About Me

My photo
I'm a Guilford College graduate with a B.S. in Criminal Justice; I minored in Visual Arts Photography. My blog tracks the highs and lows of my experience in a Film Photography course during the Spring of 2013 and up to the present, as I delve into digital photography. I may even include other mediums of art such as acrylic paint, graphite drawings, etc. I'll talk about my experiences snapping photos or simply snapping from frustration as well as my successes and failures, tips and tricks that I've learned, and exploring the photography/art world through the lens of a Black woman.

07 May 2013

Center City Park, Immigration Reform, New Lenses, Mastercolor Labs, and Finals!

I went back to Center City Park to take more pictures for my final exam. Can I just say that the park is spectacular. There is so much to capture in photograph form if one would open their eyes and look for it. I went by myself this time and got to spend the amount of time there that I wanted to... I was able to explore more than just the park and I captured so much in doing so. For instance, there were a couple of Hispanic/Latino festivals occurring, as well as a protest for Immigration Reform which I thought was AWESOME! I heard people chanting from across the park and when I rushed across they had picket signs, people were dressed in traditional Hispanic wear, dancing, and protesting for equal rights for immigrants. It was luck that I ran into that, because I got a few photos from it.
In other news, I purchased two new lenses for my camera last week from KEH and they were delivered to my house today! I got a 70-210 F4 Macro Lens and a 28-80 F3 Macro Lens; I don't know where my photography ventures will take me this summer and I hope to stick with this even though the semester is over... but I'm excited to have my own lenses, because my original is broken and the one I'm using now is a loaner.
My final for photography is approaching next week. I went to Mastercolor Labs in Greensboro, NC yesterday and today to try and get my pictures together for the final to see how they look in print compared to on my screen. Some were too dark, some had a purple tone to them, but Mastercolor worked with me to be on the way to the perfect prints that I want. I started with 15 images, but ultimately, I realized that not all of them were necessary for my final; a couple, I just didn't like in print form. Ultimately, I'm showing 11 images for my final. I'll find out this Thursday if my pictures for my final will be everything I hoped for and more. I'm excited and I hope they translate properly in the final product.

Some of the below are reproductions/edits of pictures I posted in my last blog post:

Copyright infringement applies to my photographs. Unauthorized use of my images on other websites is prohibited.

24 April 2013

Center City Park, Greensboro, NC

On 18 April 2013, my photography class and I went to Downtown Greensboro for a workshop/field trip to explore the area and take pictures. My teacher told me about a park and the middle of downtown and I ended up falling in love. There were so many shapes, so much movement, people, and activities to take pictures of up. I think what particularly interested me was the curves, lines, and shapes of the three different fountains in Center City Park. In addition, I fell for the way the water in the fountain moved. I had so much to take pictures of and so much to look at. For once, I was excited to get out there and take pictures. It didn't to matter to me who all was in the park that may be watching me do what I do - I was "geeking out" and capturing the best essence of what interested me the most. The most eventful part of the trip was gaining photographic clientele. I got contact information from four different people while in the park, because they wanted me to send them the pictures that I had take of either them or their little ones that I used as in-the-moment models. I haven't had a chance to digitally upload the rest of my images, but below are what I was able to get to throughout this evening.

As stated in older posts [x] [x] [x], I take my black and while film negatives and scan them into an Epson scanner to create a digital photograph which can later be printed off into a digital print.

Copyright infringement applies to my photographs. Unauthorized use of my images on other websites is prohibited.

15 April 2013


Lately, I have been wanting to do things differently than how I have been. I've had moments in which I've been tempted to go back into the darkroom, because I miss the feeling of accomplishment and achievement I get out of my darkroom prints compared to how my images have been looking digitally. I cannot decide whether my images look shitty because I'm not exposing properly, my shutter speed isn't slow enough, or if it's the content that I'm taking pictures of. I can only determine whether my pictures are missing what they used to have by stepping back into the darkroom.
As of recently I haven't had time to devote to my photography, because of my mother's illnesses and repeat hospitalizations which have set me completely off track and put me behind in all of my work. However, this past weekend, I found time to go take pictures of cute kids (my intention for the semester), develop them, and I attempted to make prints in the darkroom, but after 15 minutes I just wasn't feeling it. Something in me wasn't feeling being in that darkroom. I wanted to geek out, but I felt like I had to get out of there because my mind wasn't in it. Ultimately, I turned my negatives into digital images and the results of that... I don't like too much. All of my pictures seem underexposed. I've been so focused on taking a picture of what I want to be the right thing that I keep forgetting to properly expose it. In result, all of my pictures seem to be too dark.
Lately, I've been debating on whether I want to change the vision and direction that I want to go in for my final project. I enjoyed photographing adorable babies last week and I thought spending my semester visiting my classmate's daycare would give the pictures I was looking for, but I just feel like, "Okay that was cute... but this is boring."

