Each year in DC on the Tuesday before Halloween, hundreds of High Heel Drag Queen Race participants strut around 17th Street showing off their elaborate costumes before their mad dash. The two block race itself only lasts about 15 seconds and is surprisingly competitive and intense.
The annual DC Tweed Ride in November brings out the finest in vintage styles and fancy bike gear. Participants first gathered at a park in Takoma and then rode across town en masse in a winding loop finishing in Shaw.
I had a great time photographing Christian and Katie’s wedding last weekend at St. Leo’s! The ceremony was sweet and intimate, and with so many nieces and nephews participating it was super adorable and lively as well. The competitive bouquet toss between seven excited flower girls was a fun way to end the day. Thank you for allowing me to share in such a special day!
Earlier this month, I shot portraits of doctors and interiors for The Pediatric Group, PC to be used for their new website. I drove all over Northern Virginia to get to their four office locations – it was pretty interesting seeing so many new places and all the pediatricians were fun to work with!
I’ve started doing product photography for the The Saturday Market Project, a website in the final stages of testing dedicated to selling high-quality, hard-to-find materials, tools and technology for people who like to make things. The site will go live in late-September and I’ve been working hard to photograph all of the awesome supplies that will be up for sale on the site. Not everything is white – it just happens to be in this post!
I recently photographed portraits of the architects of the DC-based architectural lighting design firm, MCLA, Inc. Their office is in the heart of Georgetown and I had fun finding individual locations for each person’s backdrop.
On Thursday, I photographed Michael and Audrey’s wedding ceremony at the DC Courthouse – it was lovely and intimate with only their families in attendance. Afterwards we walked over to the National Gallery of Art for a short portrait session. The afternoon was so much fun and I am currently on the hunt to photograph more small weddings like this one. Congratulations again Michael and Audrey!
My final project for school! A bustling nightlife scene has sprung up along the H Street corridor since the city began an effort to revitalize it in 2005. A few businesses that survived the 1968 riots have stayed the same while new restaurants and bars have been moving in. This process of gentrification has led to tensions with some previous residents who feel that they are becoming less welcome as the neighborhood changes and are worried about being priced out. I found happy but tired people who were more than willing to share their stories.
Hooray! I’m excited to finally post my thesis work that I’ve been working on for the past few months. It took me a little while to get things in order, but eventually the SEED Foundation set me up with a wonderful junior US history class where I could start working on my project. In the time I was there the class went from nine to six students, giving me a glimpse into how intense the school is, but also how motivated and driven the students who do finish are.
This series was exhibited for two months at the Corcoran Gallery of Art as part of the NEXT show, featuring the work of approximately 80 graduating seniors. This past weekend we disassembled the show and I officially graduated from college! I’ve created a gallery on this site to show the whole project (with my full artist statement and more background information) and I’ve also made an online book which has a few more photos as well.
I recently photographed the US Junior Olympic Volleyball trials in Washington, DC. It was a whole lot of volleyball for one weekend, but I did really enjoy capturing the girls’ excitement and enthusiasm for the game.
My family and I just got back from a week-long trip through southern Utah, hiking our way around Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Arches. The scenery was beautiful, but the weather was absolutely freezing.
As a culmination of our four years at the Corcoran, students create a final senior thesis project in the medium of their choice which will be shown in the Corcoran Gallery before graduation. I knew that I wanted to center my project around education and school reform in DC, and my first idea was to photograph educational experiences in charter school classrooms throughout the city. I began photographing at a few schools including a first grade class at the top-ranking Center for Inspired Teaching in Columbia Heights. Last month, I decided to slightly change my topic to focus specifically on a small group of students at a different school. While I now won’t be using any images of the first graders for the final project, they work pretty well in a series of their own.
This past semester I’ve been interning with the photo department at The Washington Post. I’ve specifically been doing photo editing and research for WashingtonPost.com. It’s been a really wonderful experience – below are a few stills to some of the galleries I’ve created. Clicking on the image will link you back to the original gallery on the site.
This film, which I produced, is part of a multimedia, collaborative project with photographer Jason Tucker. Focusing on raising awareness of student debt at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, we filmed undergraduate students speaking about their anticipated debt after graduation, how many years they think it will take to pay off that debt and their future career paths. The video and Jason’s accompanying sculptural piece was shown in the Corcoran’s Gallery 31 in November as part of the Transparency show. See the full film here.
