Picking up momentum / by Helen Arase

The last couple of months have been interesting. I think interesting is an extremely overused word, but in this case, I think that’s how I would describe them… or at least, the opposite of boring.

It’s been a while since I seriously looked at my website - I think I write that every time I update it - but I’m picky about my work and not everything is worth showing to everyone.

But I have been doing a lot of running around lately.

The second semester started this week at the University of La Verne. I’m teaching Staff Photography, which is also being the adviser for the photography staff for ULV’s student weekly newspaper and biannual magazine and be in charge of their processing/production. So that’s fun.

I’ve also been freelancing different kinds of photo-related jobs - like documenting a local arts school’s vocal music program or fulfilling the Los Angeles-based photography needs for international publications in Australia and Finland.

This morning I shot one of three stories for “Kauppalehti Optio” (a Finnish business magazine) on USC’s campus. It was nice to stop by Annenberg and say hi to former professors.

I checked in with Spectrum and they don’t have anything for me to shoot right now so that’s a bummer. I’ve never been an on-retainer freelancer so I’m figuring it out as I go.

I’m doing so many jobs here and there; life is a little random so I’m trying to embrace it and try new things.

Like last week, the shoot for “Kauppalehti Optio” was in Santa Monica, and the guy hadn’t been east of downtown and the brief conversation with the writer was basically, “Oh you should go to Silver Lake! It’s lovely.”

Um, this isn’t going to turn into a rant about the real East LA, but come on, people. It made me think about my lowrider friends and the erasure of their friends/families’ struggles, the gentrification of their neighborhoods…

So basically what I’m saying is that I’m going to continue to get to know people out of my usual friend circle and start exploring a little more and learning a little more because I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to explore the nooks and crannies of this diverse city.