I want to photograph subjects in which once you look at that picture, you can see what I was trying to capture, you can feel my essence in it. I'm supposed to go home this weekend and I plan on photographing my sister's kids. For some reason, I feel like my best photographs come from time I spend with them. I guess it's because I love them so much. I bought a couple of rolls of more film and I might have to buy more once I get a new bank card, because I lost my old one, but I think I just need to get a bunch of pictures of my niece and nephews then work from there.

Copyright infringement applies to my photographs. Unauthorized use of my images on other websites is prohibited.

31 March 2013


Hello all,
I've had a lot going on in my personal life, as of recently, that I've been trying to handle and deal with, but when I get on top of things, I'll be back to posting regularly... you'll see more personal posts, pictures, etc. Just hang with me. Thanks.

Artist Spotlight

Tatsuo Suzuki
Tatsuo Suzuki is from Tokyo, Japan. I tried to find biographical information about him or a history to his photography, but I couldn't find anything, at all, other than where he currently lives.
I chose to spotlight Suzuki because I was attracted to his close up portraits of the Japanese. He captures liver spots, every wrinkles, freckle, stray away eyebrow strand, and pore. I've seen so much photography of white people and blacks, but this is my first time seeing so many awesome portraits of Asians.
In almost each portrait, some sense of emotion is expressed... it makes me want to know the individual person's story or what they were feeling at the time or why. What is also interesting about his portraits is that these aren't beautiful models... these are everyday people with facial feature flaws and character to them. In one of his portraits, the man is missing an eye. His Flickr is here [x] and his blog is here [x] in case you'd like to see all of his work.

21 March 2013

Artist Spotlight

Nan Brown
Brown studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1970s. She taught herself Ansel Adams' Zone System and was influenced by his philosophy of craft. Brown was self instructed. In 1975, she pursued a career in studio photography. On her site, she features to collections of work: Trailers and Intimitations. Her Intimitations are quirky photographs of children [x]. Her Trailers Collection is just that... trailers [x]. However, there's more to her collection of photographing trailers than what it sounds. I believe that's why I chose her as a photographer to spotlight - I found her images of trailers intriguing and beautiful. In reference to her trailers collection, she stated:
"I have long loved trailers as objects. They are often alone in a landscape, ironic metal comments. From the side they are billboard-like and wonderfully two-dimensional. Their facades are of subtly beautiful tones and textures, a black and white photographer’s dream. The squares and rectangles of windows within the squares and rectangles of trailers, I trapped within the square camera format. The repetition of form causes people to look closely at each trailer for variation. Portrait-like, individual personalities are revealed. The spark for the series included not only their visual charm but also the emotional impact of trailers as shelter. As a child, traveling across California, I was drawn, through my car window, to the otherness of the small, roadside communities or the dislocation of lone trailers. Their fascination for me now includes the seeming license expressed in the treatment of the exteriors and yards, a result, I think, of the diminutive and transient nature of trailers. The images refer obliquely to culture. But trailers are so versatile and useful that the quality of that culture cannot easily be corralled, certainly not within a silly stereotype like “trailer trash” or even a category like poverty. Yes, they offer ubiquitous, inexpensive shelter, but they also serve those seeking simplicity, “freedom”, or a get-away, and even those just needing storage. For the most part a mobile home is just that, a home. I have become deeply attached to the images as I have collected them. They are stand-ins for the gamut of spiritual states from valor to depression to depravity, conditions not the province of any given social class or group."