The second assignment for my Web Essay class was to create a slideshow narrated by a poem. I knew that most students in my class would work with deep, serious poems, so I chose to do the opposite, instead working with a silly Shel Silverstein poem. I chose The Unicorn, slightly altering the words to fit the supplies I was working with. The full video can be seen here.
A long time ago, when the Earth was green
There was more kinds of animals than you’ve ever seen
They’d run around free while the Earth was being born
But the loveliest of them all was the unicorn
Complete with overcrowded streets and shouting matches over bok choy, San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood is well worth a visit. Main Street for tourists is Grant Avenue, which unfortunately is more about cheap tea sets and kitschy Hello Kitty merchandise than the long heritage of Chinatown itself. Vendors selling live turtles, ducks and other animals might seem strange to untrained Western eyes, but the markets are definitely fun to explore.
My main photo assignment this summer at California Home + Design was photographing the stylish interiors of Silicon Valley tech companies. It was pretty much the ideal project to be working on while I was back in the Bay for a few months and it was amazing gaining access to all of the offices. The swanky perks in all of the offices were overwhelming and really made me wish that I worked at any one of them. The first four tours that I shot are already up on the magazine’s website, check them out here(!): YouTube, Eventbrite and Autodesk.
Despite rising real estate prices over the past few years, San Francisco’s Mission District has maintained a precarious balance between its colorful Latin roots and gritty bohemian subculture. While prosperity didn’t zap the district of its cultural eclecticism, today you can find sleek bars alongside the traditional divey taquerias. With a population that is about half Latino, a third white and about 11 percent Asian, the Mission still remains a wonderful mishmash. Where better to go when you’re looking for Salvadoran bakeries, salon de bellezas or trendy, epicurean vegan cafes?
I spent my Fourth of July photographing the 31st annual Palo Alto Chili Cook-Off, a fun chili tasting competition that happens in my town every summer. The photos were for Patch.com, a local news website that my brother writes for and was guest-editing that week. Check out the full story here.
Petra, in western Jordan, was built in the first century BCE by the Nabateans, who made it the capital of a prosperous mercantile empire. The city remained well preserved largely because it was forgotten. Petra fell into decline following earthquakes in the fourth and sixth centuries CE and was not even on Western maps until it was rediscovered in 1812. Nowadays, Petra once again bustles with human activity. Tourists began flocking there in greater numbers after it was featured in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Today, as then, visitors approach the city through the Siq, a twisting gorge so narrow in some places that only two camels can pass at a time. Suddenly visitors behold a stunning metropolis carved from sandstone; One of the first sights is the Treasury, Petra’s most recognizable building. After the Treasury, the rocks open out into the plain and the site of the city is revealed with striking effect.
Every month for Rosh Chodesh, the social advocacy group, Women of the Wall, meet at the Western Wall to pray. The group wants to change the status quo that is currently preventing women from being able to pray freely at the Wall. Since 1967 there has been a permanent mechitza dividing women from men at the Wall; In 2001, a law was created, stating that no religious ceremonies shall be held in the women’s section, including reading a Torah scroll, blowing a shofar or wearing tallitot or tefillin.
Early Tuesday morning on the first day of the new month, about 40 women from Women of the Wall went to pray at the sight. In the middle of the service, police came over and told some of the women in the group that they needed to change the way they were wearing their tallitot. Most obliged (pictured below) but later three women from the group were detained by police.
It is hard to process that acts of devotion like wearing tallitot or reading from the Torah can suddenly be considered criminal. It makes me sad that our Jewish community is so divided within itself that some have deemed that there is no room for multiple forms of religious expression, especially in a space so important to all denominations as the Wall.
For Lag Ba’Omer last Thursday, a few friends and I couchsurfed at Tifziland, an alternative community outside of Jerusalem in Giv’at Ze’ev. In the past year since they have moved there, Tifziland’s five residents have hosted almost 500 people, living up to the name “Tifzi” or “mix.” Our hosts lived in small mud huts around the property and guests camp outside under a giant tent (although my friends and I staked out the kitchen). We spent the night talking around a bonfire and dancing to loud reggae music with a few other international travelers.
