Father and Son

There is special bond between parents and their children. I really love this photo I recently took of a father and his first born son. I think it captures a simple and special moment between them. I love capturing moments that families can have and look back at many years from now. I hope when they look at it, it brings them back to the moment when I snapped it.


Why Black and White

Black and white photos are beautiful. Some photos just beg to be monochrome. For this reason when I am shooting I am always looking if there are a few photos that would make for great black and whites. I make a photo black and white when I don't want color to be a distraction. When I want you to focus on the mood, texture and contrast in an image I will make it black and white. When editing photos I keep only what is important and some times color falls under the unimportant category. Sometimes color can't take an otherwise simple composition and create a distracting element. My main objective is always to tell a story and I only need what is necessary to tell the story.

Why I Am Doing My Own Printing

Let me start by saying printing services are awesome. For not very much money they do an amazing job. Advantages for print services are very fast turn around time without too much sacrifice in quality. To anyone happy using these services, great! Keep using them. But, for me once I started to do more research on the printing process it became evident I needed to take control of this element my self. You see, printing an image is nothing like printing a document. For your average print job, you hit command p (I'm a Mac user) and you are good to go. Not the case with making high end ink jet prints. 

Many decisions need to be made when creating a print and all of them have a major impact on the final product. It all starts with having a good file to begin with, capturing the most amount of detail and the most accurate colors in camera. But, it doesn't end there. The way you edit makes a huge difference. As you can imagine an image on a backlit computer screen does not necessarily translate the same way on two dimensional paper. Additionally your paper choice will impact the way your image looks as well. Different paper will react differently to the same image. An image that looks great on Matte paper may look terrible on glossy! Even paper with the "same" finish from different brands will react differently to the ink from a printer. Your editing has to be done with your paper choice it mind. Considering most people judge the readiness of an image based on the screen it begs the question who then makes the adjustments to make the print match the screen? When using a print service, not you...

All your choices matter! Printing on my own gives me the opportunity to experiment and discover what works best for my images. I also have more control over fine details. A major advantage to printing myself is the ability to print from RAW files using the adobe 98 color space rather than using sRGB required by most print services. (Nerd talk! using the abode 98 color space is like coloring with a box of 100 crayons vs a box of 8. The internet works in the sRGB which is why you have more color gamut in a print than on a digital file on Facebook).

I believe in the print. To me photographs are meant to live on our walls and in albums. Not just online. To me my work isn't complete until its printed. How could I leave this final and very important step to someone else? The people at photo labs are extremely talented but, they don't know me. The don't know how I envisioned the finished product. They could never predict how red I want my reds, or how deep I want my shadows. They just are not me. I need to make those choices.

For these reasons I knew I no longer wanted a professional printer I NEEDED one!

Love Yourself and Screw What Everyone Else Has To Say - written by Sarah Sampath Body Image Week 5

"I always dreaded the summer time because of my Eczema. Even on the hottest days, I would wear jackets and sweaters just to hide my skin. It became my biggest insecurity and it consumed my happiness. Society expects us to fit into this mold of being thin and beautiful with flawless skin, and if you didn't, you simply weren't good enough. It always sucked to hear people say comments like "she's a pretty girl, but what's wrong with her skin?" And don't forget the ones who would simply stare... The thought of revealing my skin and body for the world to see terrified me to the point of anxiety. It wasn't until recently I realized that the only way to get over it was to just embrace and accept the fact that I have a skin condition. You should always love yourself and screw what everyone else has to say! It's been 3 years and I am finally wearing my scars with pride. I can honestly say the sun has never felt better against my skin."
 

Sexy Is What You Feel - Written By Marie Pierre

"I wasn't always comfortable with my size because I wasn't always big. I would wear baggy clothes to hide my size but, after a while I realized it is who I am. Society tells us that we have to be 5'6 and a size 2 to be considered sexy. Sexy, is what you feel, your comfortability, and what makes you happy. 
I'm here to tell society, its not the size, its your confidence!!!! And I have a lot of that....I'm imperfectly me..."

Currently, Im Absolutely In Love With Myself - Written By Qiana Levine

 

Growing up, I had no clue that I was supposed to be self-conscious about my looks. Only until other people began to point out my flaws, did I become weary of my own body. I remember being put on diets and having to wear the worst clothes, but no one told me to love myself. I remember overhearing a boy in my class say "Qiana is pretty, but she's fat." Frankly, I was shocked that me being fat mattered to anyone at all. That was when my ideas about my body changed. I became very aware of my body and what space I occupied with it. I was extremely uncomfortable participating in basic school activities, because I thought everyone would be aware of how I looked and would have an opinion on it. 

