Ethereal Light in Bushwick: Sarah Jane Shanks Collaboration [Part 2] by Amanda Liew

  This is Part 2 of my collaboration with the life-loving Sarah Jane Shanks! To see Part I please click here.

For Part 2, I'm showing you guys the photos from the incredible rooftop of this apartment we used in Bushwick! The wind was blowing hard and it was a lot colder than it looks, but we laughed our whole way through, played with the breeze as much as possible, and witnessed swatches of colors appear in the sunset behind us. I had so much fun experimenting with light out on the rooftop and in the interior shots in Part 1. It's incredible how just the slightest of movements, the tiniest of blockings, can completely change how a photo comes out. Soft hues versus sharp contrasts are all possible. While normally I would try to be editing the colors of my photos to remove any "unnatural" hues, I actually loved the shades cast on Sarah Jane as the sun set and sought to capture them even more. 20150403_0280_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0311_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0328_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0331_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0339_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0343_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0345_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0351_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0353_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0358_ALiew_SJShanks Collab 20150403_0366_ALiew_SJShanks Collab20150403_0373_ALiew_SJShanks Collab

Ethereal Light in Bushwick: Sarah Jane Shanks Collaboration [Part 1] by Amanda Liew

Collaborating with other artists has become one of my favorite things to do as a photographer - whether it's working with the members of The Photograph Collective to come up with a new project or working with fashion bloggers, I love the teamwork, new ideas, reflective questions, and joint visions that go into collaborations. So when Sarah Jane Shanks reached out to me ever so sweetly with a request to collaborate for one of her upcoming projects, I jumped at the opportunity. We met up for breakfast early one morning to get to know each other better and how we could match what she wanted with how I preferred to shoot. We used a Pinterest board to brainstorm the looks we were interested in capturing, and it became clear we wanted light to play a large role in all of our photos. She came up with the brilliant idea of getting a space for us at an artist's loft in Bushwick that had unique furniture, plenty of light and an incredible rooftop. Armed with a few flowing outfits, 4 ft flower sticks, and an adventurous spirit, Sarah Jane came ready to turn our vision into a reality.

I can't even begin to describe how much fun I had during this shoot! I snapped a couple of hundred photos, moved furniture around, taped a blanket to a wall, chased the light, watched the sun set in the background, and just had the time of our lives. We tried some things that didn't work, but found other things that worked surprisingly well. I am so happy with how these photos turned out!

Another aspect of this collaboration that was quite interesting was our discussion of payment. I've been thinking about what photography means to me and how to balance the "value" of my photography. On one hand, I feel that the minute I start accepting payments for my photography, I will lose a love for it. I find so much creative refuge in shooting and blogging and don't want to have the stress of having clients & expectations on time frames for delivery. On the other hand, I don't want to devalue my time & effort for photography. For this collaboration alone, I probably spent 12-15 hours total in between meetings, brainstorming, traveling, shooting, editing, formatting, delivering, etc. Fortunately, for this time around, Sarah Jane and I found a beautiful solution that she would donate to my roommate Krista's missions trip in lieu of paying me for my services. I think that this solution addresses both of my concerns so appropriately - I'm not doing it completely for "free," but I am placing a value on my work as well!

Keep your eyes out for Part 2 of my collaboration with Sarah Jane soon!

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London's Bluebird Cafe by Amanda Liew

_DSC0255_British Thanksgiving

Sometimes simplicity is all you need. I didn't have many things on my check list for my British Thanksgiving since I have already been fortunate enough to cross all the major sites off of my checklist, but the one thing I did insist on was grabbing some afternoon tea! Rather than go for a multi-tiered tea experience (while quite lovely isn't exactly an "everyday" event like Americans seem to believe), we decided to take a little trip out to the ever so quaint Chelsea to visit Bluebird Cafe. For an affordable £9, we ordered the a Tiny Tea which came with homemade scones and a delicious assortment of jams and clotted creams. It's amazing how something so simple could be so satisfactory, but the meal was just that! We all agreed the scones were some of the best we had ever had (a much higher compliment coming from the Brits as opposed to myself!) and we asked for jams upon jams to try them all out. The courtyard seating was lovely, even with the chill of November, and each table had blankets available to keep yourself cozy. The only downside of the experience, however, was the terrible service - and I don't say that lightly. We were routinely forgotten by all staff members (waiters, hosts, busboys alike), and had to ask 3 or 4 times for each item - it was all quite odd and we couldn't help but wonder if something had happened for them to all be so off their game. Nevertheless, for the price and scones, I would probably deem them to be worth a second chance! _DSC0253_British Thanksgiving _DSC0244_British Thanksgiving _DSC0248_British Thanksgiving _DSC0254_British Thanksgiving _DSC0258_British Thanksgiving _DSC0266_British Thanksgiving _DSC0270_British Thanksgiving _DSC0276_British Thanksgiving _DSC0239_British Thanksgiving

Response Piece by Amanda Liew


One of our assignments was to visit a photography gallery and respond through our own piece. I chose to go to the White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art which is practically on Penn's campus. The entire exhibit illustrated various views on fashion, self-adornment, clothing, and texture. Some pieces such as Aura Rosenberg, John Miller, and Frank Lutz’s Carmen’s Fashion Do’s and Dont’s that featured a young girl and her brother in various fashionable clothing. While highly stylized, speech bubbles, colorful backgrounds, and humorous text complemented the images. For example, four images together were titled “Almost anything can make a great earring…almost!” with images of Carmen wearing buttons and bananas on her ears. Furthermore, Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven’s pieces, Youth Code and NonPlus, incorporated photography with many other materials such as paint, different textured paper, magazines, pen, and more. Finally, the three photographs that stayed with me the most, were Wardell Milan’s Naomi and Landscape #1, 2, and 3. The three images contained a striking model in haute-couteure fashion with other prints and collages covering parts of her outfit or body. The prints were reminiscent of National Geographic pieces, ranging from flowers to deserts to the open sky. Though there was not an artist’s statement included with the pieces, I felt that the work was combining the two worlds of fashion photography: the models on the pages and the girls who read the magazines. The way that the shapes were cut out and pasted alluded to the way young girls crudely cut out their favorite images, pasting them in collages or on their walls. Because the additional work was done on the computer, it was almost unusual to see how flat the print was. The landscape images created new outfits, obscuring what Naomi was originally wearing.

Screen shot 2013-04-16 at 2.19.58 AM Screen shot 2013-04-16 at 2.20.06 AM Screen shot 2013-04-16 at 2.20.17 AM            Ultimately, I was fascinated by the various ways that photography was combined with different elements. From speech bubbles to paint to computerized “collaging,” it really opened up my eyes to the various ways that photograph and other mediums can be combined with one another. I took multiple shots of nature: flowers, grass, branches, etc. I then  cut some of them out similar to Wardell Milan's work, but also experimented with different layers and backgrounds.

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To be totally honest, I'm not sure how much I am a fan of this type of photography. I think I need to experiment a little bit more with collaging to see what style I like. I do like the layering effect, though. I think it would be quite beautiful to overlay a lace image over a portrait. As much as I love modern art, I'm realizing that when it comes to people, I lean towards what I consider beautiful and elegant. Perhaps I could try this style with inanimate objects and see if I would enjoy that more. Images from Wardell Milan and ICA