Sand City

30 10 2008

This turned into a surprise road trip.  We originally just intended to go hang out at Shazi’s crib in VA Beach, but I didn’t realize how far it was.  It was a nice, chill weekend.  It wasn’t quite beach weather, even though it was May.  All in all, it was a good trip.

 

 

Tribal

Tribal

May 2008

The drive was long, so I was just messing around with my camera in the front seat while Amer drove.  He had a little tribal mask hanging from his mirror and I angled the shot to line it up with his face.  Came out pretty interesting.

 

 

Lost in the Lights

Night Rider

While Amer was driving at night, I used some blur action to catch some lights streaking across.  I like how this effect turned out.

 

 

Under the Lights

Under the Lights

We made a midnight trip to the beach.  It was all nice and relaxing until it started raining.  The sand was fairly well-lit by the lights on top of the hotels that line the shore.

 

Tea Time

Tea Time

Sadiq and Shazi took a seat by the window in a coffeeshop we visited in downtown VA Beach.  

 

Preturbed

Marcus waited for the shower to free up in the morning while lounging around Shazi’s apartment in one of his robes.

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Closing Time

29 10 2008

Towards the end of my final semester at VCU, I started to take more portraits of people.  I wanted to really try and capture people in a way that would help me accurately remember them for years afterwards.  I really feel like these pictures do just that for the people in them.

 

 

Adventureland

Adventureland

April 2008

Nelo and Mufti were being goofy under a street sign in Oregon Hill.  This was during a group adventure we took to the river and Belle’s Isle late one night.  We did some night-hiking, extreme climbing, abandoned building exploring, and we unsuccessfully tried to evade the police.  All in all, it was an awesome adventure.

 

 

BFF's

BFF's

marsOne and Sumayra, longtime friends, are reunited in Monroe Park on this incredible Spring day.  It’s true, after college you don’t get to see your friends as much, so it’s always great when you get to meet up again and catch up on old times.

 

 

Terminader

Terminader

Nadder gave us the eyebrow after we briefly crossed paths in the street on the way to campus.  

 

 

Pre-Game

Pre-Game

Monroe Park soccer star, Johnny, chills in the park with some friends before the 5pm daily showdown.  It’s recently developed into a local tradition to gather students to play pickup soccer in the park until sundown,  in afternoons when the weather is nice.  

 

 

Multi-tasker

Multi-tasker

The organizer behind the Monroe Park soccer showdown, Amer, is multi-tasking in the Student Commons.  Amer is usually always seen making the most of his time, a great quality.  Here, he’s listening to music, going to class, staying hydrated, organizing players for the soccer match, and looking out a window.  Magnanimous.  

 

 

Hologram

Hologram

Nelo is seen looking out to the city of Richmond through an observation deck atop City Hall.  If you look closely, you can catch a reflection of the photographer in the glass…

 

 

Che Like

Che Like

Such a gangsta hoodie.  Mufti was probably telling me not to take her picture as a group of us stood outside of Coliseum Deli on Broad St after the ritual Friday afternoon lunch.  You can smell the food from the restaurant from blocks away and it always draws a crowd.  I used to basically live at this place freshman year.

 

 

Posted Up

Posted Up

Kani is actually inside of Coliseum Deli.  One of their walls is made of brick and he was leaning against it as we waited for our food.  This was also on a Friday, during a ritual afternoon lunch.

 

 

Sunshine

Sunshine

Sumayra, often called Sunshine by beloved friends, relaxes in Monroe Park with marsOne.  

 

 

Party Like A Rock

Party Like A Rock

A group of us stand outside of 821 Cafe in Richmond while waiting for a table for lunch.  Mufti was sportin some rockstar shades and you can see the reflections of the rest of the group through the lenses.

 

No Pictures!

No Pictures

Sarwar didn’t want to have his picture taken during this meeting we had in finals.  I think his scruffy look just shows the dedication students have to focusing on studying…at the last minute.

 

The Seat

The Seat

My mother sits in the living room in her favorite chair while she does her daily reading, surrounded by flowers and other decorations.





