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elf-identity is always the topic of discussion nowadays. I understand that it’s a complex topic but there is a huge factor that I believe should not be swept under the rug. Everyone goes through different phases in their life, some good and others bad— but we all learn from those moments in life. I admit that I am my own critic at times because I like to plan what’s to come for me and my future. Although, I got so fixated on the future to the point that I had to experience one of the lowest points in my life thus far and I didn’t focus on the present. I felt like my own identity was lost amid struggling to be all ‘put together’ while trying to grasp the real world or reality to its fullest. I had an epiphany after watching the Academy Award winning film for Best Picture, Moonlight, which was divided into three chapters of the main character’s life: Little, Chiron and Black. Centered on contemporary African American life, the film delved on topics of masculinity, self-identity, family, friendship and love. He navigates through life fueled with curiosity and innocence— trying to understand the world around him. Through each phase, it captures the importance of
the moments, people, and unknowable forces that shape our lives and make us who we are. I felt like the way I represented myself to anyone I met, I was fearful to share what I did during my free time. It reminded me of when I spoke out in front of my internship class for finals week to discuss about my five-year plan. I am terrified of the real world especially not being able to control the unknown factors in life but now I’m learning to just go with the flow. I stood in front of the class and shared how much time and effort I put into Local Wolves and how I was meant to be pursuing it in my life to see this publication expand, succeed and flourish. A part of me felt that I should have went along with what my classmates mentioned on how they will be ‘putting their degree to good use’. On the other hand, I had to speak the truth regarding where I belong— creating a strong backbone for Local Wolves to be anything other than an ordinary publication. I took a huge risk to share something that I kept bottled up inside but I had the confidence to share this information in front of college graduates and I realized my true calling. The world is yours if you put your mind to it!
founder / editor-in-chief insta / tweets / snap: @cathrinekhom
Lettering by Leah Lu / Illustration by Laura Filas
the orange peel
cary fagan lloyd pursall
106 - 123
ISSUE 46 / BRANDON WOELFEL local wolves is an monthly online and print based publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of entertainment, arts and culture. the magazine is driven by a passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. SAY HELLO / LETâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CHAT general firstname.lastname@example.org press email@example.com get involved firstname.lastname@example.org
founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom publicity ashley bulayo copy editor sophia khom community coordinator erin mcdowell marketing coordinator elizabeth eidanizadeh music curator sena cheung hair / makeup jessie yarborough stylist katie qian social media nicole tillotson web design jesus acosta front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo aly kula
blair brown @blairbbrown oakland / los angeles, ca
jared lank @jaredlank portland, me
brandon stanciell @themanwholovedflowers los angeles, ca
kayla surico @kayla_surico kissimmee, fl
brandon woelfel @brandonwoelfel new york, ny
kiele twarowski @flleurs savannah, ga
cary fagan @cary.fagan texas, usa
lloyd pursall @lloydpursall los angeles, ca
dennis elliott @ddesigns_ chicago, il
parker woods @brasshands portland, or
elizabeth wirija @youngwolftown new york city, ny
design / illustration charisse celestial, louise clifford, kelsey cordutsky, christine ennis, laura filas, izzy lamb, lisa lok, leah lu, bethany roesler contributing writers sadie bell, kendall bolam, ashley bulayo, olivia clark, karina diez, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, maria elena, madisen kuhn, natasa kvesic, hanna la salvia, michelle ledesma, tayllor lemphers, leah lu, chloe luthringshausen, tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;keya marquez, emma matthews, mackenzie rafferty, jasmine rodriguez, celeste scott contributing photographers mila austin, pamela ayala, megan cencula, elliot desai, emily dubin, danielle ernst, amanda harle, katy johnson, saskia kivilo, taylor krause, chris lampkins, penelope martinez, jenson metcalf, naohmi monroe, emellia nguyen, bran santos, sarah ratner, lhoycel marie teope, ashley yu
esther faciane @fitnessabuxtable new york city, ny gibson hazard @gibsonhazzard los angeles, ca
localwolves.com twitter / instagram / snapchat @localwolves read online issuu.com/localwolves print shop magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag
DESIGN BY LISA LOK
A DAY WITH ELIZA THOMPSON TRACKLIST BY SENA CHUNG ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU
VINTAGE SHOPPING. LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT EMBROIDERED BOMBER JACKET.
it rains a lot in scotland, but it always looks even more beautiful after a storm.
at my favorite cafe. they have perfect brownies, amazing lattes and a great soundtrack.
THE PERFECT ENDING TO THE PERFECT DAY- LOST IN THE RAIN, VINTAGE FINDS.. AND A RECORD TO FALL ASLEEP TO.
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munchies + LIGHT RAIL CAFE & ROASTER +
coverage by Kennedi Koozer Enter Light Rail Cafe + Roaster. Nestled in the heart of quaint-but-lovely Winona Lake, Indiana, Light Rail was established in 2013 and quickly gathered a flock of admirers that includes both regulars and tourists that journey to the little lake village. Serving everything from scrumptious scones to hearty oatmeal, mouth-watering paninis to their brick oven-fired pizzas (as well as offering a variety of vegan and vegetarian cuisine), Light Rail presents edibles to meet and satisfy the flavors that every individual seeks to enjoy. Their coffee is divine and is roasted locally, and if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re like me and enjoying brewing your morning cup of joe at home, you can purchase a bag or two of your favorite roast! I love visiting this place on Saturday mornings with my friends and trying out their weekly brunch options, which are constantly changing but are consistently delightful. Nothing beats relaxing on their porch on a cool Saturday morning, savoring a warm chocolate and cherry crepe whilst sipping an almond milk Campfire Latte. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a sweet little place, indeed! Location 1000 Park Avenue Winona Lake, IN 46590
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pinpoint + SACRAMENTO, CA +
COVERAGE BY NASH ROOD When someone thinks of California they immediately imagine the rolling hills of Los Angeles, the magnificent skyline of San Francisco, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate bridge, palm trees, beaches, sun, sand… but what about Sacramento? Those who have never been to the golden state are baffled to hear that I live in California but don’t have a beach house or go surfing everyday. Sacramento is in the valley of California, no beaches, no rolling hills, no Golden Gate. The beauty of Sacramento, however, isn’t in it’s iconic landmarks or incredible beaches— Sacramento is a city of simplicity and modesty. Sacramento is actually much more interesting than most people make it out to be; it’s full of artists, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs,
etc. you just have to know where to look. I’ve spent countless hours downtown while waiting to get my film developed, and I’ve come to find I really enjoy the laidback city. Whether it’s walking through the park, stopping by a coffee shop, or dropping in on a local concert, there’s always something going on, without the irritating traffic of bigger cities. I don’t know, it just seems like there is such a focus on public image nowadays that everyone is trying to escape their hometown to fit into the trends of being from world-class cities like Los Angeles or New York even when they’re not. I think it’s important to embrace where you’re from, and Sacramento is pretty cool.
The City that Belongs to No One WRITTEN BY HANNAH WHALEN The sidewalks are paved with poems written by footsteps. Take your time, for if you walk too fast you might miss them. Roam the streets. The city speaks ballads for those who will listen. But the city belongs to no one. The sidewalks are painted with all shades of humanity. The city breathes diversity. The city fortifies diversity. Trains flow in and out of stations like blood in veins. Adopting foreign locals. Bringing in multitudes of new poems. But the city belongs to no one. The sun never fails to kiss the rooftops before tucking the city into the velvet night sky dusted with stars. Ethereal souls of wondrous people illuminate the streets brighter than any neon sign or street lamp ever could. The city is meticulously carefree and unapologetically beautiful. It belongs to no one. But It is home to everyone.
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+ BY H A N N A L A S A LV I A +
During my freshman year of college, I decided to take my first drawing class. My expectations were low and I solely took this class as it was required to fulfill my degree. Our first project was to exercise ‘blind contouring’. My teacher stressed how we, as artists, need to get out of our minds and focus all of our trust and attention into our sight. Having to focus all your attention on a single object and draw it without looking down at your paper seemed easy enough. We started with our own hand, and to my surprise, I focused less on my hand and more on the paper. I relied on the idea of the hand that was in my head and it resulted in my work becoming somewhat static and predictable. A task so simple actually became daunting and frustrating and losing that power to know what I was doing left me vulnerable to make mistakes. My entire perspective on sight and art changed dramatically following that class. It took weeks for me to realize the beauty in the mistakes, or what I interpreted as mistakes. I had to teach myself how to let go of the expectations that seemed to constantly lead to disappointment. As my teacher mentioned, I had to focus time and time again on the trust and attention of my sight. The fear of making mistakes is a waste of time. Genuine art can come simply from the process itself. The truth is that you may never know what lies ahead and its important to become comfortable with that idea. Because in the end, not knowing what the future holds doesn’t always means that we’re not prepared for it, but that we should be open to whatever it may lead.
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+ BY MADISEN KUHN + BANNER + ILLUSTRATIONS BY LAURA SUPNIK
SEE YOURSELF / Your eyes are an asset to both your art and your well-being. The lens in which you see the world through dictates what you choose to create, how you sculpt your life, and the way you shape yourself. Everyone has a distinct vision that separates them from the rest of the world. Your perspectives, your attitudes, your ideas—they are what make you, you. Knowing the causes behind these things that shape you can be an asset as well. As time stretches on, I’ve begun to appreciate more and more the importance of being self-aware.
“Self-awareness is about learning to better understand why you feel what you feel and why you behave in a particular way. Once you begin to understand this concept you then have the opportunity and freedom to change things about yourself enabling you to create a life that you want. It’s almost impossible to change and become self-accepting if you are unsure as to who you are. Having clarity about who you are and what you want can be empowering, giving you the confidence to make changes.” –Warwick University
How often do you look inside yourself? Take a moment to think about the answers to these questions (and notice how long it takes you to answer them.)
I believe that humans are inherently hypocritical. I’m sure people that know me will read these words and tell me to take some of my own advice, and they’re right—everyone, including myself, can always be doing better. I am just a 20-something girl trying to express understandings that I’ve found on my path of trying to figure life out. No one is perfect. Accepting that fact will help you in developing yourself, as well as being compassionate towards others. Be aware that hypocrisy comes so easily, and try to combat it. Hold yourself to the same standards that you hold others to.
- Why do you think the way you do (prejudices, morals, worldview)? - What dictates your thoughts and actions? - What do you feel that you want/need? - What is important to you? - What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? - Are you aware of how you are perceived by others? - Do you feel you represent yourself accurately? - How do you define yourself? It’s not always easy, to see yourself clearly—in fact, it’s something that I think almost everyone struggles with their entire life. It’s difficult to look past the prejudices you’ve conceived for both yourself and others, but it’s so important to get as close to clarity as you possibly can. Being self-aware allows you to grow in so many beneficial ways; it helps you to love better, it helps you to judge less, it helps you to flourish.
You should be honest with yourself. Be open to critique; don’t automatically reject criticism—take the time to be introspective. Often, the people who are close to you and care about you have insight into qualities of yours that you may be bias or blind to. It can be difficult to receive criticism (it’s definitely not one of my strong suits.) You must train yourself to be slower to snap back and defend yourself or deny their claims. Try to see yourself from their angle—could they be right? Maybe, maybe not—but it’s worth considering. It’s worth opening your eyes to different perspectives. In addition, I urge you to surround yourself with people who will be honest with you. No one benefits from a friend telling them what they want to hear all the time. Find individuals who want to see you be your best self, even if it means occasional confrontation and discomfort. Cry it out. Hug it out. Move closer to better things, together. So, where do you start? I am one of those people who will take any personality quiz out there—from Buzzfeed to MBTI. I know everyone isn’t like me (getting my boyfriend to take personality evaluations is like pulling teeth.) I know that there are not just a handful of distinct personality types for all of humanity—but there are benefits of learning about bits and pieces of you that psychologists have found common in certain varieties of people. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) evaluates basic behaviors and gives you a “type” that best fits your personality based on the answers you report on a questionnaire. For example, I am an INFP (which stands for introversion, intuition, feeling, and perceiving.) This type describes me very well; however, it’s not perfectly accurate. I am not entirely introverted—I identify as an ambivert (someone who is equally introverted and extroverted.) I’m also not as shy or avoidant of confrontation/conflict as some INFPs. The results and descriptions will not be flawless, but they can give you some valuable insight. Take a look at myersbriggs.com to learn more. Study traits of your personality and learn how to embrace your strengths and better your weaknesses. Another great personality indicator that I’ve found is the Enneagram. Look that one up too. (I’m a 4!) There is tons of material online that offer advice on how each Enneagram type can better themselves.
