Street Photography in Hawai‘i Nei

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Contemporary Photography in Hawai‘i 2019

I’m honored to be a part of the latest Contemporary Photography in Hawai‘i 2019 exhibit. I was joined by so many incredible photographers in Hawaii — and there are quite a few. The quality of the show keeps getting better and better. Mahalo to Pacific New Media and its supporters!

Contemporary Photography in Hawai‘i 2019
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My photographs honored in the show:

“Ms. Godiva and the Time Machine” March 2019

“Ms. Godiva and the Time Machine” March 2019

“Flirtations at the Laundromat” May 2019

“Flirtations at the Laundromat” May 2019

NYC Exhibition

Tonight is the opening reception of the 24 Hour Project exhibit in New York City at ArtSpace and I’m honored to have a photo in the show. Though I wasn’t able to attend, photographer Mike Szpot (@illkoncept) caught a shot of my photo hanging:

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The original shot:

Flirtations at the Laundromat, May 2019

Flirtations at the Laundromat, May 2019

24 Hour Project 2019

I had always wanted to use photography to contribute to the betterment of the world. These days, the world needs all the help it can get. When I heard about the 24 Hour Project, it seemed like the perfect fit for my street photography. They use their platform of more than 4,000 photographers around the world in 100 countries to raise awareness about meaningful social causes. A surprise to me was that I was the only participating photographer in Honolulu to go the full 24 hours. We have a lot of talented photographers in Hawaii, and I expected some company. It was good in the end, the pressure to represent Hawaii well pushed me through exhaustion.

The theme for this year’s 24 Hour Project was Women’s Stories and while it’s not a requirement, I wanted to stick to the theme 100%. So for every shot, I wanted to make sure there was a woman or girl in it. The difficulty was finding safe places to shoot in the early morning and late night hours on the day of the event: Saturday, May 25. I began posting my shots on my Instagram account, aiming to shoot one an hour. Luckily, for my first shot at 12:33 a.m., I found Honolulu Police Department’s Cpl. Corrina Foust on duty at the Zippy’s down the street. It was good start. You can view the shots on Instagram as I quickly processed and posted via my iPhone, but I’ve finally gone through and edited them on my desktop and pulled out several additional shots in the slideshow below.

One thing I realized doing the 24 Hour Project is that when you are truly watching every minute of the day and trying to make the best of it, the day goes by in an instant. It taught me that we should all cherish our time and make a difference while we can.

Also, when you’re running without sleep for 24 hours, it’s best not to eat white rice for brunch/lunch. (They didn’t have brown rice!) Yeah, it gave me a major kanack attack. I had to take a short nap to recover.

A more serious observation is that women really do run the world. In most cases, when I had to find photos of women late at night, it was women behind registers, stocking shelves, serving food. There’s a lot more that can be said about this on a larger scale, but I’ll leave it to the images to tell those women’s stories for themselves.

Finally, I want to thank the incredible women who allowed me to come out and make photographs of them: Kim HollandsworthCaroline ChingDallas Nagata White, and the women at Leonard’s Bakery. Special thanks to my wife Kehau Agena, who would’ve preferred that I was there with her to help out at Kailua High School’s graduation, which she was in charge of that night. It was a long day for both of us. (We got home at the same time around midnight.) She’s in my last photo as she waits to pull her car into our garage. Without these women, I’d have really struggled. They were very generous with their time and I thank them for being part of my narrative for the day. In fact, I thank all the women in my 24 Hour Project photos for being part of my project. You are amazing.

Bon big top

 

Despite it being Manoa, there was only one passing shower at the Konganji Temple. Sorry to the event planners everywhere, but I’m always hoping for rain. The atmosphere and human condition in the rain is always more interesting than without.

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Lance Agena
Time to be Judgmental

PhotoCON is back this year and if its first year in 2017 is anything to go by, this is a must go show. Accompanying the con is the statewide contest. The call for entries is open now until July 25, 2018. New to the panel of judges this year, yours truly. I'm honored and looking forward to seeing the entries. Enter now.

 

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Lance Agena
PhotoCon Hawaii
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That's pro photographer and founder of PhotoCon Hawaii Ric Noyle on the right. Besides being a passionate photographer interested in highlighting local Hawaii talent, Ric is a gentleman who worked his ass off to put together this incredible event. To my surprise, I won first place in PhotoCon Hawaii's inaugural contest. It's a huge honor considering the talent involved both as entrants and as judges, including his son (and amazing photographer) Zak Noyle. It also made me feel so bad for not being able to attend the event because I was off in Los Angeles. (Sorry, Ric.) But Ric did say that PhotoCon Hawaii succeeded beyond his expectations. 

