June 14, 2017:
I've been interviewed more times than I want to admit. These days, when you go in for an interview in the med device and tech world (as I'm sure is true for other industries as well), you're not just interviewing with ONE person. The record number of people who have interviewed me in one day by the same company is 7! So you'd think that I'd have this whole interviewing process down, but it's a little different when you're being interviewed vying for a job -vs- having a business and getting interviewed to be featured for a story.
I had initially met Brianna on October 4, 2015. She came into my booth at Campbell Farmer's Market, perused my photos, and came across my poppy photo that I captured with my iPhone on one of my Los Gatos Creek Trail runs in Campbell. I conveniently named this photo "iPoppy." Get it? It was one of those moments where you see something, and it just stops you in your tracks. That's what it was like for me and these poppies! Anyway, it wasn't taken with the highest quality camera, but the poppies, the wind, and the scene altogether stopped me mid-run, and I couldn't not take a photo. I like to think that I saw these poppies from a different perspective than most would look at them. While some would observe them looking down at them, I got low to the ground (which isn't too difficult for my height) and shot into them, and my nifty iPhone captured it exactly how I envisioned. Brianna ended up buying this photo on glass. Forward to 2017...I get a call from her requesting an interview for The Campbell Observer.
I think I told her something along the lines of "I'm not sure I'll have anything interesting to say", and I believe she said something along the lines of not giving myself enough credit and not to sell myself short (I don't know why that's just second nature to me sometimes), but she also mentioned that a customer had reached out to her publication about me. Talk about being doubly flattered and honored in one short conversation. I agreed to sit down with her, and we met up on Monday, June 12th at the Campbell Avenue Starbucks. I really wanted to invite her to my studio, but there are just some times when that chaos just isn't a good look.
As soon as we sat down, my nerves immediately went away. Brianna (pictured left) is extremely easy to talk to, and she asks inquisitive questions that got me thinking, and an hour-long conversation just flew by. I'm sure I said a few incoherent things, but she decoded it all, and this is the outcome: The Photographic Journey of EyeDubPhotography
Talk on Monday and published by Wednesday -- there's definitely an art to putting thousands of words together in such a short time (I know how hard it is each time I try to "blog" for this website and they're my own thoughts), so a very special thanks to Brianna for shopping with me back in 2015 then putting together a wonderful and supportive article on EyeDubPhotography in The Campbell Observer. It was the perfect way to celebrate turning 3!
2017 has been my best year yet, and I'm looking forward to continue improving and sharing my work. I still have those big dreams to keep taking it one step further, and I appreciate everyone's patience and support while I navigate this process.
There have been some pivotal moments this year that keep me going. Back in May, a customer actually shed tears in my booth and embraced me in a hug!
It's not that I like it or want people to cry, but it was so meaningful to me that my emotion and feeling of empowerment when I shot the photo was understood, and that it was relatable to someone else at that specific moment in time when it was most needed. The photo is titled "Spread Your Wings" (pictured right) and it's captioned "Often times, the one who flies solo has the strongest wings."
Earlier this month, another shopper stopped by my booth while at Santa Clara Farmers Market to tell me "Golden Sunset" gave her chills (in a good way), and that she could tell I shoot with a lot of emotion. That statement meant a lot to me, because as I was trying to describe to Brianna, it's more than just getting "the shot" -- that perfect shot...it's just more than that...I honestly don't know how to better explain it. One of the great things about flipping through the photos currently offered in my portfolio is that there are a few incredibly imperfect photos in there as well. Shots that are far from perfect, but were either immensely meaningful or incredible learning experiences that, to me, turned out pretty cool.
"Carquinez Bridge" is a really cool example of this. It's a long exposure shot while driving through Carquinez Bridge. Something I wanted to test out, and didn't come out how I expected, but perhaps came out better than I could have imagined.
I love that one of my former bosses ordered this in metal. It kind of reminds me of how he took something imperfect (me), gave me a job, and saw something unique in me, and thought enough of me to keep me around.
As a new year begins, I want to thank you all for your continued support and encouragement! Cheers to another year, creating more memories, and capturing moments.
P.S. The "Pictured Right"/"Pictured Left" guidance doesn't apply if you're viewing this on a mobile device.
February 28, 2017: Yay Area!
It’s been over a year since I’ve done a show, and I couldn’t have picked a better “homecoming” than the Treasure Island Flea Market on February 25th and 26th. Themed for Mardi Gras, the market was festive and lively with music, good food and of course, drinks, drinks and more drinks. A hurricane hit the island – not an actual one, but the alcoholic beverage. You can’t beat Treasure Island Happy Hours, because who wouldn’t want to start their morning off with some refreshing beverages and beignets!
