Monday, April 30, 2012

"Head First": New Series, New Business.

Harrowing Hue White Door Fallout Green Decay Saturated Hallway Worm Hole Corridor

Make my dreams a reality: Buy a print!
Head First is more than just a mindset; it is also the name of which my photography bares. You may now view my current photographic portfolio here.

Glow from Outside
Artist Statement

As an only daughter, heavily medicated since the age of six, I saw, experienced, but never felt much of anything. The cold comfort of New Jersey offered little condolence in the place of siblings I never had. Itinerary consumed my being: taking up to seven different uppers and downers each morning upon waking for the various conditions I was told I possessed. My nature, as I knew it to be for most of my life, was completely devoid of all meaning.

A meek reflection of my former self, I was cast into the world deprived of the very things that made me a person. Mechanisms that some would describe as elation and joy, were absent, almost always followed with an uncomfortable tingling sensation. In conjunction with this, I had been written off as the resident ‘problem’ child; disconnected from those who surrounded me. My biggest confidants, as it seemed, were the same therapists and psychiatrists that wanted no more than to maintain a client for the years to come in accordance with their own personal incomes.

I was a burden to my elders, the quintessential ‘weird kid’ of school, and relied on technology, namely the internet, for much of my social interaction. Offering a form of escape, video games became a coping medium, a way for me to create an alternate universe for myself, in hopes to avoid the physical realities that I could not bear with. It was at this point that I fell into oblivion, and became enamored with color. The radiant hues which presented themselves to me in game communicated that there was optimism for my real life situation. This saturation grew more apparent each time I logged off my computer - seen by all but often unappreciated by the anthropological eye.

Taking control, photography served as a vessel of expression. In recollection of my past, a memorial to the asylums, doctor’s offices, psychiatric wards and therapy sessions that unintentionally littered my upbringing, Head First is my color project. This reference is deliberate; not only as a way to make my account of this experience visual and visceral, but to celebrate the clarity of my newfound freedom of thought. Absent of medication for the first time in fifteen years, I have begun to feel and understand what it truly means to be alive.

Though these mental institutions had been abandoned for decades, something strange happened when I photographed them for my series. I found warmth, security, in the deserted and harrowing hallways. Amongst the decay there was a familiarity present, and as it grew dark I felt little opposition to leave. By choosing long exposures, exaggerated colors were created, reflecting the interior life of my soul, existent then and now echoed in my pictures.

Despite times of absolute bleakness there was a light at the end of the tunnel; a constant reminder of destiny. I found beauty amongst the chaos and confusion of growing up alone; color seen at the end of a forbidding maze of an institutional portal, just as it had beckoned to me. Commotion, a constant premature focus of what was in my head, and not my heart; this is head first. 

Ali Baker

The Crossover

Self Portrait

Bed of Wheels

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PAX East 2012 Video Recap

As promised, here's a follow up video to PAX East 2012. I share with you a few of my favorite games on the show floor as well as some much needed rambles:

Glad to be back internet. Glad to be back.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Photography is Up!

You may have noticed that I recently posted some of my photography work from earlier this year, including my Homes at Night series, Los Angeles Nightscapes and Sunrise on my Flickr page. We are now in the process of hanging for the Senior Photography Show, so pretty soon I will unleash my thesis on the world. Looking forward to sharing with you all!

DSC_00772 copy copy


DSC_0346 copy

Critiques, opinions and comments on my work are always greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Going the Distance.. for Cake - My First Competitive Race!

Monday, 8am. I rise to the sound of Sonic’s Green Hill Zone. Disabling my iPhone on the collapsible table beside me I throw on a tee shirt, tights, grab earbuds and I’m out the door. Just before exiting the apartment, I slip my bare feet into a tattered pair of pink Nike’s. This is the best I’ve felt in my life.

With Pandora enabled, wubwubs full speed ahead, I sprint down the staircase leading to the street as I select a new run using my Nike Plus app. Busting through the doors, I hit the start button; for the next 40 minutes, I am Player 1...   [Read the full blog with pics here!]

Monday, April 16, 2012

PAX East 2012 Recap

Penny Arcade Expo East was this past week; and, as a part for the Frag Doll Cadette Academy, I had the honor of making the attendance list. Home to the creative minds and development team of BioShock, Irrational Games, Boston is one of my favorite American cities, particularly at this time of year. Despite having attended last year as press in accordance of providing on-camera content for Major League Gaming, this year I actually worked on the show floor.

