efongz

Artist Statement.

I believe photography is all about telling a story. I think that people perceive photography to be all about glamour, fashion, magazines, and perfection. But what is “perfection,” a utopia doesn’t exist. I think that people should see beyond this idea of perfection, and realize the harsh realities that life brings to us. I think there are more important issues in the world that need to be evaluated, so I bring that to you in a photograph. There is nothing to read, just see and embrace. I want to evoke emotion out of my viewer.

REFLECTION: 

I chose this photograph because it deals with situations that I am interested in communicating. I like showing the viewer things outside of the “norm.” I believe that photography is all about telling a story. There are real issues in the world that we, as a community, tend to refrain from talking about as often as we should. Some examples include rape, abuse, neglect, and economic hardship. Today’s society portrays things in a “sugar coated” way. When most people think photography, they think fashion, magazine, beauty, and perfection. But what is perfection? There is no “perfect” world; a utopia does not exist. As a photographer, I believe in showing people what’s really out there through my photos. Although the scenes I create may be staged, it doesn’t mean that situations like that are not out there. What I bring to the table is something different from this idea of “perfection.” I expose the real situations behind what everyone perceives our society to be, and challenge viewers to really think about the emotion behind every photograph I take. Discovering my passion for photography has really played a huge role in my life. Prior to my senior year of high school I thought I would pursue a career in music. I never really cared about school and doing work, because it never interested me. I found it boring and useless. It wasn’t until my junior year when I found something in school that I truly loved. It was photography. Photography gave me an opportunity to actually show who I am as a person and artist that music couldn’t. I was now able to stage and create things without the boundaries that I had with music. I later found myself taking classes at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, to help further my knowledge of photography. With that I eventually gained an internship with a successful commercial photographer. Now I enjoy working, and school so much more because I am involved with photography and art. This photograph was the photo that helped me develop my idea, and the words to express that idea.

Things I Wish To Eat This Summer...

fuck dieting. i can only have one cheat meal a week, but i want to get all the good food in while i’m near the city.

1. Joe’s Shanghai

2. Southern Food. real southern food.

3. Mac & Cheese.

4. Hispanic Food (papusas!)

5. Breakfast. anywhere with sick pancakes.

6. Italian. Little Italy all the way.

7. anything amazing.

Welcome!

Welcome to my creative writing/photoblog! I hope you enjoy what you read and see. Within a semester of my senior year I have composed a variety of pieces for you to read and look at. Viewer desecration is advised. Just kidding haha. But in all seriousness, I have worked hard to create what I have to show you. I have “bled on paper.” I have brought the stories of my personal life to you. Weather it be my family, friends, relationships, or my personal photos. I hope you can get a glimpse of who I am and what I’m all about through this blog. If you have any questions, or just have a comment or anything please don’t be shy! I’m a shy person, trust me I know how it feels (your heart races, your palms get clammy etc.) Just press the ‘ask’ button on my page and let me know what you think! :) Thank you and enjoy!! And now a little letter for Mr. Weinstein.

Mr. Weinstein,

Thank you for an awesome semester! I enjoyed creative writing a lot, and I found it to be very therapeutical. I never though that writing could help me relieve stress as easily as it had. I know I didn’t really participate much in class, so it might have also been hard to really get to know me, but I hope you see who I am through my photographs, and my writing. I think that encouraging students to “bleed on paper” is a good thing! (Well not literally of course!) But it really is, because not only do you as the reader get to know a person on a more personal level, but it also motivates the writer to actually come out of their shell and be more expressive with themselves. I think it’s a great thing. I also think the flow of workshop days and learning days are really good, because as students we don’t want to be lectured, or have to take notes everyday. Giving us time to free write and jot down our thoughts is something I personally looked forward to everyday.

However I know I didn’t hand in as much work as I did last quarter. I didn’t realize that though until I check your book with mine. As I sat there and thought to myself “Damn how come it feels like I turned in a lot?” I realized that it was because of the effort I had put into my work that made me feel that way. I had put so much thought, and effort into the work that I handed in that it felt like I handed in a lot more, when in reality I didn’t. For the semi minute amount of work handed in, I think it was somewhat successful in my eyes. It’s something I’m proud to put my name on. But if I had not taken this class I would not have been able to produce, or even have the guts to write half of what I wrote. So I commend you Mr. Weinstein, you are a great teacher, and a great person (ignore Sarah’s letter haha). Thank you! :)

-Emilie F.

