No. 296

My plea to become a Media & Design Intern at MOPA:


Why I want to be a Media & Design Intern for The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) is simply because I am a supporter of what MOPA does and the way it operates. I want to be a part of it.

I am currently earning an A.A. in Photography and a Certificate of Proficiency in Graphic Applications from Southwestern College, and already maintain a degree in Art History from SDSU. So, resulting from this experience I have extensive knowledge in the ways in which images communicate and express certain ideas. I also have fluency in programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Bridge, and some experience using Illustrator. InDesign is being covered this semester.

As a burgeoning photographer, I understand the logistical and conceptual processes through which someone would take a picture. I run a fledgling website currently (heysymmetrical.tumblr.com) and post regularly to Instagram (instagram.com/chillwhale). Both websites illuminate the photographic rules I willingly restrict myself to.

As a relatively new category of fine art, it is essential for me – for the sake of my own knowledge – to immerse myself in the processes through which images perpetuate. I have a deep interest in why things are made, how they become ‘great’, or become canonized, and what allows them to stay relevant. I consider MOPA concerned with these things too, along with the idea that photographs operate on at least two levels, as much cultural artifact as a form of personal expression. I aspire to teach, so I hope to marry my love for photography with my passion for learning should I be an intern here.

No. 295

Little Italy has slowly become one of my favorite places. I’ve been here most days this week and it’s something of a second home for me, its cafes function as my living room. My brother lives not too far from here, maybe that has something to do with it.

Yesterday I heard the phrase “La Jolla South” in describing this place, and I can see that. It is undoubtedly a cultural melting pot populated by wealthier people. Regardless, I hope it’s a particularly convivial place for Italians it being called ‘Little Italy’.

There’s a strong coffee culture here and ubiquitous are the places to eat pasta. Granted these are two things I subsist from, it’s easy to see how I would come here often. Then there are the anomalous places – a ramen place here, a burger place there – but they’re of quality, so I won’t complain.

I may come here for the granola at Influx, or the house salad at Na Pizza, but mostly I come here to recharge. For as sociable as I can appear to be, I also require copious amounts of personal time. I use this time to collect myself and to collect my thoughts.

Today, the intrusive idea is the wish that I would work as intently toward my professional goals as I do my personal ones; I do a lot in terms of things that please me and feed my soul, but they have little to do with moving onward to better things. Now that I’ve expressed my desire for this to happen, it’s only time to make it happen. 

To list the things that I could do:

+ Design my resume

+ Submit it to those jobs that I could work long-term

+ Complete any other prerequisites for the job

+ Keep reading

+ Keep writing

No. 294

The way that I think about it, so long as our eyes are open we’re looking at something. Even when we’re daydreaming, the photons are still reaching our eyes and our brains are still translating this as visual information. The same applies to sounds; it’s heard even if we’re not listening, so to speak. I guess that’s why I choose to take pictures or read text, because I’d much prefer to think while I see. I do this long enough and then it’s time to sleep.

No. 293

I learned in class today that it really doesn’t pay to purchase a printer at least in the initial stages. There are plenty of good printers (the people kind and the mechanical kind) out there, and there’s more to be done at the foundational level. One thing that I recently found out is that the camera and the monitor can be calibrated so that the colors you see in the camera will faithfully reproduce on the monitor, and so forth into print. This is all really cool in concept, but I wonder if it’ll be worthwhile in the end.

Man… I’m hard-pressed to let go of the personal printer idea, but it’s also cheaper to purchase the means for calibration. Once I know more hopefully it will sway me in the cheaper direction. It would be nice to have predictable, and predicted, results.

Anyway, I want to start printing already because printing’s where it’s at.

No. 292

I’m not a week into the semester, and I already feel as if I’m in the thick of it. I can be the sponge that I want to be and a comment by my instructor confirms this—“Keep ‘em [the questions] coming.” The dozen or so photography-related questions I’ve withheld during the summer were answered today, with the exception of a couple that I’ve forgotten.

My first day in Graphic Design Layout included a ‘warm up’ where pairs of us stood up in front of class and discussed an object. Most to choose from were small and could be grasped in one hand. Essentially – more than our perceptiveness or acumen in discussing objects – it was an opportunity for us to warm up to each other—like, this is who I am, got it? Now the learning can start.

I wasn’t nervous and I really got into it.


This weekend a couple of friends and me are going to LA to engage in the rapture that is musical festival. If it’s not already apparent by my egregious use of hyperbole, I’m extremely excited about it. This weekend I get to sip up the last rays of summer, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be satiated.

All I have to do really is smile, listen, and dance to the music. That, and feel it all.

“A consideration of the vase, the ultimate object for and about display, seemed a natural conclusion to our floral folly. We couldn’t help but think that, while the ‘chair’ is endlessly considered the ultimate cultural design object, perhaps the ‘vase’ fits the bill just as well.”

