A Family’s Evolution (2013)

Photography by Nisha Haq

'A Family's Evolution' was created over the summer as part of the international ‘Young Photographer’s Alliance Mentoring Program’ responding to a brief titled ‘Escape’. This project is a documentation of the changes experienced in the family as a means to understand my place in the unit and question my identity as a British Asian. Inspired by a quote by Henri Peretz: ‘Every shot is an opportunity to mark the different stages in a family’s evolution’. These photographs explore my relationship between my divorced parents, my step family, my partner’s family and the stark contrast between these three households through formalised portraiture in domestic spaces. Though all the images may seem to show completely different families, it is my unique relationship to each group creating a visual family tree as a means to identify the varying cultures and environments within each unit that I am a part of that brings these photographs and families together. 

What Happens When We Stretch?

What exactly happens when we stretch? We all know something gives. The longer we reach for our toes, the easier it is to grasp them.

What we’ve learned through science is that it isn’t just one thing. Stretching is actually pretty dang complicated.

First the Anatomy

Each muscle fiber is wrapped up in fascia, a material a little like the plastic wrap you could see surrounding a leftover chicken leg in the fridge. Each individual muscle fiber wrapped up in its fascia is then collected into a group with another coating of fascia holding the group together. Then several of those groups of muscle fibers are bundled together in one big group of muscle surrounded by a bigger, thicker layer of fascia.

As the muscle nears a bone, it thins and becomes tapered. The fascia covering each fiber as well as that surrounding the groups of fibers continues and becomes a tendon that forms the connection of muscle to bone. Scientists call this entire structure the muscle-tendon complex. It’s considered one unit because muscle and connective tissue (fascia and tendons) are so intimately connected and intertwined that studying only one or the other is difficult. Having said that, they’ve been able to tease out what is happening to each of them when we stretch.

The Muscle Component

Stretching muscle causes a reflex mechanism in the spinal cord– sort of like the reflex a doctor elicits when she taps your knee and your leg jerks. Sensitive receptors known as muscle spindles are located throughout the length of the muscle. Muscle spindles note a change in muscle length during a stretch as well as how fast the stretch has occurred. They send this information to the spine. That triggers the stretch reflex which attempts to resist the change in muscle length by causing the stretched muscle to contract. The more sudden the change in muscle length, the stronger the muscle contractions will be. (And that is one reason you want to go slowly into a stretch without any rapid sudden movement.) This reflex helps to maintain muscle tone and upright posture and to protect the body from injury. The longer you hold an asana and stretch the muscle, the less the muscle spindles can do their job. They only work for a short while. After time, their effect goes away. When that happens, you get a little more length during the stretch because the muscle stops contracting.

Keep reading

A lovely baby grand piano with an amazing backdrop of the Melbourne City Skyline situated on our level at the HKABA Chinese New Year function yesterday. #hkaba #hongkong #australia #business #association #ypa #young #professional #alliance #happy #chinese #new #year #wealth #luck #prosperity #babygrandpiano #piano #melbourne #city #skyline #instagood #donchu #chairman #racvclub #architecture #design #instagood #iphonephotography #iger #donchu #stilllife (at RACV Club)

Young Photographers' Alliance Mentorship Program 2011 (Or How to Suffer For Your Art)

Back in May of this year, I was casually checking my twitter account. I use it to follow a few photographers and photography blogs who tweet interesting news/other titbits of useful information. I also like to use it to tell the world what I had for breakfast. The public needs to know.

So one of the photographers retweeted a link to a competition that the Young Photographers’ Alliance were running to win a mentorship with well known photographers and editors. It was the last day of the competition and I figured I had nothing to lose but to spend twenty minutes uploading some of my work and a written response to the project brief ‘Energy’. I applied to the Fashion & Portraiture program and then swiftly forgot about it. Next Monday, I checked my email to find out that I had won a place on a mentorship with The Sunday Times Style Magazine photo editor Sharon O’Neil and photographer John Wright. A period of freaking out occurred.

The point of the mentorship was to produce our responses to the theme ‘Energy’ with guidance from John and Sharon. In addition to the Fashion & Portraiture team, there was also a reportage team and a team up in Glasgow. We would all have our final work judged, and prizes for the overall winner and the Fashion & Portraiture winner. We met with our mentors every couple of weeks over the summer in either John’s studio in Shoreditch (amazing, I want one!) or at News International’s London headquarters (most surreal moment of the year was watching the News Of The World Scandal in the front lobby of their headquarters). Whilst we were aware that we were competing against each other, the emphasis was on producing great work and helping each other.

I decided to do a technique called Stroboscopic photography, where a light flashes multiple times during a longer shutter speed, creating an image where the moving object/person is clearly shown multiple times, giving the effect of movement. I studied futurism at school, and have always found it interesting and the thought of doing it with photography was quite exciting.

This excitement evolved into unrelenting terror as I studied the work behind the technique. I won’t bore you all with the details as it can be quite boring, so let’s move on to the images shall we?

This is my wondeful friend, and now housemate, Kd! She volunteered as a model for me to test out the technique. My good friend (and ex-housemate) Dan is the manager at my old Student’s Union in Loughborough and let us have the run of the building so I could create a room without light, which is essential for this technique. Friends are useful!

So with the knowledge garnered from the test shoot I booked the giant black studio at The Worx to shoot the final images. The wonderful model I used was Lea Reah who is a trained ballet dancer with the Royal School of Ballet. 