Yom Ha’atzmaut commemorates Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948. Israeli families, regardless of their religious observance or affiliation, celebrate the day with picnics and barbecues. I was in Jerusalem for the holiday and spent my afternoon in Sacher Park, along with what seemed like every other person in the city.
I went on a tour of Hebron with J Street, a non profit liberal advocacy group whose aim is to promote American leadership to peacefully end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our tour guide was from the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, composed mostly of former soldiers dedicated to showing abuses committed by Israeli soldiers guarding the Hebron settlers. I was down with the free tour, but was surprised that by the end of the day I definitely didn’t agree with everything that the organization was saying. During the tour, we visited the grave of Baruch Goldstein, Shuhada street, the Cave of the Patriachs, and Tel Rumeida neighborhood.
The city is an important locale in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has been the site of numerous acts of violence from both sides. Hebron is home to 160,000 Palestinians and 500-800 Israeli settlers who live in close proximity to the city boundary and require a constant Israeli military presence. The city is divided into two sections, H1, which is under Palestinian control (shown in the 3rd, 5th, 9th and 11th images) and H2, which is under Israeli control. The Palestinian populations’ movements are heavily restricted and they are barred from using the city’s principle thoroughfare, Shuhada Street (shown in the 1st, 2nd and 4th images), which Israel argues is due to threat of terrorist attacks.
I spent last Shabbat with a few friends and a family in Beit El, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. I’m happy to report that the weekend was so great, and it was so, so interesting learning more about our host family’s life and why they chose to live in the settlement. Beit El is a technically illegal, religiously observant town with a population of about 6,000. Some choose to live in settlements because of ideological reasons while others are attracted to the low cost of living. Our family explained that Beit El is inexpensive, has good schools for their kids, a close-knit religious community, and it is easy to commute from there to Jerusalem.
The town itself is like any other religious town in Israel. We honestly weren’t sure where exactly we were going when we got on the bus from Jerusalem but wouldn’t have even realized that we were in the West Bank if it weren’t for the street signs. The first image is of kids playing in the street; unfortunately for me, it is forbidden to photograph on Shabbat so I just snuck one photo with my camera hidden in my bag. What is certainly unusual about Beit El, however, is that it borders Jalzone, a Palestinian refugee camp. The two towns are extremely close together, but separated by a wall and barbed wire fence as shown in the second image. The camp is larger than Beit El and I was surprised by how built up it looks. The view from outside our host family’s house (3rd image) was beautiful, but I can only imagine how they feel when they look at it everyday, in addition to constantly hearing Jalzone’s calls to prayer and celebratory gunshots.
The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization, and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek antiquity to the world. This grand composition of perfectly balanced massive structures creates a monumental landscape of unique beauty consisting of a complete series of masterpieces of the 5th century BC. The monuments of the Acropolis have exerted an exceptional influence, not only in Greco-Roman antiquity, but in contemporary times as well.
While the Acropolis was certainly an astounding sight, I was a little caught off guard by the sheer number of people trampling around the hill. Tourism accounts for about 15% of Greece’s GDP and approximately 4 million tourists visit the Parthenon every year.In addition to the bombardment of tourists, archeologists were everywhere, climbing along columns and on sides of ancient buildings. After a century of excavations on the site, the Acropolis is now a testing ground for conservation techniques aimed at safe guarding the marble sections which have been affected by heavy atmospheric pollution. You’d think I would be used tourists and scaffolding as I go to school across from DC’s National Mall, but I found the Acropolis to be on an entirely different level.
Anti-austerity activists planned new protests for Thursday, April 5th in Syntagma, the day after a retiree publicly killed himself, leaving a note that blasted politicians over the country’s financial crisis. The crisis has cost tens of thousands of jobs, sending unemployment to a record high of 21% while one in two Greeks aged under 25 is jobless — amid a shrinking economy that is not expected to revive for at least two years. Many in the dept-crippled country saw the 77-year-old retired pharmacist as a martyr, whose suicide symbolized the cumulative effect of over two years of economic pain imposed to secure international bailouts shielding the country from bankruptcy.
The retiree chose the morning rush hour to shoot himself in the head near a subway exit on the square — a focal point for protests, across the street from Parliament. The tree under which he died was quickly festooned with notes blaming government-imposed austerity for his death. Dozens gathered on the spot the next day, leaving flowers, Greek flags and candles on the grass.