You can learn how to change yourself without losing yourself. I am naturally impulsive and an “act now/think later” type of person, but I’ve learned the benefits of planning and taking the time to think things through before jumping into them. I love making checklists. I just ordered a “productivity plan journal” from Urban Outfitters, and I am embarrassingly excited for it to arrive. I adore having an organized and clean home, although I’m an inherently messy person. Even though it feels natural to leave my clothes all over my bedroom floor, I know myself well enough to realize that I am more productive, happier, and at peace when my space is tidy. And this doesn’t feel like I am being untrue to myself—I still embrace my natural desire for spontaneity and messiness often, but in different ways. I’ve just learned how to better take care of myself. Positive growth is not abandoning who you are. You determine who you are. You do not have to be who you were yesterday—you are endlessly creating yourself. Self-awareness promotes personal growth. You cannot move forward if you’re not willing to make changes. Stagnancy is your enemy. We should always be striving to move forward, shedding the skin of ourselves from a hazier places where we weren’t as kind, as confident, as warm, as fierce. It won’t be easy. You will go through lulls of standing still, thinking this is all there is, accepting the immobility, but remember to see yourself—really see yourself. You are enough, and you are clever, and you are resilient; you can be anything you desire to be. Accept yourself at every stage. Remind yourself that this is a form of self-love—you have to love the person you want to make better, because if not, then who are you doing it for? You may grow to better love the people around you, but first and foremost, you must do it for yourself. Take care, Madisen
Another piece of advice for you and your journey to selfawareness: journal. Buy a journal that inspires you (mine is bright yellow) and keep it on your bedside table, or in your purse, or your backpack (somewhere you will see it all the time.) Try to write every day—pour your heart out. It’s like therapy: Sometimes, all you need to do to put things into perspective is spill your guts. Talk through your thoughts and emotions with yourself; have realizations and epiphanies that will push you into healthier thought processes and habits.
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+ BY CELESTE SCOTT +
a Tumblr-esque art student at a coffee shop, I often find myself feeling like a plain Jane. An outfit that I’d thought of as cool and hip when I left the house becomes “basic” in my mind after comparing it to that of some fashionista seen in passing. The problem isn’t that I don’t feel unique. It’s that no matter how hard I try, I never feel unique enough. As a creative I’ve always had this innate desire to be viewed as unique, different, ~artsy~ if you will. To walk into a room and have the weight of my individuality felt by everyone present. I was inspired at a young age by the spunky likes of Miranda from Lizzie McGuire and Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All. Their bold-print, mismatched, bedazzled sense of fashion was so admirably fearless. I often tried to imitate their boldness growing up. To this day, I still find joy in setting myself apart stylistically from the homogenous masses. It’s how I wear my creativity on my sleeve. It’s not enough for me to simply be a so-called “artist.” I want it to be reflected in the way I dress, in my hairstyles, even in the petty things, like how I shape my eyebrows. Fashion is how I share my creativity with the common passerby, how I articulate my uniqueness to the world. However, along with this inherent desire to be viewed as unique, there always comes an inherent fear. A fear of being overshadowed by someone who is more unique or ~artsy~. This fear came up quite a bit when I visited New York City this past January. If you’ve ever been to this fashion-forward city, you probably know exactly what I mean. The very essence of New York gave the word “unique” an entirely different meaning. As a student at a small, private school in So-Cal where the artistic community is marked by Birkenstocks, VSCO filters, and latte art, I was absolutely astonished by the New Yorkers’ innovative sense of fashion. One girl wore a denim shirt on her head as a turban, another sported a bright pink petticoat over a t-shirt and jeans. No one seemed to be following the “rules” of fashion—Because there were none. And though I should’ve felt inspired by these innovators, I couldn’t help but feel threatened by them. Strangely enough, the extreme visibility of their uniqueness made me feel that my own was undermined, non-existent even. This feeling was by no means limited to my trip to New York. It happens all the time, almost on a daily basis. Usually triggered by some dewy-looking, dream queen on my Instagram feed or
And though I could almost blame this entire phenomenon on social media, or even comparison in general, the problem lies deeper. Sure, it wouldn’t hurt to check my Instagram feed a little less, and resist the urge to consistently compare myself to others. But the issue of feeling like a plain Jane is rooted in the fact that I’ve had a shallow understanding of what makes a person unique in the first place. It’s not the way we tie our shoe laces or the amount of glitter on our eyelids that make us unique. It’s the things about us that people can’t see. Our experiences, passions, and quirks. The things that make us cry and laugh hysterically. It’s our internal makeup that is recognized only through vulnerability and intimacy. And this truth, like most truths, is quite liberating to realize. My sense of fashion, though an extremely beautiful form of selfexpression, is not the only thing that makes me unique. I am unique because palm trees remind me of my grandma, and because I love talking about memes and social justice. Because I know every single word to the Fresh Prince theme song, but have rarely watched the show itself. There is absolutely no item of clothing that could portray these parts of myself to the world. And the apparent “artsy-ness” of another person could not take these things away from me. Plain Jane doesn’t exist because each and every one of us is unique by default. There’s no “look” that makes any one person more unique than the next. How we appear on the exterior is only a small sliver of the vast complexities of our interior selves. And because of this we can appreciate the differences we so often find on our exteriors, rather than comparing them as we do too often. As creatives this is of particular importance because comparison is so detrimental to the artistic process. Not to mention the harm comparison does to our own personal well-being. We will be better people and create better content when we come to the realization that uniqueness is inherently human. We are all one-of-a-kind. Unlike like anything else. And absolutely none of us are basic.
BANNER + ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU / PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUSTIN YUN
When it comes to accessories, I don’t believe less is ever more. Why hold back in the name of conservatism when any combinations of belts, socks, hair clips or hats can speak to who you are and what you’re inspired by? I find myself magnetized by strangers in clunky shoes and butterfly hair clips—the type of people that put on one more accessory before leaving the house (sorry, Coco Chanel). Look at people like Wyatt and Fletcher Shears of The Garden. Dangly hoop earrings and wallet chains make their already eclectic wardrobe even more imprinted with their personalities. Don’t deny yourself the simple pleasures of wearing two-dollar plastic star earrings or sticking on temporary tattoos for no reason at all. If you think it, do it. COVERAGE BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST BANNER BY LAURA FILAS
LOOK 1 diy pipe-cleaner hoops thrifted sheer long sleeve thrifted floral tank thrifted track pants thrifted platform sandals daiso wallet chain
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LOOK 2 thrifted cherry earrings thrifted yamaha racing long sleeve thrifted zebra skirt thrifted platform sandals daiso wallet chain
LOOK 3 diy pipe-cleaner hoops thrifted stanford hoodie dickies work pants adidas superstars daiso wallet chain
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capture your truth + WOLFIE SUBMISSIONS +
Our readers show us a moment where they lived their truth or expressed authenticity despite the fears associated with this kind of bravery. CURATED BY ERIN MCDOWELL / ILLUSTRATION (LEFT) BY LAURA FILAS I have always wanted to cut my hair. Not just a trim or a few inches, but I wanted it gone. Yes, all gone. I could not stand to see the sad, flimsy strands of my relaxed hair on my head any longer. I was ready to start anew. Though even though I was ready, was everyone else ready? Cutting off my hair to some may seem a bit superficial, but hair to me holds a deeper meaning. The small, defined coils I began to see as the hairdresser started to chop off my relaxed ends brought a smile to my face. I could not help but feel giddy as I saw the damaged, relaxed hair fall to the ground and slowly die. This moment was me saying goodbye to my relaxed hair. Say goodbye to the girl who tried so hard to fit in with the blonde and brunette girls with the beautiful long and straight hair. Say goodbye to the girl who wanted to be like everyone else. As I looked into the mirror, I saw someone I did not recognize. This girl was a glowing beam of beauty and happiness. She was something I had not seen before. She looked nervous but ready to face the world with her curly afro. Her big, curly hair that tangles and coils into small springs bounced as she touched her hair in awe that it is all hers. All hers without anyone defining it, without anyone judging it, and without her caring if anyone did. This moment was me saying hello. Say hello to a girl who was ready to embark on this new hair journey. Say hello to a girl who did not care if the people around her was ready or not to come on this journey with her. Say hello to a girl who no longer felt disappointed and ashamed of herself and her hair and instead say hello to a girl who did not need the acceptance of others to accept herself. She was golden as the sun. She was ready as could be. She was me.. – ASANTEWAAH OFOSUHENE / NEWARK, NJ Vulnerability is the form of authenticity I've learned to show in the past two years. Although my hijab seems to everyone to be the hardest part of my life, starting hijab was truthfully a piece of cake next to this. Showing my true self on my Instagram page is really the hardest thing I've ever done. I couldn't tell you how many nights I've spent in anxiety after posting about mental health awareness or my seasonal depression or about the things I love or how hard my senior year has been on me or what it feels like for someone who gets so deeply attached as I do to people in the time span of less than one entire day to lose people. I couldn't tell you how often I shake at the thought of people knowing this much about the love notes usually tucked away in my heart, but I do it because it's me. All my problems and my sad moments covered in silver glitter and my pretty outfit pictures hiding cracked skin and bleeding irises are important. I despise cell phones and social media, but I find myself on Instagram time and time again, drawn in by the
fact that it's a platform for me to share all the love I have for reading and my city and lipstick and writing, but it's also a free pass to change the world. It is an outlet so easily available to be transformed into something good. It gives me power when I find like-minded girls who don't look like me but somehow still are me, but it makes me feel like the queen of a universe I just created to know that I can be one of those girls. I want to be a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager that allows all other people— either of my same skin color or not— know that my life is hardly ever peachy, too. That I often struggle to find myself, too. That I sink under oceans full of golden hues I can't identify but find my way back up to air, and by sharing how I do so no matter how many times I'm pulled back under the waves, I hope I teach you that you can, too. – AIMAN GHANI / CHICAGO, IL It was the summer before my junior year in high school when my mind began to first grasp the importance of identity. At this time in my life, confidence was just a tangential notion to me. Although a seemingly simple word, with a seemingly simple definition, confidence can make the world of a difference in your life. I had no desire before this point to “find myself” or discover what my identity was, I was the only black girl at an all-white private school in the conservative south, I had no aspiration to stick out more than I already did. So I blended in as much as I could: I wore what all the other girls wore, believed what all the other girls believed, and did what all the other girls did. But I began to feel a growing sense of emptiness; finding myself constantly asking, ‘Is this really who I am?’. I did some soul searching that year, finding out what it truly meant to discover yourself. That summer, I fell in love with writing, reading, politics, justice, and with myself. Being an outspoken, black, liberal feminist in a conservative, traditional environment proved to be difficult but in all, it was undeniably rewarding to finally be my true self. I wished that when I was younger, someone had told me that it was okay to be different and unique. Because even though I may be the “odd one out” or the “outsider", the feeling of being unapologetically me makes it all worth it. – SYDNI WYNTER / JACKSONVILLE, FL TO YOUR ROOTS / You look in the mirror every day and see the same thing. Nothing ever changes despite you attempts to change everything. If you could change your DNA you probably would. Every strand of hair on your hair curving like a never ending winding staircase to nowhere. You pick and pull, press and wrap, and still nothing every changes. You cannot change what is embedded in your roots deeper than the oldest oak tree and your Grandmother’s backyard. Every curl represents something deep within yourself you have yet to recognize as a powerful and beautiful force. You will learn to love every kink and coil on your head as much as your mother does. And in due time you will learn to love yourself as well. – MIA JENKINS / NEW YORK, NY
local wolves — 27
Ever since I was a kid, I have had my nose stuck in a book, most of which reminded me of the outstanding courage, kindness, and creativity I possessed— they always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. As I progressed into a more independent existence and approached college, the world told me that my dreams of becoming a writer, a teacher, a creator, were irrational. I was told that an English degree was the cliché of the impractical college education; of the dreamers who chose this path, only a select few were lucky enough to go where they really wished with it. So, I decided to apply to a program which was less exciting to me, but generally more practical. After months of my heart dueling my mind, one reminding me of my true aspirations and the other logically following the world's rules for stability and success, I took my dilemma to my dad. He brought me back to my childhood dreams and reminded me that to stay true to those wishes was more important than to follow society's instruction to stay simple, safe, and practical. Today, I am pursuing my interests, holding on to my courage, my kindness, and my creativity, despite common culture's advice to stick to a script. Today, I am grateful for the stories and the people who provided me with the words I needed and pushed me to listen to my heart intently. Today, I hope you remember the desires of your heart and stay true to yourself in the same way— I promise your happiness will always be greater when you do so, it is not a crime to be a dreamer. – MONICA SALAZAR / AUSTIN, TX I started photography this past October and I've fallen into a side of it I didn't know I could do! I've been making a community of fellow creatives which has opened my mind to all the possibilities with this new found love. I've felt challenged and encouraged by those around me and love that the city I'm in encourages me to grow while building bonds with my fellow photographers instead of competition. I'm just head over heels in love with making beautiful things. – MCKENZIE MCADAMS / ATLANTA, GA (PHOTOS BELOW)