I stopped wearing tank tops because I thought the stretch marks on my arms should have been hidden from the world. Up until a few years ago, you would not have caught me wearing a sleeveless anything without a T-shirt under it ( even in 100 degree weather). I always thought I had a pretty face, but life would be easier if I had a small body to match. I constantly compared myself to everyone around me, which was emotionally draining. I put on a confident front because I did not want other people to play on my lack of self confidence. 

Currently, I'm absolutely in love with myself. I have learned the hard way, that not loving me is probably the worst thing I could do to myself. I no longer lose sleep on the opinions of others, because at the end of the day I'm the only person that is stuck with me forever. With the help of body positive people and other fat girls on social media, I have learned to love myself without boundaries. I'm no longer afraid to refer to myself as fat, because it is literally just an adjective that describes a body type. Learning to love myself has gotten me to a much better place in every single aspect of my life. I have done things that I never imagined I would be able to accomplish. I wear tank tops all the time now and you can even catch me wearing a cropped top or some booty shorts. The biggest thing I have learned about when someone has a problem with me or how I look: it's really their problem and not mine!

I CHOOSE TO LOVE ME ENTIRELY - Written By Candace Thompson

   "I have my up and down moments about my body. But I usually feel ok about the way I look. The times in my life when I haven’t felt as good about myself and my body were when I was a child. Childhood can be a very rough time for many, especially when being teased and made fun of by those that are supposed to be your friends. Many times, I was call “fatty” or “fatso” and even referred to as “two thousand pounds and a bucket of fun.” I tried to ignore it, I tried to not let it get to me, but when you’re told something so many times, how do you ignore it? How do you not let it get to you before you start believing it? 

    Now in my adult years and getting into my profession of acting, your body type plays a major role in the kinds of roles/ characters you can go for or get casted in. Instead of it just being about your gifts and talents, often times you get type-casted according to how you look. Does this now mean that my plus-size, round figure can only be “the nice girl next door,” “funny best friend,” or “supporting character…?” I want the lead role! I want to be recognized for what I can bring to an acting role artistically, rather than how I match up to a character based on the physical attributes listed in a character breakdown. My main concern is wanting to be recognized for who I am as a whole person, not what people want to pick and choose from. Your body is your temple and you should always treat it with care and love yourself no matter what you look like or what anyone says about it. I CHOOSE TO LOVE ME ENTIRELY."



Face Your Fears - Written By Samantha Sampath-Reynolds

“Face your fears” is a time-old saying. It is a phrase that I’ve personally lived by: to get over my shyness I dove into performing arts, to combat my fear of public speaking, I became a trainer/ Behaviorist. When my husband became a photographer, I realized the sad truth: that I had a fear of facing my body. Like it or not, I would be his subject, and as a supportive wife I needed to suck it up… From childhood into early adulthood, I dressed very conservatively (there was nothing wrong with that). However, the way I dressed reflected my attempts to cover my insecurities (i.e., my belief that I could only wear an oversized t-shirt to the beach because I didn’t have Victoria’s Secret abs). 

The media/social media has always had a role in body image. Every leading actress, singer, dancer shown has “the dream body”, so do those with the most “likes.” Even attempts to encourage women to “embrace their curves” leaves other people out (i.e, the not so curvy). I am NOT “model size,” nor am I “plus size;” I am not muscular, but I can run miles and literally dance for hours. Where does someone like me (in-between) fit?! 

As I look at all the of the hypocrisies, slogans, campaigns, etc…I’ve also realized the wisdom in another very old adage: “confidence is attractive.” This is why I (and others) find beauty in those “skinny, curvy, and fit & thick” models, despite their differences. If I am so positive about others, I need to be with myself. I am not a category! If I want to change my body, that is my choice (a bigger woman shouldn’t give me an evil stare for saying so, nor should a thinner woman give me the “it’s about time” look). But to start, I need to love my body the way it is NOW: the fact I have strong legs to walk/run miles, arms to carry multiple bags at once, boobs, booty, and love handles for my husband to grab, etc. With every picture, I am “facing the camera” and  challenging myself to fall more in love with the woman in it (and her BODY) as much she deserves.

Camden

"I wanted to move to NYC because I wanted to get out of my parents house and try to make something of myself and get out of my comfort zone. This city has so much opportunity for people who work hard. I studied Communications/Advertising in school and NYC is the Mecca of advertising and entertainment."



