Doll House

Toronto prides itself in its dramatic arts, theatre and film locations. The doll house series remind us how it feels like sometimes when living in the big city. There are many unfamiliar social constructed behaviors and rules that restrict one's freedom. In today's society, it is easy to get lost and be turned into a puppet, a follower

– manipulated by media and social structures.

A woman's physical appearance is highly valued in North America. Media are constantly photoshoping images of women and men, making them look more perfect each time. Someone once said, “we ever noticed the beauty, because we were too busy trying to create it.” Perfection is never enough. Even a doll have its imperfection.


Emerge Toronto Personal Progress Report 1

I recently have the opportunity to collaborate with other students from the Media Studies program at the University of Guelph-Humber to produce a multi-media conference. This conference will consist of public relations students planning and organizing the actual conference; Digital Communication students in charge of apps, social networks, websites and video; journalism students producing the magazine and image arts students provide the lighting techniques and images. It is meant to be a collaborative project and in hopes that we will all work together.


So far, I have been given the role of Photo/Layout Staff. I am not sure what that means as of yet. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with the journalism students and they have set their stories in motion. Some interesting topics were:

  • Hipster Identity
  • Behind the scene of Airport workers
  • Fashion around the world
  • Kid’s opinion of what they want their future to be
  • Old technology

A Facebook group was also created to increase communication between everyone in all the streams.

I posted a blog about hipster inspired by yesterday’s meeting; produce a graphic photo to go with my article

(click here to see the post).

Here is a list of all the things I thought about or do for a photography project. There is a myth that photographers just click a button. There is a lot of thinking and planning that goes on before the final image is produce.

Progress for my personal photography:

  • Recently produce a photo for the Radix on sexuality.

Progress for my final show:

  • Found my model
  • Found my designer
  • Finish my concept for the photo shoot
  • Did a test shoot to visualize the poses that I want my model to do
  • Research on past doll like fashion photography
  • Think I might change my light background to dark instead
  • Research on the screw I want to photo shop into my final image
  • Was in walmart looking at frames for my 2 images for the school’s gallery show in case they don’t provide
  • Designer have send in her dress to be made on 02/06/2013 should be done by next week.
  • I am not sure I will have my final images done for the school gallery show in Feburary due to the timing of the dress making, but I have shoot another model with the same concept as my back up

I hope this helps anyone out there doing a creative project. Thinking and planning beforehand help catches you when you run into problems.


The Little Black Dress

This was a collaboration project directed by Festina and Tara Conrad. Make-up by Émilie Coquelin. Models were Festina, Naima and Tyanna.

The project was called “The Little Black Dress” promoting black talents in the fashion industry.

I went to Humber Collage and contacted the program heads by email in the fashion and cosmetic program. In the email I said that I am a 4th year photography student and I would like to meet students who are interested in building their portfolios with me.

I got a couple of replies and I contacted these people meet them at school and talk about the project. I contacted the Emilie by email. Only meet her on the day of the project, however, I gave her a brief of what is going to happen and pictures of the concept we were going for.

On a Sunday morning, we arrived at school at 9:30am. Emilie started on the make up and I start to set up the equipments at 10am.

I used 3 lights. Since I knew it was going to be three models. I needed 3 lights to make sure no one was in the shadow. I had one light pointed up using 1200 welts with a large soft box. Then I had the other two lights at 800 welts with large grids.

I had 3 cameras with me. I shoot the group shoots in the Hasselblad on a tripod because I know when I crop into it the quality will stay. I have a Nikon D9000 with a 105mm micro lens for the close-up beauty shoots. And my Nikon D7000 with a 18 to 55 mm lens to shoot the editorials, because I know there is more movements involved.

We started shooting at 11am and finish at 2pm. It took longer because of wardrobe changes. It was like two sessions in one with 2 wardrobe changes.


Make It or Break It?

Make it or break it

Couples in on-again/off-again relationships are usually headed for more heartaches in the end

Article Written by Veronica Granja-Sierra

Photography by Ivy Lin (

Love can be full of comfort and wonderful emotions, but it can also turn into a wild rollercoaster ride when the infamous vicious circle of “taking a break” sets in.