I didn’t go to college because I wanted to be doing more productive things than getting drunk every day. Ever since I was little I went on road trips seeing numerous amounts of states, and as soon as I turned eighteen that was the reason why I left my house. I never applied to college, so I decided to take a gap year and figure out what I wanted to do. I left my parents’ home to pursue my photography and travel around the world. I have been in New York since January and haven't stopped taking pictures of people since, my pictures are my progress, my story to prove to everyone that I can actually do this. I’m not throwing my life away on some meaningless dream. – TAYLOR D. CLARK / NEW YORK, NY (PHOTO ABOVE) My truth is my voice. My truth is my passion. My truth is myself. Often times, I find myself shying away from vocally expressing myself— in fear that my thoughts may be stupid or worthless. Often times, I let out one heavy sigh before shutting my mouth— keeping my ideas in and my introverted self out. Rarely, however, I pick myself up and furrow my brows, I shake my head "no" and cross my arms. Rarely, though beautifully, I let my voice out. Intimate, sacred, and vulnerable, the words must come out. Speech after speech and discussion after discussion, I pour my soul out into the words I have to say— a piece of me buried into the intricately laced together words. I speak when I choose to only because I know what I want people to hear. My truth is out for those that listen. My truth is out for those that believe in me, in their self, in what the world has to offer. The truth is subjective, yours and mine. – JULIA JAVATE / LOS ANGELES, CA
has not gone over well with my male peers. People talk behind my back, calling me ‘gay’ or ‘annoying’ just for me enjoying what I enjoy. The boys in my school have treated me this way since second grade. For 7 years and counting this has been going on. Although this does sound really horrible, some good has come of it. Through these 7 years I’ve learned to brush things like this off of my shoulders, because words really are just words. As long as I refuse to give power to them, they cannot hurt me. The barrier that is my confidence could never be destroyed by someone else’s opinion just because I don’t fit the mold of what a ‘boy’ should be. I’m not a strong prince that wants to save the ‘weak’ princess. I’m a boy, and that’s all I am. I will never let gender roles define me. – ETHAN PFLUMM / KANSAS CITY, KS
Boyhood is a series that explores masculinities as an imaginary landscape, and their public construction and transformation through subtexts and a camera. It seeks to make a political statement challenging the system which homogenizes, fragments and disturbs gender manifestations; resulting in a pasty dislocation. – MARTIN CANTOS / QUINTO, EC (PHOTO ABOVE) Truth is rarely more difficult to navigate than when you’re falling in love. What you think to be true, what you know to be true, what you think you know to be true, all these truths intersect and mingle, until none of it, and all of it, is true. The last time I fell in love was in a city 3000 miles from the one I was born in, the one I would return to. For 6 months I was, classically, maybe predictably, the exchange student with an English accent, and she was a local. Through her I learned bars and gardens, galleries, coffee, restaurants and parks. I learnt the suburbs, and her fingertips, and her heavy honey dew eyelids, all the while knowing the truth: that this would not, and could not last forever. But it was fun. We flirted, we flattered each other. We were having fun falling in love, going through the motions, allowing ourselves the luxury, the intensity minus the consequences, of falling in love. One night in the cramped single bed in my campus dorm room, we lay close, side by side, asleep. We were just lying next to each other. Not in a lover’s embrace; just lying side by side, holding hands. At that point it was all that we needed from each other. To this day I still don’t know whether she was awake or not when she said it, but as we lay there, holding hands, she stirred, and I woke to hear her say, ‘This feels right. It doesn’t feel forced’. And it was true. – GUS CLARKE / OXFORD, UK
I’m an introvert. A true, one-hundred-percent, introvert. Living in a world where everything is based on high noises, strong voices and outgoing personalities. As I grew older, I followed the lead and did what was expected of me. I was failing and exhausted. By the time I realized that I was introverted, I was 21. With this new insight I found peace and finally understood myself, my needs and how to respect my feelings and source of energy. There’s so many out there who don’t know the nature of introversion, and will never have the chance to learn to be themselves, truly. – HELENE FOSSLI / KRISTIANSAND, NO True beauty is when you accept yourself and let others see the true you. These pictures represent who I really am, and I am super proud of how far I have become despite of all the obstacles I have come across. From a language barrier, to leaving my family to follow my dreams, to losing my first baby and having two full-time jobs plus school. As a fashion influencer, it is my goal to encourage others to do the same by using this platform to spread the love for fashion but also self-acceptance. Go with all you got for that dream of yours because when you feel you are far away, is when you are the closest to achieve it. – NATALIE GUZMAN / ORLANDO, FL (PHOTOS BELOW)
I really wish we could live in a world where boys played with dolls and girls played with trucks and no one would care. Although this world is becoming more of a reality, we just aren’t there yet. I know we aren’t there yet because of some of my own troubles with gender roles. As a boy who really couldn’t care less about trucks, sports, or anything masculine, you could probably tell I’m somewhat of a target. I have a passion for writing, fashion, and really anything creative. My personality
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People where I live are very conservative, even if they claim not to be so. Coming from a small town of the Dominican Republic, modern day art is not considered to be beautiful or even artistic. I've had a passion for photography since I first saw my dad buy a Sony video camera circa 2005, but never decided to pursue it because I was afraid of what the people that I'm surrounded with would say. I've made a lot of choices in my life, great ones and a lot of bad ones, but out of all those, I believe the worst one has been not doing something different in fear of what people that follow one path had to say about it. Realizing how wrong I was only took one thought and here I am today. My photoshoots were nothing people around here were used to seeing. Needless to say, I was slightly on edge when I posted the first picture that really embodied the direction I wanted to take. However, I've had people tell me how much they love my work and how it's only just pictures, but it's poetic, something they've only seen before in photographers from other countries. Sometimes just going for it and being honest about who you are and what you have to offer to the world is what you need to do. If you've got a story to tell, it's time for you to let the world know. Taking the leap is hard, I know, but after you reach the point you were supposed to be in all along, there is nothing more satisfying than "living your truth". – WILDA CASADO / JUAN DOLIO, DO (PHOTOS ABOVE)
– SARA MANTICH / CHICAGO, IL
I hate being in front of the camera. I’m a photographer so I’m used to being the one pressing the shutter, not standing in front of the lens. It’s nerve-wracking for me. I get sweaty and nervous that I don’t look right or that I look dumb. I get selfconscious about how I’m standing or how my hair is. My friend took my camera from me and pointed to go stand in the middle of the Redwoods. Shaking, I trudged my feet to the middle of the wet road and turned around. Why was I so nervous? Not quite sure, other than trying to look my best. The more I was put in front of the camera, the more I realized it didn’t matter. The camera was there to capture life— and me— as it is. Life in the moment and as it was placed. The more I thought of that, the more comfortable I became with the camera and with myself. – MADELINE MULLENBACH / LOUISVILLE, KY (PHOTO ABOVE)
– MOMO GUTIÉRREZ / MEXICO
I'm Gordy, a 19-year-old Puerto Rican boy who's lived in Nashville for most of my life. I was recently broken up with, because I wasn't masculine enough for the guy I was with, and it hurt tremendously being that I was falling hard for him. So I decided to merge one of my biggest passions, photography, with one of my biggest struggles growing up: finding who I am, and being shamelessly proud of it. I have always loved all things feminine, including flowers, so that's why I decided to incorporate my two favorite flowers, roses and baby's breath, in the shot. It symbolizes who I am, not who others want me to be, and it's just a huge FU to my ex. This is my truth and I am proud of it. – GORDY VALCARCEL / NASHVILLE, TN (PHOTO BELOW)
As a photographer, there's nothing more vulnerable than reversing the roles and posing for a portrait. It's incredibly intimate to have someone's entire attention focused on me as I exist in the here and now. Being in front of the camera makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but also reveals new things about me each time: my tenderness, my magic, my depth. I'm learning there is power in letting myself be seen. – KELSEY PRATER / KNOXVILLE, TN (PHOTO ABOVE)
– ILLUSTRATION (ABOVE) / CELESTE CELESTIAL
I'm determined to tell the world stories through my lens. I have always embraced adventure, new sights, new people and old things. I want to inspire individuals in all ranges to come out of their creative box and make this world beautiful through their art. – DAHVEMBI NEAL / CHICAGO, IL (PHOTO ABOVE)
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gibson hazard written by Sadie Bell photography by Jeremy Miller
Los Angeles-based music photographer Gibson Hazard had never picked up a camera before his high school photography class— a class that he actually hated. At the time, Hazard was too busy thinking about baseball to be focusing on aperture, composition, and depth of field. After a number of injuries that hindered his baseball career, though, Hazard found himself with a lot more time on his hands to spend behind the lens and discovered that this could be an opportunity to make photography the new thing in his life that he was passionate about. “I found myself with a lot of free time I never had, so that’s when I started really going to concerts and getting interested in the music scene,” Hazard said. “I realized I could kill two birds with one stone by going to concerts and taking pictures there to fulfill my [class] requirements. I remember getting hooked on it after getting to shoot one of my favorite artists at the time, Sammy Adams’, show.
After documenting show after show, Hazard realized that photography could become the passion that was missing from his life now that baseball was no longer an option. And since then, Hazard has found that photography and videography are the pieces currently in his life that continually ask him to improve, evolve, and reach consistently higher heights— even after just starting out a few short years ago by faking press passes. Hazard said, “Once I realized I had a passion for concert photography, my full focus shifted from baseball to figuring out how to get into as many shows as possible—” meaning quite a bit of hustling in order to get where he wanted to be. “I don’t think people realize how many shows I had to shoot for free to be able to get to where I am right now. Just like anything else, concert photography takes a ton of practice,” said Hazard.
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“this photo is from the first big show i ever shot, a 92.3 radio show, headlined by future and k e n d r i c k l a m a r. f u t u r e b r o u g h t out drake, and during kendrick’s set, i ran out of space on my sd cards so i had my laptop on stage with kendrick, downloading photos to clear up space to k e e p s h o o t i n g .”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIBSON HAZARD
“I used a variety of ways to get into shows, including emailing from fake magazines, using show openers for passes to shoot the headliner, making fake press passes, re-using old press passes—literally whatever I had to do to get myself in the photo pit, I did.” After relocating from Boston to Los Angeles, making a few connections, and getting his name known, Hazard booked his first tour opportunity and gigs continued to roll in. Hazard has photographed the likes of G-Eazy, Hoodie Allen, and Gnash, who he is on tour with now and actually performed at the first concert Hazard ever photographed. Hazard said, “I think the reason I’m where I am is because I’ve always thought I was the best, but at the same time [have] been constantly looking for ways I can get better.” Hazard’s photographs feature artists at the forefront of the image, showcasing their personalities and portraying them as ethereal beings, standing with prowess under the blinding stage lights, commanding the audience with their microphone
in hand. Though his video work and images capture his subjects effortlessly, Hazard works tirelessly to capture them in this way by taking at least a couple thousand shots per show. “Every day I try to look at where I’m at objectively and figure out how I can improve myself in new ways. I feel like my career has been a constant evolution as opposed to progression,” he said. Hazard said he stays passionate about what he does because of “the constant desire to improve. I’ve never wanted to be average at anything, so now that this is my life, I do everything in my power to become the best. I obviously love photo and video, but the challenge of getting better is what motivates me to do it as much as I do.” Though Hazard said he hopes to eventually move away from photography and videography and instead manage artists, he is confident that he will never stop working and evolving as a creative. “I knew I was going to get here eventually, just like I know I’m going to be the best at what I do in due time.”
“I took this photo of Big Sean at a radio show a while back and it remains one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken.”
“This isn’t one of my favorite photos but it was an important show for me. The 1975 played a show at The Shrine (at USC)— I didn’t have a pass so I snuck in with a fake one and managed to meet the band and their management, who ended up posting a bunch of my photos from the show. They are signed to Interscope / Universal Records, who saw my photos and hit me up. I’ve been working with Interscope on a lot of projects since then and that show was one of many examples of times when sneaking into shows lead to bigger opportunities.”
“This photo was from one of the first shows I ever shot, G-Eazy in San Luis Obispo, California. At the time, I was shooting pretty much only in black and white, so the photos fit in with his aesthetic really well. He posted several of my photos, which was the first time a really big artist had kind of ‘co-signed’ me before.”
