It was about two years ago that I wrote about Kate T. Parker’s photo series Strong is the New Pretty where she showed pictures of her two daughters in empowering poses. The actual series started six years ago and it has taken her across the country to meet and photograph girls to show their unique strengths. The series has now turned into an actual, real life book which you can soon purchase. (See Amazon.)
Here’s the synopsis:
“Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves.
“Real beauty isn’t about being a certain size, acting a certain way, wearing the right clothes, or having your hair done (or even brushed). Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it. Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who finds the real beauty in girls, capturing it for all the world to see in candid and arresting images.
“A celebration, a catalog of spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts, Strong Is the New Pretty conveys a powerful message for every girl, for every mother and father of a girl, for every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village that it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person.”
I love her arresting photos and this powerful message.
While watching my first CreativeLive course, Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style, I came across some good “light bulb” moments. The first, is that your style will come as you get better, technically. In the beginning, you’re just learning the basics, like focal length, shutter speed and aperture. You need to work hard and get the basics down, and as you do, your style starts to emerge. It doesn’t happen magically one day, it’s a long process that takes years of experience.
Teacher Julia Kelleher also asks her students to find inspiration from outside the field of photography. Here’s where it gets fun.
Outside inspiration comes from:
Personality & Mood
Our personal growth or life story
Today, I decided to find 20 photos that show what I love, that’s outside the field of photography.
Decor and Design: I like the “Dwell” modern house look. Open spaces, mid-century modern/modern lighting and furniture.
Decor and Design: Love the inside/outside element to this house and how nature surrounds it. I also like how you can see the colorful bookcase from outside.
Decor and Design: I’m also into minimalism. The Glass Pavilion, designed by Steve Hermann, is a Montecito, Santa Barbara home that sold for $24 million. The whole house is wrapped around in glass.
Decor and Design: I love Eames chairs, all white walls and/or floors and statement piece lighting. Mostly, I like things clean, modern, timeless and pretty.
Decor and Design: I’m obsessed with the black Eames lounge chair. Wouldn’t it be great to have a reading nook like this is your house?
Decor and Design: In this bedroom, love the simple art that’s hanging on the wall, the grays and the pinks. It has a Scandinavian interior feel.
Decor and Design: I love Bocci pendant lighting. Each light resembles a raindrop, to me. It looks so clean, crisp and pretty.
Nature: Speaking of pink, I love pink peonies. They’re my favorite flower. They bloom beautifully and they’re just full, feminine and pretty.
Design and Personality & Mood: This Work Hard & Be Nice To People Print, by designer Anthony Burrill, is the perfect piece to put up in your house. It’s simple but memorable.
Art: I love Max Wanger’s use of negative space. (I know I’m not supposed to list other photographer’s work here but I count this more as art than photography.) This one is so simple yet clever.
Art: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room is one of those must visit installations. It blows your mind away. I love how the lights change colors and how immersive it felt. Space is also a big thing for me. I love anything to do with it.
Art: If I had to pick my favorite piece of art of all time it would be Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I love the colors he uses and his swirling lines of the sky.
Art: I love the work of Audrey Kawasaki. It was love at first sight. The way she draws the female form is like no other. Her girls are always on the precipice of adulthood, beautifully innocent but looking for adventure. No one does pop surrealism like her.
Art and Design: I love the work of Olly Moss. This Star Wars set of his is clever and unique.
Decor, Design and Nature: I like how this wood table is embedded with a glass river. It’s beautiful and interesting.
Design and Music: I love the early iPod commercials where they just used dancing silhouettes with white headphones against colorful backgrounds. It was a groundbreaking example of simple yet brilliant advertising.
Nature and Design: I’m into all things owl. In fact, I own this planter. He hangs out on my desk at work. I also have a small collection of ceramics.
Nature: I can’t get enough of cherry blossoms. Japan is known for their explosions of them in the spring.
Fashion and Design: Though I know Fashion wasn’t included in the subjects list, I thought it would be another great category. Lots of us find inspiration in fashion, whether that means following the latest fashion trends or just incorporated a style into our wardrobe. I love colorblocking, it’s fresh and modern and it never goes out of style. Though pink and red aren’t at two ends of the color wheel, they compliment each other nicely. (Also like this Kate Spade skirt.)