2

Beautiful regardless. This is just to show you how our eyes are so deceived everyday. She’s beautiful with out the editing. This is what hollywood does to make you feel worse about yourself, when there is nothing wrong with you in the first place. We’re all unique. All those ads you see in magazines, billboards, and even on T.V, well they’re all fake. Photoshop is used to manipulate the looks of a person, change them entirely. Sometimes into completely different people. 

But this is really fun to do…Haha.

Brownies are a Thing of the Past

            DING DING DING DING, the timer rang endlessly as the sweet comforting smell of brownies filled the house.  Excitement and joy overcame my body. The thought of biting into a chocolaty slice of heaven made me leap with happiness. My cousin Pam always made sure I got the best tasting brownies every weekend. However, this is the only fond memory I have of my cousin.

            Growing up as one of the youngest kids in my group of cousins I almost always got all the attention. But for one particular cousin I had all of her attention. Her name’s Pamela, but I called her Pam. She was the person I looked up to; I always wanted to be like her. To me she was the coolest person alive. As a child I would go over to her house in Bellerose every weekend to bake with her. We made so many delicious items. My favorites though were the warm chewy brownies. It’s what we bonded over.  Every time I saw her we had this little secret hug, like a secret handshake but in hug form. It was called the “squishy”. Sadly this had all changed in an instant.

            As time went by I noticed Pam had stopped coming to some family events. Then one day I was at my aunt’s house for dinner. As we were cleaning up the table in walked Pam. I was eager to go say hi, and just as I was about to my mother started screaming at her in the kitchen.  All I remember hearing was, “What were you thinking!? Do you know how bad smoking is for you!? You’re not thinking, what who your friends are. You better not do it again.

“Pam then said, “I coughed a lot and I didn’t even like it.”

And from there everything changed. The person whom I once idolized became the person I never wanted to see again. Who knew once cigarette could change things?

            As the years passed things got much worse. It made smoking seem like the best thing that could have ever happened to her. She started enrolling in local community colleges, only to drop out after a month. She began developing this attitude of “I’m better than everyone else here, I know it all.” Along with this attitude she also developed a “hot” temper. Anything her mother said deserved a snap back at her. But worse of all this took a huge toll on our family.  The constant dropping out of school they started to accumulate debt in student loans. And on top of that her father was sick and in and out of the hospital, which also required a great deal of money.  She had officially stopped coming to important family events, such as our grandparents’ birthdays, New Years’ Eve, family barbecues, banquets and all. The only thing she showed up for was Chinese New Year, because on Chinese New Year everyone received money. Money was all she ever wanted or cared about.

            Even in the most joyous of times, she seemed to bring her sly condescending self to ruin it. She had our uncle pay her to come to his wedding. She claimed that if she went to the wedding she would be missing a day’s worth of work, which meant she needed to get compensated somehow. This hurt me personally, because our uncle has done so much for all of us (nieces and nephews), and she should have be more than happy to attend. The fact that she had to do this to her own family disgusted me. And that day my father opened a bar tab for the pre-ceremony cocktails to keep people occupied. Once she found out my dad was paying, she passed out drinks to everyone. She took advantage of anyone and everyone that she could.

            However, years after the wedding she enrolled back into college. This time in my eyes I saw change. She would come over and study with me, while I did homework. She would take me out to get lunch and just hang out and I thought things were turning around. Everyone, including my brother, said, “don’t get to close to her. She hasn’t changed, and she will drop out soon. Money is still the first thing on her mind. I didn’t listen. I tried convincing everyone that she was back on the right path, finally getting her crap together. Boy, was I wrong! A month later she dropped out, and fell “off the radar” again. I was left with a bunch of people saying, “I told you so.” I felt like a fool for even believing her in the first place. I had defended her and she made me look like an idiot.

            As I was filled with anger and bitterness toward Pam, I also found out she was now doing cocaine. Her father who had just been though a major surgery found a bag of white powder in her bedroom. Everyone knew what this meant. Pam was so erratic, irrational, and broke, it all made sense to us. She was on cocaine. The idea repulsed me. It made me despise her. No one in the family like her anymore, not even our grandfather. Her own mother was terrified to be left alone in the house with her because her attitude and rage would overcome her. My aunt would have to sleep over our house out of- fear of her own daughter. No one trusts her or goes to her for help. However, there was only one person who believed in her, and defended her even though she got shunned for it. That person was my grandma.

