Hello Old Joe

Hello reader,

There is a lot on my mind at the moment. Lots of photos this month and memories made. As we inch ever closer to the end of the year it’s only natural to start to reflect on what has come to pass. The Old Joe from less than a year ago was a very different person and photographer than I am today. I was poisoning myself with the ideas in my head, being over critical about my own shortcomings and mistakes that I couldn’t push on harder.

Some of the best friends a guy could ask for.

It’s kind of like the Disney movie Moana (great movie if you haven’t seen it yet, better than Frozen I’d say if you’re into animated/musical films). Without spoiling anything major, the main character Moana dreams of leaving her safe life on her home island to sail the sea and explore the unknown.

From my shoot with Julie (@ahnjuju)

I related pretty well to that. That was me playing it safe, doing what I already knew worked but afraid to fully invest my time or take a risk with something new or potentially harder. I’d stay on this island that I’d known for years. Sometimes I would take a boat out, but never further than beyond the reef. I would try to schedule shoots and take photos, but only when it was most convenient for me and only if I felt like it was within my comfort zone. Then, one day I kind of just broke free of it (with some help). I realized I wasn’t happy and I would never really know how far I’d go if I didn’t take a boat right then and there and sail into the horizon. Alright, I’m done comparing myself to a Disney princess. For now.

Lyena with my old 85mm / New to her.

This past Sunday I met up with my friend Lyena again, this time to sell her a lens I was no longer using. What started off as an exchange turned into a shoot with Simone Miller (@mochu.u) in Little Tokyo. Lyena has been one of those friends who has really helped me artistically and with networking so I’m very grateful for her friendship.

Simone Miller (@mochu.u)

Out of curiosity and partly nostalgia, I was checking through the drafts I’d saved for this blog. The unrealized and unborn posts that Old Joe had worked on before that never quite made it out or just never felt right to post. Among some very old drafts from years ago there was a more recent one I had completely forgot about. When it comes to my change as a person this year I think it really stood out. It starts out with Old Joe apologizing for a long hiatus in posting on this blog, (this was in the late spring/early summer time when I had a few months between my last post) and gradually turns into me explaining my new interest in portrait photography and drifting (no pun intended) away from the car scene as far as my photography goes. I was explaining why my new content would no longer be so auto related. Old Joe was explaining and apologizing for just wanting to create more content I actually enjoyed on this blog, to people I didn’t even know or probably didn’t even care that there was a change.

I think what speaks to me most about this is that I never actually posted it. I just did what I wanted to and continued this blog with the changes I wanted to make without feeling the need to write a whole post explaining myself. That’s something new to me. Stopping myself from overthinking, from being worried about other people, letting the anxiety take over and finally just enjoying the ride.

Trisha Tejeda (@itstrishabro)

Today I shot with Trisha Tejeda who happened to be in here on vacation for the holidays. She edits and designs most of her own stuff and she does a great job. We followed each other back when I visited the Philippines. When I noticed she was visiting San Diego I hit her up.

The shoot could have gone a lot better (on my part). I knew the battery in my camera was down to a quarter of life, so I brought an extra battery and charger to work so I could have one ready for the shoot later in the day. If only I had remembered to bring it with me when I left the office. It actually turned the shoot into a good lesson in making every shot count.

We ended up in a public rooftop area where some sections were roped off to prevent access. Old Joe may have never made it up there. Old Joe would have probably let the gnawing paranoia of whether or not I was even allowed to shoot there stop me from even asking the security guard how to get to the roof. Even if Old Joe had mustered the “yolo” to do so, there was no way that I would have even suggested waiting for the security guard to leave and crossing the roped off area to get to the empty, restricted side of the roof where I ended up capturing some of my most favorite shots of the whole afternoon. So I’m guessing Old Joe isn’t really around anymore.

I’m not trying to say I did something so adventurous and crazy and I’ll never be the same again. For me it was another of many opportunities in realizing that I don’t have to be that person. That was me when I jumped the wall at the Porter Robinson and Madeon concert when security wasn’t looking so we could get to the pit in front of the stage. That was me when I decided I would help make and hand out food and water to the homeless on Christmas day with my friends. And that was me when I decided it was finally time to give up my Prelude that I’d had for almost 10 years.

Trisha asked me why I started getting into portraiture and taking pictures of people. I answered honestly. I really enjoyed it, more than most other styles. I’ve only had good experiences with the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made along the way. As I said it I realized that was sort of a half baked answer. When you get into the rhythm of meeting up with people for photos it’s a very common question and often paired with the question on my end of “why or how did you get into modeling?”. I almsot always answer the same way. I started thinking to myself, sure I enjoy it, but why do I enjoy it? What do you want out of all of this?

Around 10am this morning I was in the break room at work,waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, skimming through social media as usual when I was struck by the news of Carrie Fisher’s passing. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (for whatever that is worth nowadays since everyone and their mother seems to be a “big fan” now). I remember before the prequels came out, when there was only Luke, Leia and Han and sometimes Lando. Those were the good guys, and everyone knew them. Princess Leia touched the hearts of millions over generations across the globe. And that was just a made up character!

That’s what I’d like to achieve someday. For people to enjoy my work enough to bring out happiness and confidence like she did.  I’m still learning and growing and got a lot of it to do. I’m just glad I’ve got help.

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