Take a look at the contest results to check out some of the other local talent. There's a lot of impressive work there. I was fortunate to also get an honorable mention. 

 

First Place, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017

First Place, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017

Honorable Mention, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017   

Honorable Mention, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Photographer's Eye Fresh

It's amazing how quickly we adapt. The ability to get used to things serves us well in the everyday. We build habits that we get better at and grow comfortable with. Habitual actions and places allow our minds to wander in other directions to imagine, think, and reminisce. We've evolved to the top of the food chain because of this ability. In fact, should anything different disrupt our everyday, we have to spend energy to quickly determine if it poses a danger to us. Anything new — no matter how small — can cause the tiny bean in our brain so ask "Do I run or do I fight?" 

As a photographer, we should be so lucky to experience that every day. "Do I run? Do I fight? Or do I shoot?" In fact, the problem photographers face is adapting and getting used to our environment so well that we do not see something amazing right before our eyes. Walking the streets of our same neighborhood, we may grow bored, thinking there's nothing to shoot. 

A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking into downtown Honolulu, I came upon the Hawaii State Art Museum in the process of being tented for termites. I thought it was pretty neat and so began taking photos. A worker on the site approached me and asked me what I was doing. I'm sure he was worried I was some inspector collecting evidence of safety violations or something, but after I explained that I was taking photos for myself, he couldn't understand why. I thought it was a little ironic that I was having this discussion about an art museum, but I think that because it was just another everyday job to him, he didn't really see how cool it was. I'm sure if this was his first day on the job, he'd be more understanding of the spectacle.

Hawaii State Art Museum, Aug. 18, 2017.

Hawaii State Art Museum, Aug. 18, 2017.

And so, that's our challenge — your challenge — as a photographer. Don't be the magician who can't see the magic of his own show. As a photographer we need to

  • see the spectacle, 
  • see the story, and
  • shoot.

But how do we see with fresh eyes when we visit the same places on a regular basis?

Rotate your haunts. Divide your personal photography territory up and focus within a couple of blocks every so often. Focus on an area for a week then switch it up to another few blocks the next. That's for your Monday through Fridays. If you can, on the weekends, go farther out to explore. Keep your eyes fresh by keeping your surroundings fresh.

Flip the day. Visit your spots at different times of the day. Go at night or go during the day — whichever you're not used to. You'd be surprised at the differences in lighting and character that comes out. 

Hobble yourself. Restrictions will bring out your creativity. Head out with one lens you don't favor. Turn off burst mode. Give yourself a disposable camera. Force yourself to use a flash. Play with long exposures. Screw on a filter. Shoot only video. Find ways to make it work. Challenge yourself and you'll also learn more about technique and your camera.

Flatter somebody. Find a photographer you admire and try to shoot just like that person. Alter your eye to see as they do. You might think that they're in a better environment than you for these opportunities. That's no excuse. See the elements that make their photos great, and put those elements in your viewfinder. You can also have fun processing them to look similar too.

Feed your soul with life and regret. Sometimes the best work for your photography is putting the camera down. Eat delicious food, spend time with loved ones, visit the theater, go to concerts, live life! If you're stressing over photography, it's time to take a break. Find other ways to be creative. Then, when you're out in that boring old neighborhood, you'll see the most amazing shot appearing before you, you'll reach for your camera, and you'll realize that you left the damn thing at home. The moment will pass and the shot will be gone forever. That missed shot will be the most memorable photo you never took, and you'll smile like an idiot when thinking about it. Your friends and loved ones will roll their eyes internally as they pretend to understand your excitement and regret over the missed shot, but only you will be able to see it burned in your mind's eye. It's a shame, yes. But that missed photo will forever keep you chasing after similar shots in your viewfinder.

Those are my humble suggestions. Let me know in the comments what you do to keep your eyes fresh.

New YouTube Channel: Agena Street Photography

So there you go. I have a YouTube channel. It's something I've thought about for some time. As an introvert, speaking on camera doesn't come natural. It is however, a skill I wouldn't mind getting better at. Usually, I'm on the back end of the camera coaching others to speak naturally on the business end of the lens, so this is my turn. 

I'm still considering what the videos will look like, but I've posted the first one. Take a look, let me know what you'd like to see, and please subscribe. Thanks.

Model Citizens at the Canon U.S.A. Photo Gallery

I'm honored to have the Canon U.S.A. Photo Gallery feature my photos in a show throughout May. The exhibit, Model Citizens, features many of the photos I've published online before, but a couple I haven't. It should be fun.

As my first solo show, I'm offering prints for sale for the first time. I'm releasing a few each week during May. If you're interested in purchasing one, use the discount code "CanonShow17" for 15% off your order. Be sure to catch me at the opening reception. Thanks for your support!

Canon Photo Gallery invite