Stanford Center for African Studies, 50th Celebration by Alexandra Nana-Sinkam

I remember my first day walking into the Center for African studies with acute nostalgia. The epitome of bold naivety, I shuffled in there roaring for the world. Really, it was quite embarrassing. 

Though emotionally cringe-worthy, I'm fond of the memory because it represents my entry into a community that heavily influenced me. Through CAS, I learned the nuances of intellectualism; that is, the guilt of studying cultures that are yours but are not yours and surely belong more significantly to others. I learned the frustration of application: the hypocrisy of being an Africanist while studying in the sun-kissed towers of our California kingdom. I began to understand the importance of sharing the sting of academic insecurity and burnt dreams. Level setting with yourself through the support of others. I ate a lot of chocolate. Read a lot of books. Raced to finish many applications there.

All this to say. Coming back to this community and attempting to distill it was an artistic challenge and honor. I shot members of the CAS community (alumni, friends, current students, family)  in a rapid 2 hour window during an afternoon in November. The hope was that in capturing each individual's interpretation of this place, we could bring to light how diverse yet singular this community actually is. Month's later, the prints came to life in an exhibit to celebrate the Center's 50th anniversary. They'll be hanging there until the end of the school year. Here are a couple of my favorite shots, plus some photos taken at the exhibit. 

Hannah + Lucas by Alexandra Nana-Sinkam

 

Lucas and Hannah got married in Estes Park, at a outdoor chapel overlooking the Rockies. The juxtaposition between the expanse of the Rockies and the intimacy of their ceremony made for an overwhelmingly beautiful scene.

So obvious was the love their family, friends, and community have for them, both separately and as a unit. Could've cut that emotional texture like a cake. There was no cake at this wedding though, only pie. Which I couldn't get over and thought was so cool.

Capturing this day for them was pretty joyful. Having Kian as my second shooter was also v rad.

Denver (+ Boulder) by Alexandra Nana-Sinkam

Spent Labor Day weekend in Denver and Boulder, before driving up towards the Rockies to photograph a wedding. My tourist perspective was that both cities felt like they had all the things in one place; no stress of taking weekend trips to feel close to nature, no anguish at nothing to do on a Friday night. The people were also outrageously (maybe eerily?) nice. Community seemed like a given, rather than a misnomer or buzzword.

Ate great food, tramped around the Red Rocks, people watched at a couple street festivals, hiked Mt. Sinitas in Boulder. These are a few of my favorite shots. Adventure is out there!


Nostalgia Ultra by Alexandra Nana-Sinkam

I don't consider myself much of a blogger--in fact, the idea of creating content on schedule for others to consume gives me extreme anxiety. Instead, this is space for brief updates, pulse checks, time stops when they're necessary. 

Call me cynical in that I believe all inaugural things are at some point looked on in retrospect with a bit of embarrassment. It is a selfishly safe bet then, to focus this inaugural post on my family...a conglomeration of hilarious humans for whom my adoration is quite timeless. 

As most aging families go, my 3 brothers and I live thousands of miles apart, and even further away from our parents in Pennsylvania. The holidays are the only time we're ever all under the same roof. Last December, I captured a bunch of monochrome photos on Christmas morning. The pictures aren't particularly good, and they don't really capture the vibrance that was 3 hours of joking around while unwrapping gifts. But I love that 5 months later I could email them to everyone, and states apart we were able to remember the feeling of being together.