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dennis elliott written by Mackenzie Rafferty PHOTOGRAPHy by Robi Foli
#justcreate is the powerful mantra behind Chicago-based photographer Dennis Elliott. This mantra is a continuous reminder for Elliott to create art that inspires him. When faced with stressors, this mantra brings him back to reality. #justcreate also happens to be the slogan for a group of artists that he belongs to called Just Creators (@justcreators). Comprised of Elliott and his three close friends, Just Creators works to provide “conceptual imagery” for brands while also creating art installations that strive to bring awareness towards important issues. Having grown up on the south of Chicago, Elliott owes part of his artistic identity to his geographical roots. From a young age, he submerged himself in art and fiction to distract from the environment around him. “I’ve always had a big imagination and would also spend hours playing with action figures, drawing characters, making my own worlds. I see myself doing exactly that on a bigger scale with photography.” A self-taught photographer, Elliott went to college for Graphic Multimedia Design. While he’s no longer a graphic designer, this background and familiarity with Adobe aided his photography. Elliott really immersed himself into photography three years ago. After saving every paycheck from his eight week long temporary job at school, he bought his first camera. Coincidentally, the same week, he bought his first smartphone that introduced him to the social media power of Instagram. Social media, particularly Instagram pushed the trajectory of his art. The connectivity powers of social media helped him cultivate a following that made his work more well known. Instagram also helped Elliott discover a community of fellow photographers. This community was crucial in inspiring him to collaborate and have Instagram meetups that pushed his art. “Social media made me an artist,” Elliott added in our interview. Driven by the endless supply of inspiration, Elliott was able to discover various forms and mediums of art through social media. His relationship with social media introduced him to photobooks and magazines that allowed for him to grow as an artist. For Elliott, photography was a new and exciting world he could get lost in. As he spent time learning programs for treating and editing his artwork, he also spent time experimenting on his own. He added, “It’s important to always be challenging yourself so you grow. It’s easy to get caught up doing the same [photo] effect because you like it a lot and not learn anything else.”
Photography offered Elliott an opportunity to make his ideas tangible in our world. Artistic expression to him is “challenge, freedom, and peace of mind. Nothing else matters besides the art being created.” Passion is liberating and all-encompassing, when he’s working on a photography project, the project is all that matters. With just a brief glance at his work, it’s obvious how unique and distinguishable his artistic style is. “I’m interested in conflict. An axe grinding against another. The climax.” His photographs reflect dark and haunting themes. His work is eerie, mysterious, and emotionally reactive. Elliott’s artistic vison is bold and raw, inspiring emotions and feelings in his audience. Capturing people in his photographs allows him to manipulate the moment and help create this climax. “People are emotion... we leak our feelings and those feelings can be translated through photos.” Elliott, like any true artist, hopes to provoke and inspire emotion in his audience. Capturing photographs of people helps Elliott translate emotions and express his artistic vision.
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“nothing is easy at first, but it’s all part of the process.” Elliott’s relationship with photography has been transformative for him and his visual perspective on life. Photography has allotted him new opportunities for traveling and networking. His photography gave him life experiences that aided in the development and constant transformation of his perspective on life— “it has challenged my ideals and made me expand my thinking. I love it.” When asked about his artistic inspirations, Elliott mentioned Tim Walker, Evan Seehan (@evantsheehan), Ben Zank (@benzank), and Elizabeth Wirija (@yungwolftown). These photographers, he noted, are a few of his favorite who recently have had the most impact on his art. As a truly tech-savvy photographer would do, he urged for everyone to check out their unique and inspiring work. Elliott’s artistic expression transcends beyond that of photography, he has a lot of intrigue towards directing and cinematography. Photography has given him a lot of experience in creating concepts and directing, but he wants to explore that process for film. “If binging a Netflix show is an artistic pursuit, then I’m pretty passionate about that one,” he humorously added. When asked about what advice he’d give to someone trying to follow their artistic passion, he had a lot offer.
“First, don’t worry about all the scary stuff that could happen and just do it.” He argued, nothing came come out of an experience if you’re too scared to try. Nothing is easy at first, but it’s all part of the process. His most important piece of advice was to be genuine— make what you want, collaborate with who you want, and support who you want to support. In a very karmic-inspired attitude, he noted that “it comes back around tenfold. Please don’t look at creative events as opportunities just to network. That’s a benefit.” Be engaged and passionate in the art, otherwise you’re not reaching the full potential for growth and creativity. “Take it in, let it make you think, feel it, and then maybe talk to someone else about what you’re thinking.” This idea of sincerity related heavily to collaborating with artists. To Elliot, the art community is currently facing a problem in this respect. He urged for artists to work with others based on your appreciation and respect for their work, not because it might gain you accreditation and popularity. Elliott’s genuine approach to art and life speaks through his photographs. His art is real and pushing the boundaries of comfortability and emotions. Inspiring and highly reactive, his images leave a haunting and completely unique impact. The greatest art challenges imagery and makes us feel. We create and consume art to understand the complexities of the world and our individual experience. True art is the release of emotions, creativity, and wonder that can be reflected in all of us, despite our unique perspectives. Elliot’s work is inspiring, alluring, and constantly growing as he finely tunes his artistic vision.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENNIS ELLIOTT
“This is from a shoot I did back in October and still haven’t released the photos. Some shoots take longer than others, but this is one of my favorite images from that session. I had a great team of friends, Diana (@dyanapyehchek) and Michelle (@ michedubois), to help bring this vision come to life. We made this small cage of hanging rose petals in my home studio and had my close friend and roommate Jackie (@madamejac) and Mimi (@mimi_chonga), who was visiting from New York model for the shoot!”
“This happened about 2 weeks ago. Gabe (@gmontero_), a great photographer from LA, finally made a trip over to Chicago. We’ve been meaning to meet for a while and finally we did! He invited Ali (@alisimes) last minute to came experiment in my home studio. She was down and we all had a fun time making weird photos for a few hours.”
“I was aiming to experiment a bit with lighting for this shoot I did with one of my favorite people Jada (@jada.denae). Jada brought some great outfits and I used one external flash with a red gel to get this look. It was simple but definitely one of my favorite studio shoots yet.”
“Taken in Chinatown, New York during a late night adventure around the city with a group of photographer friends and Alexa, who was kind enough to model for us. I didn’t think much of this shot when I first took it actually but after editing, it is definitely one of my favorite street portrait shots.”
kayla surico written by Tayllor Lemphers photography by Valheria Rocha
When we look at a photograph, we are seeing the final product of an extremely intricate process. On a technical scale, it involves light passing through lenses, reflected by mirrors, shutters opening and closing. From an aesthetic standpoint, the artist needs to consider color, or lack thereof, composition, the subject, let alone any message and symbolism that may be conveyed through the photo. By the time we see these still images, we miss the process it took to arrive at the finished product; and the artists themselves, who take these photos, are no different. When looking at the work of concert and creative portrait photographer Kayla Surico, who has documented events for the likes of MTV, Cherry Pit Mag, FlippenMusic, and New Noise Magazine, one could assume that she, like the work she produces, is a finished product, as a professional photographer who can live off her craft alone. However, this woman is far more than who she is now; rather, she is an accumulation of the story that brought her to her present self, and her story is an incredible one, at that. Though Kayla didn’t always know
she was going to be a photographer (she did consider architecture and graphic design as alternative professions), she always identified herself as the “nerdy and creative” kid. “In elementary school, I remember whenever I had projects that involved creativity, my mom and I would go all-out working on them,” Surico reflected. “I would bring in the most kickass looking shoe boxes you’d ever seen and not only would I get an A+, but usually some extra credit as well.” From an early age, she identified her mom as a huge support of honing her craft and encouraging her creative development. Being placed in an honors program from 6th to 8th grade allowed Surico to be surrounded by people who were both intelligent and creative, which laid further foundation of her artistic pursuits. And it was in seventh grade that the game changer was introduced: a cell phone camera. “[I] would take pictures of practically everything: my friends, flowers and plants, buildings, my dogs, my food…” shares Surico, and capturing these little moments swiftly grew to be one of her favorite hobbies.
LOCATION Orlando, FL - “This photo is probably one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken. I love Melanie Martinez's music and style, and I was so excited to create something that meshed well with her aesthetic. The RAW image isn't even anything spectacular, but I love that I was able to create something eccentric to fit with her look.”
When she received a FujiFilm Finepix the following year, she never parted with it, creating makeshift photo shoots with her friends as she asked them to be her models. And it was then when she started dabbling in the world of photo editing, teaching herself on a free program called GIMP, since Photoshop was too expensive. Photography can quickly become a costly pursuit, and that was felt by Surico and her family. As her love for photography continued to grow, she wanted a DSLR camera, but couldn’t afford it. This changed at the end of tenth grade, when Surico’s grandmother generously paid for a DSLR. She recalls how her mom used to love shopping from QVC, and one day they were browsing the website, where Surico found a Canon Rebel T3i kit on sale for six easy payments. While her family couldn’t afford it, her brother jokingly suggested that she call her grandma and ask if she could help her pay it off. While she was on the phone, she took on her brother’s advice and asked her grandma for help, not seriously considering that she would take up the offer.
But after the conversation continued for a while, Surico’s grandma gave her mom her card information, and they bought the camera. “I had never been so excited to receive something in the mail,” Surico said of her DSLR arriving, “I’m pretty sure I cried that night.” It was at this time that Surico wondered why her grandmother would have so eagerly given so generously, but she never voiced her question. Later, she discovered that her grandma was dying of cancer, and thus was blessing her family with finances and gifts. Having her own DSLR proved to be the gateway she needed to break into the photography market, beginning with shooting shows and easing into the music scene. Surico delighted sharing her artistic successes with her grandma, and one event in particular stood out to Surico: her approval to photograph her all-time favorite bands. On November 2, 2012, Surico photographed Mayday Parade, The Maine and The Postelles at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida. At the time, this was “the coolest thing” for Surico, being such a huge fan of both Mayday Parade and The Maine. She arrived home from the concert, and couldn’t wait to tell her grandma all about it and share her photos.
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Despite the numerous healthy, encouraging relationships Surico experienced on her journey in photography, she cites a particularly toxic relationship that both crushed her and taught her to stand up for herself. In 2013, she shared about a destructive relationship in which she was emotionally and mentally abused for eleven months. “The guy that I was with limited and controlled me, manipulated me, and hindered my progress with photography. I remember there were multiple times when I was forced to miss a concert that I had been approved for because he was angry or mad at me for something.” Once again, Surico was encouraged by her tight-knit tribe of friends and family, this time to end things with him, and it was after this that Surico says she really started to come into her own in her art and life in general. What specifically did she take from those months of abuse and her brave moment of defiance? “I should not let anyone control me and what I want for myself and my art.” With any creative industry, there is always a perceived notion of what a professional is, how much experience is revered and what kind of equipment you should have. Surico found this when she was breaking into concert photography, admitting that she had no clue what she was doing; she was just winging it and ended up in an industry that was filled with male artists who were significantly older than her, with more experience. Being sixteen at the time, she was both terrified and intimidated. “More often than not, I was both the youngest person shooting and the only girl, as well as back then I was shooting with a Canon Rebel and a kit lens, which made me feel even more intimidated once I saw everyone else’s gear.” However, the following morning brought a dark turn to Surico’s story. “The next day I woke up really late and started walking downstairs to say good morning to my grandma, but instead stopped halfway down the stairs as soon as I heard a few of my family members freaking out and crying. In that moment, I knew what had happened and felt completely devastated.” The death of her grandma was described by Surico as one of the saddest days of her life. Nevertheless, it is one that has certainly defined her mentality about her art. “Since that day, I felt like it was necessary and important for me to put every ounce of effort, creativity, and emotion that I could into my art and to try my best to make my dreams of being a photographer work out.” As she continued to pursue and develop her craft, Surico found that it was her family who enabled her to freely go after photography as a profession. Her parents allowed her to do dual enrollment full time and take a few classes per week in her last two years in high school, to allow her free time to hone her art. Even if they were concerned about her safety, as a sixteen-year-old girl wandering around concerts, both her parents still supported her, even in the small ways like giving her rides. Surico doesn’t take any of this for granted. “I am eternally grateful for my family and my friends who believed in me throughout these earlier stages of my life/passion/career and I would not be where I am today without them.” 42
But as she grew in her own experience, Surico discovered, “... through shooting and networking… there’s no reason to feel intimidated because everyone starts out somewhere and you don’t need exceptional gear to be a good artist.” For three years, Surico shot with her Canon T3i before upgrading to her Canon 6D, and was accustomed to defying people’s expectations with the art she could produce with what is known as an entry-level camera. “I took pride in that and I will continue to advocate that it’s possible to make what you have work,” Surico says. You would never know that this artist started off taking photos with her flip-phone, unable to afford the camera that would enable her to pursue her craft seriously. Kayla Surico’s work in both the music scene and with creative portraits evoke the emotion and mood that were there in the original moment, whether it was heart-pumping adrenalin mingling with lights and smoke, or intense intimacy and vulnerability of a boudoir shoot. And the most beautiful thing about the caliber of her work is this: she didn’t start off this way. In fact, it was her development on her journey that has created the artist and the art we see today.
