hi :) my name is beca and im a freshman at nyu! i love writing more than anything. in my opinion writing is the best form of self expression. here i will get to share what i am passionate about, i hope you enjoy.
What is YOUR motive?
We learn about wars and revolutions in school; groups of people joining together to defeat an evil for the greater good and with those stories are images. For many of history’s famous conflicts all we have are words, written accounts of violence and drawings on rocks. However, when the camera was invented that changed. Suddenly these gruesome scenes could be documented as they were happening, eternalized for anyone to see. Not only this, now these images could be published and spread globally for others to learn about the atrocities occurring in any corner of the world. I would like to believe that this was a good, necessary change and an improvement to society, that with photographs and visual documentation of these events people would start to speak up. That photography could now be used as propaganda against cruelty and warfare, to raise awareness about authoritarian governments, criminality, animal rights and other ailments inflicting our fragile world. But others would disagree with me, arguing that the spread of these images is unethical, and disrespects the victims of such atrocities. These people might be correct, but I believe that it all comes down to the motive one has for publishing the images in the first place, and whether those motives are morally correct or not.
Learning Through a Lens
My father always carries a camera with him wherever we go; his Nikon is almost like the 4th member of our family. His photos are on the walls of our living room, and in our friend’s living rooms as well. He’s been photographing the world around us for as long as I can remember. My father is a passionate and careful man, he has many hobbies and spends countless hours learning how to perfect his skills. When he sees something that’s worth photographing he gives it his all. From my father’s devotion to this art I was able to understand that photography is much more than looking through the viewfinder of a small rectangular box and pressing a button; photography is knowledge. Photography is curiosity. And most importantly, photography is crucial to the understanding of the world around us, especially of parts of this world that are unreachable to some. It’s no surprise that we all take photos. During this time in Utah for spring break, I have taken the same photo at least 20 times. The photo captures the mountains that surround Salt Lake Valley, these mountains are known as the Wasatch Front. In the winter months the mountains are covered in snow, and resemble a cake covered in powdered sugar; during fall and spring, the mountains are a medley of colors ranging from orange to red to pink, its unexplainable, and in the summer the mountains are lush and green and welcoming. The view of these mountains changes every day, in fact it changes every time you look at it, and after 10 years living here, I am amazed by the Wasatch Front every day so I photograph it. Something compels me to take out my phone and take a photo of the mountains because I know the next time I look at them, the view will have changed. However, I’ve never stopped to think more about photography, to question why we all take photos, or what the purpose of taking photos is, let alone how we can use photography to learn more about the world around us. If we all do it, and we see hundreds of photos in one day because of social media, then why are photographs so important? I thought about important photos I have seen that I could recall from memory. The first was the “Falling Man” from 9/11, which shows a man moments after he haphazardly jumped from one of the World Trade Center towers as they were being attacked. The identity of the man is unknown, and the photo evokes a feeling of despair and desperation in me. In contrast, there is the kiss on the street from V-J Day, which captures a moment of triumph and impulsiveness between two strangers after an important victory. This photo reminds me of winning, but leads me to wonder about the strangers, and what the feelings on the streets were like that day. More recently I saw photos from the volcanic explosions and the destruction it caused in Tonga. Before this tragedy happened, I am ashamed to say, I would have struggled to point out Tonga on a map. The horrifying images of destruction led me to wonder about the country, and strive to learn more about their community and other places I might not know much about. I made it a promise to myself to not wait for disaster to strike somewhere, to seek knowledge about an unknown place. This promise led me to the question: how can we use photographs to learn? About ourselves, but also about the magnificent world around us.
february '22 playlist
Congratulations for making it through two months of 2022 already!It feels like it’s been at least four, but it’s ok. I always forget how short February is, until it’s here one day and ends the next. The month of love has reached an end. And this playlist does not have a lot of love songs…
january '22 playlist
Here it is, the very first playlist of 2022! I don’t have much to say about the new year yet, other than, it’s incredibly freezing. January is always a weird transition month, does anybody else feel that way? I was so worried about starting my second semester in college, and making sure I read all the syllabi and knew where my classes were. As a consequence, this playlist was shorter than normal. However, it’s a great playlist in my opinion, so here goes:
december '21 playlist
Somehow we made it another 12 months. In 2021, I graduated high school, turned 18, moved to New York City and finished my first semester of college at New York University. These are only some of the milestones and big events that I experienced this year. As we continued to live through a global pandemic, music kept me sane. I think it’s safe to say I listened to music every single day this year, all 365 of them. I made 12 playlists this year (and I plan to do the same in 2022), here is the final and twelfth playlist.
