THE VIRTUES OF BEING ALONE

"Its easy to feel the weight of being alone. Especially being an outsider in a city and observe as the world moves forward with or without you."

| photography , travel

JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE

I woke up at 7am in Chicago in a hotel room by myself. I have no plans and no friends around. My work here was completed last night and between 7am and my flight at 8am tomorrow morning, I have zero obligation. I packed a bag with 2 cameras, 2 lenses and clothes for a range of 50° - 80° weather (because Chicago is crazy). 8am and I was out the door. My single objective today was to photograph whatever inspired me around the city. There had been mentions of meeting with some local photographers that I connected with on Facebook but besides that, I didn't even plan a route or destination. I wanted to wander. 

JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE

Chicago is architecturally beautiful. Any google search of Chicago will speak to it's incredible skyline and the beautiful building design and I, like many others before me, walked around the city with my eyes looking towards the sky. But as I photographed throughout the day and into the night, what I began to notice was not so much the beautiful buildings but the size of these giants scaled against people. Around town I would see large groups of people or individuals carrying on with their day against these massive skyscrapers. It made them look ridiculously small, and when they're alone, it makes them seem tiny and alone in a big world. Its easy to feel the weight of being alone. Especially being an outsider in a city and observe as the world moves forward with or without you. At the very same time however, I also felt the power of making my own way and answering only to myself on which way the day was going to go. 

Looking back at this day, I realized that the photos and video were just a small part of my experience. The feelings of being alone is a large city of strangers can feel inspiring and motivating while at the same time feel like you're about to be swallowed into a huge void of infinite nothing. Experiencing extreme alone-ness and loneliness which feel like they should be the same thing but are complete different. 

JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE

People are often given labels with words or phrases like: social, loner, introvert, extrovert, good with people, more of a lone wolf, popular, not good with people etc. I believe everyone is on some level all of those descriptions. People are different to different people. You are never the same to everyone and you are only truly yourself when you're alone. 

With the non stop chatter and collaborative social network and careers that we all have now, it's harder to be alone. Curiously, the rate of reported loneliness have climbed to 1 in 5 Americans in 2017. Maybe we need a little more alone time so we don't feel so lonely. 

JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY CHICAGO ALONE

HANGING OUT WITH MODELS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS

"I also like to take this humble brag moment to speak on the topic of LA friendships"

photography , video

JUSTFENG OOTDMEN FASHION SPRING SEXY ASIAN BEARD
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY SPRING
JUSTFENG RYAN FENG WOMEN FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY SPRING
Since I spend a lot of time finding models to photograph and photographers to photograph me , it was inevitable that I befriend at least a few of them . One of my new joys is to hang out with a group of creative and fashion forward friends and just hang out with an intention , but no obligation, to photograph or model . There's no real plan or strategy except whatever the environment around us inspire us to do .  I also like to take this humble brag moment to speak on the topic of LA friendships . An LA friend to me is more of a delightful co worker . We get along great . The relationship is between two good and authentic people but the bases of the relationship is around the individual hustles . I'm not talking about the "fake friends" you hear about from LA so much . I'm just speaking to the fact that people in LA have to work extremely hard in order to get any amount of progress or success in their career . So much so that we dedicate our entire waking lives to that goal . And because of that fact , it makes casual friendships and companionship difficult . 

In my time working in LA , I've come across and have worked with a plentiful of talented and amazing people in a multitude of jobs working from a range of directors , makeup artists , craft services , security guards , fellow dancers , actors , models , marketing execs , assistants , interns and etc . All of whom I would love to have gotten to know more and befriend . Unfortunately , many of them I've met in passing on a job or on an one time gig . Sometimes , even if the job is a couple months long with unspeakable hours and we form an intense short term bond the way that summer camps bonds kids , we end up going our separate ways because we gotta go where our careers take us and demands of us . A few of them I've managed to cultivate a loose hold of a friendship with but connections are few and far in between . 

It's sometimes bewildering to try to think of all the human connections that I've missed while working in LA . 

justfeng ryan feng ootdmen menstyle streestyle sexy asian beard
SMAC

SMAC

KRISTI

KRISTI

On a brighter note , these hang out photoshoots does serve a nice double function . I get to be productive and creative while at the same time get to spend time getting to know people both on a social level and creative level . I think sometimes that can be more authentic . 

SHE'S HILARIOUS

SHE'S HILARIOUS

SO IS SHE 

SO IS SHE 

SERIOUSLY 

SERIOUSLY 

This most recent adventure is courtesy of model/dancer/actor extraordinaire : Smac . She's a model I've photograph a few times and she's recently started a new instagram page for her photography musings . She also invited a lovely dancer/model : Kristi

professional side eye

professional side eye

Let me know if you wanna kick it 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A VINTAGE MOD INSPIRED SHOOT AND THE CRUSHING WEIGHT OF HUMANITY

photography
"even in the 1820s , nice guys were saying they always finish last ."
justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair

The sheer size of humanity crushes me . It’s like when I fly across the country and I look down at the city below me . So many people living next to each other on top of each other , their lives interweaving with each other . I will never know any of those lives , the paths that’s been taken , the circumstance or experience . 