LOCATION New Orleans, LA - “Back in October, I went on tour with Artifex Pereo who was supporting I The Mighty on their headlining tour. In the beginning, I was still figuring out the best ways to handle my schedule and get photos finished before the end of the night. So usually I would shoot Artifex Pereo, and then go hide away and edit for hours and usually finish right before the show ended. On this night, I somehow finished editing like extra early and for the first time since I hopped on the tour, I actually had an opportunity to take some photos of I The Mighty. During their set, Chris, Ian, and Blake came out into the crowd and started playing drums. Immediately when I noticed this happening, I pushed my way through the crowd and took a bunch of pictures and my face lit up when I realized that I captured this gem.”
LOCATION san Francisco, CA - “This photo is so incredibly special to me and holds a lot of sentimental value. This was taken on the final date of Artifex Pereo's tour with I The Mighty. Before Artifex started their set, they all crowded around the drums and put their hands in the middle and as I was about to take a photo, they called over to me to join in. This moment practically had me in tears. The guys in this band mean so much to me and it was amazing feeling like I was a part of their little family.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAYLA SURICO
LOCATION Austin, TX - “When I visited Austin for the first time, some friends and I took a trip to see the 360 bridge and that was when I snapped this photo. It's definitely one of my favorites from that trip, although simple, it's still a beautiful image.” local wolves — 43
esther faciane WRITTEN BY JASMINE RODRIGUEZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY YU
Between the camera and the photographer, the symbiotic magic of capturing a subject manifests itself through the lens. Esther Faciane’s ability to dynamically document the world through her perspective has highlighted the beauty of immersive light tones that are reminiscent of Moonlight’s cinematography. Her images take you on a visual odyssey into the striking world of fashion and the beauty of intersectionality. The composition of her photographs align with the progression of her artistry. Faciane’s diversified perspective becomes tangible once she decides how to photograph her subjects. Hailing from New Orleans, Faciane is immersed in a region that is famous for its immaculate style and picturesque Mardi Gras scenery. Her hometown origins can be seen in the way that she captures New York style. She introduces color schemes and engaging palettes that are paradoxes to the subdued shades of NY fashion.
Faciane produces narratives within her images without saying a word or providing text, she is able to completely submerse one into her captivating photography. Every photographer recalls the memory that established their love for shooting. Faciane’s discovery of photography came with the introduction of her mother’s film camera. “I’ve always used my mother’s film camera when I was little until she bought me my own when I was about 10 or so. But I fell in love with looking at the world through my lens when I bought my own film camera about two years ago. I got my first roll of film back and knew I wanted to shoot for the rest of my life.” For those who are new to photography, the difficult part is the transformation of mental conception into a physical snapshot.
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“ i lo ved th is sh o o t becau se a lo t wen t wro n g th at day bu t th e o u t co me is t h is sh o o t w a s abso lu tely amazin g.”
Faciane agrees that, “The most difficult part is coming up with the ideas. I’m trying this new thing where I write everything down and plan like that but it’s so hard because ideas come to me literally anytime of the day. Remembering the ideas when it’s actually time to write them down is so hard.” When talking about the primary staple to survive NY blizzards, Faciane expressed that “You can never go wrong with the right puffer jacket. Not only is it warm, it’s an absolute staple and is being seen more and more on the runway.” Faciane’s innovative content can be found within features on Galore Magazine and she parallels her photography style to the dreamy Childish Gambino song, “Flight of the Navigator”. Creating an atmosphere around a model who does not have the social following of say Gigi Hadid is a technique that is far more refreshing, as Faciane has to conduct a photo in which the subject grasps the onlookers attention despite them not having a recognizable face. Faciane has photographed a variety of models, yet one model she would absolutely love to shoot in the near future is the gorgeous Duckie Thot. Faciane celebrates human existence through her images and includes a wide variety of people of color to display their beauty that remains demurred or completely invisible to the high-fashion universe and big-name publications. “I don’t want younger girls of color to want to change their features to look more European,” Faciane states.
“If they see girls that look like them, they will learn earlier on that they don’t have to submit themselves to societal standards of beauty. It would be the other way around and it should have always been.” Regarding how the force of photography has captivated her world, Faciane stated, “Photography has kept me sane. It’s what keeps me going. That sounds so cliché but it’s true. “She reassured her previous statement by saying, “I’m happy to have found what I truly love to do.” Working with a camera can be seen a way to escape reality or gives moments to extend the reality that one lives in. As for how Faciane feels on photographic introspection, “When I’m shooting, I definitely feel like I’m in an alternate universe just because of the high I get while I’m in the moments and behind the lens.” Faciane adds, “However, I do think of photography as an extension of reality. It is art and art reflects the artist’s feelings and emotions. That’s exactly what it does for me.” Faciane is a prodigy behind the lens. In the near future, one can find her photos gracing issues of Vogue or on billboards upon the same streets she walks in New York. As she said herself, an image needs to portray “Feeling. If a photograph doesn’t have emotion or mood. I’m automatically bored. Even with my own photos.” Her pictures translate a vibrant aura that is needed to liven up our lives and make us smile a bit more. PHOTO (ABOVE) BY ESTHER FACIANE
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY ESTHER FACIANE “It was 40 degrees out and the girls in this photo were both visiting New York from New Orleans and I’ve worked with them multiple times before back home. They are amazing for freezing so I could get the shot.”
“This was one of my first indoor pictures with film and it came out perfectly. This shoot was so amazing because the model and I connected so beautiful and created amazing photographs.”
“i l o v e t he e s s e n c e that fi l m c a p t u r e s . It d o es n’ t e v e n l ook like n ew o r l e a n s i n this pho t o a n d i n t h e sh o o t i n g e n e r a l . i lo ve t hat I ca n d o t h a t with p ho t o s .”
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cary fagan WRITTEN BY MORGAN ECKEL PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLIE JEFFERS
Meet Texas native, Cary Fagan. A photographer, visual artist, and soon to be college graduate of the University of Houston. Almost a decade since Fagan started photography, he has made an impressionable imprint on the people who see his work. Shooting on film, his images are unique to himself and raw in nature.
“i have my eyes on a lot of things though the year just started. time is just a c o n c e p t .”
In 2010, Fagan stumbled into the world of film photography after discovering the work of Tamara Litchenstien. “At that time, she was the first film photographer I had seen viral on Tumblr. I always wondered how her images looked a certain way.” Film was never easy to Fagan, and even after years of practice, he still continues to make mistakes. “I teach myself through trial and error. Learning technique is one thing, developing an “eye” is another.” Stylistically, it’s all in the details. “Lately I have been focused on the concept of detail. I find myself zooming in on photographs I’ve already taken; fantasizing over the idea of seeing the details in an image at a magnification of 200%. Still life is growing on me.” As far as Fagan’s inspiration behind his work, he’s incredibly humble. “Honestly, it’s in the company I keep. The idea of having passion and taking risks.” Just scrolling through his work on Instagram, it’s no surprise his photos are attracting people across the globe, and bringing awareness to the fact that film is most definitely not dead. “I do think social media has enhanced the idea of film photography, but, I think film has always been there. Some of the most successful photographers still shoot film publicly or not. There are people who have a hard time understanding the process of film so I don’t think film is fully revived until the process can be understood— have patience in the process.” His feed even gained attraction from Kanye West, where Fagan would later get to shoot Yeezy Season 3 at New York Fashion Week. Still reeling over the experience, Fagan’s gratitude knows no bounds. “Surreal. There were moments where it felt like none of it was real, I cannot grasp the thought of me ever forgetting that experience. I think anybody in my shoes could relate.” And as for Fagan’s plans for 2017,
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARY FAGAN
heaven on earth LOCATION HOUSTON, TX "I had the best view, it was five in the morning."
breathe LOCATION LOS ANGELES, CA "I think people are becoming so use to/dependent on the instant gratification the internet provides. We arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t giving ourselves enough time to appreciate the simple things in life. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s okay to disconnect from the internet, allow things in nature to influence you."
willoughby tree LOCATION TERLINGUA, TX "A quick stop on the way to an editorial shoot. This tree is the pitstop, and a reminder of all the great energies around me."
self portrait LOCATION HOUSTON, TX "25th Floor of the Flamingo Hotel. I was in Vegas to document my friend Marie, and her spontaneous wedding."
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lloyd pursall written by leah lu PHOTOGRAPHy by naohmi monroe
Visit LLOYD PURSALL’s website and you’ll stumble into a profusion of vibrant and opulent portraiture. Every image boasts an undeniable idiosyncrasy, and each subject’s charisma extends beyond the screen. It’s proof that Pursall’s adage is succeeding. His ideology goes as such: “My work embodies the beauty of individuality. I like to capture the intensity of a person and engage with their passion and vitality through color and light. I aim to empower and motivate people.” Before all else, he strives to arrive at a mutual breakthrough of humanity with every person he shoots— Pursall’s art is just as much about story-centered relationships. “You should feel good about yourself with a Lloyd Pursall photo,” he says. This “people first” philosophy isn’t merely a modus operandi for Pursall, it’s a deeply-ingrained part of his upbringing. Since he was a child, he’s been throwing himself into unknown situations in search of the best energy and connections in the room. “Photography enables me to connect with people in a creative way and show how I see a person,” he said. “I think it’s important to understand that people are not always who they think or say they are. We live in a world of false promises and intangible ideals which affects the way we present ourselves within society. A portrait is a chance for a person to show the real them without being threatened. I think that’s what I enjoy most, making a person feel so comfortable that they let me photograph what’s on the inside.” Though he currently resides in Los Angeles, Pursall has threads to his London roots, the city he sees as the culture capital of the world. “There’s something about that city which nurtures its creatives to be as free as possible,” he explained. London’s notoriously experimental fashion industry and open-minded encouragement of freedom in expression has taught Pursall to channel the same boundless spirit in his work. He’s not contained by one medium or subject matter, but his vision spans a diverse repertoire of musicians, fashion brands, and street portraits that have amassed a considerable amount of attention: his work has been featured by eminent companies such as Adidas, Moschino, and Levi’s, and has showcased names like Diplo, Little Mix, and Skrillex.
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Most recently, Pursall took part in a collaboration with Calvin Klein and Moonlight, this year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture. “Moonlight is such an important body of work. It’s one of those movies that rarely becomes an instant classic. I was so captivated by the story, the cinematography, the cast, and Barry Jenkins’ direction that I was determined to connect with the people behind the art,” said Pursall. “Raf Simons apparently had the same reaction to the movie, and with his new position at Calvin Klein, he cast the actors for his latest campaign as well as dressed them in his first CK red carpet designs for the Oscars. Calvin reached out to me to document the day, the making of Naomie Harris’ dresses, as well as the actors who play Chiron prepping for the Academy Awards. I was honored—still am— it was one of those magical days I’ll never forget. The right movie won and I’m glad I could be a part of such an iconic moment in American film.” Landing these impressive commissions hasn’t become humdrum in the least for Pursall, though. “I cried the first time I saw my work on a billboard,” he recalled. He analogizes life to a never-ending train, one that occasionally allows some people to board and others to disembark. Certain moments in his career bring that train to an abrupt standstill, revealing a moment of clarity and allowing him to be proud of what he’s accomplished thus far. “In that moment, I am grateful and I reflect on the journey that has gotten me to that point, and then in a flash we’re moving again towards the next stop,” he said. When asked why he thinks photography is important, Pursall responded, “Photography is an art and we need art to survive. I could overcomplicate this answer for you, but it really is quite simple— photography makes me happy.” In the process to fully grasp the nuances of what art is, Pursall clings to “anything that’s real”— life experiences, personal relationships, and the complexity of emotion.
“ i f i ’ m s e n s i t i v e t o my ow n feel i n g s , i ’ m a l s o s e n s i t i ve to y o u rs , w h i c h c r e a t e s s t r ong, b eau t iful , l on g - l a s t i n g rel a t io n s hi p s .” It may seem like Pursall has reached a point of ample success, but his curiosity, coach-ability, and humility are what will drive him further in discovery and capability. “My mum once told me, ‘Never attack anything all at once. Take little steps, little steps, little steps,’ she said, ‘And then you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain,” said Pursall. “I’m going to keep climbing to reach the peak.”
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Ashton Sanders for Calvin Klein “Ashton, for me, was the star of the film, Moonlight . His performance totally moved me. We met at the SAG awards and knew we wanted to work together. This portrait was taken for Calvin Klein the morning of the Oscars at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Ashton was wearing Raf Simons’ first every red carpet designs for CK. I wanted to capture the personality I was getting to know through our growing friendship as well as the vulnerable character of Chiron that originally captivated me. I really believe Ashton represents the future of Hollywood— an honest, daring, fun, outspoken actor that challenges the ideal.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LLOYD PURSALL
Sean Lyles for Moschino “Sean was one of the first people I met when visiting LA around seven years ago. He features regularly in my work. We’ve been involved in each other’s creative journey and built ideas together. Sean is everything my work stands for, he has a masculine attractive look with a deep creative soul. I’m able to capture many sides to his personality. Moschino is known for its fun, playful designs and is the hot guy who likes to party in the fashion world – Jeremy Scott’s designs and Sean Lyles were a perfect match. I wanted to show how sex appeal can be discovered without being overt.”
