photography

TALKING TO ANDREW LING ABOUT PASSION PASSPORT

I stumbled across the Passion Passport/Adobe Student project on Instagram a few months back and noticed they were having a meet and display in downtown LA. With only 10% of an idea of what I was getting myself into, I went to the meet where I was so amazed at the work all of these students have done, and so impressed with how Adobe and Passion Passport are intentionally raising up passionate, talented, young creatives. I, being one of those, was very excited. 

I got to know many (very cool) people, and one was named Andrew Ling. A few months later, here he is, telling us all about his project and what he learned:

What was the Passion Passport project?

For Passport to Creativity, Adobe and Passion Passport teamed up to send six students on creative assignments around the world. Zenzele Ojore (Rhode Island School of Design) and I were sent to Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia--where we used our creativity to capture and interpret the environment's sights, sounds, and sensations. Adobe turned our work (along with work of the other students) into a multimedia installation in downtown LA during Earth Day weekend-- to raise awareness for these protected landscapes we were sent to. 

How did you hear about it and what was the application process like?

My younger sister, Teresa told me she saw a Facebook ad online from Adobe and said I should apply! I turned in some photos from my portfolio, and got an email to interview with Adobe for the project. A few weeks later they informed me I had been selected to go to Patagonia! If you're a student/creative, make sure you follow @AdobeStudents and @PassionPassport on social, they have so many cool programs like this one you can apply for!

Where did you go and for what purpose?

Zenzele and I went to Patagonia, where Passion Passport provided us with a wonderful mentor (Michael George). Over the course of two weeks, we used Adobe Creative Cloud to do what we knew best--to create. In the end, the goal was to increase awareness in helping to protect our environment--and also to inspire and empower other students to do world changing things. 

What are the top 3 things you learned?

1) Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As often as you can. Life is too short to be lived in one place. There is so much to see out there, and you'll learn more about yourself than you could ever imagine. Get out there!

2) Cliché, but follow your heart. Life is short, find what you love and do it. All through college I had studied business. Yet all along I loved anything that was art. The Passport to Creativity opportunity came out of nowhere, but it changed my life because I kept taking photos and creating, even when everyone around me was wondering what on earth I was doing. I've since graduated with my Marketing degree, and am pursuing photography full time. I've never been happier. 

3) Be selfish--sometimes. This is something our mentor Michael George would constantly remind us of. He is one of the youngest people to ever shoot a full mobile spread for National Geographic Magazine. He is one of the nicest and funniest people I've ever met, and it was surprising at first when the words 'be selfish' came out of his mouth. I thought he was kidding at first until he explained, sometimes you just have to go for it as a photographer. You have a responsibility to capture moments, some of which will be gone forever. 

4) I'm including one more because I think it's important. I feel like being 'young' is often seen as being inexperienced, or bad at something. I think it's the opposite. We, the youth have insight tied to our generation that no one else can understand quite like us. We know how to sell and market things to people our age. We understand people that are our age. This isn't meant to take anything away from older generations They're better than us at different things. I just feel like the just scales aren't balanced right now, and young people are too often seen as inexperienced and less valuable. That's not always true. To all the young creatives out there, you are valuable. Don't ever sell yourself short. Also, when I say 'young' and 'old' it's all relative. There's no specific age. You can be young at 60 years old. Stay creative and have an open mind. Don't settle. Jeez I hope this doesn't come off as sounding entitled! Promise that's far from who we are. 

What kind of camera equipment do you use?

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III, and DJI Phantom 4! I don't like carrying a ton of equipment when I don't need to, so you'll often find me shooting with my iPhone 6S+ and a set of Moment lenses

Are there any rules you live by for your creative work?

Again another cliché, but be yourself. People are going to push and pull you in every direction possible; people will try to tell you who they want you to be--personally, and artistically. Just remember there isn't one person in the world that everyone loves. 

Which artists inspire you?

As a photographer, anything and everything inspires me. I'm inspired a ton by music artists, and people are probably going to make fun of me for this, but I love Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Justin and Taylor I feel aren't afraid to be vulnerable, regardless of their social status. They kind of do what they want and sing about what they want, without being afraid of people laughing at them which is something I can relate to. I feel artists are often counted out by people in society, for choosing the less conventional path. 

As far as photographers and videographers go, there are SO many that inspire me that I wouldn't even be able to list them all. Totally hate to pull the 'you know who you are,' but I have to. So many people make fun of 'Instagram' photographers for a myriad of reasons, some of which are valid--but there are countless amazing people/artists on there. 

