Filtering by Category: Photography

Latest Project: Polar Bear Plunge

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Every year, I say I’m going to take the train out to Coney Island and jump into the water for the Polar Bear Plunge, and every year, I wake up on New Year’s Day and think, “No, not this year.”

2019 is weird, though, because after some soft nudging of my good friend and Bronx native, Yuwi, I actually, truly, earnestly considered it. And through the luck of not partying the night before, not having a large to-do list, a relatively close commute, and rising global temperatures at a catastrophic rate, I put on swim trunks, packed a backpack of dry clothes, and went out to Coney Island for the 2019 Polar Bear Plunge.

When it was my wave’s turn to go, I walked down the beach towards the ocean with a ton of other people also out of their minds, flanked by people cheering, and a steady drum beat that sounded like a gladiator walking into the Coliseum, and all that distraction was nice because the Atlantic Ocean just kinda crept up and the next thing I knew, I was knee-deep in ice-cold water.

I went in and out of the Atlantic several times to get more pictures after warming up my toes and eventually dunked my body in after finding a group of people who looked like they wouldn’t steal my bag of clothes and camera.

When I finally got back home, I was asked if I felt anew, fresh and reborn. And as corny as it sounds, I did. If I could dunk myself into the Atlantic with thousands of other strangers, I could do pretty much anything, which is the real “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere,” if you ask me.

Latest Project: Balloon Fiesta 2018

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

After I did my Home project, the most frequently asked question was, “Which state was your favorite?” And the answer, excluding Texas, was always North Carolina and Oregon.

But if you asked me which state would I want to return to, New Mexico would’ve been high on that list, partly because last time I was there, Ted Cruz shut down the government and I couldn’t go to White Sands, and partly because it’s just a nice, beautiful state that I didn’t get to spend too much time to eat all their chile.

So when my roommate/best friend/business partner/Albuquerque native told me she was going back for the Balloon Fiesta, almost 5 years to the day I was last in New Mexico, I invited myself and we went on an adventure.

My only knowledge of hot air balloons was a short story I wrote in the second grade where a hole appeared in the balloon (I don’t remember the specifics, I just remember my morbid illustration that accompanied the story) and Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, so this was great.

Like most other things, these pictures don’t do the fiesta justice on the scale and magnitude of the balloons that take over the skies. As Casey and her friend Alexis described it, it looks like an alien invasion – if aliens also had spaceships that look like a flying pig.

Latest Project: Amsterdam (and a little Berlin and Antwerp)

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Since I moved to New York City for an internship in the summer of 2011, I lived with the same people and their dog for six-and-a-half years. After the pet mover came to pick up Ego for her new life in Amsterdam, I cried and cried and cried. Shortly thereafter, I bought tickets to Amsterdam to see her in the summer.

Below are photos from the trip, none of which, include pictures of me snuggling and smothering Ego because they're all on my phone.

On this trip, I also visited the Rijksmuseum and saw paintings I studied in art history. It's always an experience to finally see with your eyeballs something you studied and minored in, and it's an entirely different experience to see it through the lens of 21st Century technology.

Wandering around the streets of Amsterdam, I found this little shop.

I mean, if I just became king, I'd at least smirk. At most, I'd break into song like Simba.

I mean, if I just became king, I'd at least smirk. At most, I'd break into song like Simba.

When I was a kid, my family visited Eureka Springs, Arkansas and we took this Wild West picture. It's a picture that I hold very dear because it's just so strange. Wanting to recapture that but as an adult, I poked my head into Museumfoto and got this very scary portrait of myself that looks like, as the photographer tried to get my mindset into, "the newly made King William of Orange."

While I was processing all the photos from the trip, I decided to go ahead and buy a ticket back to Amsterdam in November to eat more stroopwaffles and to see Ego again.

This is me now.


Latest Project: Point and Shoot Bicycle

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Inspired by my cousins, Lauren and Chloe, who dug out their old Canon Powershot, I found the old Canon point-and-shoot film camera that my parents took on vacations.

I'd been scanning a lot of family photos lately, and seeing the pictures taken on this camera brought back memories, so I decided to hook it up to my bicycle like a very two-dollar GoPro and take some pictures around Brooklyn like a Trader Joe's-brand Bill Cunningham.

I was biking around looking for a place to ball in Brooklyn. I ended up finding the pier out in Brooklyn Bridge Park where made zero points, zero assists and maybe a couple rebounds. So I went to a playground pictured here where I worked on my fundamentals and at no risk of getting dunked on. (Picture taken on iPhone)

Anyway, here are my favorites.

Getting the film developed was expensive but getting that irreplicable film grain and nostalgia is worth it kinda. I don't know. Haha. It's expensive. But there's something about the delayed gratification and never uploading the images to Instagram, a platform I now despise, that makes me enjoy this rediscovered medium.

Latest Project: Houston Astros World Series Champions

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

In October 2017, a corner of the office had an MLB Playoff bracket for $1, so I had the Houston Astros going all the way. I got laughed at for being hometown. Just as I got laughed at when I wore my Astros hat to this Pumpkin Lantern Blaze thing and took the Metrorail back home, which stopped by Yankee Stadium where my Astros lost 1 to 8. But guess what?