There are a lot of reasons as to why, ever since my first Penny Arcade Expo Prime in Seattle circa 2010, I've fallen in love with event. If you'd read my previous blog posts it's quite certain that you already know, but I'm going to reiterate it for those of you who have just recently stumbled upon my daily musings. PAX is a fantastic gathering; not just in terms of the celebration of the games that are revealed, but rather, the culture that seeps out of every hotel room inhabited by the masses of fans, hopefuls and industry moguls alike. People just 'get it'. There's really no other way to describe it. I cannot tell you the countless times I found myself balls deep into conversation outside the Assassin's Creed booth, talking about everything ranging from 'Step Brothers' to 'Rugrats', the secret joy of obtaining carrots and celery from a barrels in Skyrim, or perhaps just the ridiculousness of memes that engross the internet.

Atop of this feeling of wholeness and joy that radiates through every inch of my being - just from talking to complete and utter strangers no less - these events have become a blast, especially recently, due to the anticipation I feel the weeks before I know I will get to see my good friends. These events have shaped my perspective in terms of what 'true' friendship is. Up until just recently and for the majority of my life I've factored that around 90% of my closest friends were those whom I had only been in contact with over the glorious span of tubes known as the internet. These moments leading up to my first events and encounters with such people, social networking, especially in terms of Twitter and in game meetups, has only confirmed this as fact - you guys are awesome. I met a few of you during this particular PAX East: there were so many hugs. Thank you for being YOU, and saying hi!

Now, despite bidding the majority of my time in Boston working and spending time with the lovely sisters of the Frag Doll community as seen above, I did manage to get enough of a chance to preview and play a few games. I'd be lying if I said cutting the line to play Borderlands 2 co op wasn't the highlights of my trip. I also found myself very pleasantly surprised with Lollipop Chainsaw, which proved to be a learning experience in itself. In anticipation of these games, as well as select titles I am also looking forward to this year, I am planning on posting a follow up video in the somewhat near future reviewing my experience with both games as well as my pinnacle event experiences. That being said, please subscribe: here, and if you have tips or particular quarries regarding said video in advance, please do not hesitate to post them here and I will be sure to cover them!

Stay classy internet. XO

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Movin' Like Berney: My Birthday Wish

I said something really dumb a few days ago, clearly out of sheer inspiration due to this video..

Of course, when I first tweeted this, I was only joking.. however, due to the amount of banter that followed as a result, I have vowed to follow through with such a task. I will not fail you internet. 5k by May 10th. Think it can be done? I've got some funky dance moves that say it's possible. Click on my tweet to retweet the original post.

Given the amount of variations that Berney beholds. I shall do the Bernie, or Burnie, in accordance with your feedback. Comment on the above YouTube video and subscribe to my channel and I will select 5 locations at random to get crunk nasty at. LET THE ASSHATTERY BEGIN!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Don't Waste Another Minute:

Shine On.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Photographic Influence of Todd Hido

The imagery captured by Todd Hido is highly thought provoking, not just in terms of subject matter, composition and design, but also on a physiological level. Whether he’s using the window of a car as a filter, warping the perspective or overall surrounding landscape of a focal subject, exposing a photograph for a long period time for increased saturation and living color, or picking just the right angle to capture a dimly lit street light at the end of a long and eerie street; there is intention behind these choices. Perhaps he is commenting on the subconscious, or maybe the warped perspective that this world has a tendency to take on at times. Regardless of these visual cues, the idea of such gestures to psychedelic drugs or even medication, the imagery can be appreciated on a base level by just about anyone. This, is especially so for those who appreciate the use of color in a medium, but not to discredit his formulaic and well placed compositions, which range from night landscapes, to long exposures indoors.

As an enthusiast of such night photography, shooting dimly lit rooms and nightscapes at the violet hour, I can recognize the value of the processes that come into play with these works. As one of my biggest photographic inspirations, there is something to be said about the moments in waiting that take place during such shooting: the small window of opportunity you often have to get the proper exposure you’re seeking, the search for just the right house with the blue colored yard lights. Not only are these elements that influence such works, but also, especially of “Untitled” spawning from the Fragmented Narratives series, the idea of capturing something that cannot otherwise be seen with the human eye.