Think about how many people in even just your neighborhood . You can never fully understand their pain and struggles or joy and triumphs . You can live next door to them or down the street your entire life but live completely different lives . Or small differences in your daily decision or environments can lead you and your neighbors down vastly different roads . There is so much choice and so much in this life and it’s impossible to experience it all . the enormity of that fact is astounding. 

justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair

It makes me sad , and oddly nostalgic about a life I will never lead . Maybe thats why I love books and movies and art in general . Maybe that’s why a lot of people like them . It’s the closest thing we can get in experiencing another life . Another narrative . Another perspective that we’re not able to gain with our own limited view of the world . We are so small that we have to tap into each other to see more , o be able to feel and experience more . 

When the internet came into popularity in the late 90’s , bringing humanity closer was a huge selling point . it brought the world together . it made it small . it made it reachable . Now I can know a neighbor in London about as well as my actual neighbor . There is more information and more knowledge , but for me , it lead more to questions and piles more possibilities . 

justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair
justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair

This is just to talk about my own particular life time . But if you start going down the path of history . Good luck . I have these day dreams about what if i lived in a different era as myself or different people , what could my life have been ? And then you take a bigger step back and looking at the scope of the human experience . I haven’t found the words to describe how extremely insignificant yet monumentally important everything is and the totality of that idea weighs me down as if I’m drowning and can’t get any air . 

justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair
justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair
justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair

I wonder if even though the situational experience may vary , the human emotional range can only span so much . so that even though i was born into this era , the trials and tribulations of life applies universally across time . for example , even in the 1820s , nice guys were saying they always finish last . That takes a little bit of weight off the shoulder . 

This isn’t even tackling the galactically mammoth task of making sense of the world . which is a whole other beautiful headache .

justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair vintage mod
justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair  vintage mod
justfeng ryan feng photography fashion editorial elle vogue vanity fair

Photographer - Ryan Feng

Model - Sarah Mccreanor

Stylist - Melynda Choothesa

Hair/Mua - Yukina Mitsuhashi

THE BRIGHTEST SPOT IN THE ROOM

 | photography
"no matter who she was around , she would give them her attention , and that person would feel like they were standing in the warmest and brightest spot in the room"
justfeng ryan feng photography kirsten collins editorial portrait
justfeng ryan feng photography kirsten collins editorial portrait

There are many different types of entertainers and different ways that people are entertained . But one of the more popular styles and the story you hear about the most from famous celebrities is the person that lights up the screen and charms their way to stardom . But one of my favorites stories is one where the brightest person in the room and knew how to turn that incredible light onto the people around them . Who along with their great talent , also knew how to turn that sunshine and warm the people around them .

There are many different types of entertainers and different ways that people are entertained . But one of the more popular styles and the story you hear about the most from famous celebrities is the person that lights up the screen and charms their way to stardom . But one of my favorites stories is one where the brightest person in the room and knew how to turn that incredible light onto the people around them . Who along with their great talent , also knew how to turn that sunshine and warm the people around them .

That is one of my favorite things said about the Hollywood Icon Audrey Hepburn . On top of being a brilliant talent , there are many wonderful things said about her as a person off screen in the last century . My favorite thing is that no matter who she was around , she would give them her attention , and that person would feel like they were standing in the warmest and brightest spot in the room . Whether you believe if that was the real Aubrey or if she was putting on a celebrity act depends on where you stand on the scale of cynical to hopeful but I like to think that her charm and beauty doesn’t come from standing in the spotlight but from giving it authentically .

justfeng ryan feng photography kirsten collins music editorial fashion portrait
justfeng ryan feng photography kirsten collins music editorial portrait

I would have to say that in the couple hours of shooting with Miss Kirsten Collins (who is a talented singer and musician) that she gives a lot of the same energy . Its not always fun to turn it on for the camera and production but with her , I never had the feeling that she was turning it on . It was a pleasure to shoot with her and she had a knack for making sure that everyone was comfortable in the room with her even towards the end of a long day . I wish her the absolute best and I’m sure if you don’t know who she is yet you will soon . 

You can find her music here

justfeng ryan feng photography kirsten collins music portrait editorial

Model - Kirsten Collins

Photographer - Ryan Feng

Mua - Phil Loste

Producer - Patrick Chen

DO . DOING . DO IT

12.29.2016 | photography
ryan feng photography staygold sofi the barber

Over thinking , laziness , excuses , fear , lack of confidence, not enough talent , not enough skill , not enough time , or name any other reason you can think of for why people don't manifest their ideas or projects . I have probably used all of them at some point , and some of them I have on heavy rotation . 

This is why , to work over some of those hurdles , I've presented some creative challenges for myself to tackle every day . First , I will be doing a Snapchat (@justfeng) mission everyday either created by myself or from a recommendation . Second , I will be carrying a point and shoot with me just about everywhere I go shooting through out the day and at the end of the day I will post something new on Instagram . Third , on top of doing photoshoot blog posts twice a week , I will be adding a topic to write about that connects to those photos . 