Sindy + Anthony Wedding

Wedding season is in full swing around the country. I had the pleasure of shooting the union between this amazing couple in Woodstock, NY. It was a rainy day, but nothing could dampen the energy of this group.

Weddings are really such special events. In most cases, it's a once in a lifetime celebration. I for one believe we don't spend enough time celebrating what is good in our lives. If we could channel the good spirits we have during weddings into more experiences in our lives we would be overall much happier people. The key to what makes a wedding so special isn't the time spent planning the most intricate details of the day (though they make for great images), it's the people we find special enough to spend the day with. This group was a great example of that. And if there is one thing I learned from this day, It's Koreans sure know how to party!

No Work Weekend

This past weekend was the first in a couple of months I didn't have any planned photo work. So to relax this weekend naturally I took my wife out to Jacob Riis for a few environmental portraits. Nothing like staying sharp on your days off! 


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Discover Your Impact Day 2015

Every year on the second Friday in June everyone at Discovery Communications shows up for work. However, instead of checking in at our cubicle/desk or office we team up with organizations around the world working to imporve our communities. From park revitalizations, to rebuilding homes effected by natural disasters we set out to discover the collective impact we have as a company in a day of volunteerism.

This year my group worked with the NYJTL hosting a tennis clinic in the Bronx. For those who don't know NYJTL stands for New York Junior Tennis and Learning (emphasis on the learning). It is a great community based organization that helps kids with homework, tutoring, life lessons and oh yeah they also learn some tennis. They do great work throughout the city all at no cost to families (I know I used to go as a kid). 

NYJTL has recently opened a new facility in Crotona Park, Bronx NY to further their mission of helping New York City kids in the classroom as well as on the tennis court. 

Here are a few photos I took from Discover Your Impact Day 2015

 

 

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Greenpoint 6/19/15

Greenpoint Brooklyn... New York Magazine ranked it 5th in best neighborhoods in 2010. As of 2015 Greenpoint is definitely in my top 5 urban locations to photograph. There is such a mix of people and things happening, a street photographer can go wild here. There is no shortage of interesting subjects. From architecture to unique store fronts to eclectic individuals Greenpoint is simply bursting at the seams with photo ops. But, instead of boring with words describing my new love affair with Greenpoint just take a look at the photos.

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YAI Central Park Challenge 2015

For the past five years my wife has been running in the YAI Central Park Challenge (she also works there as a behaviorist). The network works with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing services that many other wont or can't. It's great to see the work they do seeing beyond disabilities and helping these individuals reach for goals many didn't think we're possible. The run was to raise money and awareness for the network. However, all seeing the supporters on the side, it was clear they raises way more than that. I saw many individuals we sometimes considered handicapped pushing themselves to complete the run, with no real sense of competition. They were motivated simply to overcome what many "able" bodied people cannot. It was a beautiful sight. Here are a few photos from the day.

 

 

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Congratulations!!!

 Big congrats to my older sister Renae for putting in the hard work and completing her Masters in Theories of Urban Practice from Parsons Newschool for Design. I Decided to take her out to the boardwalk in Far Rockaway to commemorate the moment. It's so important to have visual reminders of the good times in our lives, because we are constantly bombarded by negativity.  We look forward to seeing the great work you will do from here!

 

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My Parents

A couple of months ago I was at my parents' house with my other siblings. We did what most families do when they are together: go through old, mostly embarrassing and poorly taken (my fault I was just a kid) photos. During that whole process, I realized that my parents only had one or two photos of their mothers and none of their fathers. I also noted that since their wedding in 1978, they hadn't had any formal photos of themselves. 

This past Mother's Day, I decided to change that. With a little coercion, I got my parents to go out to the boardwalk in Far Rockaway for a few photos. I knew they would have little patience for a photo shoot so I had to keep it short (no longer then 30 minutes). With the exception of a few awkward moments (i.e., when asked to hold hands or kiss...you would think they know each other by now), they were able to get into it for a few minutes.  I captured photos and more importantly, memories that we will be able to keep in the family for generations.

Hands down, this was my favorite Mother's Day gift that I have given so far!

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MS walk 2015

A few photos from the 2015 MS walk in Belmont Lake State Park.

Every year we walk for Ren, my Brother in Law's wife who was diagnosed in 2009. Ever since she has been fighting valiantly against MS and helping to raise awareness of the disease.  Though the walk has passed it is never to late to contribute. You can find a link on my facebook page or you can visit the National MS Society's website if you would like to get involved. 

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