shelter in place: a day in the life

I’ve spent the past 42 days in complete solitude, only going outside to walk my dog or to get groceries. I live alone and I have for the past 2 years. More than ever, I am thankful that I am an introvert who is never lonely when I am alone. Since life got flipped-turned upside-down, I’ve been more connected to friends and family than ever before.

This new found connection comes at a cost, with technology now being the only conduit, so naturally, my disdain for phone and computer screens has grown. A few days ago, I was imagining my teenaged-self spending hours on end in the summer, online talking to friends and playing solitaire and minesweeper. I would stay up late and wake up early to do it all over again with unending excitement. Flash forward to present day in #coronatimes where work hours and happy hours are fully remote, I am online all the time, and surprisingly, it is completely exhausting.

Outside of work and catching up with friends, I’ve been trying to keep my mind busy. Working on home projects, while also trying to stay creative. Writing, taking photos, and painting even. I’ve gotten a few bursts of good ideas that I’ll share once they have “enough cohesion”. While productivity has previously been a useful measure of success and happiness for me, I’ve decided to give myself a break and take things day by day. So who knows, maybe I’ll come out of this with a few new pieces of work, but I won’t be disappointed in myself if I don’t. I’m just thankful that my friends and family are safe and healthy, and that I live in an apartment some with natural light.

That’s where I’m at. 

A Decade of Photos

The past 10 years have been a whirlwind of personal and professional growth. 

While I have been somewhat non-committed to my blogging, I challenged myself to go through my external hard drives and select a photo (or two) from each year, starting with 2009. This exercise was surprisingly meditative and a retrospective way to wrap up this year/decade. Below you will see some photos that I may have already shared on social and some that I haven’t, but each photo represents a moment in time of change. 

June 2009 was the end of undergrad and the beginning of my professional career as a photographer. I spent all of that summer of 2009 - winter 2012 focusing on the music scene in Seattle and all the characters surrounding it. Photographing live shows, creating promo materials for print and digital, and living and breathing all things related to music. 

In December 2012, I left it all behind for a new life in New York and only a year later, I realized that being only being a music photographer wasn’t going to cut it and I needed to widen my focus a bit. In 2014, Janae Sprouts was born. This brand was synergy of my various nanny gigs and my job as a barista in Brooklyn at a popular family-friendly cafe. 

In the summer of 2015, I quit my nanny and barista hustle to pursue photography full time. I had a steady stream of clients and referrals from Sprouts and also began assisting two world renowned photographers. I also taught a 6 week documentary photo class at the Courtelyou Library to kids from the ages of 6-18. Needless to say, that year I learned A LOT and became stronger technically as a photographer than ever before. 

The beginning of 2016, I got the opportunity of a lifetime to create photography for an upcoming podcast series on Audible with a former crime reporter turned documentarian. After almost a full year of the freelance hustle, I was ready for something more steady and landed a job at Etsy. While my role wasn’t 100% creative, it enabled me to connect with so many creatives and widen my network and idea of what was possible with a FT job. I was connecting with other artists again! This time, not just musicians; jewelry makers, yoga instructors, artisans, chefs, and fashion designers. All who were also working FT! That job also allowed me to travel to Europe for the first time, which is an opportunity that I missed in undergrad. Dublin, Berlin, London, and Paris! Since then, I’ve traveled to even more places in Europe in 2017 and 2018, and have continued to connect with more creatives, though I’m no longer working at Etsy.

This year was the hardest year thus far, mostly because there wasn’t enough time or space for innovation. FT work and life blurred together and because of that I grew a lot professionally but less so creatively.

 Here’s to more change in the new year!

california dreaming

Early last month, I traded the east coast for the west coast for five days. 

This trip was the first time I’d spent any real time away this year and my only goal was to unwind and take photos. 

First stop: Santa Cruz, California.  

I spent two days with my friend Chelsea and her husband Ben, hanging at the beach and eating as many burritos as humanly possible. On my last full day, they took me to their favorite surf spot and I watched them surf. The waves weren’t very big, but they were still able to go out and have fun and I was able to snap a few photos. 

Below are a couple of shots from that session. 

Next stop: Los Angeles, California. 

I don’t pretend to know how one would navigate living in LA, as the landscape is drastically different than NYC (less sirens wailing, skyscrapers, humans in your physical space, and the whole having to drive everywhere thing), but whenever I visit, the city always shows me something different. 

Whether that is simply because of the differences in how people move in LA vs NYC or a new perspective unrelated to those two completely, there is something special about Los Angeles. Actually, not too long ago, I was dreaming of moving to California and leaving the concrete jungle behind for good, but that is a whole other story entirely. 

Below are photos of Hollis; one of my dearest friends and a constant source of inspiration, who is finishing her debut solo project. And if you’ve read any of my other blog pots, you’ll notice that whenever I’m in LA, I’m with her. 

This session took place in the backyard of her homie’s empty pool, which immediately made me wish I had a fish eye lens and a skateboard. 

Though the trip was brief, I was able to shoot some new work (you can view more here) and relax. In a few weeks I’ll be heading to Chicago with the same goal that I had ahead of this trip, to take photos and relax. 

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