. I think the series and composite works, especially Library, are better seen in an exhibition, when you can see how they all relate to each other, and overwhelm. Q: Where/who do you draw your inspiration from? Neil: Anywhere/anything. Michael: Books, music, other artists, friends... Hard to be more specific than that. Q: What do you hope people take away from your art? Neil: I hope that people understand the paintings that I want them to understand.
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PHOTOGRAPHY LOREAL ELDER
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MODEL DOLCE IMANI
MODEL AGENCY LMODELZ
MAKE-UP BARBARA LEASIA
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When I think of uncertainty, my mind is flooded with the idea of photography. Photography has aided me in releasing feelings of uncertainty, helped me push past moments of ambiguity in my life, and has made it clear to me who I really am. Anytime I’ve ever hit a wall of uncertain emotions I find that I can easily tear that down by getting myself behind a camera. During a time where I thought I knew where my future was headed, I was experiencing an overwhelming amount of self-doubt and just plain misery. After two years of college, I had reached my breaking point, and I quit going to school for what I thought I “should be doing” based on society’s pressure that had been built up all throughout high school. I returned a couple semesters later to do what I thought was just a hobby. Photography turned into so much more than that. Everything made sense once I invested my energy into what I loved doing and in return photography gave me clarity. Loreal Elder
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illustration by Jennifer Langen written by Some Girls
Some Girls x James Veloria x Grailed When we heard the theme “uncertainty” our minds automatically drifted to this one image that has been in our photo archive for a bit. The image is by the Norwegian photographer, Ola Rindal. It captures the backside of a man waiting for the bus in a bus shelter. From there, we developed our concept of shooting a series of images where the subject is blocked by a barrier but still visible. We wanted our subject to remain a mystery to viewer. Some Girls started as a personal blog but, over the past 2 years, has blossomed into the collective creative space it is today, run by a team of ladies; Mary, Liz and Ashley. The three of us met while working at the same clothing store. We have different aesthetics and constantly introduce new ideas, music and culture to each other so it only made sense that we combined our experiences and start to explore our creativity under “Some Girls”. We felt there was a need for a space with original content that features the artistic cuties behind their work (ie: vintage store owners, illustrators, jewelry makers). These are working creatives like us who we feel an urge to collaborate with. We want to build real connections, not only content. Everyone that runs a website understands the need for more content but we love making the connections & creating an experience. As Some Girls, we strive to create elevated editorial content that aligns with our aesthetic. Our appeal for film photography, and the untainted sense of natural imagery it provides, is the driving force behind our work. We shoot, style, art direct and produce everything in house. We are a visual content site above all.
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Growing up traveling and surrounded by a surfing family, Adam has found surfing central to his life and his photography. Now, a growing photographer and social media figure, he has started exploring the realm of fashion and lifestyle photography— combining realistic storylines and timeless features in his shoots.
Q: Tell me a bit about yourself. What did you do growing up? I grew up on the east coast in Salisbury, Maryland. I pretty much grew up between Salisbury, which is sort of land locked and rural, and Ocean City. [Salisbury is] where I went to school and stuff, but I spent most of my downtime in Ocean City, Maryland which is 30 minutes away and a beach town. I had a beach house there starting in high school, and I’d spend all my summers there. So Ocean City was really where I had a lot of my experiences. I have an older brother and sister. I think any kid that has an older brother wants to be just like him. My dad was a big surfer; he’d been around the beach his whole life. My parents actually met lifeguarding at a beach in Maryland. So, I was around surfing and the beach my whole life. I loved the idea of surfing, but when I was young I never got hooked on it. But growing up over Christmas, we’d go to Central America or the Caribbean for quick little tropical trips. So, one summer— I think I was in like 5th or 6th grade— we were in Costa Rica. I took a board out and I caught a wave, and I rode down the line for the first time. Ever since then, I started getting hooked on surfing. It became one of my biggest passions.