Jamrock

29 10 2008

April 2008 was a very interesting and eventful month.  The VCU MSA Coffeehouse was obviously a big highlight, we had Tyson and DJ BLM visit from California to perform at the event.  123 was also the site of a crime scene earlier in the month, we had cops everywhere and everything, wiiild.  I’ll let the pictures tell the stories though…

 

 

Fista-cof-feehouse

Brother Ty

April 2008

The MSA gathered a crowd of over 200 to watch Muslims share their creative talents on stage for Coffeehouse 2008.  Tyson and DJ BLM, part of Remarkable Current in California, visited and delivered a unique performance for the audience.  Here, Tyson is pictured on stage during his set with his fist raised, with the VCU Coffeehouse tag on the screen in the background.

 

 

Golden Boy

Golden Boy

Local spoken word poet and social activist, Alex Cena, performs one of his poems on stage for the audience at the Coffeehouse.  The view is seen from behind the drums setup for other acts in the program.

 

 

Showtime

Showtime

Numerous audience members had video cameras setup in the back of the room to record the show.  This shot shows DJ BLM and Tyson being recorded during their performance set.

 

 

NasMUST

NasMUST!!

I’m really only posting this picture so I have an excuse to post a link to Nasreen’s blog.  She came to visit from DC and is seen here standing in front of the art exhibit at the Coffeehouse, which features art from Muslim students at VCU.  Check out her blog though, she’s in the Philippines right now on a Fulbright scholarship, doing research on Islamic financing in the region.  Very interesting 🙂

 

 

Bringin' It Home

Bringin' It Home

It always ends up back at 123.  Tyson and BLM were cool enough to hang out with us after the show and came over to 123 to chill with everybody.

 

 

Sweet Serenade

Sweet Serenade

April 2008

A group of us were sitting on the porch at 123 a week before Coffeehouse when this was taken.  Tayeeb was pretending to play this guitar.  

 

 

Before the Breakdown

Before the Breakdown

So, as you can see, we were just chillin.  Sittin on the porch, playing some music and kickin back.  It was around 1 AM on a Thursday night.  Around 10 minutes after this picture was taken, 3 guys walked up to our front step and posted up.  2 of them pulled out guns and loaded them, one of them actually raised his gun and pointed it at some of us.  

I was standing next to the front door when i initially heard a clanking sound like a gun being loaded.  I looked over to my left and saw one of the guys holding a pistol with his face covered, and then I looked over and saw another guy with his gun raised.  The third was just standing in between, staring at us.  I immediately turned around, opened the door, walked in, and then shut the front door.  Now, I admit, I did seriously contemplate locking the door, even though my friends were still outside, cuz the survivor instinct just kicked in, but luckily I didn’t.  I just walked to the back of the house to make sure the backdoor was locked and then pulled out my phone and dialed 911.  

All of this took place about 15 secs after the guys showed up and everyone else still hadn’t reacted until I again walked back towards the front door.  By that time, our guys finally ran into the house, nearly tripping over each other, and the 3 gunmen ran off.  Apparently, they were thrown off-guard by me walking inside and told everyone else not to go in…but of course they ran in anyways.  Thankfully, no one was hurt and the 3 ran away instead of taking shots.   

The rest of the night was full of police reports and stints of paranoia and anger.  The police had to document the entire occurrence as an attempted robbery, even though no one technically asked for anything.  We like to attribute that to the fact that we reacted before they could do as much.  We were, and still are, very thankful nothing happened.  It was reported that the same 3 guys robbed a group sitting on their porch a few blocks away from our house the same night.  There were also reports of 3 similar guys robbing and pistol whipping people in subsequent weeks.

This was especially freaky for us because a student was shot and killed after being robbed less than a mile away from us the night before by two teenage shooters.  Those guys were eventually arrested and they weren’t the same people, I don’t know if our assailants were ever caught.





Skippin’ Out

27 10 2008

A group of VCU hooligans headed up to Newark, NJ for the MSA National East Zone conference in April.  The road trip crew saw this as an opportunity to find cheap hotels, a stone’s throw away from the big apple.  So, we rode up to NYC on the Chinatown bus and did some essplorin.  

 

 

Can't Tell Me Nothin'

Train Game

 April 2008

Leaving Newark on a path train.  Sarwar had to put his hard look on, you can’t be all smiley and happy when you ride into NYC.  

