I have exciting news! Next week, I'm starting up a yoga collective with two of my friends and fellow yoga classmates, Ben and Tonya.
Starting March 21st, we will be offering classes three times a week: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 7pm. The classes will be held at Matter, which is located near Express Bus Terminal in Gangnam. We'll be charging a sliding scale from 5,000-20,000 won, so feel free to drop by and contribute what you can.
Last week we had a little photo session in order to fill our website with pretty photos. We had a lot of fun posing for the camera, and they both loved my Manduka mat so much we photographed all the Asana poses on it.
My favorite picture of the afternoon was the one of all of us together on the couch. We look so happy! Come join us for yoga so we can share our happiness with you! If you live in Seoul, we would love to see you in our classes.
A few weeks ago, I finally got around to photographing my own headshot for my LinkedIn profile. I wanted a nice updated photo with my new haircut.
I went over to a parking lot across the street from my apartment, and only had a few curious people stop to ask me what I was doing. It's always a bit awkward taking photos of myself because I have to guesstimate where I'm going to be standing in order to pre-focus, and then wait for my self-timer to go off. Plus I have all my equipment set up around me.
When I first started my self-portrait project, I felt really self conscious about stopping in public and setting up all my equipment in the middle of a crowded area. But I quickly learned from experience that people don't bother me much, and when they do they are often just wondering what I'm taking photos of. It makes sense that they are curious because I usually have my camera pointed at a blank wall or a non-descript scene.
Once a man on a bike passed me a couple times, then returned, and parked himself on the side of the road to watch me as I took photos. We didn't even exchange any words. I just let him be a silent audience as I focused on my task. That's the point where I realized people are generally more curious than anything else.
After a year of regular self-portraits, I'm much more comfortable setting up my portable studio anywhere. I still get awkward sometimes. But I'm super grateful that I haven't ever been prevented from taking any of my self-portraits in any of the locations I've chosen so far.
In December, I had the privilege of photographing some images for my yoga teacher's new website. Ron has been teaching yoga in South Korea for the last 18 years. He offers a comprehensive yoga teacher's training immersed in yoga philosophy and meditation practice. Roughly the length of a semester, a 200-hour Basic Course is offered twice a year, in the Fall and Spring. A 500-hour Advanced Course, which spans approximately 3 semesters, is offered every 1.5 years. For anyone living in South Korea interested in deepening their yoga practice, I highly recommend Magic Pond Yoga.
A few weeks ago, I met up with my yoga classmate, Tonya, for some head shots. We met at her school, where she'd scouted out this lovely grey wall as a backdrop.
"I should have known you'd pick the grey wall," she admitted, knowing it's my new favorite color.
I am always grateful for the opportunities yoga communities supply with me. A few years ago, after completing my first yoga teacher's course with Yoga Shala in Sacramento, I was approached by a few of my classmates to take photos. We set up various trades- I would offer a photo shoot and they would offer a service. I received a hair cut, a massage, and a yoga workshop. Great trades in my opinion.
I'm a fan of bartering and this time around I was paid in meals. I'm currently looking to change my hair style, so if you are adept with cutting hair and need some photos, let's talk!
A few weeks ago, I attended an intensive meditation temple stay at a buddhist temple in Mokdong. On Sunday morning, we arose pre-dawn for the morning ceremony. Then we practiced a bit of lying meditation, before heading outside for a walk around the park.
Just before heading out, I noticed a black DSLR sitting beside sunim. I had seen the camera floating around in the hands of the office worker who would often take pictures during temple stays and other events. He had taken some photos of us the day before, but he hadn't arrived yet this early in the morning. I was wondering if sunim was going to be taking photos in his place.
Sunim stood up and told us after the walk we'd be going into the main dharma hall to look at the ox murals and the office worker had asked for some photos to be taken while we were in there.
"Who can take photos?" She asked.
I raised my hand right away. She handed off the camera to me and I slung the strap around my shoulder, as we went outside for our practice of daily life meditation.
Something mindful and magical happened in that simple exchange when the sunim placed the camera in my hands. Later that day, I went to yoga class and during lunch one of my class mates asked if I would take some head shots of her. Just as we finished our conversation, my yoga teacher, Ron, lifted his head as if he'd suddenly realized something for the first time.
He looked at me and said, "That's right, you're a professional photographer, aren't you?"
"Yes," I replied.
"I need some photos for our new website."
"I would love to help with that," I said.
"Maybe you can take some photos next week in class?"
"I can start today," I said.
"You have your equipment with you?" He asked a bit surprised
"I always have it with me." That's the first rule of photography, after all.
Rule #1 of photography, "Always carry your camera with you," is finally beginning to pay off. If you always have your equipment, you are ready to roll when the universe hands you an assignment.
I am grateful that things are rapidly beginning to click into place, just in time for the new year.