I would prioritize my life around surfing. All my trips would be surfing: surf movies every night, I’d check the forecast before doing anything. Q: How long have you been into photography? How did you get into it? My whole family is pretty creative. My sister is an interior designer. My brother has always been creative, and now he’s an entrepreneur selling his own furniture design. My dad shapes surf boards, he can build anything if you gave him the materials. He’s great at drawing. So, he’s also super creative. I never got hooked on anything creative early on. But, when I finished high school, I went to Peru with two of my best friends for a surf trip. Since I was old enough to travel by myself, the stuff I planned was pretty much only to surf. I never really made plans to go to a city. So on this trip, I thought it’d be nice to have something to take pictures along the way. Normally, my dad would be taking photos and things. Now that I was by myself, I wanted to take some shots. So, my parents got me a little Canon digital camera that ran on AA batteries. It’s funny because iPhones take better pictures than that thing did, but at the time it was a pretty decent
digital camera. In Peru, I just kind of took photos of anything that caught my eye, whether that was a Peruvian dude on the side of the road, or a donkey, or the waves. When I got home from that trip, I had so many photos and videos that I started a blog to put that stuff on, and ever since then I’ve been hooked on photos. Because I was a surfer, most of the early stuff I was taking was surf or travel oriented. I used that little camera non-stop for everything. But then after I graduated college, I got a DSLR camera for Christmas. And at this point, photography was more just a passion thing, and it was just surf photography. Then, I started dating this girl who did the whole modeling thing. I actually wasn’t that interested in shooting her, but then she started getting hit up by companies to do shoots and stuff. I had a decent camera, so I just started taking pictures of her for companies. It was just weird because then I realized it was super interesting to shoot people. I started thinking about how being a surf photographer is awesome, but I find myself in this constant battle between wanting to take pictures of the good surf and surfing the good surf. Being a surf photographer when you’re a surfer is really hard in that way. So, it worked out that I started
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transitioning to photographing people. When I was shooting her, it was when the whole Instagram thing was sort of blowing up. We were getting reposted by all these companies, and we were gaining little followings. This was in about 2014 and when I started taking photography more seriously. I got a photo internship, and my dad was super supportive and got me a brand new camera. I was like, “Holy shit. I better start taking some good photos.” Even then, though, it wasn’t my income at the time. Q: Describe the difference between being behind the lens vs the subject of a photo? Do you think being in both positions gives you any benefit? 100%. I honestly think I have an advantage in that way. I started as a photographer, and I never intended to do any
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modeling. I randomly got scouted by a pretty big modeling agency. I figured if they thought I could do it, and I could make some money, then cool I’ll go for it. I used to hate being in front of the camera. I was so awkward and uncomfortable. But, when I made that transition, it 100% helped that I’d started as a photographer. I would notice details that most models might not. I’d look at my garments and make sure they looked right without the photographer or stylist having to worry about that. I also had a good idea about poses, angles, and locations. Sometimes on a shoot, I’d suggest new ideas that maybe the photographer hadn’t planned for. It also helps now when I’m photographing models. I feel like I’m better at working with them and at directing them with what to do. So, it definitely helps to know both sides. Q: How much planning do you do
before a shoot and how much is free form during? I do a good amount of planning. Most of the work I do right now is for my main page (@captainbarto), which is me in front of the camera. 95% of that is directed by me, even though I’m modeling it. So I think about the location, the outfit, the styling. The amount of planning is situational depending on the company. For example, I had a job I had to shoot for Nautica. I was hired to post three Instagrams and tag them and make a blog post. At the end of the day, I only needed three good pictures, but obviously that involves shooting a lot more. I really like to shoot things in a story line. It’s natural— a scenario that would actually happen. It makes me feel better about posting for a company when it’s something that could actually happen. So for Nautica, I knew I wanted to shoot a surf story.
