Photography, Wanderlust, and Starting Anew: 2013's Year in Review by Amanda Liew


2013 has been a whirlwind year! For starters, I began delving deeper into my photographic interests..._DSC0026 ...discovered a love for isolating objects..._DSC0062 (1) _DSC0099

...found the joy that comes with giving a gift of portraiture...

_DSC0078 _DSC0102 _DSC0224 (1) _DSC0091 _DSC0488...and challenged myself conceptually with self-portraits._DSC0080_blog_DSC0218

I embarked on projects that included total strangers..._DSC0003

...and bit a little bit more than I could chew with trying to tell a dozen stories...2 - Tyler

Most significantly....I GRADUATED!_DSC0151 _DSC0189

...but first indulged in more than just a little bit of wanderlust by visiting the Dominican Republic...IMG_6063 IMG_6015

...and Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia..._DSC0437 _DSC0700 photo (1) _DSC0903 _DSC0395

...and various islands in the Caribbean too..._DSC0105 _DSC0134

Finally satisfied with my traveling, I plunged straight into the real world with a big job and big city to tackle...photo (19) photo (13)photo (16)

...I made new friends I couldn't be more thankful for...

photo (11) photo (14)...and reunited with old friends in new environments...photo (12) photo (15)

...and in the end, I couldn't even count my blessings if I tried. Here's to a phenomenal year and a new start to 2014!

And Christmas Begins! by Amanda Liew


Exactly one year ago, I flew to Rochester for the first time with my brand new DSLR in hand. After so many years of making my cousin Linda and her family fly out to California, it was time for me to give a visit to upstate New York for Thanksgiving! In many ways, one year ago was the start of my photographic journey. It was during this trip one year ago that I realized how much I didn't know about my camera and started fueling the desire to learn more. This year I returned and finally got a chance to experience the freezing yet beautiful weather and experience my first Christmas tree picking. Of course, I had the best time forcing my three gorgeous "nieces" pose for thousands of photos too. _DSC0056 _DSC0067 _DSC0115_Thanksgiving_DSC0079 _DSC0118 _DSC0107 _DSC0055 _DSC0096 _DSC0073_Thanksgiving_DSC0124

Let's be real, Ben did all the work hahah_DSC0138 _DSC0153

_DSC0161_ThanksgivingMy favorite photo of today!_DSC0145_Thanksgiving

It's way more fun when you can yell at your best friend by Amanda Liew



A few months back, all the seniors at Penn were required to take graduation photos. Unsurprisingly, nearly everybody's turned out hilariously horrible (shoutout to those of you who can actually rock the cap and gown pose!). After endless pestering from her mom, my best friend, Janet (or as I like to call her, JChowder), begrudgingly asked me if I'd be willing to take some senior portraits of her. I was ECSTATIC. Not just because she's my best friend, but because here was this prime opportunity to turn her (unwillingly) into the glorioussss model that I had envisioned! In other words, she was my puppet and had no choice in the matter.

You see, Janet and I are total opposites: I'm a hopeless romantic, way too Type A sometimes, and pride myself on being an early adopter. Janet's way more realistic when it comes to relationships, really chill about a lot of things, and always complains she doesn't know how to use her iPhone. We're so different that my friend Christy actually came up with a "Janet-Amanda Spectrum" for our group of friends. The theory goes that if the average of any two people on the spectrum comes out to somewhere in the middle, they'll be really good friends. Considering we're the ends of the spectrum, we average perfectly to the center: BOOM! Best Friends For Ever.

One of the things that I realized from this photoshoot was how important it is for there to be a comfortable relationship between the photographer and subject. Janet pretty much dreaded this entire photoshoot, but I was able to make her climb in bushes and try weird poses. Even better, I got to yell at her the entire time: "JANET. You're NOT SMILING. SMILE HARDER! No, I know how you smile, and that's FAKE. Do it again or else I'll make you stay here for hours!" I know she absolutely hated it, but in the end it was totally worth it! True, I had to delete about 50% of the photos because she was either making an unhappy face or fake smiling, but the rest are golden! So, I present to you, my wonderful and beautiful best friend:

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As an English & History major, Janet also wanted some pictures with Bennett hall. It was really different shooting indoors without a tripod, but I still love a lot of these shots!

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And finally, only a fraction of the many annoyed/unhappy/sad Janet photos that I have:

_DSC0184 _DSC0213 _DSC0094In all reality, though, my friendship with Janet stems out of the deepest love for each other. There are few people in the world who understand me so well. Even though we're so different, we stretch and pull to meet each other whenever the other needs it. She's always excited and happy for me no matter how dumb of news I share with her, and she supports me in nearly everything I do. She's been my rock and my go-to person for what seems like forever. I can't imagine my life without her, but I'm glad that never needs to happen. I know for sure, we'll be balancing each other out until the days when we're retired and finally look like we're 30 (gotta love those youthful Asian genes!). I can just imagine myself trying to teach Janet how to drive a hovercraft, but she's only just figured out how to take a screen shot on her iPhone 4. She'll write the novel about the grand Notebook-level love story of my life, and I'll force her to adopt a small fluffy animal and admit it's kind of cute. In the end, though, no matter where we are, we'll be together. Love you, JChowder!

Capturing Some Latin Movement by Amanda Liew

A few weeks ago, my housemate, Amy, asked me if I could try photographing her at her senior dance show for Onda Latina. I was super nervous because I knew there would be a lot of low lighting, fast movement, and a no flash photography rule. I told her to not have too high of expectations, but I actually think the photos came out better than expected! A lot of the show had very bright color backlighting which made for some cool silhouettes. And of course, Amy was PHENOMENAL. Seriously, girl can moveee! I always knew she was talented, but over Fall Break we went to Boston together and she dragged me and my friend Maegan out to salsa dance. It was traumatic. While she was doing crazy spins back and forth with her partner, I had a guy ditch me after 10 seconds because I was so bad hahah. It was much more fun to watch HER move and sit in the stands this time around.

Some of my favorite images from the show:

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The best part of it all was that this was Amy's last show at Penn! It was so great seeing her senior class dance together and four years of hard work culminating together. I know from living with Amy that Onda Latina has been her second family for a long time. It was so great to see that all come together!


And of course, we had to capture a little bit of Chi O representation while we were there!

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