            My grandmother loved all her grandchildren no matter what. She always defended Pam, but Pam would never do anything back for her. Pam wouldn’t come to her birthday dinners, or even call to wish her a happy birthday. That really hurt me more than anything. Because I knew how much my grandmother loved us, and how much she did for us. My grandmother also raised me to be who I am, so for Pam to treat her this way really crushed me, and everything I had once liked in her. In time my grandmother became ill, and was constantly in and out of the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. She was there for about a week. Pam showed up once. And that was the day they told us my grandma would not last much longer. Once she was moved into Palliative Care Pam left. I spent days and nights crying, wishing I had just one more day with my grandmother. But I couldn’t help but think about what Pam could possibly be doing. As the days dragged on and pain lingered, my grandma finally passed away on June 2nd 2010.

            As we said goodbye to my grandmother at the funeral, Pam gave a lengthy speech about my grandma, stuff I can’t even remember. All I know is that everyone in that room knew that those tears were fake. and the stories weren’t real. It disgusted me that she could stand up there and tell lies. But what hurt me the most was that she didn’t show up for the burial. She claimed my grandmother was so close to her. My grandma did so much for her and Pam couldn’t go to the burial? That disgusted me. To this day I cannot look at her face without getting extremely upset.  To me that was a slap in the face.

            Through my life with Pam I’ve realized that not everything in a family is a sweet as that heavenly slice of a chocolaty brownie. Even though I believe that your family is the people you can count an trust on, I can’t trust my own. I’m going to have to learn to cope with it. 

REFLECTION: 

This memoir is one of my favorite pieces that I have written this year. Although it maybe a sad and painful story I think it is my most raw and deepest piece. I really honed into all my emotions towards my cousin Pamela. I finally got out what I have been holding onto for years. It was extremely therapeutical. The process of this memoir was not an easy one. I was quite hesitant towards writing this piece. I felt that because it was a family issue that I should refrain from writing, or even showing it to anyone. But a part of me wanted to let it out, because holding onto the past is painful, and something my grandma wouldn’t want me to do. She would have wanted me to tell my story, and that's what I did. It began with a list on a scrap piece of paper. This list consisted of all the bad thing Pamela had done to myself, my family, and herself. (It was a very long list). Then came the process of selecting which situations I were to write about. In writing this piece I learned a few things about myself that I didn’t really notice before. I learned that I hold strong grudges at times. I have the guts to say things that maybe I shouldn't say. I have a big heart. And family is really the most important thing to me, and it’s what keeps me going. 

Maturity Come with a Price

This summer I’ve really changed. I don’t want to say in a good way, or a bad one either. But I just know I’ve changed. You know, that feeling where you’re just like “wow what happened to me?” But I’ve started changing the way I dress slightly. I still wear my lovely skinny jeans, but now I have invested in a belt. Yes a simple but much needed belt, and no more Hanes V-necks. If it’s going to be a white v-neck I’ll wear an actual nice one. I’m also wearing more button downs, and cardigans and what not. Because I’ve come to realize that wearing a white Hanes V-neck isn’t presentable! It’s an undershirt pretty much. And as much as I enjoy wearing them, people perceive it as exactly what it is…an undershirt. And it’s time to just grow up.

 I go out a lot now with my friends from the city or outside of school (rarely people from school) and we go out to dinner at nice places, and even “hole in the walls.” And it’s a lot more fun than stupid little high school parties. Which I hardly ever went to! It’s so much more fun now. Immature high school kids who stand on your right and talk shit about the person on your left no longer surround me. Now it is so much more uh…F R E E Flowing!! I can be me, and have fun! Which is the most important thing to me. Which leads into “Maturity comes with a price”.

As I’ve grown this summer I’ve realized that the people I had once considered to be my really good friends are not what they used to be. They’ve changed just like I have. They do things that I’m not too comfortable with. Unlike them I choose to stay away from sketchy parties at bars with people ranging from 13-23. Also I don’t believe if doing drugs to stay in a relationship. It’s 100% against my morals. I believe that in a relationship you should always be yourself. I know that sounds cliché, but if you can’t be yourself then how’s your partner going to actually get to know you? As much as I tried to be a good friend I couldn’t handle the disrespect. I would walk in on my friend and her boy friend having sex in my bedroom. I don’t know about everyone else, but for me that was the most disrespectful thing that they could have done.

However, it’s not just what they do, but it is their attitudes as well, and they way they treated me andothers. And they way their friends/boy friends/girl friends treated people. And who they have become due to those people. So ultimately I made a choice. I cut them out of my life. I slowly stopped answering phone calls, text messages, and instant messages. I slowly stopped engaging in conversations with these people. And I didn’t let their trash talking about me effect me. I just didn’t need that form of negativity and immaturity surrounding me. So the “price” of maturity was that I had to lose friends. 