When I think Nautica, I think open ocean, rocky, jagged coastlines, so I thought of Big Sur. So usually, a company comes to mind then a location, and then once I have that nailed down I can pick clothing from them that fits the location and story I’m going for. Big Sur ended up being a pretty intensive planning situation. It took about 2-3 days of non-stop planning. I needed to plan the best route— to start from the south or the north— and what key spots to hit. I wanted to camp for a night and shoot that, so I had to find a campsite. So the Nautica surf-trip story was road trip up, camp overnight, wake up and find some waves, and we shoot all of these outfits while we’re doing our thing. After the trip, I spent the next 5 days editing all the images and creating the blog post. Tomorrow, I have a similar thing where I have outfits from a retailer where I have to post pictures for them. This one is more fashion. They’re thinking festival inspired things with Coachella and stuff. So, what screams festival to me around LA? To me, the first thing that pops into my head is the Santa Monica pier. After that, I’ll probably just drive around Santa Monica and scope out different locations. I’ll probably conceptualize a story line to tie it all together, but this is a little more free form. I think a lot of people might just wear the outfit, go walk down a street and stand on a corner. And that’s great, there’s a picture, but there’s no story behind it. Q: How do you meet the people you photograph? I usually start off thinking of a location. Then, from the location, someone will come to my mind. If they don’t come to mind, then I think about who I am connected to through Instagram whether I follow them or we follow each other or they’re already my friend. If that doesn’t work, then last resort for a personal project is to go to an agency and try to do it that way. Q: So, most of the people you try to shoot are people you’re connected to somewhat personally? Yeah, at least for my personal stuff. If I’m shooting a project that has budget from a company, I’ll still start the same way and try to get my friends paid or someone I’ve worked with in the past. But if something
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doesn’t work through my network, then I’ll go to agencies and look through their boards. Q: What’s your creative process like for a shoot? First thing is deciding the location. Then, I try to lock down the mood I’m trying to create. I make a mood board with images. Once I have that, I can lock down the styling and the outfits. Then, if it’s me, I’m getting shot. And if not, after all that’s decided, I’ll decide on the talent I want to shoot. Q: Being a photographer that documents your life, it comes across like a lot of fun and pretty care free. Is this accurate, or what’s difficult about building yourself as a photographer?
Right now, I feel like I’m at a good place in terms of networking. But when I moved to LA about three years ago, I knew no one. It was impossible to even line up a test shoot. I had less than 5,000 followers, and I was just getting into photography. At the time, I wanted to shoot women’s lifestyle and fashion. So, I was reaching out to all of these people to shoot, and no one would respond. So, I had to prove myself, refine my work, and really work my ass off to get good talent in front of my camera. Q: When did things start picking up for you? Around three years ago, this blogger stylist I knew from college— I’d actually only met her once— was in Venice [Los Angeles] right when I moved
there. I DM’d her, and I was like “Oh, I don’t now if you remember me, but I met you back in Florida, blah blah blah,” and drew this connection. It’s all about drawing these connections where people are comfortable hitting you back. So, she responded and said she needed help shooting a blog post for Amuse Society. She couldn’t pay me, but you have to take everything you can get in the early days. So, I took a full day and shot all of these really dope images for Amuse Society. They ended up posting me on their social, and so this was the first sort of traction I had. Then, the blogger I was shooting with invited me to join her on a shoot she was producing in Joshua Tree. She couldn’t pay me, but it was going to a great experience. They were going to be working with Rocky Barnes. inbtwn. — 39
I knew her name, and she was sort of blowing up as a model at the time. The whole shoot I was just helping prepare everything. At the same time though, I was taking a lot of shots on my iPhone and my film camera. Rocky asked for me to send it to her to post it. As we finished the shoot, she was talking about how busy she was and how much help she needs. She was like, “I think I need to hire an assistant.” And I was kind of joking because I didn’t think it would happen, but I was like, “Oh I just moved here, you should hire me.” She asked me what I do, and I told her about my experience with a marketing degree, social media, and photo. Long story short, she hired me as her assistant. By shooting her, my photography stuff really started picking up. It’s crazy, it seems like everything just sort of fell into place from that first connection you had. Yeah, I mean you know there are all these little decisions you have to make in your life. A lot of people maybe wouldn’t have gone out to Joshua Tree because they weren’t getting paid. They might be like, “Well, I can’t do that, I need to find
