30 September 2009

Little Sister Shutterbug

Now that me and my older brother are continents apart, and much more older - we are actually getting along. This comes as a huge surprise to me because we have constantly fought like cats and dogs, much to the indifference of our loving mother and poor little baby brother that will never cease to be the subject of our ridicule.

The musical snob that he is, he and his very good friend has finally decided to put up a blog called Cultchas: Web log for the underrated and atypical. His blog is all about music. Since he lives in Manila, Philippines and I live here in New York City - the "genius" of an older brother that he is - he has appointed me as the Cultchas Correspondent for New York. (yearly salary: zero dollars)

My first assignment was to interview and photograph Don Friedman. He is a jazz pianist - and from what i have gathered while he was being introduced at the show with the Nicole Pasternak Quintet, he is a very very good jazz player.

Besides knowing what jazz sounds like - i really dont know much. I know a couple of names: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald but that's about it. I cant even differentiate them - and i think much to the dismay of my brother, I am little sister music stupid. (to my credit though, i have a disdain for hiphop and rap)

While my ignorance is frowned upon, the silver lining shines bright. I can interview and photograph Mr. Friedman in complete ease and a very relaxed manner. Kind of just another day at work for Larry King and Annie Leibovitz.

Photographing him in a low light setting without a flash was tricky, but doable (lesson learned: never leave the house without the prime lens). I also got a couple of good action shots. (i really wish i brought the prime lens with me) The interview? It was not without its booboo. Halfway through it i realized that my handy dandy little video camera wasnt on. haha.

He is certainly one of the sweetest people i have met..

Thank you, Mr. Friedman, for the wonderful opportunity of meeting, interviewing and photographing you.

Creative Commons License
Don Friedman by Stella Dacuma for Cultchas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cultchas.blogspot.com.

16 September 2009

The Emergency Photographer?!

last sunday, i woke up 45 minutes past noon, fully intending to spend the day in my pajamas. checking on my email, dave texts me to record the giants game (a mind numbing feat! i didnt know four games happen in one day) and there was a voicemail from tet, sent to my mailbox at like 1115 am.

i need headshots, can you take them?

i call her back and she explains to me that her godson Matthew (angela's son) needs a full body photo and a headshot to audition for a part for the disney channel. they need it on saturday.

i agreed since i never really photographed kids and headshots - and eventually had to make compcards too.

shoot, post process and final artwork. all done in about six hours, with kanye west stealing taylor swift's thunder in the background.

i must say that working with kids is fun and quite challenging. for me, it was sheer luck that matthew was extremely interested in doing this. showing headshots of his crush certainly did the trick for him.

the bad part is, after we saw other children's compcards, we realize that he should have been dressed in different outfits. im sure matt wont mind doing it again!

good luck matt!

13 September 2009

Superheroes and Villains UNITE!

William of Nazareth turned 30 as the superhero Birthday Boy. The invite said that we could be any superhero we wanted to be - and for the most part, i dont really like buying expensive run of the mill wonderwoman costume, so i opted to come as the Cupcake Crusader!
Coming to costume parties is always interesting to me since i never really got to ornate costume parties until i was much older. In the Philippines, the 31st of October is the day we honor our dearly departed by visiting their grave. It is, by no means spooky since the whole nation participates in this and the cemeteries become an overcrowded picnic area.

of course, coming to the party wearing my superhero costume was more uncomfy as i dealt with the stares of the people in the subway and the french tourist who kept pointing to my loud purple leggings. but whatever.

One thing i learned in this whole party was to ALWAYS CARRY MY OFF CAMERA FLASH. the on camera flash on my camera just wasnt powerful enough or didnt fire right away. that, and thinking that a 1.8lens is at its widest opening is enough to capture moving subjects in low light situations. in any case, im happy i snapped some pretty cool photos.


the party was a complete success. the rest of the photos are here.

i even won best original superhero costume! yay!

11 September 2009

the big fat armenian wedding

there's nothing more fun than attending a wedding that is FUN. for the most part, the weddings i have been to is more formal than anything and the attendants are not that much into getting into the dance floor.

this one? you have people holding hands prancing and dancing! i swear, i kinda felt bad that my culture does not have this -

and it was just a blast. the dancefloor was packed! and the candid moments are PRICELESS.

the rest of the photos are here.
Congratulations and best wishes, ariane and tony!

thank you -

I got back into photography almost by accident.

My friends here in new york city are mostly artists - they practice their art in a variety of media. Paper, Modelling Clay, Paint on canvas, Video, even found objects. For the most part, i was a spectator. Happy to document anything that was out of the ordinary, or ordinary or just plain cute. I was mostly happy to document a bunch of people who just refuse to act grown up. (that is a good thing.)

on the other hand, living here in new york almost always means having to conform to the blatant consumerism that abounds. there's the want of sporting a purse that could well be easily a month's rent, or two. for me, there is a strange want to own a nifty canvas purse with leather trim bearing the initials LV.

i was mulling over getting one of those arm candies for my 29th birthday "happy birthday to me" present. after all, i deserve it. the funny thing was - it wasnt really my lifestyle to carry one. Im always in sneakers and it just wont work. that, and i cant make myself depart with that much moolah for something that will eventually get old in my eyes. im one of those odd girls who have more fun shopping at home depot and b&h photo and video than sephora or macys.

as i was mulling over, i remember what one of my friends said to me during one of those drunken sprees -

"im always broke because i spend my money on electronics. electronics give me the ability to produce"

for that birthday, i got myself a canon eos 40d. its been a great relationship between me and buttercup ever since.