Saturday, June 30, 2007

A relaxing day

So being at home for a long amount a time has me itching to take photos. I actually got to hang out with my homies over some lunch and took my "baby" out for a bit.

Here's a photo of the most beautiful woman I know =)

My old roomie forcing himself to eat "Dearest Crab" a fried ball with crab, meat, and veggies. It wasn't too appetizing...

Timm, my good friend and fellow photog, takes a photo of Evelyn's feet??

Anywho, the pnemonia that harbors in my lungs is slowly least it feels like it. =) I kinda enjoy this time away from the outside world. I actually have time to read! Currently I'm reading Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff Chang, a book about the history of hip-hop. From the political struggle in Jamaica to the gangs that ran the streets of the Bronx in the 70's, there is so much information that is connected and rooted to the music I grew up listening to. Today's "music" on the other hand, is another story... damn, if today's artists only knew of the power their music has over masses, maybe they wouldn't be promoting the dirt they are glorifying... but then again, it's whatever brings in the money, right? Maybe they do know but don't care? Maybe it's what their owners and the corporations they work for really want: to produce catchy tunes that have no substance but tells the audience what to do and what to value... maybe its just music made to entertain and have people dance to??? Whatever it is, it's a bit different from what DJ's in the Bronx created in their own backyards and block parties. Yeah, it's music to have a good time to, but at least there were positive messages being relayed out to the community.

Anyway, there's a quote I highlighted that is talking about the positivity that Afrika Bambaataa, one of the godfathers of hip-hop, spread within his neighborhood, the city, and eventually to the world:

"Consciousness did not come from the unmasking of social forces, but from having a true reckoning with one's god within. The revolution did not emanate from mass organizations struggling against systems and institutions, but in one's personal transformation. Only then could one "overstand," that is, comprehend and confront the injustice of the world by manifesting one's power."
-Jeff Chang p.106

What happened to the self-empowering music, rather than the self-degrading? Well, at least, the music that is projected on the radio and on television.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Talking Heads

I just finished watching the All-American Presendential Forums on PBS. I usually don't watch these political forums and debates, but I thought it interesting because the panel consisted of colored journalists asking the questions. It was also pleasing to see Cornell West, Micheal Eric Dyson, and other familiar faces whom I don't know their names, but I have seen before... Anyway, it was an engaging forum because they brought up topics that aren't usually talked about. For instance, race, poverty, AIDS, Darfur, and Katrina.

I don't know if I actually watched the whole thing through because I'm sick in bed and have nothting else to do... OR, I really wanted to know what these candidates had to say about these issues. I'm usually turned off by these "talking heads" because it just seems as if it has all been said before. Issues like war, poverty, healthcare have been discussed before but not much has drastically changed. I mean, when these candidates talk about these issues and what they will change, when they actually get in power, how much of what they promised will America receive? I mean, don't get me wrong, what they have to say I find myself applauding to (even if I am in my room alone =P) because I agree with what they have to say: How the billions of dollars going to Iraq should go towards education and healthcare... how money should be redirected to the Gulf Coast (By the way, I liked how Edwards is down for the idea of giving jobs to the residents to rebuild New Orleans, rather than the multi-billion dollar corporations...GCCWP!!!!). A lot of dialogue was all so very impressive, but is it and will it just be that? Just talk?

Another thing I wanted to touch base on is, are they really reaching out to people? I'm pretty damn sure that people havn't heard about this forum... I'm pretty damn sure that a lot of people don't even know who the candidates are... which isn't too bad, I suppose, but what about the issues. The issues do affect everyone. It just pains me to see how more interested and intrigued SOME people--especially those my age and generation-- who rather know what's going on with Brad and Angelina, Paris Hilton, and all that garbage. Sure, it's just entertainment... but it is also a waste of time and energy that could go into educating one's self about what's going on in Darfur or other worldly issues.... My brother walks into my room looks over my shoulder as I watch the forum. He looks at the list of topics, and asks, "What's Darfur?" It was a bit upsetting, but more upsetting at the fact that I'm pretty sure ALOT of people have no idea where, what, and how many are dying in Darfur....

Alright..that's enough of my ranting....

One more thing: Cornell West's formula for leadership:

"You can't lead people if you don't LOVE people.
You can't save people, if you don't SERVE people."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"To have a strong sense of style, one must have a strong sense of self."