According to an informal on-campus poll, about 68 per cent of students are in on-again, off-again relationships, but the chances of those resulting in a happily ever after ending aren’t so high.

Students are constantly getting caught up in these recycled romances, repeatedly coming back with the persistent hope that those moments of happiness will someday comprise of their entire relationship.

Breakups hurt. However, sometimes permanently ending these unhealthy relationships is simply for the best as on-again/off-again relationships involve control, manipulations, and codependency.

Dr. Dan Andreae, Psychology Professor at the University of Guelph-Humber says: “We like to have security, we like to feel accepted and valued by somebody else. … and there’s also that fear of the unknown, ‘what happens next? Will I meet somebody else again?’ Sometimes we stick with the comfortable… but as difficult as it is, you will survive it.”

According to Andreae, the hardest relationships to break up in are ones that are on and off again. “They are called intermittently accepting and rejecting. In other words, you accept mean behaviour thinking it’s not them, and you believe them when they tell you they won’t do it again, but yet they do.”

People in these cyclical relationships tend to feel less satisfied, have lower self-esteem, and live a life of uncertainty regarding their future with that certain partner.

“I don’t take breaks,” says second-year Business student, Alisha Dhillon. “I’m either in or I’m out. Break aren’t good- they’re useless, pointless and even disturbing. You part ways, each of you go do their own thing and ‘explore’, and then when they come running back to you, you can’t even face them anymore knowing they were off doing who knows what with who knows who.”

Second-year Business student, Tasneem Jama compares on-again, off-again relationships to a dirty pair of underwear: “If I’m taking a break, it’s for a reason. So why go through it again? It’s like wearing a pair of dirty underwear- and you don’t wear dirty underwear twice.”

“Students usually think that a relationship that didn’t work out was a waste of their time—but it’s really not,” says Jama. “Every relationship that you have teaches you something, and helps you grow as an individual. As much as it may hurt, sometimes certain relationships are better off to be left as memories.”


Collaboration with 3rd Year Journalism Students

I am in my fourth year university studying media studies with an area of emphasis on photography. The 3rd year journalism students are writing an article for the school paper – Radix. I have the chance to publish a photograph that will go with the st

ory of new students from out of town find using the TTC overwhelming and confusing. They do not find the school helpful when it comes to getting around the city.

Here are the 3 images. Let me know which one you like best.

Cawthra Pre-Prom 2012

June 26, 2012
Had so much doing a pre-prom shoot with 12 amazing people.
The night before I had it planned. Drawing out everyone’s poses.
From individual shoots to group shoots. In two hours I was able to get what I wanted and more, thanks to the

nice weather.

For the individuals I knew I wanted a close up, a full body, 3/4 and a horizontal. This is to ensure that I can make collages later on.
For the group shoots I knew I wanted a fun one. I made mustache out of BBQ sticks and black foam papers from the dollar stores.
All the girls with their shoes. All the girls in a line… so on.

I try to photograph in the shade as suppose to direct sunlight so the highlights are not as harsh.

Anime North 2012

I manage to convince my sister and a friend to come with me this year to Anime North. My sister's highlight was seeing all the League of Legend characters come to life. She is on a killing spread as we speak.

Taking pictures of people at Anime North is super fun. Many travel a great distance to be in Toronto and I feel that the most I can do is take pictures for them to show off their dedications. Since they create art with their DIY costume building skills. I can create art with my camera.

All the photos were taken with a basic portrait lens (18-55mm), Camera body – Niko

n D7000 and shoot at around ISO 200 Speed 1/200 and f 11-16. Sunny 16 – a basic understanding when it's noon and bright outside do ISO 200 at 1/200 and f16 to get “perfect” exposure. Of course I find my Nikon sensor always a bit darker so I always open it up by a stop.

These are all edited by a mix of Photoshop and Light room.
I will blog more about my editing process when I have time later.

If you want to see more of these Anime North Photos feel free to go to

If anyone want prints contact me at