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Photography that has caught my eye

This quarter has really sparked my interest in photography. I have been finding myself spending more and more time getting lost in photographers portfolios online. Chrissie White is one particular artist that I have been keeping an eye on, and this is one of my favorite photos by her.

As well as here are some links to more of her work, I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.



Category:  Uncategorized     

Morality as a Photographer

My project description states that I had a planned photo shoot every week with a predetermined topic, that made my project seem like I was doing something to do with ethnography. If that were the case then my planned photo shoots would not have been a problem and I would have completed them more as planned. once I began my project the photo shoots I had planned for myself were of things that once I started going deeper into these social issues were plan I didn’t feel that taking those picture would have been ethical for me to try and show them as art.

The aim of my photography was more of me trying to lend my voice to homelessness as I saw it.  I felt that if I followed through with the photo shoots that I had planned it would have been a terrible exploitation of homelessness. Instead, each week I chose a new topic for my photo shoot rather than sticking to my project description. The aim of some of my photos was to be my representation of society’s view on homelessness; some were my artistic documentation of my exploration into homelessness. None of my photos were mean to be ethnographical or public service announcements and it should have been made clearer. I have edited my project description and I can say that this is defiantly a good lesson that I needed to learn as a photographer. I am much more aware and conscious of who, what and when I take a photograph.

Category:  Uncategorized     


Like I said in my last post I have been applying the small goal system to my own life and have gotten wonderful results. Starting the very first week of this quarter I decided that I was going to try out this system. Knowing what I wanted the end result to be, to quit smoking, it seemed like I was just making another long term goal. So I decided scratch quitting smoking I’m going to make one goal at a time based on the last small goal completed. So I set out to make my first goal. I knew that if I really wanted to end solution to be me not smoking I had to tackle every part of this addiction. The oral fixation, daily routine, smoker’s logic and so on…. but I had to start somewhere. I still had a full pack of cigarettes and a few left in my cigarette case and I wasn’t about to throw them away or give them away. So I decided my first goal would be to smoke the rest of my cigarettes. Once I completed that goal I had to make the second based on the first one. So the first goal left me cigarette-less so what would I normally do when I am out of cigarettes? Buy more!!! But not this time! With the end result in mind my next goal would be to not buy cigarettes and to make that really easy for myself. I only used to buy cigarettes on my way to or from school from my house and always at the same gas station. So I started driving a different way home and made a rule for myself that I couldn’t buy cigarettes anywhere else but there but I wasn’t allowed to drive past that store on the way home. There for leaving me unable to buy cigarettes. So after I accomplished those small goals I was smoking significantly less because I was only buying individual cigarettes from friends for quarters or bumming them from my friends. After about a week of that I started to feel bad for bumming all the time so I set my next goal of not bumming cigarettes. This only left me able to share others cigarettes with them, this left me smoking barely at all. Then I set my hardest small goal only smoke once every three days or less!!! Then after the first three days I forgot about smoking and my goal changed into being once a week and now, after ten long weeks I make little to no exceptions to smoke and I have not smoked at all in over a week. Small goals with a larger goal in mind. I set a lot more goal along the way those were just the major small goals that aided me in quitting smoking.

Through this whole process of quitting smoking I didn’t allow myself to look at any of the quitting smoking information until I actually did it because I wanted it to feel that much better and be that much prouder of myself for doing it for my own reasons. As well as the fact that I wanted to feel the difference in my health because I felt it not because I had read something that put ideas in my mind how I was supposed to be feeling.

So here is the information I have been waiting all quarter to read myself!!! Courtesy of this wonderful website listed below:


  Within …

•  20 minutes

Your blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of your hands and feet have returned to normal.

•  8 hours

Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream will have fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.75% reduction.

•  12 hours

Your blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped to normal.

•  24 hours

Anxieties have peaked in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.

•  48 hours

Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal. Cessation anger and irritability will have peaked.

•  72 hours

Your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free and over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals it breaks down into) will now have passed from your body via your urine.  Symptoms of chemical withdrawal have peaked in intensity, including restlessness. The number of cue induced crave episodes experienced during any quitting day will peak for the “average” ex-user. Lung bronchial tubes leading to air sacs (alveoli) are beginning to relax in recovering smokers. Breathing is becoming easier and the lung’s functional abilities are starting to increase.

•  5 – 8 days

The “average” ex-smoker will encounter an “average” of three cue induced crave episodes per day. Although we may not be “average” and although serious cessation time distortion can make minutes feel like hours, it is unlikely that any single episode will last longer than 3 minutes. Keep a clock handy and time them.