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a way to make money.” For me at the time, I was like, “I’m living on my friend’s couch. Why not go to the desert for a few days?” You just never know where it’s going to lead. You’ve got to take those opportunities, especially early on in your career. Q: Describe your style. I’m inspired by the olden days and stuff that’s sort of timeless. I’m not interested in super edited, trendy shots. I love film, and I love shooting things where when you look back on it it looks like it could’ve been shot in the 1950’s or today. Maybe you can’t really tell because of the styling or the colors. I like to use little to no branding, and I like using yellows, and white, and black— stuff that don’t necessarily identify it as a time period. Today, I did a beach shoot and the girl had a faded yellow towel and was wearing a white bikini. Q: How do you want people to view you? As a photographer, a videographer, a model? I’ve gone through trains of thought that are like, “Why put a label on anything?” But then other times, I
think about how it can be good to be like, “Okay, this is what I’m doing and this is what I am.” If you asked me today what I am, I’d say photographer. I think whether or not I’m in front of the camera, where I want to take my career is creative directing. I love being involved with planning the shoots. At the end of the day, that’s where I want to be. I want to have a team of photographers and designers that help me create the ideas I have. But photography is my first passion, and right now it’s still my main passion. When I meet people, I say I’m a photographer.
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A Different Kind of Motherâ€™s Day
words and photos courtesy of Lorraine Manlangit
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As a kid, I always looked into passing cars and made up a story about the life of the passengers. With quick glimpses, I would make up what their profession was, what their hobbies were, what their family was like. The more traﬃc there was, the more I would create an elaborate story. Of course the more we get to know others, the better we get to know their story. But the most fascinating part about these stories is the unknown. The only certainty in our life is uncertainty, not the storyteller nor characters nor the fate of their ending. On the morning of May 7th 2013, my parents driving to work turned into a story I would have never imagined or wish upon anyone else. I vividly remember the events of that morning, but soon became blurry throughout the day. I came out of a meeting to several missed calls from various family members trying to piece together what had happened to my parents. Living away from home at the time, my first instinct was to call home. My brother picked up the phone, unable to say a word as he was just greeted by the police minutes before my call. I was then informed my parents were involved in a car accident and both were in critical conditions. The blur begins, barely catching my breath whilst searching for the quickest way to reach my parents. At the time, I kept telling myself they are okay, this can’t be true - either out of shock or a way to protect my heart. The day got worse. I first headed to see my mom as my brothers were with my dad. Soon enough, I was escorted by police as his conditions got worse. What felt like an hour drive was less than 10 minutes. Two days later, my father passed away. We had to wait until my mother’s condition was more stabilized, then we finally delivered what could have been the worst news a mother could receive on Mother’s Day. Something we can say about mothers is that they just know. Before delivering the news, she recalls feeling my father’s spirit around her, and that’s when she knew. But she kept her strength for us. There are only a handful of moments I can recall my mother being upset, but that Mother’s Day she was
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heartbroken. Nonetheless, she pulled my brother and I in and said “Dad is still here with us and we have each other”. My brothers and I would not be where we are today without the strength of our mother. What humbles me the most is how graciously my mom takes the uncertainty of life with so much positivity. She lived a life of pain but showed it through a smile. From taking her first steps again to being able to digest a full meal— never once did she complain. With such a generous soul, my mother wanted nothing but the best for us. She placed the priority of her healing for her children before herself. Thank you, Mom, no lifetime could ever repay you for that. Often it takes an adverse event for people to shift their perspective, but there is no other way I could describe my mother for what I’ve always known her for— and that is joyful. Now I can’t take credit for all these photos, but the woman my mother is today is seen as the same woman throughout all these photos. My mother serves as a continuous reminder to have faith in the uncertainty and to choose love over fear.