This was one of the most challenging, expensive, exhausting shoots I’ve ever done, but I’m so happy with the results. Everyone involved in the project produced amazing work, and I didn’t envy the judges having to make the decision. Tina Remiz won the overall prize for her brilliant night protraiture and Michael Byrne won the Fashion & Portraiture prize for his beautiful fashion work.

All the work will be exhibited in New York in January along side the work from the US teams, and will also be coming to the UK sometimes next year too. 

I will be posting my final four images after this post so keep your eyes peeled!




How Can I Get More Sleep?

Do you need to get more sleep? Here’s what some of your peers have done.

Avoid late nights. “I’ve been making an effort to get to bed at a decent hour,” says 18-year-old Catherine.

Cut out the chatter. “Sometimes friends will call or text me really late,” says Richard, aged 21, “but I’ve recently learned to end the conversation and just go to sleep.”

Aim for consistency. “Lately,” says 20-year-old Jennifer, “I’m trying to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.”

Secret to Success: Strive to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.

You have everything to gain by taking just a few simple steps to get more sleep. Remember, having good health will help you to look better, feel great, and perform at your best.

Unlike certain things in life, your physical condition is something over which you do have a degree of control. “In the end,” says 19-year-old Erin, “your health depends on only one person—you.”

If you're in New York, go see my work!

So the Young Photographers’ Alliance Mentoring Exhibition is currently exhibiting in the Calumet Gallery (click for map) in New York City and it’s featuring one of my images! If you live in, or are visiting Manhattan on or before the 20th January please come by :). The gallery is on the second floor, access through the Calumet shop. 

Do feelings of inadequacy prevent you from taking on new challenges? Do the well-meaning comments of those you respect sometimes undermine your confidence? Does discouragement over past blunders hold you back from trying again? If so, how can you come to terms with your failures—real or perceived? 

You have everything to gain by finding the answer to that last question because sooner or later everyone fails at something.

But people who can deal with failures are resilient. That means they can put their mistakes in perspective, get up, and try again. And next time, they’re more likely to succeed!

Super excited and extra proud today to see the work by 5 photographers I mentored alongside the great Steve Giralt as part of the Young Photographers Alliance mentorship program featured on PDN’s Photo Of The Day

The Young Photographers Alliance was created to inspire and empower young, gifted photographers. Its yearly mentoring program picks up where school left off by providing the opportunity to work on a project with guidance from industry professionals. In 2014 a total of 45 mentees took part and were divided into teams of 5 in various locations around the world. Each mentee produced three final images and an essay under the common theme of ‘Boundaries’. 

Tomorrow night there is an exhibition and opening reception at the Art Directors Club in NYC showcasing everyones work. Prizes will be handed out for best overall images and essay (individual), best overall team (GO TEAM!!!) and best single image. From 6pm - 9pm 106 West 29th Street. More details here… I will be there so please be sure to say hello hello.

The 5 mentee’s Steve and I worked with put their heart and souls into the program and I cannot begin to express how being a part of the group was and is a continuous inspiration. I will be forever grateful to the YPA, Steve and the 5 to have been able to share the experience.

Please check out the 5 in our team here:

Missy Davis 

Alyssa Meadows 

Hsin Wang 

Andrew Tomasino 

Logan Wu 

My Best Friend Anxiety

Do you know what it’s like

to wake up shaking at night

Soaked to the bone in your own sweat?

Have you ever had to hide

In a bathroom,in broad daylight

Because you think someones hands are going to wrap around your neck?

I get that all the time

Even the comfort of my own bedroom gives me the shakes

And every time someone looks at me

they can see my mistakes

And they can read it on my face

And all it does is just drain

All my composure and grace

And still everyone expects me to be able to explain

”Why are you crying?”

”Why can’t you speak?”

”Why can’t you breathe?”

”Is this the person you’re always gonna be?”

Except it’s not me

It’s anxiety

It’s always anxiety

It’s anxiety that was there every time I tripped in the hallway

It’s anxiety that was there every time someone was waving to the person behind me

I can’t just laugh of the little things

They stay with me and they burn and they sting

And while I’m sobbing so hard it hurts me

I was still left with no mercy

If some kid was sick,all he got was a little extra homework

Yet I was still expected to give an oral report

to swallow my vomit

for a grade I didn’t want

And every one is so understanding for someone with a normal fear

But because I’m afraid of myself I’m weird

And a few people try,but no one know s how to act

When I’m crying and feeling like a heart attack

And I can’t run every time it comes along

don’t get me wrong,medication works

But only for so long

And then,once again,I’m left in the dark

Not knowing what to do

Because no matter what,it always follows you

It’s always there in the back of my head

Criticizing me until I’m dead

And as much as I’d  hate to admit it

It’s my closest friend

It knows things I wouldn’t tell to anyone else

It knows how to twist me and make me turn on myself

It picks at me like a scab

snapping at me like a rubber band

Just poking me until I get mad

and say something stupid

and then I look bad

And it’s all put on me

Because anxiety is something that no one can see

And I know this isn’t the way I was meant to be

But parts of me are broken,parts I can’t see

So I can’t fix me

So I’m just left with the thoughts inside my brain,the thoughts I made

That drive me insane

That scrape me with a needle until I give in

That won’t leave me alone until they won

Anxiety,my best friend