– Laura Houseley, Editor-in-Chief of Modern Design Review, Spring/Summer 2014

No. 290

Late-night ruminations: 

They say that we need at least four hugs a day to sustain ourselves, and it’s just like science to quantify it. There are certain things that are outwardly self-evident if one just took the time to feel it – not to simply go through the motions – but to engage in its process and to take from it what there is to be had. Other things like owning a pet (specifically a dog) and caring for plants are apparent too—It’s simple enough to just listen to your body.

No. 289

I start school tomorrow and I only found out last week. (I was adjusting my permanent availability at work and to my surprise I’m starting already.) My heart races and I’m very excited to; I’m curious to know what there is to know now that I’m getting further along.

I’ve abandoned the idea of making something of a ‘zine, at least for now, because I know I’d like photographs with a textual component and it would take a lot of work to arrange them thematically. The amount of work doesn’t have me turned off by the idea, just away for now.

These days I want to assemble an album of 4x6s for the pure purpose of self-indulgence. That way I can assemble and sequence photographs around the colors available in them with a complete disregard for subject matter or chronology—it’ll be about gradient and palette, that’s it. My aim is to have a texture of photographs that would be pleasing to the eye even (or especially) if the eye were to glaze over.

When I gather enough content and develop my ideas further, maybe a ‘zine will stem from it.

“The Surrealists used the dream to express the alienation and confusion of modern life, and this has been a frequent theme of post-war photography, expressed in suitably fractured narrative and a dream structure.”

– Gerry Badger

“In the past decade this new generation of photographers has redirected the technique and aesthetic of documentary photography to more personal ends. Their aim has been not to reform life but to know it, not to persuade but to understand. The world, in spite of its terrors, is approached as the ultimate source of wonder and fascination, no less precious for being irrational and incoherent.”

– From John Szarkowski’s introduction to “New Documents”

No. 286

To speak of status, it’s difficult to find reason substantial enough to move out of my parents’ house and make a living for myself. I’ve made a comfortable living in the sense that my room is plainly furnished, I get good light in the mornings through an east-facing window, and I’ve got music to fill the space. It’ll be tough, but eventually it has to be done if I want things to change.

I’ve played with this topic in my head  and I’ve come to the conclusion that while I’m poor financially, I’m wealthy in other ways. While working at a movie theatre, particularly an indie one, it grants you access to doors by simple fact that there’s culture to be exchanged.

A couple of venues in San Diego are thoughtful this way and it operates, more or less, like a speakeasy. It’s like, “Hey I work at so-and-so place, let me in.” And they’re like, “Sure, comrade.”—Not in those words exactly, but you understand. There’s this café, too, that offers us gelato and coffee in exchange for gratuity, to be fair.

And in the future, when I no longer work where I do, I hope I can mutter those same words and still receive the benefit.

So, it’s easy to see how there’s wealth of culture to be had on very little, if any, money and it’s all right for now. I hope that when I do come into material wealth, I maintain the sentiment that it’s not the only kind—like, for now, how things can’t be bought but they can always be made.

In her song, Lights Out, Angel Olsen shrewdly states:

If you feel like quitting now, then try a little harder

The things we need the most they seem to take a little longer

No 285

Dear all,

For a few weeks I’ve been editing and adding photos to this site, heysymmetrical.tumblr.com. For a while I’ve kept it secret as it was satisfying enough to do so, but now I want to share it.

On the surface, I started it to maintain my ability to shoot and edit expediently for school. However, since then, it’s taken on the more serious function of allowing me to grow and develop my body of work. Shooting is something I don’t see myself ceasing anytime soon, so in the meantime, while it’s fun, I’d like to share it with you. I’m happy to accept any comments or criticism as well—so long as it’s directed toward my work. 

To quote Hemingway – and to quote anyone as long as it’s said exactly and appropriately – “We need more true mystery in our lives… The completely unambitious writer and the really good unpublished poem are the things we lack most at this time. There is, of course, the problem of sustenance.”

So, if would like a print (or prints), now or in the future, please let me know! If not, that’s cool too.



  • Hemingway: I learned one thing.
  • Hadley: What?
  • Hemingway: Never to go on trips with anyone you do not love.

No. 283

I woke up this morning having slept probably ten hours. It looks like my body is reclaiming its sleep now, which probably means I’m getting better. This good start to the day permitted me to invite movement into my body again and I decided to clean my room. Most good things in my life begin with this reorganization. 

(A lot can be gleaned from my current disposition based on how clean, or unclean, my room is; if my room is in disarray, there’s a good chance my mind is too.)

It is and continues to be a good day. As of this moment I’ve finished editing the twenty photos I’ve trimmed down to that I took in LA (I took many more), and this station is feeding me old and new music. I feel at home and content now, and I’m grateful to be feeling this way again. I only hope I can retain this for a time.

To keep me in motion I have in my head a few plans. This Thursday, a friend and I are going to Mesa Rim to discover what the large walls are all about. Wednesday I may see Foxygen at the Belly Up under the pretense that I would be doing myself a disservice not to go—I owe it to myself, and it would make me happy.

Tomorrow I have work, but I want to bike around too, and only in the evening.

“Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”

– Dr. Stuart Brown, head of the National Institute for Play