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Photographer: Emma Trim
based in New York.
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inbtwn. community a p l a c e f o r y o u t o s h a r e a b i t o f y o u r s t o r y.
A few months before my nineteenth birthday, it finally hit me that I am finally growing up, and I was surprised at my reluctance to welcome my nineteenth birthday. Being eighteen was magical. It is an age full of hope and passion. It is also the age that evokes much memory from people that are far passed eighteen. Ever since I started my gap year, I befriended many people who are much older than I am. Upon introduction, when I say I’m eighteen, there’s always this sparkle in their eyes that only succeeds to increase my reluctance to not be eighteen. I realized that I was scared of growing up. I was scared that the dreams I had as a teenager would not be fulfilled as an adult. I feared losing my hope and passion towards life. I wanted to stop time from passing which is ironic because throughout my adolescence I was always in a hurry to grow up. So in a panic, I started taking self portraits of myself on film, every day, as a way to document my remaining days as an eighteen year old. These are from my final day as an eighteen year old. // Stella Lo (@stellalo__)
This is a piece I made about how it feels when everything you think is “you” disappears, and you’re left wondering who you are. // Chuva Featherstone (@littlefice)
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“Uncertainty, What can I say, The city calls my name, But my feet stand upon the grass, Concrete is not as comfy as this, I look up and see the tops of trees, Uncertainty, I see, I dream of a busy life, I dream of having my own family, I want a partner for life, So I must make money, I lay in my bed, I start to fall asleep, London, London, I responded to the city, As it screams my name, I’ve always thought, I’ll live in the city, Die in the mountains, But I don’t know, How could I know what will happen, I can’t touch the future, I can’t feel the past, As long as I’m okay right now, Happiness and sadness goes, But feeling okay shall last. // Frances Mae Homewood
// Alé Carda (@aleczandracarda) // Courtney Knight (@goodknightyou)
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Pondering My friends are signing up for next year’s classes But I don’t even know which coast I’ll be living on in 6 months I think I know what I want to do with my life But what if it’s not enough? What if my future leaves me feeling unfulfilled as I lie in bed at night Staring at the stuccoed ceilings wondering where I went wrong And what I should be doing to try to feel whole again And is it too late? But how can I even get that far When I can’t force myself out of bed? Because the fear of failure is easier to ignore If I have nothing worth failing So instead I stay in bed watching movies That allow me to escape, Try on different personalities, Become unfamiliar characters But as shuffle through so many personalities I lose myself in the pile of dirty clothes Piling up on my floor And I can’t get out of bed to find it again. They tell me that it’s time to graduate That this life doesn’t fit me anymore But how can I leave everything behind When I feel like I just finished second grade? // Carolyn Knapp (@carolynlknapp)
50 — (uncertainty)
“That Day, When You Left Me at the Museum In Your Jacket.” Uncertainty has been a constant companion of mine. I’ve always been seen as the cautious, shy, quiet, responsible girl, yet inside my head there’s a completely different reality: a wildly untamed ego, unending sets of impossible aspirations, and truly massive ideas. Everything on the outside made me question why the real me inside thought I had any right to create, or quite honestly any right to be myself at all. I let other people guide me in the wrong directions, and I hid for a long time, scared of myself, and the largeness that seemed so uncomfortable inside this plain, untrained, unqualified, small being. So in this work, you see this woman left by someone important to her: a mentor, a parent, a friend, a significant other, and everything turns blank. There’s nothing more terrifying than suddenly being free, alone, finally addressing uncertainty in the face. What do you do? Decide that you can do it, or that you can fail, and that’s okay? Like this woman, I also stared down my uncertainty when I felt alone, and decided that I’d rather live my truth, and possibly fail horribly than be someone else and disappear. // Alexandra Hemrick (@originaltitle)
// AGENTX (@agentxart) // Osame Osayande (@carda)
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Nothing is certain. This lesson is learned only through experience and resonates most when paired with pain. As an artist, I retreat into worlds of my own creation, albeit, worlds where I feel in control. I manifest ideas through shape and realize feelings through form, a process through which I can record and translate life into something recognizable, familiar, and mine. I now realize that what must be said is what I suppress the most – out of fear of sharing too much and appearing vulnerable - as an individual and as a brand. The materials I work with are a way to speak through metaphor without getting too personal. The result being the artistic expression of an extrovert masking an introverted spirit. One with the wisdom to know we only get one shot at this thing called life – well, at least in our current conscious form.