During the NPPA Multimedia workshops, I wrote down that quote as an afterthought. Being exposed to photographs that are amazingly different that cease to strike a cord in a viewer's mind and heart, is a magic in all its own. Not even just a photograph, but simply a piece of creativity, a form of expression. And what is really amazing is the person behind such a piece, is just being themselves. They are putting themselves into that piece. And the viewer could feel it.

It's what differentiates that photographer/artist from everyone else... their own eye, their intuition, their own style. And that's what makes them really stand out.

I woke up this morning and read this month's NPPA's cover story about Carolyn Cole. It was definately a pleasure to see her present her work during the Portland Workshops. Photo after photo held so much intense emotion. A friend of mine said it became repetitive, seeing the same photo over and over again. I must strongheartedly disagree. From New Orleans, to Afghanistan, to Haiti, to Chad, to Lebanon---- she has been to all these areas during times of war, conflict, and death-- and she comes back with photos that move. And they are different because they tell different stories, different hearthaches, and different losses from different individuals. I found it interesting that she addressed this in the NPPA article,

"First and foremost, I'm about content. And then after that, it's about emotion and moments. When there is time, I work with the light and composition and complexity if I can, but in news that is rare. Stories don't happen at sunset...I have one method, and it's to tell the people who are reading the newspaper what's going on, and what's important for them to know."

I also find it inspiring, that she is a woman =) Girl power!

P.S. Random photo, but wanted to add it: The most inspirational women in my life =) (not Marge, Lisa, or Maggie Simpson)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

“Being comfortable to be read like an open book.”

What a scary thought…. At least that is what I said to myself after an old friend said that to me about three years ago. “To be read like an open book,” meant someone seeing right through me. Someone that could see all my imperfections, point at them, laugh and insult. But now, I look back at how being a closed book or rather only showing the preface and the first couple chapters of my book, somehow slows down my growth. I guess my hesitance to share rooted from my belief that no one would really care what I have to say, write, paint, or photograph. My opinions aren’t valid. But the beauty of art and communication is that it isn’t necessarily there to please others’ taste, but rather art is self-expression. Whether through any medium, the artist/writer/painter/photographer/musician, is creating. And with that creation, it takes a life of its own --- to reach people, to inspire, to spark discussions and ideas, to branch off to another form of art, etc.

For about most of my college career, I could say that I have been more a sponge than a mirror. I love to learn, read, watch movies, go to museums, have conversations with perfect strangers—soaking every bit of inspiration I could get. Only to write about it in my journal, somehow have it subconsciously come out in my work and life, or sadly let it slip away. A moment of inspiration, and only that….

But I could only do so much absorbing, without reciprocation. We are all teachers and students. And there is a time to be a student and absorb, and there is a time to be a teacher to pass on what you have learned or at least what you are in the process of learning. Because we are always in the process of learning.

There needs to be a balance with the two within ourselves…learning and teaching. A better world = better understanding… and better understanding comes with learning from eachother.

So here is me opening up: Literally...

That’s my heart. My lungs. And you see that white stuff on my left lung, (your right), that’s pnemonia.

I thought it was going to be a passing cold, fever, or bug, but after a week of the symptoms getting worse, sleepless nights, and continuous coughing spells, I had to make an appointment.

Now I am bed-stricken for ten days. It’s not bad for some, but for a restless wandering soul, I try to find things to do that aren’t so energy consuming. In between my coughing spells, and my groggy state of mind, I find time to read---- and now blog. Maybe I need this…. Maybe it’s my body telling me to slow down…Always on the go Diana…. Maybe this alone time with my thoughts will help me evaluate what I want to do, what my next move is, what, when, how, etc…. Crazy. Even in my sickly state, I am still planning out my agenda.

I just finished reading Saul Williams’ “, said the shotgun to the head.” It’s a poem that touches issues that are political, social, spiritual, emotional, and everything personal.

Here is an exerpt

And it smelled like teen spirit
Angst driven insecure
A country in puberty
A country at war
Wet dreams
Cotton mouth
Blood thirsty
Oily hair
Fast cars
Movie stars
Earn 20 mill…
To instill fear

This is one of my favorites:

I have found the library
Where all the dreams deferred
Were stored

Catalogues of cultures
Indexed by communal disappearance

Mayans are metaphors
For astral doors
Left cracked
By children afraid
To sleep in utter darkness

Inspiration comes in many forms—whether its through a poem, a photograph, a conversation, a website, an article, a movie, etc. Whatever the medium, I will try to share my moments of inspiration within this blog.

And hopefully this blog will have a lifespan beyond the 10 days of confinement.