Goldlink for NYLON Magazine “I met Goldlink in London a few years ago. He was working on music out there and we became friends. He’s dope, very talented and a really nice guy. We shot this portrait for NYLON Magazine in Washington D.C. where he’s from, I call him the “Fresh Prince of D.C.” He started off his music career by being very ambiguous with his image. He’s since put his face out there but I still wanted to capture this idea of not giving your whole personality away and having your guard up to certain people. The air of mystery is attractive; people are fascinated by the unknown.”
Pell “Working with Pell was fun. He is a perfect example of how using color and light can express a musician’s passion for what they do. Pell’s music has a certain vibe that I wanted to bring across. We shot this in Los Angeles— I love living here it’s like having a natural studio wherever you go. The light is incredible in Southern California it makes people come alive.”
w r itte n by K e n dall B olam P H OTO GR A P H y by A ly K u la
woe lfe l
If you would identify yourself as a millennial in today’s culture, then chances are you’ve seen Brandon Woelfel’s photography. His work can be found on all social media platforms, gracing thousands of Instagram discovery pages and Tumblr feeds. While each photograph he takes is intrinsically different, one thing ties them all together: light. His unique use of the fixture has created a movement among many photographers that cannot be credited to anyone else. While he would be too humble to admit it, Woelfel’s style is iconic. He has achieved what all photographers strive for: Originality in the fiercely competitive world of photography. Much like a Keith Haring painting or a Wes Anderson film, Woelfel’s photographs are highly distinctive and a reflection of who he is as an artist. With each whimsical image he produces, Woelfel is creating influence within the art community and inspiring others to remain faithful to their individuality. Growing up in Long Island, Woelfel’s short commute to the big apple made it easy for him to find creativity as a photographer. “Being just a train ride away from what seems like an entirely different world has always been very influential. The most motivating element of NYC is how diverse and fast paced it is. The energy has driven my art to what it is today.” Without the unique relationships and opportunities to be found in NYC, Woelfel admits his work would be drastically different. While always being interested in the arts, the act of storytelling through a visual medium is what initially spurred Woelfel to create. “My interest in photography came about while studying Computer Art at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Consistently searching for new mediums of art, photography was something I realized went hand in hand with computer art. Having the technical education from schooling while being able to experiment with my photo style independently got me attached to creating.” Brandon Woelfel’s portfolio is overflowing with beautiful faces and beaming lights. Each photograph incorporates colors and themes that fit perfectly with the next, creating a cohesive collection of images. When asked how he initially developed his style, Woelfel replied, “Challenging myself to start shooting in various types of lighting, I fell in love with shooting at night. Within this process I was searching for something that would illuminate the subjects I shoot. While analyzing different light sources and their effects on the model, fairy lights came into play. The accessibility of the lights and their radiant cast on the subject created my desired look.”
Photography, like every art form, tells a distinctive story. Brandon Woelfel aims to leave his audience in awe; to evoke wonder and enchantment with his photography. “As artists we won’t always be given the chance to justify the story behind a photo, because of this I believe an artist can create a piece of work with any reflection in mind. When creating I think about the impact it will transcend on not only myself, but the viewer. Leaving a piece of work open to interpretation for the observer to feel awe is essential for me when creating.” Woelfel holds other photographers to the same creative standards, explaining what captures his attention as both an artist and a viewer. “The most compelling images for me evoke all senses and tell an ambiguous story. Images that tell a loose story that the audience can interpret themselves are the most captivating to me. Despite the tremendous level of success he has attained, Woelfel has remained humble throughout his journey. One of the greatest lessons he has learned is to support others and to never tear them down. “Spreading nothing but positivity can generate a community of building and sharing. Being able to collaborate with other creatives, you can only positively benefit each other. Sharing a unique passion as someone else is something that should be celebrated, not degraded!” Woelfel chooses to be empowered and inspired by his peers, rather than intimidated. “Artists who I see putting in countless hours towards their craft are ones I look up to. Anyone in the art world specifically that is able to thrive solely based on the individual work they put in is an inspiration. Photographers I follow within the community that are always pushing limits and developing objectives encourage me to work harder at photography.” So what is Woelfel’s solution to success? It’s simple: Never stop creating. “If you truly love what you’re doing and are working hard towards improving then it will show in your art. Developing your eye to photograph the things that stand out to you is imperative. As you continue to create, the experience you gain while out shooting will soon enough manifest through your photos. I think it’s important to note that if you love what you are creating then that’s all that matters.” As Brandon Woelfel continues to grow artistically, so will his influence. His dedication to creating beautiful and meaningful images has inspired others to do the same. Woelfel is a guiding light within the visual art community with a beam that shines as brightly as the lights in his photographs do.
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“a s arti sts we wo n’t always b e g ive n th e chance to justi f y th e story b e h i n d a ph oto, b e caus e o f th i s I b e li e ve an arti st can cr e ate a pi e ce o f wo r k with any r e fle c ti o n i n m i n d.”
Model Cailee Rae, @Caileeraemusic â&#x20AC;&#x153;Taken as a potential cover art for my friend Cailee Raeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s EP, Overthinking we came up with a concept we thought best represented the individual songs. This shoot took place outside on a super chilly December day, but the cold wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t going to stop our initial idea. Filling up gallons of milk with various colored dye, we began to throw them all over her! With such an elaborate image in mind for the final result came many hours of editing. I began to impose the best images of the milk around Cailee and soon enough it came together. Having all the individuals of a team being genuinely dedicated to a photo
UNDER THE l i g h t s
Models Matt Stockert, @Mattstockert + Taylor Marshall, @Taylorkaelin “Authentically capturing love is one of my favorite things to photograph. Being able to visually express a feeling through a portrait as an artist is an amazing feeling. Incorporating my whimsical style into this photo, it was actually taken right in front of my house. To illustrate a magical concept you don’t always need a glamorous location. The ordinary background brings attention to the subjects and their interaction with light.”
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THE GRACEFUL BALLERINA
Model Isabella Fonte, @Isabella_Fonte â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has always been a goal of mine to take photos of a dancer because of the elegant lines and the passion in their movements. This image was taken in the busiest streets of SoHo, we seemed to be dodging cabs left and right to get a decent shot! Infusing a graceful dancer with the disorder of the city was a challenge I was certainly up for.â&#x20AC;?
BREAK IN THE CLOUDS
Model Aly Kula, @Al.y “This photo was taken last summer while me and a few friends were exploring Brooklyn around sunset. Feeling a little bummed out at the gloomy weather, we weren’t taking too many photos. There was suddenly a break in the clouds and the most beautiful colors came through! Acting fast we sprinted to the nearby water where I asked my friend to model. The sudden breakthrough created this moody silhouette with pops of color. With nature being so unpredictable, a big part of photography for me is acting upon those unexpected turning points.”
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kiele twarowski written by michelle ledesma photography by mckenzie mcadams
Being a woman alone stirs fear in the eyes of some because of the braveness we’ve acquired throughout the years. Feminism has paved the way for women who want to change the world, especially women who are creatives in an industry dominated by men. Nonetheless, it will be a game changer for women creatives to partake in a whirlwind adventure of creativity on their own. Kiele Twarowski, a photographer from Savannah, Georgia, is taking the world by storm. Her photos are whimsical and raw. They show an inkling of the sour truth, yet she leaves you with a bit of mystery in each photo she takes. You’ll find yourself in awe when you notice the tiny freckles on the face of the model, or maybe you’ll happen to notice the pink or purple hues of the photo leaving you with the utmost of nostalgic feels. Having already obtained fourteen features and three exhibitions, Twarowski has mastered the art of being oneself while creating something wonderful to show the world what she is capable of. Most would know how hard it is to break into an industry, especially when the industry is already bombarded with equally amazing hard workers. Twarowski’s recent exhibition in Los Angeles, California, #girlgaze: a frame of mind, is an exhibit made to support female photographers behind the camera that ultimately demonstrate the power of the girl gaze. Twarowski captures the true emotion of the title, showcasing the very unique flaws that makes us who we are. In photos, she unfolds the story of womanhood and the trials and tribulations that make the ride of womanhood all the more worthwhile. As a photographer, you tell stories of life, of failure, of happiness or sadness, and whatever emotions arise throughout the process. I feel that artists feel the most pain, the most suffering, which dotes on their personal work. That’s what makes it so powerful and groundbreaking. Art of any kind is magical itself. I think it may be the most important occupation. As artists we pour our soul into what we believe in and since we believe in it so strongly, it shows. Twarowski defeats what may seem as a daunting task to others; she opens her heart to the world. Some of us don’t have the courage to do so because it makes us vulnerable to the harsh reality of the world, but when I asked about her favorite aspect about being a photographer, she said “I want to hold onto everything and make it look as special as it felt.”
Emotions are the key in creating art. Without feeling, where would we be? Who would we be? We’d only be as helpless as a dream wandering in our head while we lay asleep motionless. Twarowski’s zeal for emotion is noted in her photography. With each graceful pose there is a tale of warmth and self-discovery engulfed from her fingertips down to the camera as she maneuvers the button to flash its light upon the face of the model or the scenery. As enticing as all of her projects are, she insists the #girlgaze exhibition was one for the books. After the exhibition, Twarowski was featured in Teen Vogue and interviewed for LA Weekly. You might be thinking what’s next for Twarowski and her work? When asked, she replied “I’m also trying to create work for and curate a gallery show,” which is an answer I’m sure her fans would be pleased to hear. Within time, you might probably see her work on billboards, magazines, and books galore.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIELE TWAROWSKI
“I took this photo in the south of France, standing on top of a cliff that I later jumped off of. Just before this, I watched each of my friends jump into the water. The sun was reflecting off the surface and each time they jumped, the light refracted off the droplets forming rainbows everywhere. It was magical.”
“My best friend and I road tripped from Chicago to Savannah, then back to Chicago in the span of about 5 days so that I could move out of my apartment. I’ve done the drive a handful of times, and every time I always end up stopping in Kentucky or Tennessee. There’s something kind of romantic about shitty hotels in the middle of nowhere.”
“This is my best friend Julia who I did the road trip with. I took this photo shortly after we got back from our five-day trip. She slept over at my house, and I took this in the morning when we woke up. There’s something to be said for someone who you can spend 5 days straight with and still want to wake up next to.”
“All of my friends and I drove to the beach for sunrise one morning last spring. Watching the sun come up over the ocean with the people you care about most feels like a dream. That morning just made me feel really lucky.”
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parker woods written by Chloe Luthringshausen PHOTOGRAPHy by Jason Kent
For Portland photographer Parker Woods, what started as procrastination from homework turned into a newfound talent and full-time career. Shooting his first roll of film during his senior year of high school, Woods discovered his passion for capturing everyday life behind the lens of a camera. After high school, Woods moved from Colorado to San Diego, where he made daily commutes to Los Angeles to learn and find inspiration from the local art scene. In Los Angeles, Woods worked on his craft, shooting models and friends and spending the first few years learning about the technical aspects of photography. “Los Angeles continually reminded me that I was an amateur,” admits Woods. “The city sculpted the way I understood photography at a professional level. It forced me to take risks and roll with the punches— two invaluable attributes to have if you’re working in the art industry.” Although Los Angeles taught Woods a lot about photography and the industry, it became more of a launching pad rather than a permanent home. Woods decided to move to Portland and attend Portland State University, where he also continued to develop his photography skills in a new city. Woods admits the move from Los Angeles to Portland felt “natural and practical,” for the city presented many promising opportunities in photography and also inspired a new style to his art. “Living and working in Portland this past year and a half has done more for me and my work than the four years I spent in California,” says Woods. “I feel that Los Angeles provided a foundation of experience that was necessary to be able to progress. However, Portland has allowed for a stylistic maturation in my art that I don’t know I would’ve had if I had stayed in Los Angeles.” Since his first roll of film in high school, Woods admits the biggest improvement he has seen over the years has been through his photographic style. Describing his style as “diaristic-fashion,” Woods’ photography merges the intimacy of a diary with the professionalism of editorial fashion. One scroll through Woods’ portfolio and you can see the simplistic beauty in his portraits, proving his natural talent behind the camera. Woods believes that photography not only captures the story of the subject, but also the photographer. “To me, photography and narcissism occupy the same space,” says Woods. “Photos can tell you just as much about the person creating the image as the actual subject. I think it’s impossible to separate a photographer’s narrative from their photograph— it’s a biased art form, but that’s the point.” Woods not only exposes his artistic perspectives in his intimate portraits, but also beautiful scenic shots of everyday life. “I think there’s something transcendent about capturing people being people from the perspective of an unobtrusive observer,” says Woods.
