Tonight my daughter Emily and I visited Alta Bates Summit Medical Center where she was born ten years ago. Emily called the hospital “Magic Land,” because it “gives life.”
Ten years ago today was the best day of my life, because it was the day I started being a father. There is nothing better than being a father. Ten years ago today I also started taking photographs of my daughter. The gallery I created for Emily’s 10th birthday contains about 100 photographs as of tonight.
Today is also the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ American Invasion. (Their first concert was in Washington, D.C. on February 11, 1964.) While I celebrated the Beatles and an R&B musician who inspired Emily’s middle name, I also listened to a George Strait song during my morning commute. When Emily was four, “I Saw God Today” was the CMA Single of the Year.… Read the rest
Before an artist can fly, an artist must fight.
A good artist argues with him or herself.
Artists are their own collaborators, their own muse, their own liberators.
An artist’s process is uneasy. Art is the fire, the wood and the shadow. Non-artists usually only see the final product. They miss the messy struggle.
At The Crucible‘s 15th Annual Hot Couture fashion show in Oakland, California, I photographed all three runway shows on Saturday January 11, 2014. The third show was more personal, because I know designer and dancer Alexandra Candia.
Alex teaches my two children how to dance. She also teaches my children how to perform and collaborate. She teaches them how to listen to their inner drummer; she teaches them to dance with a group. My daughter, who turns 10 next month, fought with Alex in the beginning. Both of my kids struggled, until they performed.… Read the rest
“Life is wasted on illusion….”
Bow Wow Wow, from Do You Want To Hold Me
Since last weekend’s Hot Couture fashion show at The Crucible in Oakland, California, I have contemplated the relationship between the music and fashion industry. Popular artists influence hairstyles. New styles of music force designer to create new outfits. A new dance craze provides a new excuse for more shoes… not that anyone needs an excuse for new shoes.
So what does Hot Couture have to do with the lyric from 1980’s band Bow Bow Wow? According to legend (or in this case, Wikipedia), Bow Wow Wow was recruited by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren to promote Westwood’s new clothing style. Westwood and McLaren used music to change fashion. Westwood’s “Pirate Collection of 1981” made punk stylish although the former school teacher probably used a different word. (I am a current school teacher so I will say “stylish.”)
I watched the old Bow Wow Wow music videos today while writing this post; I was surprised by the band’s sophistication which I probably missed when I was a young teenager.… Read the rest
Yesterday was just another day at Melrose Leadership Academy… just another Saturday.
Professor Chipa and his capoeira students performed at Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland, California for the “Batizado e Troca De Cordas.” Melrose Leadership Academy is the Oakland Unified dual immersion elementary school that my children attend. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art/ extreme dance activity.
My son loves capoeira. He loves the activity, excitement and his teacher. All the children enjoy learning how to improvise with people of different ages. The children develop new skills and more pride.
On Saturday, the children met well-known masters from different parts of the world. Professor Chipa’s master Mestre Sebia from Brazil played with the students. Shortly after I took this photo, he told them that they were the best.
After the younger students performed, they received their new belts and medals. Many of the children returned to watch the older capeoiristas.… Read the rest
Last month I started teaching photography at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, California. I love teaching, but I miss being a photographer. Fortunately, I was able to be a photographer last weekend when a friend asked me to photograph her family. We met at Mills College in Oakland, California for a portrait session with her husband and three children.
When Libertad (Libby) Rivera asked me if I were still available to take family portraits, I had just started my new teaching position. At the time, I did not realize that I needed to take pictures more than Libby needed to have her picture taken. I did not need the money. I needed to know that I could still take a decent picture.
Sometimes I know if I have taken a good picture before I see it on my monitor. Last Sunday, I did not know if I had any good pictures, but as soon as I saw the first photograph uploaded to my screen I felt alright.… Read the rest
How do you measure success? It seems that education reformers want innovation, but use outdated test scores to measure achievement.
How do you measure parent involvement? Do you measure fundraisers by the amount of money raised or by something qualitatively different? If you are a parent, do you want your children to learn by your example? Do you merely want your children to give money or give something more substantial?
Do you picture your children learning how to become better community members?
At Melrose Leadership Academy, our students take tests and our parents donate money. We also donate time. (Considering our size, we volunteer a great deal.) Our community also does something more.
We trust each other.
Even when it is uncomfortable, we trust that our diverse community is creating leaders for the next generation. We trust each other when we stop for another parent to translate English to Spanish (or Spanish to English).… Read the rest
“Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen.” Marshal McLuhan
The 12th Annual All Oakland Youth Talent Showcase was held at Laney College on Saturday, May 19. Bay Area non-profit Oakland Leaf sponsored this year’s showcase. Oakland Leaf transforms community “through creative education.” The theme, “Taking Back Oakland: The Heart of Resistance,” was chosen by youth leaders, so that Oakland young people could create their own vision of Oakland.
Art education is not a fringe concept. Elliot Eisner, Emeritus Professor Education at Stanford, popularized 10 Lessons That Arts Teach. When students practice art, students become better problem solvers. Students become more innovative. Young people always become better communicators.
View the gallery below or here.
bf… Read the rest