Advertising and Art: Advertising is another one of those categories where you can draw inspiration from. The KENZO fragrance video, directed by Spike Jonze, left me speechless this year. It was fresh, cool and strangely interesting.
Above: This Christian Dior ad is probably one of the most memorable print ad campaigns I’ve ever seen. I love everything about this, how it’s whimsical, how there are colorful balloons lifting the woman up, the bright pink dress, and…Paris!
In conclusion: What have I learned? I’m big into mid-century modern design and modern design. How does this translates into photography? I love clean lines and white backgrounds and I like photographs that feel timeless. I love color but only when it feels fresh. I’m not into trends, rather, I appreciate things that can stand the test of time. I love images that are pretty, that are slightly more on the feminine side. I like when photographs give me an “aha!” moment, when it take a few seconds to click. I appreciate uniqueness and beautiful design.
For the last year or so, I’ve been working at this new career as a “photographer.” (The lifestyle blogging thing is more of a side project.) With my seven years of experience, curating art and photography for My Modern Met, I knew I had a knack for picking out creative photography but I wasn’t quite sure how I would define my own style.
To be a successful photographer, one has to decide on what field to go into. What you want to be known for. Which genre appeals to you. Every day for a few months I would take pictures of my boys, honing my technical skills but also trying to figure out if family or kids photography was right for me.
So what have I learned? Sadly, not much. As much I loved taking pictures of Parker and Logan, I didn’t try going outside of my comfort zone. I’d look at Instagram images from some of my favorite photographers, like Max Wanger, Alice Gao, and Paul Octavious, and wonder what my niche and style would be. Like Max Wanger, would my photos have a light and airy feel about them? Would I be big on negative space? Or like Alice Gao would my photos be more clean and crisp, looking like an advertisement I’d see in a luxury magazine? Who would my clients be?
I felt like Alice in Wonderland, the girl who fell down the rabbit hole. Where would I begin? First, I took a few photography classes on Skillshare, then on Lynda.com but I would only pick up bits and pieces of information. Nothing seemed groundbreaking. No class inspired me to find my own voice.
Then, I remembered that there’s a website called CreativeLive that teaches Photography (and many other subjects). The company was co-founded by a photographer himself, Chase Jarvis. They’re curated classes taught by the world’s top experts. Perusing their website, I noticed that these classes wouldn’t be cheap. You could watch them for free when they’re live but if you wanted to watch an archived video, at your own pace, (they call it “on demand”) you’d have to pay, on average, close to $100. Is/was this a good investment?
The format is interesting. Each class is taught with an instructor speaking to a “live” class. The people in the room become participants, so the classes are somewhat interactive. They’re like stand-ins for those of us who are at home.
I see these online courses as an investment in my career. You could go to a local college or photography club to learn these things but why would you when you can do it all from the comfort of your own home? Before I purchase a class, I like reading the reviews. They help lead me into making a decision on whether or not I should buy it.
If you haven’t checked out CreativeLive, you should. Especially with the sale they’re having right now! I’ve only started watching the first video, Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style, but so far I can say that I like the way it’s taped (with a live studio audience) and that the subject was exactly what I was looking for.
The winners of USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 have just been announced and their photos are nothing short of spectacular. One of my favorites is by Mark Basarab who won the DPR Special Award Youth Winner for his clever photo showing a leaning man juxtaposed with a slanted tree. It was taken in Point Reyes, California.
The two big winning images can be seen below. You can check out all the winners on the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year website or you can sit back, relax and enjoy a compilation video, that includes a great selection of the winning images.
USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner: Alex Noriega
Sunrise light illuminates Mount Rainier as it rises above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake, Washington.
My USA Youth Winner: Raiatea Arcuri
Coastal lava tubes in Kona, HI cause the water to flow in and out creating beautiful water motion.
By now we’ve seen our share of Supermoon photos. This one just popped up on my Facebook feed and it made me smile from ear to ear. It’s by @trevorandkahlua who wrote this, “The super moon last night and tonight was insane! I hope everyone had a chance to get out and see it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t howl.” Love how Trevor (of Trevor and Kahlua) is pushing the moon while his little doggie, Kahlua, sits on top of a mountain.
