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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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A British Thanksgiving (Yet Again!) by Amanda Liew

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Back in 2011, I started a travel blog hilariously titled View the Liew in the Queue about my adventures at King's College London. In a whirlwind, I visited WindsorBrussels, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Bath, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. And while all of those were beyond amazing, the true treasures were the experiences I shared within the tiny dorms at Stanford Street Apartments. It was there that we all came together - British, American, Italian, and more - to celebrate a Thanksgiving feast. Stephen somehow managed to cook a turkey, I learned how to fry onions for a green bean casserole for the first time, and half of the dishes weren't even remotely close to what would be served at Thanksgiving back in America...and it was all so perfect. We made little pilgrim hats to wear, ate until we wanted to sleep, and made memories that will last a lifetime. Three years later, and my blog has grown up quite a bit. It's shifted to the more mature (and boring) amandaliew.com, but has much better photos if I do say so myself. Beyond that, my friendships from KCL have stayed stronger than I could have imagined - the Brits made an epic both-coast-visit in 2012 where we reunited with the other Americans who were scattered about, Max studied abroad in America in 2013, and Stephen and Sarah came to NYC in 2014. Finally, it was time for things to come full circle with a trip back to London & yet another memorable Thanksgiving. I'm so beyond lucky to have these people in my life - who would have imagined 3 years ago that we would have become so close? Though my trip was short, we managed to jam pack everything possible: Camden Market, South Bank, afternoon tea, and of course just good catch up time. In contrast to my typical vacations where I plan an itinerary for every second of the day, the purpose of this trip was to see my wonderful friends. For Thanksgiving itself, Stephen spent 2 full days cooking and somehow made 18 dishes...for 11 people. It was unbelievable! At one point someone said "I'm so full...but I want to keep eating!" to which I responded with "Welcome to the American way!!" It was truly perfect.

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London's Bluebird Cafe by Amanda Liew

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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