This brings me (SEGWAY) of course to the quick test shoot I did with this lovely couple . Introducing to you first : Sof the Barber aka. STAYGOLD31

ryan feng photography staygold31 sofie the barber

of is a distinguished barber based in Los Angeles with a home base at Grey Matter in NoHo and then at The Lab in West Covina . She has quite a following as a female barber in a male dominated industry as well as having the double talent of doing salon style cuts . She hustles and also is a budding filmmaker constantly creating shorts and videos .

What impresses upon me the most while being around her (full disclosure : I haven't known her a long time) , is that even busy with her career as a barber , every time I'm around her , she's shooting . She's got a lot going for her already and she's still building her rep and clientele , but she's still putting in the time and work to learn something new . Respect . 

ryan feng photography staygold31 sofie the barber

 

There is so many things to tell you about this next person here , first of which is her name : Valerie Ramirez 

ryan feng photography
ryan feng photography

Val is an owner of a multi purpose multi creative studio named The Lab in West Covina . The lab feature as a :

  • kickboxing (there's a ring)
  • fitness (there's a gym)
  • Tumbling/tricking/bboying (there's a padded room)
  • barbershop (there's a barber chair with a vanity mirror) 
  • and dance (there's three dance studios) center .

And if that wasn't enough to fill 24 hours in a day , she was working as a styling assistant for JoyRich , and now moonlighting as a barber . She's also a professional dancer with a killer sense of style and a rapier wit . She has incredible creative vision and CLEARLY gets shit done . 

And that's the thing about Val that I love most . She thinks of a project , makes a decision , and gets it done . Its a trait that I truly admire . 

ryan feng photography
ryan feng photography
ryan feng photography

 

 

 

WHY DO ARTISTS STAY UP LATE

12.29.2016 | Photography

RYAN FENG PHOTOGRAPHY

I have no idea . 

I have no idea why artists stay up late . I only know why I stay up late . I'm also sure there are many scientific analysis dedicated to this idea , but I just haven't read any of it . 

Oh . When I said I know why  I stay up late ? I don't actually know for sure . I have several theories . 

1. Because of the nature of the hip hop dance life :

Hip Hop dancing happens mostly at night . Not just for me but for most people that I know . It is different for kids now , but when I was on a competitive dance team first learning how to dance , me and everyone I knew had a whole other life during the day time . Some dancers were students , some dancers had jobs , lots of dancers were student who had jobs . People had a life to live during the day so we all agreed to carve out hours in our nights to rehearse . These rehearsals usually starts at 8 or 9 but when it ends depends on how close we were to competition . A light rehearsal schedule is three times a week from 8pm to 12am and a hard schedule is seven days a week for three weeks from 8pm to 6am . That was the schedule when I was doing competitive dancing in the underground SoCal scene for seven years and also the usual schedule as I danced professionally for 6 years . Fifteen years of training hard and staying up late , my body thinks 12 am is just another lunch break . 

Ryan Feng photography
ryan feng photo
ryan feng photography

2. Because of Coffee :

I like it , it keeps me awake . It's probably not the main reason I stay up late , but I'm sure it's not helping the cause.

ryan feng photography
ryan feng photography

3. Because of the Freedom :

This reason is less pragmatic than the other two but I find it most likely . It is probably true that my body and brain has been conditioned to be active after hours because of dance , and it's also probably true that the coffee residuals from 4pm is still hanging out in my blood vessels at 2am refusing to leave the club and want to keep the party going . But I really believe that the reason why I like being up late is because of the freedom .

Late at night , I can finally let my brain do whatever it wants to do . During the day time , business operating hours , I like many other people , have life chores to attend to . Besides already having work , school , family , or any combination of those things , there are so many different other life stuff that demand our brain power and attention . It is practically impossible to delegate any grey matter to focus on anything but getting to the bank before 5pm , going to the market before going home to make dinner , meet for a birthday , and so on and so on to an infinite amount of possible items on the to do list .  

The beauty of 2am is that my options for things to do are cut significantly . Most business's are closed meaning errands will have to wait . Most people are sleeping or at least not around you . The world is darker and quieter and your mind can finally have some room to stretch out and breath a little bit . It can be a productive time where I am able to read , do an endless amount of editing or brainstorming or choreographing . It could be a time more free to be inspired , to surf the internet or wander aimlessly physically and/or mentally . This works best at 2am vs 2pm because there is nothing to interrupt a train of thought at 2am . Many creative will tell you about momentum , that once you have an idea that excites you , you have to ride that wave till it reaches shore and absorbs into the sand because if you fall off that wave due to a call from Time Warner Cable at 2pm about your stupid internet connection , that wave could go missing forever . or at least you will have to paddle out there for a long time before it comes again .  

The world is asleep , and I can a little bit more free . 

ryan feng photography
ryan feng photography publishbrand
ryan feng photography publishbrand

Photographer | JUSTFENG

MODEL | Pat Lucey

STYLIST | Joanna David