 

 

Timeless

Timeless Reflection

Taking a break in Central Park.  Tayeeb and Sarwar look out across a pond in the northern end of the park towards a symmetrical reflection of the buildings along the edges

 

 

Peek A Boo

Peek A Boo

Sarwar was explaining the phrase, “Can’t See Me” to me by waving his hand in front of his face while we were waiting for our train.  

 

 

Bust It

Bust It

A crowd gathered around to watch a man in Times Sq who was making a sculpture of a customer’s head.  Sure beats a caricature.

 

 

Silhouette

Silhouette

Visiting the Ground Zero construction site.  Still a giant pit, but always a somber part of the city.

 

 

On the DL

Best Buds

The three of us were sitting at the edge of a pond in Central Park.  Can ya guess who’s who by lookin at the shoes?

 

 

The Glitter

The Glitter

My boys paused for a moment under some lights to take in all of the flash at Times Sq.

 

 

Fast Life

Fast Life

We chilled in Union Sq for a bit and did some people-watching.  It was nice to take a break from the high-speed pace of the city.

 

 

Must See

Must See

With Chicken Guy leftovers in hand, we headed back towards the subway to go to the hotel for the night.  We passed by 30 Rock, where NBC Studios is based.  Sadly, there were no celebrity sightings on this trip.  There were plenty of crazy people sightings…but no celebrities.





East-West

24 10 2008

Rima came to visit from Cali.  Naturally, this warranted another road trip to Philly.  

 

 

Def Prayer

Def Prayer

Mar 2008

marsOne caught some quick prayer action in an alleyway on South St in Philly.  There happened to be some pretty fresh Philly handstyle up on the wall.  This is one of my favorite shots.

 

 

The Champ is Here

The Champ is Here

Rima and Z post up in front of the Rocky statue in Philly, in front of the Art Museum.

 

 

Kid in a Candy Store

Kid in a Candy Store

Mariam was pretty happy to see all this random mural we passed by in the city.  Even though it was still unfinished, she was like ecstatic.

 

 

Schoolin

Schoolin

Mariam points out feautures in the mural to everyone else.  The art basically covered the entire wall of an elementary school in West Philly.

 

 

Z X

Z X

I have to confess.  I did place them in front of this mural, but we had to take advantage of it somehow…

 

 

City Hall

City Hall

A closeup of City Hall in Philly.  This historic building stands in the center of downtown Philly.  

 

 

Alternatives

Alternatives

In the open air market on 52nd St, Mariam stands in front of a shop window full of mannequin heads.  

 

 

Scene it All

Scene it All

The view from the top of the Art Museum steps.  City Hall stands at the center, with the Ben Franklin Pkwy connecting it to the museum.

 

 

Larger Than Life-size

Larger Than Life-size

More evidence of Philly’s artistic culture.  This enormous mural was painted on the side of a theater in North Philly.

 

 

Dope Check

Dope Check

Inspecting sneakers in a shop on South St.  

 

 

Cosby Eats Free

Cosby Eats Free

Once we got back, we hit up Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC.  Apparently, this is Bill Cosby’s favorite spot in DC, they got his name and picture like everywhere inside.





Fresh Developments

22 10 2008

Earlier, I posted pictures from my manual camera of a road trip to Philly that I took with my family.  On that trip, I used a roll of professional B&W film at Penn’s Landing, but I couldn’t find anyone that would develop it afterwards.  So…7 months later, I finally found somebody that would develop it, and I just saw the pictures yesterday for the first time.  I’m putting them up now, since I’m actually fairly close to the time when the trip occurred chronologically with the blog at the moment.  I really like how alot of them turned out, especially how they look in full-size, click on em to check em out in more detail.

 

Chill Freeze

Chill Freeze

Mar 2008

Seeing these pictures reminds me of how insanely cold it was that day, by the riverside.  My cousin was takin a second to zip up his jacket to keep the cool out.

 

 

Cruiseline

Cruiseline

 They have this huge boat that was converted into a restaurant.  My mom wanted me to take her picture in front of it, but for some reason wouldnt smile, or look at the camera…yay.

 

Over Here, Ma

Over Here, Ma

I rest my case.

 

 

So Rich

So Rich

 I love the textures in this picture.