However on the bright side of that…I made new friends over the summer. Those friends are wholesome people, who have the same interests as I. They also understand the whole thing about having “class” and being mature, and what not. They support me and I support them. We help each other get through the good, the bad, and even the ugly. And well, that’s why they are my friends. And we get each other. With them I have so much more fun, than I would normally have with my school friends, even my best friend. I have more fun with my new friends from this summer than my best friend. It’s odd. But yeah that’s pretty how life goes. As you grow up you meet people more different than the last person. And as we mature our opinions, and values of our friends change. So just know “maturity comes with a price”. Don’t take it for granted

REFLECTION:

When I wrote this piece I had realized how much I’ve grown up and matured. I wasn’t saying that I was more mature than everyone else, but I was saying that compared to who I used to be, and some of my friends, that I’ve really grown as a person. I would look at myself everyday and realize how little things could change me. Like a belt for instance. That belt and wearing it was a huge confidence booster. Changing my wardrobe help increase my self esteem, and the way I felt about my body. Dropping friend who made poor choices helped me see (in a cliche way) the lighter side of things. Dropping friends helped me see the brighter side, and made me a much happier person. The fact of the matter is that now I feel like a new person. I realized how much of my life was wasted hanging out with these people who were my so called “friends.” I’m happy with who I’ve become, and I’m sure I will change again. But for once, I am happy with myself. This piece was a fairly easy and fast piece to write, but every word true. 

Asian & White

 "I can’t believe that new bitch is going out with my ex boyfriend.” Those were the words that came out of my mouth in 2008. How did the new girl get my ex boyfriend whom I still liked? Every time I saw her I wanted to kill her. She was pretty, tall, skinny, and white. Although I never admitted that, instead I would say, “Ew she’s ugly, too tall, way to skinny, and really pale.“ Meanwhile my reasoning for saying all that was to justify my own insecurities with myself. I looked at her, and then looked at myself, and thought, “wow I’m so damn ugly, I’m so short, I’m so fat, and I’m Asian.” Nothing seemed fair anymore. I was 100% sure that I would hate this girl forever, from there on.  

            Soon after I had forgotten about this girls existence I got an instant message from her, while enjoying my summer. It read “hi.” Immediately my first response was “WHAT THE….” I wasn’t sure if I should be scared or not. I was still very much so intimidated by her. So many thoughts ran through my head, I thought she was going to tell me off, I thought she was going to threaten me, and I thought “HOLY SHIT WHAT DO I SAY.” I remember my palms beginning to sweat, (although they usually get clammy anyways), and my heart beginning to race nervously as I had typed the word “hi” out. Once I pressed enter my body went numb, as if it were in some kind of shock or traumatic state. However to my surprise she just simply replied with a simple “what’s up.” As our conversation slowly grew I realized she was a lot nicer than I had thought. She seemed simple, sweet, kind, and calm. But oh how I was so wrong.

            It wasn’t until I had a class with her that I learned I was so off about who she actually was. I had never spoken to her in person yet, and I didn’t even know how to pronounce her name. Until that class I always thought her name was pronounced Jen-tiana, (spelled Gentiana). But it was actually pronounced GEN-tiana. As we were sitting in that math class I remember taking to another student in the class about my favorite band named Paramore. Instantly Gentiana turned around in her desk and said, “Oh all of the guys in that bad are hot.” That’s when I realized that she wasn’t this simple, sweet, kind, calm girl I thought she was. Nope, she wasn’t at all. She was loud, outgoing, funny, and sort of free spirited. Everyone liked her. Teachers even loved her so much that they fought to keep her in their class. I was excited to become friends with her, but hesitant at the same time because I had trust issues. So many friends have stabbed me in the back that I was scared to bring someone new in.

            Slowly but surely we became good friends. We cut classes together, ate lunch together (well she ate mine because I never wanted it), laughed together, laughed at people together, jammed out in the music room together, and threw staples at teachers together (actually that was her I just laughed as she did it). What if came down to was trust. I trusted her. I told her about my life, the good, bad, and ugly, and she told me about hers. Underneath all our laughs and silly moments were serious conversations as well. We talked about school, our futures, and relationships with other people. But it wasn’t until a particular conversation where I knew that this friend would be a life long friend rather than one who would just come and go.