I photographed around Syntagma during the day on Friday and was able to catch the beginnings of that night’s protests. It was the first night of Passover and I already had seder plans so unfortunately (fortunately?) I wasn’t able to hang around the square after sunset. During the day, the square was very safe and filled with tourists and commuters, yet signs of the impending protests were ever-present.
Mykonos was without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever traveled to. The small island is part of the Cyclades and is inhabited by less then 1,000 people.
We were lucky to travel here during the tourist off-season. The town was quiet as shopkeepers prepared for the crowds by repainting the labyrinth of whitewashed streets and brightly colored buildings. Legend has it that the winding alleyways of the town were built to confuse invading pirates so they wouldn’t be able to find their way into the heart of the town. It was thrilling getting lost in the maze.
We took a ferry from the Piraeus port in Athens to Mykonos which took about 5 hours. Our ferry stopped at the ports of Syros and Tinos during our trip. Coming from the sea you are greeted by whitewashed houses with blue roofs, doors and shutters, interspersed with palm trees, climbing up steep hills bathed in brilliant sunshine. I am convinced that every island in this country is beautiful.
Most stores were closed in Budapest over Easter weekend, but instead I found the Easter market at Vörösmarty Tér. The festival welcomed spring time with egg painting and stands selling embroidered lace, hand painted porcelain, Victorian-era costumes, wooden jewelry boxes, paprika, goulash, sausages, jams, and strudel, my personal favorite.
At one end of the festival, students from throughout Hungary performed traditional folk dances with their school groups. The music was fast and lively and it was fun watching proud parents take pictures from the audience. I was particularly impressed by the costumes.
Photographs taken in the neighborhoods of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg in East Central, a trendy, bohemian, artsy area of Berlin. Kreuzberg, specifically, is one of the city’s most eclectic districts home to an unusual mix of artists, left-wing punks, anarchists, gays, and Turkish immigrants. The area has gentrified a considerable amount over the past few years and rent prices have risen drastically.
The districts were separated by the wall and the remaining part of the wall dividing the two neighborhoods is the longest still-existing section in Berlin.
Straße de 17. Juni is one of Berlin’s most popular flea markets, or flohmarkt. The sprawling shopping area is divided into two sections: one for arts, crafts, and antiques and other for music, clothes, and everything else. I found some great vintage clothing, old East German coins, and USSR war memorabilia and ended up buying two 1970’s lithographs of cacti!
Safed, in Northern Israel, is one of Judaism’s four holy cities along with Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberius. Since the 16th century Safed has been known as the center of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism.
The city itself is picturesque with a maze of cobblestone streets that lead to ancient synagogues. Doors are painted blue throughout the city because the color symbolized Heaven in Kabbalah. The city used to be Israel’s art capital and today you can wander through studio spaces and galleries in the artists colony of the Old City.
The Port of Haifa lies on the Mediterranean and is Israel’s largest international sea port. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed access to photograph right by the water as the port is mainly used for military and industrial purposes.
I’ve been spending so much time traveling lately that I haven’t had time to shoot much in Haifa itself. I’ve started working on a few projects right now, and hopefully I’ll have more images soon of my favorite Israeli city.
Last weekend I spent time hiking in the Negev, the desert in southern Israel that makes up over half of the country’s land mass. These images were shot as we made our way from the ancient city of Avdat to the Ramon Nature Reserve and Canyon to Eilat. The desert views were absolutely beautiful.
With almost every store closed and no public transportation from Friday evening to Saturday night in observance of Shabbat, the bustling city of Tel Aviv can seem pretty sleepy on the weekends. These images were all shot late on a Saturday afternoon when a few people started to reappear on the streets.
The past few times I’ve been to Tel Aviv, I’ve stayed at a hostel by the beach and these photos were taken within walking distance along Allenby, Sheinken, Bograshov, and Ibn Gvirol.
The west side of Tel Aviv hosts a long span of beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean. Last weekend was barely warm enough to lie out in the sand, but everyone else seemed to think it was. My new favorite Tel Aviv beach activity? Matkot, a kind of beach paddle ball. (Although I might be the world’s worst matkot player ever.)
Street photography from all over Istanbul. Taken around the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Spice Bazaar, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower, Galata Bridge, Istanbul Univerisity, Taksim Square, etc.