 

 

Hellooo

Hellooo

I think the only reason she actually looked at it this time is b/c i was like 4 inches from her face.  This is one of the rare occasions on which my fisheye lens gave me something useful.

 

 

Walkin It Out

DC Swag

Ayyaz showin off that swag from the original DC. 

 

 

Great Freezing Fun

Great Freezing Fun

Something hilarious was going on, everyone was having a nice laugh while trying to stay warm.

 

 

Caught With A Smile

Touchdown

 

The kids were throwing around a football and it came to my mom.  I think she had just kicked it, and was surprised at how far it went…

 

 

Gallery Seats

Gallery Seats

The football stars chill up on the deck and throw passes out to everyone else.

 

 

Gladly!

Gladly!

I had no problem getting people to huddle together for pictures in this temperature.





Haterade

21 10 2008

For one of the least exciting road trips ever, the road trip crew traveled out to ATL.  Originally, we were planning to go to New Orleans, and stop by ATL on the way, but that ended up being too far, so we just went to ATL.  Honestly, I don’t see what all the hype is about.  We tried to check out all the big spots in downtown, but apparently all the real action isn’t even in the main city.  Thanks.  

We ended up cutting our trip short and heading back early.  We stopped by UNC Chapel Hill on the way back and checked out the campus.  The campus and the whole city had a really strong similarity to UVA and Charlottesville, same type of vibe.  It was a nice way for us to end the trip on a positive note.

 

 

Aura

Aura

Mar 18, 2008

We visited the Coca-Cola factory in ATL.  It was basically a waste of time and money.  Much like Hershey Park in PA, it’s one giant ad campaign for their company and products, except without the roller coasters.  The only interesting part of the Coke factory was this section where you could taste the different soda’s Coke makes for each of the regions in the world, b/c they tailor the flavors to what the people like.  In theory, this sounded amazing, but in reality, everything was pretty gross, except the stuff from North America.  

This picture shows Tayeeb standing in front of some pretty amazing artwork in the lobby of the Coke factory.  The staircases lead to the various exhibits they have setup.

 

 

Life in 3D

Life in 3D

The Coke Factory had a movie they showed, which they gave out these 3D glasses for.  The movie was really lame, another long-drawn Coke advertisement about how their formula is so special and unique and blah blah.  I just like how Tayeeb represented DC down in ATL, yea boi.

 

 

 

Multi-National Array

Multi-National Array

Another famous spot in ATL is Centennial Park, where the Olympics were held in 1996.  At one of the entrances to the park, they have these little canopy-type gateways with the flags of the countries that participated.

 

 

Memorabilia

Memorabilia

This was a sign that hung at another entrance to the park.  I can’t even imagine how dull this city must’ve been before the Olympics rolled through.

 

 

Illuminate

Illuminate

Mar 2008

Red Bull happened to be in town the same week as us, showing off some amaaaazing pictures with their Illume tour.  They had giant cubes set up all through the park, which turned out to be TV screens, and they displayed pictures from various extreme sports.  Check out the link see the pictures for yourself, I thought they were incredible.  

The next day, we left ATL and headed back towards home.  Coincidentally, the day after we left downtown ATL was hit by a massive hurricane, destroying much of the downtown area, especially major buildings like the CNN headquarters and the Phillips Arena.  There was actually an NCAA bball game going on in the arena at the time the storm hit.  I don’t think anyone was seriously hurt. but there was major damage to the buildings in the exact area where these pictures were taken.  Of course, we’re happy we didn’t get caught in the hurricane…but, I still feel like maybe the whole trip woulda been more exciting had we gotten to see something like that.  Mixed Feelings, sorry ATL.

 

 

Clocktower

Blue

Mar 2008

We stopped by Chapel Hill, NC on the way back and visited UNC.  Everything was pretty much closed because of spring break, so we just wandered around and looked at the buildings.  This is a clocktower that stands tall in the middle of campus.  

 

 

Yellow

Yellow

I think this was closer to some of the dorms.  We were just chillin in this nice little area near a park.  Afterwards, we went out into the city to eat.  Everyone was so incredibly nice, and the food was pretty good.  Overall, it reminded me SO much of Charlottesville.  Seems like a great place to live and go to school.