Drugs and Street Art vs. the US Government
Keith Haring’s “Crack is Wack '' mural stands tall, 35 years after its creation and although Haring has passed away and the crack cocaine epidemic has subsided the mural serves as a lasting reminder of both. Additionally, the mural is an emblem of grassroots activism in its purest form, street art. Keith Haring, born in 1958, is well known for his distinguishable art style characterized by bright colors and a cartoonish depiction of people. Haring began his work in New York subways. With black paper and chalk in hand he would ride from station to station looking for blank spaces in walls or trains that he could draw on. Haring did most of his work during the height of the AIDS epidemic, which he was passionate about due to his own sexual preferences as well as having contracted the disease himself. Unfortunately, AIDS is what took Haring’s life in February of 1990 at the age of 31. He used his talent in order to call attention to the disease, and most importantly put an end to the hurtful stigmas surrounding gay men at the time. Additionally, he used his art to advocate for other large issues such as the crack cocaine epidemic which took many young lives in the United states. The United States media and government were constantly broadcasting wrongful and stigmatized information about AIDS and crack cocaine, thus making these matters of public health taboo. Haring explicitly went against this taboo and created graphic images of sexual reproductive organs and sexual positions when it came to his artwork about AIDS. In an article about the relationship between AIDS and art, Mary Wyric states that “social realities for disenfranchised people are represented in accessible forms that educate and promote political intervention at a grassroots level,” Haring knew this and used it to his advantage in order to bring attention to another large issue, the crack cocaine epidemic (46).
This is a story about the place I grew up. The Sitio as we call it in Portuguese. I guess you could say it is a ranch. There are lakes, a barn with a grill and a pizza oven and a large table in the middle. There are trees with fruits. You can pick fresh mangoes to last you at least two lifetimes. Where I received countless bug bites, scratched knees, But most of all, this is a story about my family. The ones who came before me and us now.
An Essay on Self-Esteem
Self-Esteem: Friend or Foe? “It was Freud, after all, who said that the job of psychotherapy was to turn neurotic suffering into ordinary suffering. Freud never claimed we should be happy, and he never claimed confidence was the key to a life well lived” (Slater 6). Lauren Slater in her essay, “The Trouble With Self-Esteem,” makes a case against self-esteem and the negative consequences that can arise from the concept. More specifically, Slater argues that high self-esteem causes individuals to become prideful, entitled and in some cases physically violent towards others. While Slater does not provide her readers with a definition for self-esteem, I believe it is important for the purposes of this essay that we define the term. A study conducted in 2013 defines self-esteem as: an individual’s subjective evaluation of his or her worth as a person” (Orth and Robins 455). As a psychologist herself, Slater analyzes and even subtly criticizes her own field, suggesting that psychologists must change the way they assess and provide assistance to their patients in order to not cultivate and inspire high self-esteem. Slater uses evidence from Baumeister’s study which, “found that some people with favorable views of themselves were more likely to administer loud blasts of ear piercing noise to a subject than those more tepid, timid folks who held back the horn” in order to demonstrate the sense of pride that causes individuals to become violent towards neighbors (2). The author futhers her claim by using Emler’s statement that “people with low self-esteem seem to do just as well in life as people with high self-esteem. In fact, they may do better, because they often try harder” thus, proving that the traditional argument that high self-esteem can mean success is faulty (2). Slater offers the notion of “self-appraisal” as an alternative to self esteem because it allows the individual room to grow as well as space to control their own lives. The author poses the implications and possible violent consequences of self-esteem in our society and provides the reader with an alternate way of measuring oneself that doesn’t cultivate pride.
Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney
“I’m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me” Normal People was beautiful and heartbreaking. Sally Rooney has an incredible way with words that makes you feel like you’re having a conversation with the characters. She writes in a raw, passionate way about the awkward moments in life that we all experience but are too scared and embarrassed to talk about.