“it ’s a reall y dif f icul t fe eling to fab ricate in formal sho ot s w it hou t fe eling cont ri ve d bu t my goal of ever y sho ot is to ride t he line b e t we en p urp osefull y creat ing a vene er of unique, int imate moment s and let t ing t hese moment s hap p en nat urall y.” Woods truly exposes this unique, intimate style in his most recent project: a published book of photography titled ‘Momo Tokyo’. The book consists of street photography from Woods’ time in Japan and his experience with Japanese culture. “The idea was a joint effort between photographer, Parker Fitzgerald and myself. One of my friends had given me a big piece of pink fabric that I wanted to take with me to Tokyo to shoot in different places around the city as a little personal project,” says Woods. “In a matter of two weeks, the idea had turned from something I thought I might be able to fit in on the side of the work I’d planned on doing in Japan to the primary reason for the trip.” Woods has a remarkable talent to transform ordinary objects into meaningful art. Take for example the pink fabric that he used as a backdrop in the images of the book. Woods explains that the purpose of the fabric was “to pick up the narrative where it left off in the previous image,” creating not only a photography book, but also a seamless storyline of everyday life. Woods hopes that his photography can “provide a lens for social commentary and even give others, who may not have the same amount of social capital that I do, the platform to make a statement.” Capturing the streets of Japan not only taught Woods about everyday life in another country, but also about himself and his art. “I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as independent or selfsufficient as I did navigating Tokyo by myself for the first three days,” admits Woods. “The whole trip was made up of an amalgamation of small, personal victories that left me feeling more confident than when I had started.” Publishing Momo Tokyo and traveling to Japan also taught Woods about the importance of creating art that is personal to the creator. “I think of all the lessons that going to Japan and publishing this book has taught me, the most important is that context is key,” says Woods.
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“Acknowledging that you’re not a special snowflake for doing something that’s been done before while still being able to articulate why people should give a shit is what makes the project matter.” With so much wisdom to give about photography, Woods admits that the best advice he has ever received on pursuing a career in the art industry is that “nobody is going to give you permission to start doing the thing you want to do.” Instead of waiting around for a cosmic sign or validation from others, Woods believes artists need to have the confidence to put themselves and their art out there for the world to see. “Art is difficult for so many reasons but especially since you are your own team, coach, and cheerleader,” says Woods. “Photographers I know who are successful have the ability to push forward, sometimes with fabricated confidence, and take emotional risks by continually putting themselves and their work out into the ether.” Woods not only works on his own personal projects, but also has collaborated with various
well-known brands and clients, including Urban Outfitters, Wheelhouse Vintage, and Nationalist Magazine. Woods admits that working for clients compared to working on his own personal projects is different but still fulfilling. “Overall, assignments are what you make of them and for me, half the fun of working with clients is creative problem solving and challenging myself to find ways to work within project parameters while contributing my own voice,” says Woods. With a diaristic-fashion style that is uniquely his own, various collaborations with reputable clients, and a published book, Woods is already creating a name for himself in the photography world. So what’s next for the Portland photographer? “I would say that I have three major goals for 2017: graduate college, move to New York City, and work with a dream client.” With a strong dedication to his art and a unique eye behind the camera, there is no doubt that Woods will be capturing more than just photographs in 2017; he will also be capturing his dreams.
“ar t is dif f icul t for so many reasons bu t esp eciall y since you are your own team, coach, and cheerleader.”
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“I saw a fair share of cats roaming around neighborhoods in Tokyo, but none with more of a personality than this one I spotted stalking me in Aoyama Cemetery. I wasn’t aware until long after my run in with this effective graveyardguard that photographing head stones is taboo—with some pretty heavy superstition surrounding what can happen to those who do.”
“When I moved to Oregon I had only ever been to one waterfall in the state and it had a pretzel stand at the bottom. I was dying to get out of the city so I met up with Luke—a bighaired photographer I had only met once before. We drove two hours out east alongside the Columbia River Gorge and got to a good stopping point right as the sun was setting. We climbed sections of the cliffs that would allow it and took photos until it was dark. He’s now one of my closest friends.”
“I had known Kara for quite awhile before meeting her in person while visiting New York this winter. We had hot chocolate and cake at a patisserie before she suggested we take some photos in Central Park. She had a clear vision for how she wanted the images to look and subsequently ended up naked in the middle of the park, standing on boulders and hanging from trees. I didn’t know that public nudity was legal in the city until that night.”
“We woke up before daybreak to drive to Joshua Tree for a little break from LA. Pictured is the majority of my friend Sydney and an appendage belonging to my friend, Jena. Not pictured are the RV’s full of tourists and climbers and campers who drove by slowly ever time we shot anywhere near the little two lane road that snakes its way through the national park.”
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brandon stanciell WRITTEN BY T’KEYA MARQUEZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY NAOHMI MONROE
Art has always been a universal language in which we communicate. As a photographer, 23-year-old BrandOn Stanciell speaks through his camera lens and the results reach high volumes. After moving to Los Angeles, California from Palmdale to pursue art and photography, his art continues in full force. His photographs tell stories with moments captured in time and when spoken his message is clear: “BE YOU! I’d like to believe my work is an extension of my being and reflection of who I am inside.”
He isn’t alone in his passions; his twin brother, James is also a photographer. When asked how their work differs, he says “I think James’ carries more of a darker tone and feeling whereas mine might be bright and in your face. All my subjects are usually looking you right in the eye in my photos whereas the subjects in his work might look away from the camera or have a more “lifestyle” look to his images. James and I are the same person in different worlds, for sure.”
Growing up, Brandon’s creative expression was fueled by music. “I was in concert band all throughout middle school and marching back in high school, so music definitely played a huge role in my creative expression while growing up.” he says. His intrigue for photography started in a black and white film class as a freshman in high school. Beyond the darkroom, his love for using film persists in the most honest way. “I only shoot film, so I try to use the natural light and shadows to the best of my ability. They’ve somewhat become my best friends.” he says.
Brandon’s vibrant work evokes the feeling of sensitivity and peacefulness. He says, “It’s something that just came naturally. I shoot a lot in the neighborhoods around me and I’ll constantly be shooting in apartment complexes and in front yards of people’s houses and that’s what’s mostly there, greenery and flowers. So it started as just the environment around me to my advantage and become more of a tool and a go–to for color.”
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“ t h i s w a s fr om my f i r s t f l owe r p o r t r a i t e v e r. i thi nk i t’s gr ea t h ow the i de a bl os s omed t h e da y of thi s s hoot.”
Among his work is a series called ‘The Man Who Loved Flowers’. A title that speaks the loudest with its stance on the misconception of black men in the media. “‘The Man Who Loved Flowers’ was an idea that stemmed from the poem, “Thinker of Tender Thoughts” by Shel Silverstein. Using that as a base and what was happening in Ferguson at the time, I wanted to show people that there was more to black men than what had been perceived through media. We’re constantly stereotyped as hyper-masculine human beings and I wanted to help show a more sensitive approach as to who we are and what we feel to help those who might not know that we feel pain too, that we cry too, that we are sensitive too and that it’s okay to be these things.” Says Brandon. He also recently did a live installation at Active Board shop for Black Lives Matter. When it comes to having a voice and speaking your truth it becomes his own personal art form.
“h ere t ake t h ese was a p ro ject i st art ed wh ere the su b ject s ap p ear t o b e g i v in g t h e viewer flo wers.”
For Brandon, his creative platform is full of more than just photographs. He gives you an inside look on who, what and how he sees the world around him. Each individual photo is an art piece, and when combined reveal a true form of intimacy. His transparency is not only refreshing, but focuses on the simple mantra of doing what you love and doing it often. When asked what advice he would give to aspiring photographers he says, “There’s very many photographers out there who all want the same thing so it’s best to make yourself unique and stand out.” Brandon revives the sometimes forgotten truth, that being “You” is the most creative footprint you can leave in this world. What’s next for Brandon? He is currently working on new print series. Until then, we’ll be over here smelling the roses. PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON STANCIELL
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“m y fa vor ite series yet – “ le p arap lu ie de fle ur s .” by bran do n stan ciell.
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blair brown INTERVIEW by T’keya Marquez PhotographY by NAOHMI MONROE
For those just discovering your work, can you tell me a bit about your yourself? BB: My name is Blair, I’m from Oakland, California but I moved down here to LA in August to start school at Cal State Long Beach. I was a full-time athlete from an entirely sports oriented family before I dropped it all and decided to pursue a more artistic life. This all happened after my junior year in high school, my basketball team had just won state, and I was realizing I didn’t love it anymore and I’m not someone who can fully commit myself to be my best in something if I don’t really love it. So I put it behind me and began focusing on taking photos with a ‘Hey I think I really enjoy this stuff, let’s see where this takes me’ kind of attitude and as I got better, this passion only continued to grow. I started going to the local art shows with DJs and supporting everyone around me. This grew into meeting artists, asking to go to their shows, and eventually this turning into manager’s/artists asking me to come kick it in the studio and come out to their shows. I currently work for Private Club Records, doing photo/video and overall visual direction. Private Club Records is made up of MadeinTyo, 24hrs, Salma Slims and Noah Wood$ and MyNamePhin. Along with being a photographer, you’re also a student. What are you studying? BB: Yes, I’m a currently a Pre-film student— minoring in business and since I’m just starting I take a lot of general education classes too. I’m taking classes on fashion, communication, history, and hopefully I can study more about graphic design and marketing! Hopefully I can graduate in a timely matter with the potential tour talk that’s beginning to pop up.
Do you have a preferred career path in mind And do you see yourself furthering photography? BB: I found myself working with a lot of musicians, artists, and DJs, and I think most of what I do will revolve around music and helping others. A really big part of photography for me is giving people photos, I like people to have my work, and I hope it helps them out in some way too whether it’s just a photo from yesterday’s brunch or they were performing their hit song in front of their biggest crowd yet. It’s my way of allowing others to share their stories I don’t see myself ever putting down my camera it’s part of me at this point I wouldn’t live if I wasn’t capturing time and expressing myself. How would you describe your photography style? BB: Based on how I’m feeling— I think I take photos slightly different every day and when it comes to editing, my edits vary with my mood and being in the right mindset is crucial to getting photos to look how I want them to. I hear a lot that when people see a photo I’ve done they can tell it’s a photo of mine but I feel like I always am editing kinda differently so I don’t know. Exactly what is it that you want to say with your photographs? BB: A photo is a frame in time from my point of view about that specific moment so making it my own and hoping maybe other people will enjoy it, inspire them, or I’ll evoke some sort of emotion for them... even if it’s just ‘Hey, this is cool!’.
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Which photographers have influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking and photographing? BB: David Camarena and Grady Brannan, photographers from the Bay Area as well, were a really big part in inspiring me to do what I do. The Bay Area as a whole inspires me. My best friends, Dan Franco and Elan Watson are my favorite photographers and inspire me every day. Among your works so far, which one is most memorable? BB: I have this photo from the Kehlani and G-Eazy show at Red Rocks in Colorado. Kehlani has her hands up posing with the sold out crowd of iPhone lights. Another one of my favorites is a photo from shooting the “Calm Down” music video with G-Eazy and Grady standing next to each other smiling that really just shows their friendship. There was this crazy time I climbed a crane when one of the tallest new apartment buildings in San Francisco was still being built, it was right next to the Bay Bridge, and I have this shot of my feet looking like they’re hanging off the edge. I’ll never do that again but that photo is wild. They’re not really my “best” photos but they captured that moment, freezing that memory and how that moment felt to be in. I’ve learned that there are few good things that tend to last but photos can be a familiar reminder that they are there. The bad times are there too and sometimes photography can express those bad times and help you look back and realize you’re past that and overcame it or that other people know what it feels like to be in that dark place and can relate to it. Life can move by really fast so photography kinda helps me pause for a second and reflect on what I’ve experienced. Aside from getting to capture musicians in their element, what is the most rewarding thing about being a photographer? BB: It’s rewarding that I can create something coming from my own expression, from something that maybe other people experienced or saw as well or maybe it’s a brand new idea/ person/artist that I’m able to introduce through my work. It’s rewarding to know I’m putting out something of my own and it’s recognized. Your photographs have an honest “Kodak moment” feel to them, do you find that this makes them stand out from the average photo? BB: I like hanging out with people, and getting to know them. I’m not quite introverted but I’m really big on listening as a way of getting to know people before I start talking more. In this whole process I think better photos come from creating more of a connection with whoever is being photographed so I try to do that.
