Living in the Pacific Northwest has made me reminisce a bit about the strongly demarcated — maybe even mildly explosive — seasons I experienced growing up in the Midwest. At the same time, the longer I spend in Portland, the more I appreciate some of the more subtle environmental shifts going on around me. So here’s a bit of a roundup of some of the things that have inspired me over the past few months; after all, why not share?

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Recently, while looking through the thousands of photos I took during my two weeks in France, I realized that the one I liked the most was actually just a simple iPhone shot of a sugar packet against a red cafe table.

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My intro to photography (at the age of 12, with my father’s 30-year-old Pentax Spotmatic) involved taking many photos of walls, lines, geometric patterns, and textures near my home. Growing up in the Midwestern suburbs, I tended toward either abstracts or conceptual pieces — either focusing on the details of the world around me or creating dreamlike settings, both options that conveniently left out the inoffensive but bland surroundings I saw every day.

Through college, I focused more on the conceptual, probably because I had a lot of free time. Or if not free time, odd hours to fill with something — anything — other than coursework. And taking a large number of photo classes was also a good excuse to develop elaborate ideas and setups, pushing into the realm of my imagination, engaging in some navel-gazing, and spending way too much time trying to figure out at exactly what hour the light would be at the perfect angle.

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