In 2015 I didn’t miss one show, then I had my one-year hiatus, and there I was on Friday night before the show feeling self-conscious and nervous to get back out there – because it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, BUT in true Bay Area fashion, people in the masses came out to support. One of the things I absolutely love about the Treasure Island Flea Market is that a lot of locals come out to support small businesses and they are always reppin’ the Bay – whether it’s in their Giants, A’s, Niners, Raiders, Warriors, and Sharks gear or their San Francisco skyline and Muni shirts, “It’s It” sweaters, and “Make the 49ers Great Again” red campaign hats. Alongside the locals were the friendliest tourists there ever were. I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd to share my work with, and let’s not forget how awesome the weather was this weekend! It was the most pleasant break from all the rain and flooding! Let’s be honest…California is not a state that is prepared for all this rain as we have proven so well this year already.
It was about a year and a half ago at this very same market that I had a lady walk by my booth mentioning to her friend that she took a better photo of Candlestick Park than I did. She didn’t direct the comment towards me, and I let it go, but deep down inside, it was one of those comments that just burned in me, and I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t share with her the story behind the photo, but the truth will always be that photography is incredibly subjective, and not everyone is going to feel what I feel or see what I see. I’ve sold a few of my Candlestick photo since then, and while sales are great, it’s always going to be something so much more than that for me. More importantly, it’s about the “sharing is caring” mentality.
There is something really great about just sharing what I love and having folks stopping mid-walk because one of my canvases have captivated them; seeing someone feel something when they look at one of my photos; when they get transformed to a different place and time; when they stand there and dream a little and add to their bucket list, and when you can see memories filling their brain. For me, that moment of sweet redemption happened this last Sunday when a man came back to my booth (not once, but TWICE) because of that same Candlestick photo. I almost felt like I could see and understand all the nostalgia going through his mind when he was looking at the 20x24” canvas. For him, it wasn’t just a photo – it was emotions of both happiness and sadness of his time spent in that stadium and all the memories that can just come back from one snapshot in time. That one moment brought me back to the core of why I started doing this in the first place. It was a nice reminder after the yearlong hiatus, so a huge “thanks” to that man and a nice “welcome back” to me!
December 25, 2016: Holiday Newsletter (Volume 9)
I don’t seem to “blog” very much, do I? Once again, the mantel filled up with your wonderful cards and photos, and here we are on Christmas, and not one of my cards got sent out. I can't even blame it on being sick like I did last year. I guess I’ll try to make up for it on your birthdays? It’s the thought that counts, right? With just pure laziness and environmental efforts to save trees and reduce waste, it seems like this is where all my annual newsletters will live from now on, so here goes...
Unlike last year, a lot of this year was spent indoors with me doing Quality Consulting (cue the violins). My 3 clients kept me busy most of the year, but the indoor time did have its perk as it provided some income. I’d like to think I pulled off that starving artist look pretty well, but as you get older, you really start to own your responsibilities, because rent, mortgages, and bills don’t pay themselves! “Own the Adult in You” -- I’m considering that as a title for my first self-published book (if I ever get to it).
So hey, Irene…”what’s up with EyeDub?” I got asked that A LOT this year, and I won’t lie…I was completely uninspired most of the year, but it felt great to get calls and emails from customers wanting more. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t make more time and effort for my photography this year, but I'm slowly but surely getting myself back up on my feet again (or rather, the camera back in my hands). For now, here are some of my favorite photos from this year.
The personal and outdoor time I did get this year was, as always, wonderful and eye-opening. I got in trips to Portland, LA, Philly, and DC and business travel to New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Nebraska, and Michigan (I saw my first firefly in Kalamazoo! – it was a big deal, and I felt like a kid on Christmas day).
I’ve slowed down a bit using the left side of my brain this last quarter, and I look forward to 2017 and getting some time for reflection, some self-inspiration, and the use of the right side of my brain again. As always, I'll continue to post every now and again on Instagram @eyedub and @eyedubphotography, so stay tuned. Hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday and a prosperous new year!
Here are just a few of my favorite moments from this year!
January 2, 2016: A Belated 2015 Holiday Newsletter (Volume 8)
My mantel quickly filled up with Holiday cards, and I just didn’t have the energy to send out cards in 2015, but I just want to say “You’re Welcome!” I was plagued with sickness after sickness in the month of December -- the common cold, vertigo, the flu, and sinusitis -- ALL IN ONE MONTH, so consider yourself lucky you didn’t get a germ-infested card. BUT THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who kept me in your address book and sent cards. I loved them all, and I absolutely love snail mail!