When you are out shooting, how much of it is instinctual versus planned? BB: Man, I really wish I was but I’m not much of a planner. That’s probably why much of my stuff is out in the open, street, and natural places that I just sort of find like ‘hey this could look tight’. I do have a lot of ideas for more studio and set projects but I’m super into just going with the flow. What is one thing you wish you knew when your first started take photos? BB: Everything is such a habit now it’s hard to think about what I didn’t know. I’m literally learning more every time I talk with other photographers from the editing process to camera settings but I would say I wish I learned Photoshop earlier. If you could take your art in any direction without fear of rejection, where would it lead and what new thing would you try? BB: To have just an endless budget and be able to do whatever I want with it whether it was design clothing, make insane music videos or even full feature films, throw festivals, photograph around the world, inspire everyone to be themselves. I’ve never been obsessed with dressing myself and have also had a cozy, street style but getting into creative direction for a fashion designer would be crazy. Who, what and where would be your dream subjects to photograph? BB: Hella random... but Mila Kunis, it’s rare I ever idolize/fan over celebrities cause we’re all just human but I love her. I also grew up super into sharks... so underwater photography with sharks… yes the big scary ones, for sure a goal of mine. I’ve always loved the water. As a photographer with creative perspective, what is your perspective on the world and life itself? BB: Life is whatever you want it to be. That’s obviously easier said than done though. You are constantly faced with challenges every day, and a lot of people deal with difficulties like anxiety or depression so it’s really important to get to know other people and be a listener. I’ve really been focusing on understanding perspectives and that people are all different and that’s really important. I really emphasize respect, positivity, and hard work... but like please always have fun with it. Are you currently working on any personal projects? BB: Yes... keep your eyes out!
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“Big Sean and MadeinTyo, taken on set for the Skateboard P Remix music video. They’re sitting on a DeLorean DMC-12, which is the car from Back to the Future.”
“My friend and Bay Area artist, Jhsiri, modeling for FLIT, one of my favorite clothing brands run by my friend, Josh Pagila.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BLAIR BROWN
“G-Eazy performing at his sold out show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. He co-headlined this show with Kehlani and it was one of the most legendary nights for me because Red Rocks is one of the best venues in the world so I was able to check that off my bucket list with artists from my hometown.”
“this is kanye west at the warfield in san francisco in 2015. obama gave a speech right before west went on to perform his greatest h i t s a n d i d o n ’ t t h i n k i t ’s e v e n p o s sible to see kanye in such an intim a t e v e n u e a n y m o r e .”
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written by Olivia Clark PhotographY by Abigail Johnson-Ruscansky
Scrolling through Jared Lankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Instagram is like a taking a stroll through the woods. From winter wonderland landscapes to earthy portraits of outdoorsy humans, this Portland, Maine-based photographer exudes the beauty of nature in all his work.
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Describing his aesthetic as emotive, serendipitous and narrative, Lank first got into photography through his love of film. Growing up in the middle of the woods of rural Maine, Lank entertained himself by playing with his family’s old VHS camcorder and Sears 35mm camera. “I guess that made me realize how much I honestly love looking at the world through a viewfinder,” explains Lank. After using disposable cameras for most of his youth, Lank received his first serious camera, a Sony Cybershot, for Christmas when he was twelve years. He began documenting his friends on video, saying, “I really enjoyed how it pushed us to do different things and adventure beyond our daily routes and common areas of hanging out.”
“ my degree ha s a tremendo us
After taking a photography course at his local community college while still in high school, Lank toyed with the idea of attending the Maine College of Art to study photography. However, he was advised against pursuing a career in the arts due to its potential financial instability, so he ended up studying anthropology and geography at the University of Southern Maine. “Studying Anthropology/Geography opened my eyes up to the world, and I gained such an appreciation for the uniqueness of cultures and the interaction of humans with their environment,” reveals Lank. “My degree has a tremendous impact on how I see the world around me, and it would be impossible for it not to have a huge impact on my creative process.”
In the future, Lank hopes to continue to explore fashion and streetwear photography through styled shoots and portraiture. Aside from his main Instagram account, Lank also runs Native America, a second photography page that is inspired by his Native American heritage. “I am Mi’kmaq,” says Lank. “And it’s something that I take great pride in.” He hopes that Native America can one day turn into his own brand or company associated with his roots, but he currently uses the account mainly to express himself outside of his usual aesthetic.
With this newfound mindset, Lank continued his passion for photography, which was impacted immensely by the introduction of Instagram. Before starting his account, Lank planned to go to graduate school to do research is his field, however Instagram exposed him to the opportunities of freelance photography. “Instagram has literally changed my career,” Lank says with a laugh. Since starting his main account two years ago, Lank has collaborated with the iconic Maine brand L.L. Bean, Urban Outfitters, Google and Sorel just to name a few. Working with brands is quickly becoming something Lank enjoys and finds the challenges of photographing clothing “extremely rewarding.”
i mp a c t on how i see the wo r ld a round me, a nd i t w oul d b e i mp ossi bl e f or i t not to have a huge i mp a c t on my c reative p roc ess.”
While photography is currently his most creative outlet, Lank considers himself as a renaissance man with a huge passion for music. He has been devoting a lot of time recently to creating new songs, and recently began sharing them online. “Making music has really revitalized my creative process as a photographer, and now the two feel like compliments to one another,” explains Lank. And while he is still in school pursuing a Masters in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management, Lank hopes to work on more long-term projects that embody his identity through photography and music simultaneously. He continues to thrive in Portland, a city that he calls refreshing and diverse, so stay tuned because this Mainer is just getting started.
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â&#x20AC;&#x153;this photo wa s f ro m t h is su mmer at a p lace ca lle d picnic r ock in my h o met o wn a lit tle s outh of por tla n d. ab by an d i wen t d o wn to go s wim m ing for t h e af t ern o o n an d h ap p en t o s na p a couple p h o t o s in th e p ro cess; it was a s upe r nice s um mer d ay an d t h ere was n o o n e a r ound s o we had t h e p lace t o o u rselves wh ich is a lwa ys a plus.â&#x20AC;?
“We were out in the White Mountains on a day trip and happen to drive through Crawford notch while it was filled with fog (maybe a cloud?). It was amazing because we could literally watch the fog roll across the mountains and every photo I took look so different because of the fog’s pace. Overall it was just a really great day where we woke up early, took off with no real plans and just took advantage of the moment; you know, the kind of stuff blogs online for living a happy life tell you to do.”
“Abby and I were out for coffee at our favorite local cafe bakery Tandem, and the windows are always so covered in condensation that it creates a really cool vibe. We happen to sit in this little corner seat by the front and this super intense blue light was coming through from the sky so I told Abby to run outside really quick and pose for a shot through the glass and it came out wonderfully.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY JARED LANK
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“ l ov e f or huma ni ty, l ove f or one a n ot h e r w i th no hi dden i ntenti ons.”
INTERVIEW BY KARINA DIEZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY RACHEL KOBER I see that you’re originally from Indonesia. What was it like growing up there? EW: It was interesting. It’s a completely different world than out here, it is a city of duality in a sense that it is a metropolis but yet sort of still suburbia. Everyone else loves to spend time at the mall. I remember growing up either being indoors a lot or playing games with my brother in the front yard. When indoors, I was heavily into reading books/mangas, being immersed in video games or drawing. That early exposure to vibrant colors and intense storylines facilitated my wild imagination. However, Indonesia is still a third world country. Early on, I was already exposed to the physical suffering of the poor and noticed the disparity between the socio-economic classes. What made you decide to move across the globe from Indonesia to New York? EW: I moved to New York to pursue art school, specifically graphic design. I wanted to experience the other extreme, although I observe some parallels when it comes to my hometown and New York. What made you decide that you wanted to be a graphic designer/photographer? EW: I don’t think art is something you decide. It’s something that is within you. Since I was a kid, I was always drawn to that feeling that is initiated from multiple mediums of creativity. I relied on my eyes to decipher the outside world, I observed to make sense of everything. So when I got my hands on the tools that allowed to express what was already within me, I was absolutely absorbed. First, coloring pencils to cameras to computers. I wanted to create worlds for others to experience in, somewhere that is the border between fantasy and reality. I desire to make people feel deeply, emotions that sometimes can’t be translated into words.
What has been your favorite photo series to shoot? EW: I have no favorites; every single thing I create affected me differently and allowed me to channel a completely different portal to my imagination. It’s hard to pick favorites when all of them matter so much and they have to exist for a specific reason. What do you feel makes a good photograph? EW: Something that makes you feel. A piece that consists of strong intentions. One that stands on its own regardless of various projected interpretations. It also needs a powerful visual concept that supports the wholeness of it all. I have encountered multiple beautiful photographs that are empty, so I did not stay longer than needed. The vice versa also does not captivate when it has a wonderful concept but weak physical execution. A beautiful balance of both aesthetics and substance is required. A great photograph constantly challenges and also provides a new understanding after several visits. I want to observe a new detail every single time. It forces the viewer to pay attention and be in the present. Tell me a little bit more about your focuses and why you gear your creativity toward them. EW: My focus changes everyday or at least my medium morphs. I never want to limit myself; I try to experiment with all avenues. I mostly focus on visual because that is the stimuli I work with the most. However, I have immense appreciation for other stimulus that impact other senses like music and cooking. I eventually want to create multi-sensory experiences like an immersive film that may be achievable by virtual reality. Creativity is infinite just like our spirit therefore it can be summoned in different ways. That’s how I like to see it. I read somewhere that in this dimension, we can only translate beauty as sights and sounds. Therefore to hold the power to influence someone through that is so important.
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What is your muse? EW: My muse is not necessarily a person or a tangible object. I let everything inspire me because anything that possesses energy has meaning. I do think love is the highest vibrational energy, so yeah, I guess love is my muse. I’m not talking about romantic love either, but love that exists in all forms. Love for humanity, love for one another with no hidden intentions. What piece of art and/or artist truly inspires you? EW: Any animation from the Studio Ghibli studio. Each story is filled with such wonder set in beautiful realms. Basquiat’s notebooks. Mark Rohtko’s color blocks paintings, especially the ones in the Rothko Chapel that I sat for two hours straight admiring and meditating with. Frank Ocean’s nostalgia, ULTRA. Gaspar Noe’s films (Enter the Void and Love). My lifetimes and my experiences. Can you go into detail about this concept of time as three paradigms and what this concept means to you artistically? EW: I did a film recently called, “Here, Not There” that explores the concept of time and how it is divided into three paradigms: past, present, future. How we as humans are constantly mentally time traveling between the past and the future by revisiting memories or predicting future situations. We rarely inhabit the present. It is fleeting. Time, to me is not real. It is merely a measure of moments and a logical way to categorize
our lives. Energy is real. Art transcends time. When I create, I am one with the flow of the universe. And that is the present. Hopefully when others experience my piece, they are inclined to stay in the present too. Is there artistic channel that you have yet to explore and would like to? EW: Along the lines of using 3D printing for collectible products, virtual reality, anything related to technology advancement or scientific development and its relation to art. Possibly creating ambient sounds and instrumentals too, I’ve been always interested in music and how it moves people. The next is clothing; I grew up in a textile background so I have this innate affinity to wearables. I started a streetwear brand but for the next collection in spring/summer 2017– I will be rebranding the name and also identity to focus more on cut-n-sew and customized limited pieces. Last but not least, designing spaces. Sort of like set design that visitors can interact with. Who would your ideal collaboration consist of? EW: Anything that challenges the context. Where I am granted creative freedom and the ability to play around with ideas and have fun but it still has to be for a greater cause. I can’t make things with no purpose. Having good resources also allows for things in greater scale to be accomplished. I want to do something with NASA, Frank Ocean and Kerry James Marshall. Altogether simultaneously or apart, I don’t mind.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIZABETH WIRIJA
“The composition is heavily inspired by placements in Renaissance paintings. I re-imagined those predominately white bodies of art to include people of color, it is extremely important for physical representation purposes.”
“I shot this music video called ‘ONE’ where I created a blue dreamworld for her to exist in. I want it to feel like that lucid state we all experience in between fantasy and reality. This realm is filled with cobalt citruses, aquamarine roses and holograms. This is her world because her aura is drenched in an array of blues.”
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIZABETH WIRIJA
“Joan has this vibrant pink hair that interplays beautifully with the intense neon lights in Chinatown. There is a sense of camouflage and yet contrast. I intentionally portrayed her in a sublime state, acting as a character in a video game with no ending; just multiple possibilities.”
“The direct inspiration is club kids that were raging in the 80’s in East Village. This all black get-up that has a sort of grunge look is paired with a more intense disco vibes like if a club kid got lost in the wrong era.”
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her name is madeline PHOTOGRAPHY BY ana sanchez model Madeline Brogdon
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inconspicuous moments PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAKE DOCKINS
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PHOTOGRAPHY Nicole Dinh MODEL Aurore Massicott
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INTERVIEW WITH NICOLE TILLOTSON BANNER + LLUSTRATIONS BY IZZY LAMB
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