•  10 days

10 days – The “average” ex-user is down to encountering less than two crave episodes per day, each less than 3 minutes.

•  10 days to 2 weeks

Recovery has likely progressed to the point where your addiction is no longer doing the talking. Blood circulation in your gums and teeth are now similar to that of a non-user.

•  2 to 4 weeks

Cessation related anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, impatience, insomnia, restlessness and depression have ended. If still experiencing any of these symptoms get seen and evaluated by your physician.

•  21 days

Brain acetylcholine receptor counts that were up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence have now down-regulated and receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers.

•  2 weeks to 3 months

Your heart attack risk has started to drop. Your lung function is beginning to improve.

•  3 weeks to 3 months

Your circulation has substantially improved. Walking has become easier. Your chronic cough, if any, has likely disappeared. If not, get seen by a doctor, and sooner if at all concerned, as a chronic cough can be a sign of lung cancer.


My logic with sharing how this process helped me is that all quarter I have been thinking to myself that if this works for me( solving the problem one step at a time from the sources not just putting Band-Aids over problems) then how could others, specifically homeless members of society, use this system to help themselves. How can I mold what I have applied to my life to fit it to other problems as well as others?  How can I help people learn to do this effectively so that they are better to help themselves into more desirable situations? I would choose to create more resources that treat how and why people are becoming homeless as well as spread awareness. This could help reduce the amount of people who are becoming homeless so that the limited resourced that there are able to make a bigger impact.

This quarter what I have found to be true it that being Homelessness and not having a traditional domestic space means  you don’t fit into the “normal” standard of living we think of in the united states. This in turn leads to not being able to get the things you need and going without.  What I want to work towards is learning how to make better resources more available to people who don’t fit the standard, to help the people who slip through the crack for whatever reason.

Category:  Uncategorized     

Trash clean up and reflection experience.

In my journey to gain perspective I found myself getting lost in all of the information that I was submerging myself in. Everything about the topic of homelessness is pretty overwhelming and before this project I didn’t realize how close to home it would hit and how emotionally invested in it I would become. When things fell through volunteering at the place I originally wanted to volunteer at I realized that time was going by quickly. So to keep up with my weekly volunteer hour requirement I began to pick up garbage along the train tracks near my home. I often see homeless people and travelers walking along the tracks because it is near downtown and there are some trees for shelter that some people seek refuge in at night. So in short there is a pretty good accumulation of trash. So a few during the week I would go and collect trash for about 2 hours and then sit in this nice spot I found that overlooks a part of the train tracks I cleaned up and meditate and write in my reflection journal for the quarter.

My look out spot where I would sit and reflect on my project.

This experience was one of the most helpful components of my project. It gave me time to really think about what I was doing, why I was doing it, and who I was doing it for. When I started picking up trash I was just picking up trash, and now when I just finished my 26th hour of Operation Clean Up the Tracks I was doing so much more than just cleaning. I found it really hard to be able to put it into words. The most I can say is that when I cleaned up that ground I thought, I thought about everything I was doing. I thought not as a whole but I paid attention to every piece of my life. I thought of things as individual items that belonged to a whole instead of just the big picture. Blocks, pieces of a whole, steps to making something better, small things add up, small goals. I thought about how every little thing I was doing in that moment that seemed insignificant added up overtime. That the first two hours of trash clean up didn’t really make a difference but 26 hours did. Now it looks different because of every little piece I picked up. Every small thing matters.

It helped me come to the idea that if we as people can remedy, clean up, fix, complete small things one at a time little by little, it will add up and over time you will have something worth so much more than all of those little accomplishments. Over the past ten weeks when these ideas have been coming to me I wasn’t sure what to do about it. So to test it out, I decided to apply these things to my own life; low and behold it worked. If I made small goals, and I mean very small trivial sounding goals the more of them I would complete because they were easy. The more I completed the better I felt about it and the more it motivated me to do them, getting me out of my unproductive attitude. Every day I worked at it, it got easier and easier to complete the goals that I would set for myself daily.

When I first decided that I was going to pick up trash I was not excited about it, but by the end I really came to enjoy my trash pick-up time and I think I am going to continue to keep it up as much as I can, because the reflection aspect of it is something that has added something really needed and special in my life.


Picking up trash is one thing I could do to add beauty in a sometimes overwhelmingly not beautiful situation.