Fast forward to mid summer. I was happily living and creating with a new found inspiration that felt like a force I had never experienced before. Yes, I felt ill, tired, and drained of energy like any woman in her first trimester, but at the same time everything radiated with meaning. I felt like I was filled with magma and glowing from within. Then one day, in my showroom between client meetings, I started to feel the intrauterine twangs every woman feels right before getting her period. Then -- the blood started flowing and it was like floodgates of emotion opened and my soul poured out on the concrete floor. I cancelled the rest of my meetings as professionally as one could while going through a miscarriage and drove myself to the nearest hospital.
About this time last year I was scoping out prelease of my next collection titled, “IRON AGE,” which follows my previous collection, “BRONZE AGE.” I knew I would be making clothing and masks (ironically) shifting away from metalworking and jewelry to something new. In my personal life my partner (who is also an artist) and I were trying to conceive, collaborating on the ultimate creation.
There was a summer street festival going on at the time, and it was incredibly disorienting. I went to two emergency rooms before finding the right one. I had a horrible sinking feeling in my gut, blood pooling in my underwear slowly running down my leg. Howling and sobbing along the way I felt like a wounded animal trying to crawl my way to a safe place to die.
Then the dreams started. They were bizarre and powerful, to the extent I journaled them in a book I’ve had since 2004. One day I awoke to a cacophony of complex emotions of disgust, anger, curiosity, and laughter – I dreamt that I made a full sized spear, of a design from my previous collection, and had walked in on an overweight white middle class man getting extreme pleasure from shoving it up his ass. In my dream, I was so mortified I was sick to my stomach. Strangely enough, the fact that this intruder was pleasing himself from my art did not bother me. Rather, I was bothered by the fact that I had believed this object held ritual, magickal power, an athame of sorts.
After the diagnosis was confirmed I was sent home with instructions to rest and hydrate as much as possible. I did exactly the opposite.
The next day my partner asked if I wanted to make something for an iron pour he was overseeing. I took this as a sign and immediately got to work naturally, on a set of athame - like trident/spear forms. I was not certain what I was going to do with them, but the dream had possessed me in such a way that quite frankly, the only thing that mattered was that I manifest them from the dream realm into the physical world. Within a few weeks of the iron pour, I discovered I was pregnant. The amalgamation of events and specificity of material seemed to be a cosmic sign that iron age was off to a good start because naturally, it had the blessing of the powers that be. Fate had other ideas.
52 — (uncertainty)
I couldn’t bear to be alone with the thoughts running through my head, searching aimlessly for meaning… a reason… an answer to “why”. “Was it the ½ caf coffee I had a few days ago? Did I eat something that had gone bad? Did I let stress seep into my womb? Was it that anxious moment? Or (the worst) am I just too old?” I felt like a conscious zombie. It was too much. That night a friend was playing a show in her band HIDE and asked to borrow some leather for her performance. I could have quietly excused myself - I know she would have understood, being a mother herself. But something inside me urged me to go. I craved the catharsis of watching her perform, hearing her scream, feeling her turbulent growls rumble in my empty bleeding womb, so I went. Everyone thought I was crazy but I didn’t care. I adopted her rage as my own. Hide’s performance of their song “PAIN KILLER” killed my pain, even for a brief moment, and put my turbulent soul in this very uncertain moment at ease. (Photos on right.) // Laura Prieto-Velasco (@hvntergvtherer) // Photos - “Foto by Mateo” (@fotodemateo)
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East Village Journal Entries written by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes illustration by Avalon Nuovo
3.22 I was wondering where it was I was going, this city of everlasting histories just 3,000 miles from home. I arrived here to dance, to land on my knees without screaming and throw my arms into the air without surrendering. But this place surrenders to opaqueness, my black coffee obscured by cream, my eyes blind to the grid of streets after an eighteen-year fixation with lawns and driveways.