If many of you are like me, you’ll miss the Obamas in the White House. Love this sweet picture taken by photographer David Burnett between the two in 2012. President Barack Obama and wife Michelle take a brief break for ice cream after speaking at a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa.
This is just one of many pictures American photojournalist David Burnett has taken of the US presidents. In 1963, Burnett’s final year of high school, his mother took him to see John F. Kennedy speak in downtown Salt Lake City. A chance moment and a borrowed camera led to a lifelong career.
His exhibition, The Presidents: From JFK to Obama, will be open until Saturday, November 12, at the Pop Up Gallery: Australian Centre for Photography in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Come see some iconic images of the US Presidents from the last 50 years.
The 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest is accepting entries in one or all of four categories: Landscape, Environmental Issues, Action and Animal Portraits. The grand-prize winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions and two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors.
(If only I could take wildlife pictures as breathtaking as these. On a side note, I love close-ups of hummingbirds.)
This lil humming bird baby was caught in my home. Here he is recouping from what was a stressful time being stuck. Minutes later her flew away.
Photo and Caption by Emily Riley/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Thousands of snow geese take flight during a snowy morning fly out at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico It is loud and sounds like a passing train!
Photo and Caption by Eileen Johnson/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Polar Bear Reflection
As we cruised the ice fields near Prince Regent Inlet in the Canadian high arctic we came across a lone Polar Bear wandering across the ice seeking a meal.
Photo and Caption by Bill Klipp/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
I Am Angry
We arrived at one of the watering holes in Etosha National Park in the late evening. Four Lions were devouring a large kudu that they killed. A pack of hyenas appeared from the bush nearby attracted by the smell of blood and food for them. What ensued was a fight for the dead kudu between 4 female lions and 16 hyenas. Needless to say, in the end the hyenas won and got the prized kudu.
Photo and Caption by NingYu Pao/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Wet! Wet! Wet!
These Cheetah cubs didn’t seem to be enjoying the afternoon downpour. They ran close together as they tried to keep up with mum. I’d like to say that I kept dry taking this image but in order to capture the moment I had to lean out of the window, allowing the stair-rods of water into the vehicle and got drenched by doing so. Worth it though.
Photo and Caption by Gillian Lloyd/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Towards the Mist
A herd of frosty buffalos walking in the snow towards thick fog produced by the Yellowstone geothermal activity.
Photo and Caption by Meril D./2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
The island of Borneo, which is split between the countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, was once covered with a lush tropical rainforest, but in the wake of ongoing deforestation and the expansion of plantation farming, the habitats of the islandís endemic and endangered species are being destroyed rapidly. Relentless deforestation has precipitated the loss of 90% of the orangutan population in 100 years. At this rate, some expect this species to become extinct within the next 20 years.
Photo and Caption by Yosuke Kashiwakura/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
As only Steve Mccurry could do, he captured this magical photo of people taking care of elephants.
“I photographed these elephants and their mahouts at a rescue sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The mahouts dedicate their lives to caring for a specific elephant, spending their days and nights tending to all of the elephant’s needs,” McCurry explains.
(In South and Southeast Asia, a mahout is a a person who works with, rides, and tends to an elephant.)
Taking place this week is Magnum’s square print sale of photos that fall under the title “Conditions of The Heart: On Empathy and Connection in Photography.”
Here’s how Magnum describes it:
“As Magnum Photos approaches its 70th anniversary, the agency explores the engagement at the heart of documentary photography through this Square Print Project, inspired by the work of David ‘Chim’ Seymour.
“Over 60 Magnum photographers respond to the theme ‘Conditions of the Heart’ with an image and text that speak to this human connection. The prints span all of Magnum’s history from the founders Robert Capa and David ‘Chim’ Seymour to the most recent Magnum nominees such as Newsha Tavakolian or Caroline Drake. They include portraits of movie stars (Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean), witty images of children and animals, heart breaking or heart warming scenes and stories from all around the world. Shedding light on our collective humanity, these images and text demonstrate why photography remains so important today.”