Artist Spotlight

Gary Mitchell
Mitchell has been doing artistic nude photography since 2005. He chose to concentrate on the contrasts of light and shadow, rough and smooth, as well as traditional and unexpected. He's been published all over the world. I believe that I admire his work, because out of all the artists that I've been researching and looking into, he was the first one that featured nude models. When I first got into photography, part of me wanted to see what it was like to photograph people in the nude. However, I didn't know how to go about getting models for that or figuring out which of my friends and acquaintances would be comfortable enough with doing that. He doesn't compare to other artists that I have spotlighted, but as previously stated, he's the first one I came across that specifically did nude photography. He's pieces can be found in the following link [x].

12 March 2013

Gregarious Ali Spotlight - Hodgin Valley Farm

Copyright infringement applies to my photographs. Unauthorized use of my images on other websites is prohibited.
"More than Meets the Eye" - Hodgin Valley Farm in Pleasant Garden, NC. 
"Drop" - Hodgin Valley Farm in Pleasant Garden, NC. 
"Acrophobia"- Hodgin Valley Farm in Pleasant Garden, NC. 
"Camouflage" - Hodgin Valley Farm in Pleasant Garden, NC. 
"Stand Out" - Hodgin Valley Farm in Pleasant Garden, NC. 

The Ultimate Task

We haven't had kBr in the photo lab for quite some time, now. I think for over two weeks. If you don't know what kBr is, check out my first post [x]. If you can recall over a week ago, I visited Hodgin Valley Farm, and I believe I got some terrific images. However, I haven't been able to develop my negatives because the recipe I use requires kBr and we didn't have any. According to my professor, it will arrive today at 11:00 am. I'm supposed to be presenting in today's critique, but I have nothing to show. Here's the ultimate task... I have to wake up at 10:00 am to head to lab so that I can measure out and mix my chemicals for development (30 minutes), develop my negatives (30 minutes), wait for them to dry (20 minutes), then go immediately to the Mims Digital Lab and produce some prints for the critique. I have to do all of this before 4:00 pm. o_O May the force be with me.

02 March 2013

Artist Spotlight

Image Source [x]
Benoit Courti
Courti is a French photographer who lives in Paris. He was a music composer before becoming a professional portrait photographer in 2010. The Dmax (maximum black) that Courti captures in his photographs is so rich, deep, and beautiful. I believe that is what attracted me to his art the most... how intense the blacks are in his photos.
He achieves an amazing tonal range and photographs texture so well. Whether it is the single strands of a young lady's eyebrows that stand out individually and intensely; each crease and furrow in an elderly man's face; or every defined vein and wrinkle in his model's hand - Courti captures it effortlessly. In each portrait photograph that I viewed by him, I was drawn to the gleam of light in each person's eyes... how innately beautiful it was.
The contrast in his photographs are astonishing. In one of his photographs he captures the blackest of black in the shadow detail and background; a bright tone of white in his stop action capturing of cigarette smoke with great highlights and details within it; the freckles on the model's forehead, as well as, the salt and pepper beard on his face. I imagine that Courti has spent an endless amount of time getting to know a lighting studio inside and out. It'd be amazing if I could take close up photographs of people half-way as decent as him.
He even manages to shoot a black on black photograph of a black sheep on a black background, but he metered it accurately enough for the sheep to be a deep black, but not blend with the Dmax background. His portrait photographs can be found here [x]; view them for yourself to see how breathtaking they are. More of his captivating and awe-inspiring photographs can be found here [x]. Each week when I do these artist spotlights, I think that artist for the week is my favorite; Courti trumps them all... I don't think any of the following artists that I'll be spotlighting will be as impressive as he is.
One of Courti's "Deep Black" photographs

Field Trip - Hodgin Valley Farm

This past Tuesday my classmates, teacher, and I went on a trip to the Hodgin Valley Farm in Pleasant Garden, NC [x]. It was freezing cold and rainy that day, but I'm pretty sure I got some good pictures. It's unfortunate that I didn't not have as many rolls of film on me as I would've liked, because there were so many amazing things there to take pictures of. My teacher said that if we liked it we could go back, however. There were chickens, geese, swans, a peacock, horses, cows, a donkey, and goats. There was a lake, a barn/farm, a pretty landscape, and an array of tools, tractors, carts, etc. to look at and get shots of.
When we got back from the trip, I was so excited to go to the photo lab that night to develop my prints. I set up the balancing scale, got out my supplies, and set up the dark room for reeling my film, but unfortunately there wasn't anymore kBr. Also, I wasn't chancing messing up my film by over or underdeveloping it, because I'm not experimenting with any recipes other than the one I have; I'll just have to wait until we get some kBr shipped in and just keep taking photographs in the mean time.