Category:  Uncategorized     

Work on my photography skills

So this project is also about photography, and I have been working hard learning about digital photography. Over the past few weeks I have spent some time working on developing my sense of composition, capturing color and movement lighting and ability to create photo sequence. Here are some of the finished images from my skill work.

Rocks and Water


Red Rhododendron


 Making Scrambled Eggs



Category:  Uncategorized     

Habitat for Humanity

A few weeks ago I spent 3 days working with Habitat for Humanity in Portland helping to build a set of homes. I spent my time working side by side with some of the people who are going to move into those particular homes. It was a great and rewarding experience to know that my hard work, sunburn and blisters are helping to give a family a better place to live that they can afford. We spent most of our time constructing the exterior second floor walls. This opportunity gave me time to reflect on what the walls of a home really mean to someone. How are these walls going to help them be in a better place in their life? Throughout this project I find myself constantly asking myself what does having a home mean. And how does it affect us as people to not have one? I have spent my whole project so far looking into the lives of people who don’t have homes and it was a nice change to actually feel like my work was doing some good.

The duplex that I spent most of my time working on


Future homeowner working on a neighbors house.


Raising the walls

Me at the end of my three days of work.

For more Habitat for Humanity information please  go to their website at   http://www.habitat.org/

Habitat is an organization who is trying to fight the global housing crisis. They believe in Decent, stable housing provides more than just a roof over someone’s head, it is…

  • Stability for families and children.
  • Sense of dignity and pride.
  • Health, physical safety and security.
  • Increase of educational and job prospects.

The transformational ability of good housing

  • Clean, warm housing is essential for prevention and care of diseases of poverty like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, diarrhea, and malaria.5
  • Children under 5 in Malawi living in Habitat for Humanity houses have 44 percent less malaria, respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases compared to children living in traditional houses.

Housing must become a priority

  • The percentage of people without access to decent, stable housing is rising.
  • Increasing the housing supply across the globe is essential.
  • Adequate housing is vitally important to the health of the world’s economies, communities and populations.
  • If we are to succeed in the fight against poverty, we must support the expansion of housing both as policy and as practice.

Category:  Uncategorized     

Does there have to be suffering?

So the past few weeks have been busy, I have been trying to reflect on what it really means to be homeless. When I started out this project I just wanted to do some community service and take some nice pictures, but it became so much more. I realized that being homeless doesn’t just mean you don’t have a place to call home or a bed to sleep in; it affects and is your life. I also learned that there isn’t only one type of homeless, everybody situation is unique and everyone is homeless for different reasons. Throughout this project so far, the one thing that has really stuck with me is the idea of treating the reason why people are homeless and not just treating the homeless. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people so far, many of them homeless and they have all had a lot to say about the resources that are there for them. Many raved about how wonderful they all are and how they don’t know where they would be without them. then there have been so many people that I have met who don’t even know that resources that try and help get them back on their feet, give them food or a safe place to stay even exist. They have been thinking that they are completely on their own. What good are these places if people don’t know about them? But then that also leads to the problem of once everyone knows then there won’t be enough help to help all of the homeless people. All of this has made me think a lot about awareness and advocacy, because I know that right now I can’t help everyone even if I tried. Take a look around you, what little thing can you do? Something that should go hand in hand with awareness is consideration and being conscious of what’s around you.

Any can be an advocate, you just have to open your eyes to what is around you and make a conscious effort to at least think about things. I understand everyone can’t or won’t do everything to help homeless people, but being aware takes virtually no time and will cost you nothing. Because maybe everyone just being aware isn’t enough, but if more people are aware I feel like there is more of a chance that something or someone will do something about it. Homeless people aren’t going to go away and the reasons why people become homeless aren’t either, why does anybody deserve to suffer or struggle?

Category:  homeless     

Changing Your Preceptions


After a few days of taking photos in Portland, and talking to a lot of really helpful and interesting people I resumed my efforts  to pick up trash around my neighborhood. I have been doing quite a bit of research this week and I was feeling accomplished until silly me misplaced my memory card containing all of the past two weeks photo shoots. So after searching and searching my home and car, where I know it must be, I finally accepted the fact that I probably won’t find it in time to use for the next  peer critique.