Signed and estate stamped, museum quality, 6×6” prints are available for $100 from now until Friday November 4, 6pm EST. Check them all out here. This one is my favorite.
The contest is accepting entries in one or all of four categories: Landscape, Environmental Issues, Action and Animal Portraits. The grand-prize winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions and two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors.
Enter before it’s too late! Here are some of my favorite shots.
Above: Killer Swimmer of the Sea We tracked along the side of this orca swimming out of the Norwegian sea as it dove into and out of the water like a dolphin. The curvature of the water spray around its body truly gives testament to the aerodynamic build of these magnificent creatures.
Photo and Caption by Raj Gupta/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Color show in the sky of Tuyajto Lagoon. Located in the Atacama Desert, Chile, this place is a spectacle of nature. The pond floor is formed by salt. The small formations are due to action of microorganisms that for thousands of years feed on the nutrients present there.
Photo and Caption by Victor Lima/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Size matters, Meerkats, Makgadikgadi Pans, Kalahari Botswana
Photo and Caption by M. Engelmann/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
The Greatest Scenery
Elephants in female leaders led slowly migrate, this is a scene of quiet and peaceful picture. This elephant is faced with the threat of poachers, if not to protect them, this may be the last of the greatest spectacular.
Photo and Caption by Yang Ming/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Stare Into My Eyes
This picture was taken in Bandung while this animal showed its beautiful, symmetrical feather. I’m taking a picture of it using my Leica. It seems that he wants to mate, but hmm, than he danced, shook its feathers. I love its natural, hypnotizing color. The green peacock is one endangered bird from Indonesia. Usually, their feathers are taken for house decorations. With photography, everyone can enjoy its beauty without endangering it. Just print it or save it on your desktop computer.
Photo and Caption by Octoyura Bamahry/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Walking in Silence
A typical african evening. Nothing special in Nxai Pan, Kalahari, Botswana
Photo and Caption by M. Engelmann/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
There is beautiful waterfalls in Akita Japan. I think it’s like Japanese culture as slender and strong.
Photo and Caption by Akinori Koseki/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
As I was photographing this young grey seal, we both got caught up in a sandstorm.
Photo and Caption by Eugene Kitsios/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Dancing in the Rain
Fox caught in action under the rain
Photo and Caption by Vladislav Kamenski/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
An other world on the top of this hill in Lapland. Snow ghosts are everywhere, we are only visitors. March 2016, Finland
Photo and Caption by Pierre Destribats/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Adelie Penguin Jumping Between Ice Floes
I saw these Adelie penguins jumping into the water at Brown Bluff on the Antarctic Peninsula. By the time I sat down on the beach to take a picture, they’d starting jumping to the next ice floe. Paul Goldstein says the Holy Trinity of wildlife photography is ‘dust, air and spume’, and this shot captures the ‘air’ bit!
Photo and Caption by Nick Dale/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Captured this image in early morning in the Yellow Mountain China . Behind this image is a story , climbing at 3 am to reach the point of shooting , when I arrived I could see in the complete dark the effect of the white and slow motion of this cloud waterfall . My hope was when the sunrise come out this effect of the nature will still stand front of me . Lucky at 6.30 am the effect was still there the time I took the shot before it disappeared completely few minutes later.
Photo and Caption by Thierry Bornier/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
This year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 is Tim Laman, who won for his incredible GoPro photo of a climbing orangutan. Called “Entwined Lives,” the photo shows a young male orangutan returning to feast on a crop of figs. After three days of climbing up and down himself, the photographer hid several GoPro cameras in the canopy, triggering them remotely from the forest floor when he saw the orangutan climbing.
Hi, I’m Alice Yoo, founder of art and culture blog My Modern Met, where I curated and wrote about art, design and photography for seven years. I live in southern California along with my husband and two boys, Parker and Logan. I’m also the co-author of a book called For Love: 25 Heartwarming Celebrations of Humanity, which is out now.
This blog chronicles the adventures of my family as well as my new foray into fashion. My goal is to own a clothing line. See what I learn about along the way.