Astros won it all. 

And I won $4 instead of $8 because I had to split the pot with some other dude.

(Quick aside: My roommates, my good friend Joe and I sat in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium for the 2015 AL Wild Card game and we got boos, food and slurs hurled at us throughout the entire game. And the Astros won. And that's when I decided I'd root against the Yankees against everything ever for the rest of time.)

Anyway I happened to be in Texas for my other good friend and former copywriter's wedding, so I got to see the parade with my eyes and my other other good friend Caroline.

Here are some pictures to relive the magic.

This year, I filled out an NBA Playoffs bracket at work and guess who I have winning it all?

That's right, the Houston Rockets.

And guess how much money I'm going win?

No, you're actually wrong, I'm the only one who filled out a bracket so it'll just be me. It's a very sad situation.

Latest Project: 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Deep in the Heart of Texas

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I usually make a flag for the Olympics, but it's been kinda crazy this year, so I just made a bunch of flags for Texas Independence Day instead.

The Stars At Night, Are Big And Bright 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Deep in the Heart of Texas

The Stars At Night, Are Big And Bright 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Deep in the Heart of Texas

Friday Night Lights, Are Big and Bright 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Deep in the Heart of Texas

Friday Night Lights, Are Big and Bright 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Deep in the Heart of Texas

The Marfa Lights, Are Big and Bright 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Deep in the Heart of Texas

The Marfa Lights, Are Big and Bright 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Deep in the Heart of Texas

Latest Project: Ego on a Canal Boat

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

When I was a kid, I met a terrier at soccer practice and I loved it. I asked Santa for a dog, a terrier if possible, but instead got a hamster.

One day after summer school, I got off the bus and found a dog's snout poking through the fence. I was keeping it company and apparently I kept it company for so long that my mom was worried I got lost or kidnapped or something because she sent my brother out to find my on his bicycle.

In our first NYC apartment in DUMBO, this is the first time Ego and I cuddled, on what came to be her safe ottoman.

In our first NYC apartment in DUMBO, this is the first time Ego and I cuddled, on what came to be her safe ottoman.

And there was one time when my brother was playing basketball with his friends in the driveway and a dog came up to me and we starting playing together. It wasn't until my mom came home and my brother's friends left that I found out it wasn't playing as I thought. And it wasn't until years later that I realized it was just humping my leg, which explained a lot.

Anyway, that's to say I always wanted a dog, but my parents correctly knew I wouldn't have the responsibility to care for a dog.

A day after knee surgery when I was still knocked out on drugs, Ego slept by me all night to keep me warm and safe and happy.

A day after knee surgery when I was still knocked out on drugs, Ego slept by me all night to keep me warm and safe and happy.

So when I moved to New York and stayed with my roommates for an internship in 2011, I finally got to live with a dog. Two dreams come true, I guess, and Ego inspired me in so many ways: the Quick Brown Fox series, the Animals in the Night series, cards, a year-long illustration project, computer passwords, wifi network names, iPhone wallpapers, desktop backgrounds, half of my phone storage, and my Space Zoo book which I'll finish eventually.

I haven't even mentioned the time she saved my roommate's life. And I'm not talking about saving someone's soul like chicken noodle soup. Ego literally saved my roommate's life one weekend in the East Village. She's the sweetest dog and one of my best friends and saved my soul.

I always said she was "my dog" even though she was adopted by my roommates in Texas and they brought her up to NYC, but I just felt like she adopted me and accepted me. Was it because when I first walked her, I let her smell literally every tree? Or was it because I always gave her a mound of food? Or maybe she knew I always wanted a dog growing up? Maybe all of that. She's smart.

And she's going to be bilingual because she's moving to Amsterdam with Mark and Bonnie.

I wanted her to remember her time in New York so I made this for her to hang in her crate as she flies KLM.

I found a picture of New York from this past summer and put in Procreate. It was hard to figure out what vessel Ego would sail on from New Amsterdam to Old Amsterdam, but remembered they have canal boats.

Then I imported Procreate's PSD into Photoshop to use Kyle's Brushes.

And there it is.

UPDATE: I'm going to see her in June!

Latest Project: Chendra and the Wild Quest

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

A tweet caught my eye one Wednesday because it showed a picture of an elephant looking at a seal, and a book agent I once submitted to quote tweeted that she needed a children's picture book of this story "right now."

Now, I love interspecies friendships, and I love children's picture books. Growing up, I watched a bootleg tape of The Fox and The Hound, until the tape no longer worked. And I happen to be pretty good at drawing animals after a year of practice. I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity from a book agent who once passed on my submission, so I gave it a go.

First step was to gather what landscapes I've photographed in my entire life. My travels around the country, that time I filmed a couple commercials in Thailand, and IcelandAir's free layover plan definitely helped with that. I also had to dig deep into the archives of random road trips around Texas in the mid-2000s, too. I mean, I've been places, but I haven't seen every ecosystem here on earth, so some things had to be cheated

106 images I could have used for this book.