26 February 2013

Gregarious Ali Spotlight

Now that I've learned how to scan my negatives, I need to buy more film so I can take tons of new pictures. I'm falling in love with my photography and the Mims Digital Lab. Below are a few of my negatives that I scanned this evening and turned into digital images. Copyright infringement applies to my photographs. Unauthorized use of my images on other websites is prohibited.
"Halloween" - My apartment door Halloween '12.
"Fire Safety" - One of the first pictures I ever took. 
"Conceptual Contrast" - My nephew's face lathered in oil and my niece's face smothered in flour mixed with water. A contrast of slick/clean and gunky/messy. 
"Conceptual Contrast: Young and Old" - My dad and niece.
"Leap" - My niece taking a smaller jump from the same tree as her brother.
"Valiant" - My nephew leaping from a tree.
"Launch" - My niece jumping from the swing. 
More of my photography can be found here [x].

25 February 2013


I've finally learned how to use the scanner! The mistakes that I mentioned in my previous post? Those were what was holding me back from properly scanning in my negatives. The downfall to this is that scanning my negatives is taking longer than I expected because I have a lot of negatives I'd like to crop, edit, and save for future display. I've got five images set aside for the class critique on Thursday. They're pretty decent, but I can't wait to go back to my classmate's daycare so that I can take better photographs. I also need to buy some more film expeditiously, but that's neither here nor there. I figured I'd scan some of my old negatives while I'm here so that I could create an album of my favorite pictures. DID I MENTION THIS IS TAKING A LONG TIME? Luckily, I have my iPod and all of the time in the world... or at least until midnight, then I'm calling it a night. I have other work to do for different classes!

POW - Scan Down

So, I stated in an older post that I planned on scanning my negatives into Adobe and showing off my prints digitally. Well for the past two weeks I've been having trouble with the scanner and learning how it works. My professor was correct, I should have been writing notes when she went through the process. However, I'm a visual and kinesthetic learner... I had to watch her do it and it would've helped even better if I did it myself. So, using my free time within the past two weeks, I've been trying to scan my negatives into Adobe with little to no luck. I think I finally figured out where I was going wrong, but I won't know for sure until tonight. For instance, I kept selecting 300dpi instead of 3200dpi! I know for a fact I'm supposed to selected the "Transparency - Negative Slide" option. However, instead of billions of colors, I'm supposed to select "Thousands of Greys." Like I said, I won't know until tonight whether or not I've corrected all of my mistakes and will be able to produce to some kick ass digital prints, but if I don't get on top of things soon, I'm going to be back in the darkroom...

Artist Spotlight

Boogie was born Vladimir Milivojevich in Belgrade, the capital of what was formerly Yugoslavia. His friends gave him his nickname because he reminded them of a cartoon character. Boogie's father and grandfather were amateur photographers; his dad gave him his first camera. He used his first camera to capture the degradation of the city, protests, and portraits of skinheads. He won the United States' green card lottery in 1997 and moved to Brooklyn. He subsequently began to shoot the street life of New York with monochrome shots. [x]
Boogie's work fascinates me because some of it is slightly disturbing and graphic. He doesn't take pictures of what's pretty and what people would typically like; he gets the gritty and ugly. I'm amazed at his ability to capture most of the things that he does... how he could get away with getting up so close to some of what he does. Boogie has traveled all over the world to places like Bangkok, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Caracas, Tokyo, and more. He's shot drug addicts, the homeless and beggars, prostitutes, gang members, skinheads, and anything else you could think of. I don't think I would have the courage to get up close to a crack addict or a white supremacist skinhead.
Christina is a 46 year old crack addicted prostitute who just got out of jail after serving 4 years on drug related charges. Brookly, NC, 2003.
Martie, a crack addicted mother of 4, bathing her newborn. Brooklyn, NY, 2005.
Kid playing with a gun in Zeytinburnu, a predominantly Kurdish and Arabic neighborhood, 2007.

“I don’t think my work is depressing - just real. My intention is never to provoke any specific reaction from the viewer. I can see how people think my work is dark, but I guess that is just a natural part of who I am. Maybe it is because I put my negative energy into my work. I don’t know. I just try to be honest and just observe." - Boogie [x]