This new perception that Hido offers to the viewer brings on an entirely new element of design. To the viewer, these images are often perceived as crystal clear. A vision sought out by the artist and captured just as it was seen. However, for those who understand the planning that goes into long exposure photography, one can only assume that these locations were visited time and time again, studied both in day light, and at night, materials tests and bracketing a must. That being said, Todd Hido’s imagery is likely not only representational simply because the images themselves are filled with such hue, and beauty, but because the artist had a personal connection, if not just for a moment, with each of these locations.

The first of the three images I chose to focus on, though Untitled like the majority of his prints, spawns from Hido’s Homes At Night series, also known as 2424-A. This set of photography focuses in on nightscapes, primarily that of suburbia, in low light situations. Long exposures, ranging anywhere from 30 seconds to ten minutes, are what make these photographs so breathtaking. I found this work particularly moving in terms of my own photography because of the methods behind the magic. Hido would drive around at night looking for just the right light, colors and scenery for his images. What came about from the process, was not only a variety of images that ranged in plethora of color, but compositions that spoke in unison with the eeriness captured by the subjects and time of day. Despite the fact that 2424-A is dissimilar to that of the other photographs in the series, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the depth of field used. The purple and white glow of the snow in the foreground creates a pictorialistic feel; the idea that time stands still. This gives image a dream like quality that cannot be ignored. Such a long exposure on a foggy night would make it appear as though the sky has been painted purple. This creates an abstraction from afar that can be compared to that of a surrealist painting.

It’s easy to read into various stylistic concepts here, although as the viewer we won’t know artist’s true intentions for certain, symbolism aside. We may only go off of what we know, both, by looking at the image apart from speaking to the artist himself. Of course, the vantage point, as well as the imagery alludes to a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ scenario; perhaps the romanticism emanating from the light at the horizon line where the roadway stops serves as some sort of a reference to a more personal memory. It’s no wonder that the very questions that arise from the image are the same ones that perplex and shift perspective onto those who see it.

Despite the fact that none of the images I sought to zero in on are particularly famous of Hido’s body of work, the second image, also Untitled, in my opinion is the most striking of his series, Fragmented Narratives. Another long exposure is likely the cause of such vivid and vibrant colors, although in this case, it’s the composition of objects in the room that resonates a certain feeling of disconnect. No doubt the white phantom glow displaying outward from the television on the wall is peculiar enough in itself. However, frame placement is key. The amount of actual darkness in the room is evident in spite of the exposure used: I’m guessing the time only lies somewhere between 20 seconds to 2 minutes here. Shadows that encompass the wall create a ghostly reminder of something that once was. Adding to this is the wraithlike bedsheets, ruffled and left as is; a cue that someone is or was just in the room. This picture tells a story that varies depending on the user. This is a narrative that speaks to me in terms of technology and the affects on human connectivity: a glow of what once was a human presence in an empty room of clutter and white noise. The deep blue hue of the wall offers a hint of sadness to the overall feeling of the environment.

Last of the images I was particularly drawn to, comes from Hido’s ‘Landscapes’ series. One of the things that really sets this image apart from the rest of the photography we see in this technological era is the artist’s knack for using natural filters. This idea is abhorrently relevant to the current social norm that has taken over the internet as well as the way we know and use social networking today: perhaps you may know it as ‘Instagram’. A beautiful exposure taken through the glass of a car window, rain settling all around, time appears to stand still. A color palette than ranges from cool purples to deep yellows, mutters a sense of warmth, hope. And though I cannot tell whether the sun is rising or setting, I cannot help feel, like it’s rays are pulling me in, engulfing me with the beautiful depth of field and blurred focal framing that Todd has so brilliantly created.

I feel something when I look at this work. It’s powerful, and it reminds me that we as humans live and dream in color. Todd Hido isn’t afraid to push the envelope, to question what is real from imaginary. He does this by utilizing photographic techniques, living in the moment; and his relationships with his subject matter shows throughout his imagemaking. With my senior show opening April 28th, I couldn't help but pay homage to the body of work that has been so influential in my own life. Keep an eye out internet, there's a storm coming.

Who inspires you to push forward in the things that you do? Why?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy April Fools!

Faked out half of my twitter followers, AND trolled my parents...


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Do you have any gaming traditions or games that you play with your family?

Just about the only game I found myself playing with my parents, who are much older than I, growing up was Monopoly, along with Scrabble and other board based games. Although I must say, after gifting my parents a Wii this Christmas we finally got down on some Mario Kartage, which, to my dismay, ended only 20 minutes after I finished, and watched them drive backwards on the map for 15 as such.