            It was family. That’s how I knew. She always talked about her family, especially her sisters. I always admired the fact that she was so close to them. She would always tell me about the funny times she had with them, and even the bad. She would also always say, “I love you” before she hung up the phone with her mother. I guess it’s the small things that count. But what really touched me the most was when she opened up to me about her father passing away. I always knew she had a stepfather, but I had never asked what happened to her actual father. However it wasn’t just her father who passed away, but her uncle as well. When she would tell me about how much she missed him I could tell she’d just get sad, and to me family isn’t just about your mom, dad and siblings, but your extended family too. The fact that she cared so much was a huge factor into why I thought she was more than just some friend whom I might just stop talking too. She always put family first, and still does. They even all go bowling together! I would give up a dumb party to have dinner with all of my family. That’s how I knew she was a solid friend.

            But as time elapsed Gentiana transferred to The Village School, and I went back to being that lone, quiet kid in school. It wasn’t that bad, except when I need someone to talk to. It was tolerable to say the least. But she was much happier at her new school, so I couldn’t complain. She made new friends, and eventually I made new friends. I went from seeing her every week to about 3 times a month. We talked but just not as much. I felt as if we in a way “out grew” each other. However I was wrong about yet another thing.

            That year was the worst year of my life. I became friends with the worst people I could have ever imagined who influenced me to cut school. And my grades fell straight down to hell. I was a mess, and on top of that my grandmother was sick. She was my biggest supporter in life, and raised me to be the person I am today. My life was a mess. However Gentiana and I still didn’t talk too much, until I called her crying. The day my grandma passed was the worst day of my life. The one person who believed in me was now gone. The person who woke me up in the morning and tucked me in was gone. I never said “I love you” to my mother, but to my grandmother –always. The day she passed away I called Gentiana crying my eyes out. She didn’t say much she just listened, and that was more than enough. I went to an empty hallway in the hospital, sat on the couch cried my eyes out with my heart throbbing in my hand and just said “Why” over and over. That’s when I realized we didn’t out grow each other. We were still there for each other, and we didn’t have to speak, or see each other everyday to still be good friends. The new friends I had made weren’t there for me, but she was. And honestly that’s all I wanted.

            From then on the title “best friend” surfaced. Although I’m not quite sure how we even got to that label, weird how that happened, but I’m glad it did. I’ve had best friends before, but they’ve never lasted. I normally get sick of people after awhile and I just stop talking to them. That’s just not the case here. It’s been 4 years, and we’re still best friends. To think we outgrew each other was absurd, we grew together. While we changed who we were and who our friends were we always stayed true to two things, our families and each other.

            Four years later we’re still best friends. We still do the same things we’ve done since we became friends. Four years ago we would have said, “Who cares if he’s an asshole, he’s hot,” about guys we would date. Now it’s more along the lines of “Sure he’s hot, but his personality makes him ugly.” (Most of the time I’m saying that…) But it’s different now. We’ve gotten thorough going to different school, and not speaking for chunks of time rather easily. But now I’m about to spend four years (most likely) in a different state. While she’s here in New York, I’ll probably be in Boston, MA. I probably wont be coming home as often as I should either. We’re going to make different friends, and they say the friends you make in college become you’re life long friends. I guess this is the task to overcome. Hopefully by then I can come home from college and throw staples at people with her.  

REFLECTION:

Originally this piece started off as a memoir about my high school career, and it was titled ‘Echoes of Silence,’ however it eventually morphed into a memoir about and Asian girl (myself) and a white girl and how we became best friends. I thought writing this would be so much easier and faster. But I was wrong. Even though Gentiana was my best friend I had a hard time writing it. But I continued on. I thought about our friendship, but looked past our silliness and tried to hone in on the deeper parts of our relationship. I eventually found it. During the process of writing this I did cry a bit, especially when it came to the part about her family and my own. While writing this I learned that if I want to make important relationships work in my life than I need to put an effort into it. For example, if I want to continue this great relationship with my best friend when I go off to college, I’m going to have to work at it. It’s not Easy. I also learned that I don’t need to have a lot of friends in life, I just need my one best friend. As I wrote it I was sending it to her, she appreciated it and enjoyed it, just as much as I had enjoyed writing it. It made me happy to see that I actually had a best friend. Not only was she my best friend, but I was hers. And in a lame way I had never really been anyones best friend before. This was a happy story about 2 friends. Simple, but putting my voice into the story was the hardest part. And I think I succeeded.