So here it is...Volume 8 of my newsletter. I must admit this wasn’t the most action-packed and best of years. A 25-day trip to New Zealand, a hike up Half Dome in Yosemite and Bishop Peak in San Luis Obispo and 2 trips to New York – I mean that’s a pretty significant step down from 2014, but I’m sure I’m not going to get sympathy from any of you about that!
Last year, I wrote about how I couldn’t wait to go back to New Zealand, and lo and behold, that’s exactly what I did! It was definitely the highlight of my year! The trip started out with a 4-day hike through Milford Track – considered the finest walk in the world. According to literature, the hike is a total of 53.5 km (just a little over 33 miles), but someone’s pedometer must have stopped working along the way, because I’m pretty sure the trail is longer than that! This hike is where I would learn first-hand the wrath of sandflies, the miracle of walking sticks, why they call it a flash flood, and the beauty of trekking in the rain! This was also the longest I went without Internet connection this whole year (sad, but true), and I honestly need to find a way to do this more often because being disconnected taught me how to connect – whether it was with other people or with nature.
Most think that New Zealand consists of 2 islands brilliantly called the North Island and the South Island, but in fact, there is a 3rd island called Stewart Island (30km below the South Island), which was the beginning of a campervan trip from the very bottom to the very top of the country.
From Bluff to Cape Reinga -- It was 11 days non-stop on the road and living out of a campervan -- Truly an amazing experience! For the first time, I got to see the Milky Way, got to see unreal sunrises and sunsets, and shed grown woman tears from just experiencing nature and raw beauty. The toughest struggle of the whole trip was figuring out when to capture the moment and when to just be in the moment. There’s truly no better dilemma to have!
The remainder of the trip was spent in Auckland with a lot of fun downtime chilling like a Kiwi.
I spent a pretty significant amount of time outdoors in 2015 as you can tell, but I'm far from being physically fit as any of my hiking partners can tell you. I'm incredibly slow, but I love being outdoors and doing hikes, so I'm hoping to do even more of that this year. One of my favorite sunrises this year was on a hike I did pretty close to home in San Luis Obispo. Of all the sunrises I was able to see this year, this one was special because it was at Bishop Peak in the town of my alma mater, and a hike I did with one of my oldest and closest friends in the world (Bonnie). It was also good practice for my trip to Yosemite!
Back in 2008 when I was the young age of 27, I set out to conquer Half Dome. A quarter of the way up the cables, storm clouds rolled in. There’s this very convincing little placard at the base of the climb that says “If a thunderstorm is anywhere on the horizon, DO NOT PASS BEYOND THIS SIGN.” Well, I was beyond the sign and instead of saying “oh well, it’s the point of no return”, I went back down...not conquering Half Dome. In a way, I couldn’t have been more relieved to see those storm clouds.
It was the perfect excuse for me to NOT go through with it, and a little while later, it began to snow, so I kept telling myself I made the right decision not taking the risk of going up, but there was such a big part of me that was so disappointed in myself. I mean I had already hiked all that way, but the truth is that I was scared out of my wits. I have no issues with heights at all, but it was a completely different type of fear. In any case, redemption is a funny thing, and that’s what I was seeking this past July when I returned to Yosemite. During the hike up, I kept thinking to myself “this was so much easier when I was 27” and then the fear set in. If I’m feeling this way during the hike, and I couldn’t even complete it when I was 27, how am I going to feel when I get back to those dreaded cables? I took my sweet ol’ time during the hike, and at the sub dome, I must have sat there for a good hour before sucking it up and going for it. I was shaking the whole way up, and I had kung fu grip on those cables. When I finally got to the top, I could NOT believe that I did it! REDEMPTION AT LAST! and WHAT A VIEW!
As for my 2 trips to New York – well, all I can say is I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of walking through Central Park, the frenzy of the city and the architecture. My first trip to New York was great for my career. I got a chance to attend the Canon Expo and learned more about upcoming camera technology that I'll never be able to afford, but it was a great experience. I also got to tour the city on my own and do some photography that turned out to be very fruitful, as some of the images I was able to capture were my first to be posted by Getty Images (see post below if you'd like to know which ones made it)! I also got a chance to attend the US Open Women's Tennis Championship match!
The second trip was spent with some of my besties (Emily and Kim), and we got to visit with some of our other friends, Erica, May, and Jimmy Fallon. Yes, that's right...I'm friends with Jimmy Fallon! We haven't just high-fived once...but TWICE! The first time in 2013 and the second in 2015. If that can't be considered a highlight of the year, then I'm not sure what can. I'm moving up in the world, everyone!
