Day 6 | Magnified Light

At the moment I’m composing this post while being stuffed in a train, limbs awkwardly pressing against my fellow stranger’s. I’m trying my best to gracefully accept this packed, crowded stereotype that Tokyo is well known for.

In review of my day, I feel a bit disappointed that I didn’t try harder to observe my surroundings and find more beautiful things. Granted I didn’t have much time to just sit and relax, but I definitely could have put out more effort.

I do feel better knowing that I’m going to be here a week, instead of my regular go in and go out on the same day trips, which is because I love Home too much to stay away from it for too long. I am flowing at a better pace, and don’t feel so overwhelmed or constricted by time. But at the same time, it is still Tokyo. I have this odd sense of being in a different country when I’m here, and makes me feel very far from home.

But my sister is here. I don’t get to see Betsie so much because she works long hours at night, but it is indeed very pleasant being back with her. Tonight we went to a restaurant, and I had her hold a magnifying glass that was hanging from the ceiling in front of an old-fashioned light. It revived an old idea that I had for a piece. So perhaps this singular moment of interest in this hanging object will burrow it’s way to a future image. We shall see.




You can’t force art



I think that this has been the busiest past few weeks of my life. I am so used to taking things as they come, without giving a thought to deadlines, but lately I have been swimming in them.

My feelings toward this way of life have been mixed. While my gratitude for so many things and people is overflowing, so are my frustrations with myself and my art. I have been doing so many things half-way, without sufficient time to ponder the idea, to marvel at the beauty, and to live in the moment. For this project, I live to serve the deadline, even if what I produce isn’t something I like.

It all has been worth it, because the discoveries I’ve had about my own personality have given me great reward, even though I am prone to stress, and often feel the need to release it onto the people nearest to me. It has given me multiple chances to see how I am under pressure, and to be better. Although I still give in to negative emotions and allow them to control me, I know that I will have many more opportunities to rid myself of them and choose happiness.

These past couple of days I have been going out and doing mini photo-shoots for the project I am working on (The project is with a company, hence all the deadlines). In the beginning I was just shooting everything that excited me, including the image above. Unfortunately the shoot that I had initially planned to do ended up failing. I wonder if it was because I had tried to force something that could never happen, instead of just letting things happen naturally, and to be the witness of it.

It feels like that idea can be applied to more than one thing in life. The more you try to force things to happen and to plan them, somehow they end up turning out completely different from how you expected. I have learned this: You can’t force art, it has to be there already. You just have to learn to see it.



On “My Name Means Gold”

ikebana-ayako2-smallThis new Ikebana series is wonderful for me, because I am allowing myself to work with whatever happens. Even if one picture seems to differ extremely from the other, I know that that is what will unify them. I want this series, in a way, to match up to the characteristics of nature. To only be concerned with growth, and to be abundant in variation and beauty. My aim is to mimic it’s tendency towards the unpredictable, along with it’s cries for elegance in it’s simplicity.

We shall see what happens.

One thing also to mention about this series is that I am trying to focus on the person in the image being part of the Ikebana piece and not separate from it. That if she was removed from the scene, the image wouldn’t be complete, and vice versa. In a way, it is my own little message about how we should live in our world.

I shot this image in Nara with my very fun model Ayako. She has appeared in my “Tales From Japan” series, and I was pleased that I was able to work with her again. (She is fabulous!)

And a little background story on the title. Reylia comes from the name “Aurelia”, which was my grandmother’s name, and it means “Gold” or “Golden one”. I have always been attracted to that color, and of lately completely enchanted by it, so for this image I thought it would be fitting.

Please enjoy the piece! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below, or on my FB!




Conceptual photography workshop!



New fall plan guys! Super excited about this one! For early details please contact me at or through FB message. Early reservation is recommended.

**We will be working with 2 models, 2 assistants, and a variety of costumes**
Basic schedule for the day (Subject to change):

10:45 Meeting time
11:00 Proper introductions. Presentation on Fine Art Conceptual photography in Nara park. Discussing inspiration, how to find your own style and voice, motivation, fears, and the love for photography.

12:45Inspiration exercizes to get the creative juices flowing!

1:00 Lunch break (Meal included in the fee)

2:00 We will go around to 4~6 previously scouted locations and explore conceptual photography in a way that will make the photographic experience more fun and enjoyable. The focus will be on YOU. Discovering new ways to put your best photographic foot forward.

5:00 Back to the park! I will be giving a short presentation on editing your images with Photoshop. Briefly showing you how to use your tools to get the best possible image.
5:30 Finish.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!



On “You Have Yet to Grow”


How can I describe what has been on my mind the past few weeks? I have been so full with thoughts that it is impossible to for me to say everything, so I end up revealing next to nothing. In a way I prefer it that way though, at least for now.

At the moment photography obviously constitutes the whole interest of my life, but I have felt the need to aim creative energy elsewhere, so I decided to choose Ikebana (生け花). Which somehow ended up going back to photography again.


Certain frustrations with myself have been piling up a little, so I’ve been falling back on the things I’ve loved most of my life. Simple things like reading or stretching can oftentimes bring me more peace of mind than anything else, so hopefully that consciously adding Ikebana to that list will be a good thing. But I don’t want to force it, either. My main source of stress has been the pressure I put on myself to produce images when I was tired or uncomfortable, so I am doing my best to avoid that. It needs to be a fun thing, and it is necessary for it to come smoothly and effortlessly. The thing you love should never be also something you can come to hate.

The meaning for this image came about as soon as I finished my Ikebana. When we do something for so long, we feel like we have reached a place when growing or getting better stops; all the flowers have already bloomed, or so to speak. But as I was arranging the flowers, I noticed that there was still one bud left. In that sense, there will be always something left to grow. There will also be winters in our lives, but we must never forget that Spring is around the corner and we will again have the freedom to blossom.