106 images I could have used for this book.

Next I needed a story. Sure the original story of the baby elephant visiting all the animals and gravitating most towards the sea lion was nice, but having the setting in a zoo is kinda sad for me. I had writer's block of sorts, but while waiting in line to see Shea Serrano at The Strand for his new book, Basketball (and Other Things), something clicked and I realized how to write this story so I began furiously typing out the online on my telephone.

When I got home, I began to sketch out the elephant in my favorite locations.

Painted directly in Photoshop using Kyle's Brushes.

Painted directly in Photoshop using Kyle's Brushes.

Though I couldn't deliver the book immediately as was requested, I spent two whole weeks working on each image, and writing out the story and getting feedback and refining and tweaking.

Anyway, this is the book.

If I had more time, I would have fleshed it out more. I wanted Chendra to visit more animals. But getting to draw animals on my photographs but with a story this time was a lot of fun. I teased a sequel at the end and maybe, who knows, I'll get to do that next quest adventure.

Latest Project: Oh, You Fancy

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

In June, I was eating a chicken sandwich with my friends at Fuku. A guy came up and asked if he could use our ketchup. I said sure and handed it to him but didn't realized my friend was still using it. I also didn't realize she loves ketchup.

I started thinking about her love of ketchup, how fancy she is, and how ketchup is sometimes described as "fancy."

Then I sketched this out:

Lettering explorations on Procreate. Along with different iterations of the popular phrase.

Lettering explorations on Procreate. Along with different iterations of the popular phrase.

It took a while to finally get this going because I wasn't sure how I'd do this. Initial thought was to just put the ketchup straight on the kitchen counter or white foam board. After weeks of getting to rethink of how absolutely gross and stupid that would have been, I remembered we had cool dishes from Fishs Eddy.

I bought a thing of small thing of ketchup, and stopped by a nearby deli for french fries, both for the fries and the tiny ketchup packets. And the reason why the fries weren't used in the final shot is because they were gross.

1. Raw // 2. Processed // 3. Retouched // 4. Final

Oh You Fancy, 2017. Ketchup on ceramic.

This isn't on purpose, but I now have two sentences made out of food and only one more for the complete set.

Latest Project: Skyline Paintings

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

The evenings out on our deck have been nice, laying slow and working slow and all. But after taking, like, 20 pictures of the thing, I needed to change things up while getting back in the habit of working on the iPad and Procreate app. Daily schedules and habits have changed after the move.

So I'm keeping a diary of sorts, chronicling the skyline and things that happen around it.

To see the every deck dream, visit the Instagram or full gallery.

Latest Project: Vampire State of Mind poster

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

This idea popped in my mind some time around November 2014. I waited and waited for the Empire State Building to light up completely red. It took two months, but it happened. The picture, sat on my computer, forgotten, and collecting digital dust.

Then the week of Halloween, I suddenly remembered my idea, waiting for a year to finally happen, that would only work for one week of the year. I completely forgot what month I took the photo from my roof. I went through literally years of photographs through three hard drives.

Finally, coming back to the first drive I started the search for, I found it. And this was made, four days before Halloween.

I mean…I guess vampires don't just exist during Halloween. They're a culture, not a costume after all.

Latest Project: I'd Rather Die Than Diet poster

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I'd Rather Die Than Diet, 2015. Sour belts on paper.

I keep snacks at my desk and coworkers like to swing by. Sometimes to talk, but mainly for the snacks.

One time, my frequent friend Amanda swung down and turned down some snacks cause she was dieting and one of us said, I'd rather die than diet.

Thus, these pages of sketches like this were drawn in my notebook:


Next step required buying bags and bags of sour belts from Lower East Side's Economy Candy and lay it all out.

Touch-ups include: softening shadows and removing lines, stray candy pieces, and pins

I made some prints and gave it to some friends and coworkers, including Amanda. I'd even put it in the office kitchen but I'm certain it'd be removed fairly quickly

For the record, I'd rather diet than die, but perhaps a diet of Ben and Jerry's is the best way to go.

Latest Project: Self-Portrait

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Phoot Camp, an annual photographer's retreat, opened their applications for 2014, and as usual, asked for a creative self-portrait and a short blurb.

I submitted a portrait taken for Phoot Camp's 2012 application taken by my good friend, Mark, with my stereoscopic camera. It came out great, but it wasn't a self-portrait.

2012 Phoot Camp Self-Portrait Submission
Click to enlarge

This year, in an attempt to stay true, I did away with the anaglyph gimmick and tried to mimic their style from past Phoot Camps that looked so good and told as many stories as a Where's Waldo spread (e.g. 1, 2 and 3).

2014 Phoot Camp Self-Portrait Submission

So regardless if I get selected this year or not, I know that I've come a long way since trying to set up a shoot without help…

The set-up for my Kickstarter pitch video on the roof of my building where coincidentally, I also shot my 2012 Phoot Application portrait.

The set-up for my Kickstarter pitch video on the roof of my building where coincidentally, I also shot my 2012 Phoot Application portrait.