On a professional level, I've taken up some part-time work as an engineering consultant back in the medical device world. I never thought I would go back to it, but not to toot my own horn or anything, but I've still got it!!! I feel like it's something I'm really good at even though it's not something I want to be good at. In any case, don't fret for all you lovers of the arts, because I have continued down the road of photography as well. I guess you can say I took the road less traveled, but because my sense of direction is not so great, I don’t quite know where I am. The most important thing is...I’m really proud of the work I’ve put out there so far -- It’s meaningful to me, but there is a little human element that makes this path a little rocky. For the most part, people are incredibly encouraging, but there are quite a few folks out there who have some interesting choice of words for you. I’ve definitely put myself out there this year. I’ve done more farmers markets, flea markets and art shows than I ever have before. I am getting the hang of things, and I know the good and bad that come with the territory. As it turns out, the road less traveled may just be the ride of my life, and I’m excited to see what 2016 brings! HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!
I’ve been away from social media for a while now, but if there’s anything going on with me, you’ll find it here on this “blog”, on Instagram (@EyeDubPhotography) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EyeDubPhotography).
December 15, 2015: Getty My Images
I haven't shared this information with a lot of people, but the path during this career hasn't been the easiest one. In comparison, my engineering career was a breeze compared to photography. I mean, you go to school, you get your degree, you get a job, and you do a job that really has nothing to do with your degree. Makes total sense! Photography, on the other hand, is something I've dabbled in for years never thinking anything of it, and it was kind comments from friends and family and my discontent with sitting in an office everyday that was the big push for me to get out of engineering and try something new. Again, I would have never been able to even pursue photography if it weren't for my engineering career though, so I'm eternally grateful for it. But with all that said, it's hard to find a job as a photographer if you're starting from the ground up. I'm not an event photographer nor do I think I have the stomach for it. The truth is though, that's where a lot of the money is, but I like what I like, and so I went down a path of selling my work at local Farmers Markets and small art shows. The amount of support, encouragement and compliments are overwhelming, but NEWS FLASH...so are all the negative, rude and condescending passive aggressive comments.
Earlier this year, I had some lady pass by my booth at the Treasure Island Flea Market, and she and her friend stopped right in front. I look at her and smile...she looks at me. She turns to her friend without any hesitation of what I might hear her say, and says "I have a much better photo of Candlestick Park than that". (There are actually a lot more examples of these happenings, but we'll just stick to this one story for now). As she and her friend are walking away, I shout out "Good for you!" Who knows if she even heard me. So what did I do after that? Absolutely nothing! I mean, she didn't necessarily direct her comment at me, and she never really said my work sucked...she just compared it to hers, but it was just in the way she said it. I justified the whole thing by telling myself that she didn't mean any ill intent in her comment and that everyone has a right to their opinion, but looking back, I regret not doing ANYTHING, because what I wanted to do was look her in the eye and say "Hey, lady! I don't doubt you can take great photos, but the difference between me and you is that I'M HERE, I'M TRYING and I WORKED HARD FOR THIS!"
I didn't want to change the world or her opinion of my work, but I would have at least stood up for myself and all other artists who are out there actually sharing their craft and being vulnerable to these types of comments (direct or indirect). I don't doubt people have the skills to do what I'm doing...but hey, if you're not doing it, too, maybe it's best to keep those kinds of comments to yourself.
Here's a little side note about the photo of Candlestick Park...it ISN'T the best photo, and I'll never claim that any of my photos are the best because photography is incredibly subjective, but in any case, the photo isn't supposed to be "great" or even "good", it's actually meant to be "sad". although obviously...open for interpretation. The hopeful goal of photography is always to convey more than just a visual or for the photo to replace a thousand words. I believe any photographer can only hope that it will convey a meaningful message, an emotion or a memory.
Anyway, that story is just one situation that instills so much doubt. It makes you think that you made a HUGE mistake going down this road, and that YOU.DON'T.MATTER-- that whatever you think your "talent" is, there's someone better out there, so why even bother trying. The truth is, I do hear more good than bad, but it's those bad, negative comments that stick with you. It's just plain human nature no matter how much you tell yourself to let those words roll off your shoulders.