3.23 Today is the anniversary of the shirtwaist factory fire. There are flags out in the square and red hats and people speaking about the workplace, our work, our place, our selves.
3.24 My father misses me. He is coming to the city for his fifty-year high school reunion in May. May is when the ground doesn’t remember the ice that froze it and the villagers strip off their boots for Mary Jane’s. I cannot wait for May, for the bursts of wind from the north to stop chilling my brain.
54 — (uncertainty)
3.25 My friend from San Francisco visited yesterday. With sore throats and soggy feet and frostbitten hands, we made a unicorn out of snow. The bearded man from the kosher bakeshop served us warm treats that day, and said if I did a little dance, he’d give me a cookie. So I told him I’d return one day and do a little dance.
3.28 Sometimes I don’t know why I get up in the morning, to ache and whither to the self I was yesterday, to cross contaminate others’ thoughts. Because all I can do not to implode is to distribute what my mind produces into neighboring minds.
3.29 Some say I am too scholarly, some say I am too alone, some say that if I had the power to shape this world into a poem, I’d enjamb the people I knew between two lines so they’d always have to approach another before finishing themselves.
4.1 On the cobble stones streets adjacent to the Bowery, I feel the ring of 30s jazz clubs and beat sessions, as if words and tones could rise up infinitely into stones until they fall right back down on the city that raised them. The Bowery Poetry Club is one of my favorites: candlelit white tables, scoreboards, and mirrors casting the poet’s voice down my ears.
4.2 Sometimes I do not know where all these stories come from, nor whose fingertips they rest upon, and forcing stories down a page and up a throat just doesn’t seem worth it in an age of so many stories untold. What if it’s my life—unrealized like the emergence of dreams—but not my story?
4.3 Soon all of this might not accumulate into something, and I might accept that.
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56 â€” (uncertainty)
4.4 ‘They tell me’ that the world revolves around Certain people That language revolves around certain People. Within the bars of text, We cannot help but wonder if we are all equal No block of white words different from the other. ‘They tell me’ that if a poem included everybody Within its lines Something about it would be limitless Free extending length-wise Into a world we call haven. ‘They tell me’ that jaggedness does not Resolve the hatred, it merely dissects it Into thinner branches of the same Hatred. ‘They tell me’ that I, I am not the certain People the world revolves around Even though I feel the other bodies Are still rougher than mine.