Zenzele, with whom I went to Patagonia, is amazing. I feel like her work deserves way more attention, which she never goes out seeking. Beautiful things never seek attention, but her work deserves more of it. I've never seen anything like it. She's been one of my biggest supporters, every time I doubt myself she's been there to pick me back up. She's an amazing person. You should probably interview her next :).

Check out some of her work here.

Anything else you want the world to know?

Be weird. Be nice. Love everybody. 

Follow Andrew on Instagram: @andrewling
 Andrew also made a pretty cool lightroom preset that is available for purchase here!

ALLISON ZAUCHA + DREAMS THAT COULD BE

We love when creatives are doing good in this world. Allison Zaucha is a young photographer who is absolutely killing it in both departments. She's working on a really neat photo project right now in partnership with Givology. We could tell you in our own words, but it's better to hear it from Allison:

What's your role in Dreams That Could Be?
Dreams That Could Be is a project that I came up with about a year and a half ago. I reached out to a film maker friend, Andrew Bilindabagabo, about collaborating on this idea, and he was already just as excited as I was. I knew this was going to be something big. I pitched the idea to Joyce Meng and Jenn Chen, the founders of Givology, who I knew I wanted to work with on this project and they immediately supported it and were excited about the idea. Givology is an organization committed to connecting grassroots education projects and provides student scholarships around the world as well as increasing the impact of the dollar given. I went to Givology initially because I had interned with them in college and I knew that it was an excellent organization that was 100% volunteer-run. That being said, I knew all the proceeds of this project would go back to the right hands. In the same nature of Givology, I made Dreams That Could Be into a 100% volunteer-run project.

How did you first learn of it, and decide to become involved?
Dreams That Could Be was a natural extension of work that I love to do - photojournalism that celebrates humans and gives back to communities. The photojournalsm landscape has made it hard for photographers to cover stories like this for major publications because the budgets aren't there. I realized that if I wanted to do a humanitarian story that benefits the participants working with me to provide a larger global impact, I needed to work with NGOs.

I decided to become involved with Givology in college because I wanted to work with organizations that were making big social impacts. Ever since I was young i was always volunteering and giving time to help other people. I grew up always knowing I was going to work in nonprofits and organizations that focused on humanitarian work. The challenge was figuring out how to do that and make a living out of it. I reached out to Givology to intern and it was awesome. There were conference calls with volunteers from all around the world and autonomy to speak up if we had ideas or solutions to challenges. Within a few weeks, Givology gave me the freedom to start my own social media campaign and promoted me to take on more PR duties. At that moment, I knew that this organization that listened to volunteers and put ideas into action was going to be an organization that would support my ideas in the future. 

What rocks you, or challenges, or impacts you the most about this organization or cause?
What really moves me with Givology is the impact it makes with the students who we are trying to help as well as the ones who are volunteering. Givology really focuses on working with organizations that are making change from the inside rather than just throwing money at something. Givology makes sure that every organization that is on board is workingng with the students ad making real, significant changes in the community. Another thing is that we aren't so worried about big organizations. Givology wants to make sure assistance and help is getting to smaller organizations that don't receive as much attention as the larger NGOs. That's huge because there are so many small organizations out there that need attention. Givology is a voice in the United States for many of these schools.

What rocks me about Dreams That Could Be is that we are using our voices in a creative way to connect people throughout the world. We are connecting students like Sahra, who you see in the images, to you or your friends and you can read her quotes and understand her through a personal way. That is what really gets me fired up - connecting on a human-to-human level because once we take away our location or material things, we see that we are all very much alike. Once we get to that point it is much easier to help people. We need to be able to relate before we take action, and this project is our way of hoping to bridge that gap.

How do you see the course of poverty running in the next five or ten years? And what can we do to stop this in your perspective?
I can't be too certain what the course of poverty will look like. It's just a massive issue that isn't going to end any time soon and that's just the blunt reality of it. I think we all collectively need to raise our voices, raise our ideas that change can happen much faster. Progress throughout history has been done this way, by banning together, and I think that's the only way we will end poverty. As it looks now, economically, we are increasing the gap between the ultra wealthy and poor. I don't think this is a good thing. My hope is that we will help with our hands and minds rather than our wallets. I think that in the next five-ten years people will be doing more of this because it's evident that you can't make great progress by throwing money at an issue and expecting it to fix itself. That is my dream - that we will listen to the people who need help and we will hear their story. It's my dream that we won't judge people for their situations, that we will open our hearts and try to understand. Once we understand, than we can begin to help. 
 

If you want to learn more about Dreams That Could Be, look here : http://www.dreamsthatcouldbe.com/join-us

And if you want to feast your eyes on Allison's personal work, gawk here : http://www.allisonzaucha.com