I have my good weeks, and I have my bad weeks. I've been at this for almost 2 years now, and what I can still tell you is...it's not easy. To support my photography and addiction to traveling, I've gone back to working part time as an engineering consultant. Would I have loved to make a living on photography alone? ABSOLUTELY! But that's just not my reality at this point in time. Despite the lack of income and the negative things that have happened over the course of this adventure thus far, it's still something I want to pursue because the Earth without "art" is just "eh", so I take the small victories when I can get them, and having some of my photos stocked by Getty Images just so happens to be one of them! While this may not be a big deal to most, this was definitely a step in the right direction for this girl! (BIG FAT THUMBS POINTING AT ME!) It makes those negatives worthwhile to a certain extent.
A while back, I had submitted some images for approval, and I was notified that they were accepted, but it wasn't until I did a search for myself that it all became real. If you don't know, Getty Images, Inc. is an American stock photo agency that supplies images for business and consumers with an archive of 80 million still images and illustrations. It targets three markets—creative professionals (advertising and graphic design), the media (print and online publishing), and corporate (in-house design, marketing and communication departments). Getty Images operates a large commercial website which allows clients to search and browse for images, purchase usage rights and download images with costs of images varying according to the chosen resolution and type of rights associated with each image.In the grand scheme of things,
I have about 10+ easy-to-find images (out of 80 million!) on the Getty Images website right now (with hopefully more to come soon), but even with the small percentage of my photos actually being seen, purchased and licensed for use and publication, it is a huge step in the right direction for me! Small victories and baby steps...YEAH!
My photos as seen on Getty Images...
June 14, 2015: One-Year Anniversary
June 14, 2014 – That was one year ago…my 33rd birthday…10 years after graduating college…and the date I officially launched EyeDubPhotography. I'm sure it was a surprise to most that I took this leap from engineering to photography. Trust me, no one was more surprised than yours truly!
I went into it blindly...not really knowing what I was getting myself into, but all I knew was that I wasn't happy -- I hadn't been for years. I found myself changing things up (moving from one med device company to another), but still repeating the same..."pattern". I almost used the word "mistake" there, but they weren't mistakes. In fact, they were all life-changing experiences that I’m proud I was a part of, and grateful for them because they’re the reason I was able to fund this business venture…my passion project!
I don't really recall letting people in on my plans of starting the business for fear of overthinking things and judgment from others, because why on earth would anyone leave a stable, full time engineering job to pursue photography? I think most people are very supportive of people following their passion, but you always hear “That’s great…BUT…” I don’t like big “BUT”, and I cannot lie! I think it’s clear that following any path and any passion isn’t all sunshine and rainbows…that’s just life, in general! So why did I take the leap? Well, you see...you have exactly one life to do everything you'll ever do! I guess that’s the simplest way I can put it.
Throughout the year, I must have thought about giving up a thousand times…maybe even a million! There are so many things that happen and things strangers (and even people you know) say to you that crush your dreams little by little. I won't get into all that now, but the saving grace is when you hear things like: "Great work!" "I like your stuff" "You've got a great eye for this" "Wow...you travel a lot" “This will look great in my living room” "I can feel your emotion taking this photo" "I am inspired by you" While none of those words pay the bills, the value of those words is priceless...and well, inspirational to keep moving forward. So one year later, what do I have to show for it all besides being a starving artist that actually gained 10 pounds in the process?
Well, I'm not a world-renowned photographer yet. I haven’t saved the world in conservation efforts. I’ve disappointed tons of people, because I don’t shoot weddings and other events, but I’m happy that I pursued something I was passionate about and that I finally changed things up a bit. There’s the saying that “the only impossible journey is the one you never begin”, and I’m glad I started this one, and I’m proud to say that I have 1,339 prints out there in the world (primarily in the US, but I do know I have some items in Germany and New Zealand, too). Thanks to the support I’ve gotten this year, I’ve been able to take a portion of the proceeds to support some of my favorite organizations, such as the National Park Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, the Wounded Warriors Project, and most recently, the Mercy Corps in aid of the tragedies in Nepal. All that wouldn’t have been possible without most of you reading this so THANK YOU! I wish there was that elevator to success, but for now, I’m taking the stairs (hopefully, that will help me lose that pesky 10 pounds). Here’s to another great year ahead!
September 19, 2014: Great Scott!
My specialty is NOT weddings, and when my neighbor asked me if I would photograph her wedding, I wasn't too sure about it. She assured me it would be simple, and simple it was...with added elegance, fun and so much love! I'm grateful to Sarah and Wolfgang Scott for letting me be a part of their special day! It was an intimate ceremony with just their closest family and friends held on the afternoon of September 19, 2014 at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden and a small reception to follow. They were definitely "naturals" in front of the camera making my job pretty easy!