I have been spending a lot of time on doing reflective writing after picking up trash and I decided that that’s where I would go with this week’s photos. Thoughts that I have had a lot recently is how important it is for me to be aware are really be conscious and open my eyes to what is around me. I went out and spent a few hours in the sun and in the forest getting new images for this week. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I didn’t have the old images. I have been picking up a lot of trash and it starts to make you see only the ugly in things. I was only seeing the dirty smelly trash and not the beautiful forest and nature around me. That was until I stumbled across a few structures in the forest where someone took the time to make it beautiful.

A wonderful wind chime sort of thing out of silverware and old rusty parts gave me that little push of inspiration I needed to help me see the nicer side of what I have been doing.

It helped me to see that when I am picking up trash maybe I could be reflecting on all of my surroundings and not just the bad parts about it. In doing this just even just for the rest of the afternoon when i was picking up trash made it so much more enjoyable and insightful. Its amazing how this one wind chime changed so much for me, but i’m really glad i saw it. This whole experience has constantly made me think about how I should really be more aware of what’s around me and how I can make a conscious effort to make a difference no matter how small. So I guess my main concept I wanted to get across in my photos this week is to keep an eye out for what’s there and what you could do to make a difference.

Category:  Uncategorized     

You Just Have to Ask

This week when I set out I had a much different mindset and thought deeply about how the questions I ask people might effect them. I spent about five hours this week and walked along railroad tracks near my home picking up garbage. There are many homeless people who live near these tracks and the generate quite a bit of trash. Every hundred yards or so I would stop and take a few minutes to write and reflect on what I was doing. It was surprising how much I was realizing and thinking about while doing such a mundane activity as picking up garbage.

This week I talk to a girl I know who was homeless but is no longer homeless. I haven’t known her for very long so i didn’t really know how to approach her in asking if i could ask her questions about being homeless. I didn’t expect her to be so open with me, especially because I think I was obviously nervous. I didn’t want to as to personal of questions or sound judgmental. I didn’t have a set of questions so I started by just letting her tell me whatever she felt comfortable telling me about being homeless and then from there I tried to ask more specific questions. I found out a lot of things I wasn’t expecting to hear. She was very gracious in talking to me and I took way more out of it than I bargained for. When it came time I asked if could take her picture and she was excited. I showed her the finished images later that day and the look on her face was worth being uncomfortable asking her personal questions for and hour or so. I’m really glad that talking to me was worth it for her and that I got to give her something back.

She helped me a lot not only by getting my project started but I learned so much more, I really feel like I’m starting to better understand homelessness and the things associated with it. It feels good to have a sense of accomplishment about my work and it makes me really excited to be doing this project. I can’t wait to continue working on my photography as well as talking to more people and hearing more stories. they are captivating inspiring and insightful in a way I didn’t realize before and I am not quite sure yet what I am going to do with these stories but I hope I think of something, I am also open to suggestions.


Category:  photo shoots     

Stumbling Upon the Homeless

Today being the first day of non preparatory work for this project, I woke up early  to try and get some pictures of a known
homeless home. I took a brief walk about two minutes down a path to find a small tent with a homeless person living in it. I’ve never met the person that lives here but I see them walk down this hill everyday. It was a blue tent down by the railroad tracks with the obvious signs of inhabitants. Thrown about are food wrappers and general garbage. Since it had rained last night the ground was wet and spongy and I could see holes in the tent that must have let the water in. Its just like camping but with beat up gear and you have to do it everyday. I spent about two minutes taking pictures and then left not wanting to run into the person who lives there. That when I realized that they were in there the whole time, I could see a cat peer through the little window in the tent. I thought about how it might feel to have someone come and take pictures of me in my home. I felt like I was trespassing even though I was on a public path. All of the sudden that space that the city owns, he has claimed a stake to. I couldn’t tell if i was in the wrong or he was. Something about me being there felt weird. I felt bad for taking pictures of his tent and garbage like it was a zoo. I really with I could have known if anyone was there. At the same time it really made me think, is that how homeless people feel? Do they feel like people look and stare like a zoo? I would hate that. Or do homeless people feel normal? This really got me thinking
about how even though I’ve had homeless friends and know homeless people, but I have no idea what if feels like to be homeless. This brought up that if I am trying to create images from the homeless perspective how am I might need to do some more thinking before I go out and shoot ag
ain. My photos are very observatory, it doesn’t make you feel what it is to be homeless. All of this really gave me a lot to think about. It also gave me a whole new appreciation for this project.

I really hope I didn’t offend that man. This project is aimed at helping the homeless, the last thing I would want to to is cause harm.


Category:  homeless ,on site work ,photo shoots      Tagged: , , ,