Refugee Status. A Documentary Project for Tibet

Tibetan refugees, India, Tibet, Documentary Photographer, Current Affairs, Culture

“Being clear about what we’re doing and why is the first step in doing it better. If you’re not happy about the honest answer to this question, make substantial changes until you are.” Seth Godin. Jan 15, 2013

Not a day goes by when I don’t have the extreme privilege of hearing stories of young Tibetans fleeing the Chinese government’s occupation of their land. The stories are shocking, filled with bravery, a fight for freedom and many times, end in tragedy.  Just today, a friend of mine told me his story of crossing the Himalayan Mountains (as they all do in order to get to India). He told me of being captured by the Chinese government the first 3 times he tried to escape, put in prison and then returned him to his home. The fourth and final time, he travelled for multiple weeks over the mountains, with some dying along the way. Food runs out, the temperatures are freezing, there are unmarked paths with dangerous cliffs. One young man fell to his death during their journey.

I want to help. This has inspired me to start a documentary project of these young adults, coming from Tibet, as refugees, holding on to their culture, learning for the first time about their country’s history (as it is mostly banned in Tibet to learn of their own history), all the while trying to embrace their new surroundings in India, separated from their families and from the way of life they’re accustomed to. A beautiful mixture of tradition and modern appeals. Starting a new life…. with “Refugee Status”.

This is the first image of the series.

(Sengye, shown above, is a young Tibetan man from the Amdo region of Tibet. He wears a traditional fur hat and necklace, identifying him as Amdo. He was raised in a nomadic family (as most are in that region), breeding yaks, sheeps and goats. He fled Tibet on the same night of his father’s return from being imprisoned by the Chinese government for 14 years. They didn’t see each other.)

Please feel free to share your thoughts, input and comments.

Belluschi Residence | Portland Oregon Architectural Photographer

yoga studio Portland Oregon architectural interior

My last post discussed the importance of lighting for all types of photography. I used a before/after example from my photo shoot at the Belluschi Residence in Portland, Oregon for Oregon Home Magazine. For this post, I wanted to show some of the interiors, including the kitchen, living room, and interior of their beautiful yoga studio.

What is especially unique about this property is that it was originally designed by the famous architect, Pietro Belluschi. Once purchased by Mike McCulloch and Maryellen Horkheimer, they wanted to keep the original feel and space as initially intended, but with some modern updates. Mike being an architect himself, kept the transition seamless. Maryellen is a master gardner and landscaper, and together the home is now not only a comfortable living space, but also a scenic garden retreat.

The marriage of architecture and its surroundings made it feel like there was no distinction between inside and out. The rolling landscape was either in your window’s view or you were enjoying the tremendous space the family built for outside living. I wanted and needed to capture that as the photographer, lighting the rooms, making sure the windows show the exterior view as well as maintaining the warmth of the interiors.

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Before & After. Lighting Matters.

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Lighting Matters. Period.

If you’re a fellow photographer: learn it, breathe it and utilize it to acquire the results you desire for your imagery. If you’re a potential client, looking for a professional photographer to hire for a project: make sure you choose a photographer that has a discerning eye concerning light. Choosing a photographer that knows how to manipulate light to give you the appropriate look and mood for your advertising campaign or editorial spread is crucial.

Below is a before and after photo from an editorial photo shoot I did for Oregon Home Magazine. Adding proper lighting and balancing it with right time of day can turn a dull and mundane photograph into something that pops off the page… And, let’s face it, isn’t that what everyone wants?

 

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Himalayan Imagery

Himalayan Mountains India Travel Photography

Recently, I got to hike with some beautiful people through the Himalayan Mountains, seeing spectacular views, culture, and wildlife. There were chai and dahl shops along the way to rest and enjoy the scenery, but the best part was making it to our final destination at snow-line and basking in the views. We came across nomadic goat herders along the way, who were gracious enough to allow me to photograph them and ask questions, literally hiking through goat poop in order to do so.

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Sharing a morning cup of chai with our host in the Himalayas. We spent the night under his tent which doubles as his home, shop and kitchen. It was magical.

 

 

The Taj Majal India

Nick and I had the incredible pleasure of visiting the Taj Mahal again. Despite the incredibly offensive heat (about 45C or 115F), we had a great time exploring and visiting this “wonder of the world“.