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A conversation with Philippines-based musician, Ruru. She explained to us how spoken word poetry has guided her song writing, how she has grown as a self-produced artist, and how she’s found close friendships in the Philippine music scene. Q: Can you describe yourself? Denice: I’m studying in an art school in the Philippines. It’s called De La Salle. I’m taking up film. I’m just doing music on the side. Q: How would you describe your music? Denice: Well, people call it bedroom pop, but I just call it alternative RnB. Q: Are you recording all of the music yourself? Denice: I’m self-produced. So, everything is by me. I interned with a music producer in the Philippines. He does TV show jingles, and he was actually sort of my teacher when I was younger. When I was getting into music at the end of high school, I asked him if he could teach me how to produce music by myself, so he did. The software I’m using now is Ableton. Q: What is the music scene like in the Philippines? Are there a lot of other
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young people doing stuff similar to you? Denice: There are lots of people making music like me. It’s pretty diverse. But, when I was starting out, I wasn’t really friends with the young people. The music scene here is really a bunch of friends. We know each other, and we’re all interested in music. When I started out, I didn’t know anything about it. The person I’m really close to is Mellow Fellow because our main platform was SoundCloud and the other musicians don’t use it as intensely as us. Q: When do you feel like you started to build a following on SoundCloud? Denice: Last year in July, two people from the Philippine music industry noticed me and private messaged me. They invited me to their scene, and after that I started to get different messages. I received a message from Mellow Fellow. I was also noticed by Cosmo Pyke and King Krule. They messaged me and followed me, and that was really overwhelming. But I real-
ized that my music was actually being listened to by other people. Originally, I didn’t make it for other people. I only did it for myself. I never thought that anyone would care to listen to it anyway. It was just something I liked to do, and I would show it to my close friends who also like music. Q: Do you feel like now that you have a following you’re pressured to change your style for your audience? Or, is it still just you making music how you want to make it? Denice: Well, my style has changed, but I wouldn’t say it’s because of the audience. Overtime, I just felt like it needed to change. It changed naturally because of the things I listen to also. Q: Do you have specific artists that inspire your music? Denice: A few artists I really look up to are STRFKR, (Sandy) Alex G, Noname, Gypsy, and Chairlift. Q: What about their music appeals to
you? Denice: For example, with Noname, I’m inspired by the way she writes her lyrics— it’s more like spoken word. She started out as a spoken word artist, and growing up I was really into poetry. So, I realized that writing like that could work for my songs. I found you could make word vomit (laughs) into music. Q: What is your process like when making a song? Denice: Before, I would have lyrics written out first and then the chords and everything else would follow. It’d start out with the guitar or with the piano, and then I’d lay it out on the software and add more layers of tracks. Now, I’ve been having a hard time thinking with college and everything. So, I start with a chord progression and then add layers to it. Then, I just sing over it. Q: Are you planning the lyrics or just singing things that come to mind? Denice: Instead of writing beforehand, I just sing things that come to mind. Q: Do you have a song of yours that you relate to most right now? Denice: Actually, no. That’s why I’m
trying to write again. But, it’s really hard because I’m not sad (laughs). Before, that’s how I was able to write— because I was sad. But now that I’m fine, I can’t really write. Q: How do you feel like social media and platforms like SoundCloud have helped you grow as an artist? Denice: It’s interactive in the way that when I post something, I get feedback. I can also see what other people make. Also, people who want to collaborate can reach out. In that way, it’s helped me grow because I’m not alone. Q: What is your biggest difficulty when it comes to making music? Denice: I have two biggest obstacles when making music. The first one is when I don’t know what to write about. The second one is when I’ve actually put down tracks and I’m listening to it and I’ve gotten used to the sound. At that point, I’m not really sure if it really sounds good. There’s some self-doubt that comes with that, and it makes me procrastinate. I leave the track for a bit, and then I end up starting a new project without finishing the other one. I end up forgetting what I actually wanted for that track.
Q: Do you show anyone your music before releasing it? Denice: I usually don’t send my drafts, but I’ve sent a few to Mellow Fellow before. Aside from that, I don’t send my drafts to anyone. Q: On Spotify, “Changing” is your top played song. Did you expect it to be the most played when you made it, or is there a different song you would’ve expected? Denice: I didn’t expect it actually. I thought it would be “Another” because I like that song better (laughs). Q: You said you were studying film. Do you want to pursue that as a career or do you want to pursue music? Denice: I’m going to graduate next March, and I plan to focus on music for a year. After that, I plan on going back to film or doing both. I want to direct, but the problem is there’s already so many directors. I still want to direct, but I don’t know. I feel like I’m still learning about myself as a filmmaker. I’ve worked on doing fictional short films. Next year, though, music will be my focus.
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All of us can relate to the feeling of uncertainty, whether it be about something big or something small. Whatever the magnitude of the feel...
Published on May 21, 2018
All of us can relate to the feeling of uncertainty, whether it be about something big or something small. Whatever the magnitude of the feel...