Of course, as a photographer, I am always intrigued to get another opportunity to shoot images for my stock portfolio as well as think creatively for different shots, since, lets face it, every photographer who has been to the Taj, has taken the famous reflection shot. It’s hard not to though. The Taj is a very symmetrical building, with great consideration by Mughal emperor Shah Jahanin in all its fine intricacies, and this is one of them. The reflection shot proves this nicely as well as frames a nice image of the front of the mausoleum.

Hope you enjoy the photos! THANKS!

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Luckily, the sky parted for some nice contrast and interest in the clouds.

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THE Shannon Bex

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of spending some time with Shannon Bex, you would know how beautiful, talented, and incredibly gracious she is. Known for her part in the all female music group, Danity Kane, Shannon has re-created herself to become BEX, a sweet new band showcasing her unique country-pop-soul sound and awe-inspiring dance moves.

Shannon and I met over a glass of wine at a crowded, little wine cafe through a mutual friend, and immediately knew she was going to be an incredible person to get to know and photograph. Luckily for me, she is just that wonderful!

Photographing her for some of her PR and a recent magazine article, Shannon proved to be vulnerable yet strong, a lil’ goofy behind the scenes yet absolutely stunning in front of the camera! Take a look…

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Mount Bachelor Design Studio | Architectural Photographer

Bend Oregon Architectural Photographer

Being in Zambia now has given me a little bit of time to actually post some commercial photography work from before I left. It was such a blessing to be so busy right up until we left, but gave me no time to show anyone what I was actually up to. Here’s a quick look at a home I photographed in Pronghorn for Mount Bachelor Design Studio. The home boasts wide open spaces and French country interior design, with flares of antique hardware, country murals and one large industrial sized fan. Thank you MBDS! It was a pleasure working with you on this project!

Looking for information on getting an estimate for architectural photography? Here’s a great link to highlight some key details and things to consider… http://tinyurl.com/3ffkj4b


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Architectural Photographer | Bend Oregon

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Once upon a time…

Tucked away in a fairytale village far, far away lived a queen and king… okay, so we’re not really in a fairytale, but this home has all the charm to make someone feel like it.

The architecture models the feel of a late 1800’s Jane Austin novel with modern amenities and living spaces. From movie theater to kitchen nook solarium, to Biblical stones laid in the wine cellar, from library to spiral staircases and mountain views, covering 16,000sq ft., Harrison Design Associates designed the home and didn’t leave out a single detail.

It was an honor and pleasure to photograph this beautiful residence.

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The Bold and the Beautiful Residence | Bend Oregon Architectural Photographer

Holy moly, I’m behind on my blogging. Did I just say holy moly? Okay, go with it.

This project below was an incredible project for me. I was able to photograph a handful of professional’s work that are so intricate and so talented, it made my job challenging, but such a privilege.

Often times, I do not get the opportunity to meet the homeowners of these beautiful residences that I photograph because they are often their vacation properties or second residences. It’s an unfortunate side of the job, but you learn to get used to it. With this project, I again, did not have the privilege of meeting the homeowners, however, feel like I can know so many things about them just based on their home. For instance, they value “quality”. Enough said right there. They accomplished that with hiring Kirsti Wolfe Designs, Sunwest Building and Neal Huston Architecture. They felt comfortable enough with Kirsti to leave the design and project management in her hands, and were not disappointed!

Their value for the outdoors and nature is evident as their property sits right up against the Cascade Mountains, with views as far as you can see. Photographically speaking, because of this, it is so important to show the views from the windows whenever possible. The architect, Neal Huston did an incredible job showcasing their views with large windows and expansive ceilings to bring the focal point directly to the mountains. As a photographer, I balanced the natural light from outside and additional photographic lighting to showcase those very important aspects. Architectural Lighting 101.

Details within their home that add to their high regard for quality, yet spurts of playfullness, are things like the onyx bar in their home-pub. Yes, I said it, Home Pub (I know I could spend many-a-nights enjoying that feature), high gloss Polyester red kitchen cabinets (very European in style) with Vetrazzo recycled glass counter tops (a very challenging kitchen to photograph with all the reflective surfaces but well worth the challenge), exotic wood veneers seen throughout their home including their master bath and pub, custom two-story fire place with a waterfall effect emulating the river in Bend, and a floating onxy sink in the powder bath lit by LED lighting against a full wall of recycled mosaic tiles (1 of 10 bathrooms)!  This 10,000 square foot contemporary home with mountain views shows a home can be bold and beautiful!

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