Category Archives: Architecture

Grant Wei: Napalm Skies

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Photography and Artist Statement by Grant Wei, Copyright 2018

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Napalm Skies

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I have always found the concept of being from Philadelphia to be interesting.

Because, in actuality, I grew up in the suburbs. I don’t know Philadelphia as well as I probably should, given the fact that I spent virtually my entire existence within the confines of the Schuylkill River. And since I have left the suburbs for college in the city, what I have glorified to be a real Philadelphian experience, I still wonder my experiences genuinely constitute a person living in Philadelphia.

Because, since coming to Penn, I have only come to understand how out of touch I am with the living conditions of those who inhabit the same city as me. It’s not that I am exposed to more individuals whose income brackets don’t fall into the top one percent of income — Penn has gentrified the surrounding area with disturbing efficiency — it’s just that my education has made me more discontent with not understanding the world around me.

All the same, I question whether there even exists a conception of Philadelphia. After all, we all have our own individual experiences regarding living in Philadelphia. My experience transitioning from the suburbs to the city is different than that someone who has lived in Fishtown all their lives, which is different someone who has lived around Rittenhouse Square all their lives, and so on. And that doesn’t mean that any of our experiences are less authentic.

I think, out of all the valuable lessons I have learned in college, that the most important aspect of developing an understanding of the world is to develop a sense of empathy for others. I may never understand the realities of living in one of the poorer areas of Philadelphia, but I can try without letting my presumptions get ahead of me. Because, in the end, I never thought of knowledge as journey with an end; because, the moment I stop questioning myself is the moment I stop learning.

But, despite the differences in experience (and my futile attempts of writing without othering people), there are many aspects of life that we all share. Particularly, when we all finish work or school or whatever, we would look into the same napalm sky to see the same orange hue permeating every corning of our sight. It’s a sign that one day is done, and despite whatever hardships we might encounter, that we could redeem ourselves in the next day, and the next, and the next.

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Portrait of Grant Wei by Eileen Ko, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Grant Wei by Eileen Ko, Copyright 2018

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About The Author: Grant Wei is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Grant Wei, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/grant-wei-blinking-through-memories/

 

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Travel

Wenjia Guo: View on the Roof

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Photography and Artist Statement by Wenjia Guo, Copyright 2018

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View on the Roof

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As an architecture student, I always treat design as a process of choice. Choose to show the real structure or hide with decorative materials. Choose to display the mechanical equipment or dress up with modernist elements. It is the same with the photographic medium, photographers choose the light, the subject, the environment as well as the attitude. So, this time, I used my pictures to discuss something that architects tried to hide from the public, the roof view. Nowadays, architects value roofs as the fifth façade. They came up with the concept of a green roof tried to turn the roof into a positive element in life and the environment.  However, during  development over time, architects used the parapet wall to prevent people from easily seeing the roof from the ground. I found several roofs to photograph and recorded these views. From an aerial view to observe these buildings, I found them familiar and strange. The equipment on the roof is still in the quiet of day there to complete their functions, do not look forward to my visit, but once I pay more attention, the snow in spring, the narrow skylight, the huge heating all tells their own story. Architecture design for me is a way of expressing my thoughts to the world and  to photograph structures like this provides me with an opportunity to read to the world.

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Portrait of Wenjia Guo by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Wenjia Guo by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

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About The Author: Wenjia Guo is a Graduate student in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional articles by Wenjia Guo, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/wenjia-guo-travel-friends/

 

Also posted in Blog, Cameras, Contemporary Architecture, Current Events, Documentary, Engineering, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, Travel, UPenn, UPenn: Photography Students, Women

Eileen Ko: Home Sweet Home

 

Photography, Text and Video by Eileen Ko, Copyright 2018

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HOME SWEET HOME

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Let me welcome you to my hometown, Fort Lee. This year for spring break, I went back home to New Jersey. Although going back home isn’t necessary traveling, I thought I could use this assignment as an opportunity to introduce my town to other people who have never heard of or been to Fort Lee.

Fort Lee is a borough located at the northeastern border of New Jersey and is in the New York City Metropolitan Area. That is because the town is right across the George Washington Bridge, which crosses over the Hudson River and connects Fort Lee directly to Manhattan. Fort Lee is named after General Charles Lee, who served as a general during the American Revolutionary War. And although this is an unheard-of fact to many, it is also the birthplace of the American film industry. Fort Lee was center of film production in the United States before Hollywood took over.

In recent decades, Fort Lee experienced a huge immigrant population influx, which has converted the town into a very diverse community. As you walk through the streets, you will see many stores and restaurant signs written in various languages, representing different countries. You will also see many churches, parks, playgrounds, a library, theater, adult activity center for senior citizens, and a community and recreational center various environments available for all ages.

Although I consider Fort Lee to be my hometown now, it isn’t where I grew up for the first half of my life. I first moved to Fort Lee in 8th grade. I still remember my first impressions of the town when moving there. A busy and lively urban city with a suburban touch in the outskirts of the town. A diverse society filled with a wide variety of food to enjoy. An engaged neighborhood regularly hosting carnivals, parades, and other entertaining events.

I have made so many fun and pleasant memories here in Fort Lee that I will forever cherish. Many of the best memories of my life were created in this town. It’s a town rich in history, diversity, and fun. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

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About The Author: Eileen Ko is a Nursing student in her junior year at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Eileen Ko, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/eileen-ko-a-work-of-heart/

 

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Travel, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Women

Mu Qiao: The Game of Sunshine

The wire pole in the sea. Photographed in Key West, the southernmost place of United States.

The wire pole in the sea. Photographed in Key West, the southernmost place of United States.

 

Photography, Text and Video by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

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THE GAME OF SUNSHINE

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I like to travel to places with water and sunshine. Miami, Key West and Cancun are all ideal destinations. For a traveler, the sunshine brings us bright scenery and a good mood. For a photographer, the abundant sunlight allows us to pay more attention to the composition of a picture and the object itself. In the “The Game of Sunshine” series, I tried to apply different perspectives, places, distances and compositions to record the traces of sunlight. In these photos facing the sky, the objects were relatively planar, such as masts, cities and sea levels, but the clouds increased the sense of depth in the picture. Moreover, Water and glass can create excellent effects of light and shadow, and there are distinct differences between spot sources and surface sources. In addition, the interior space with a curved wall can create a soft and smooth light and shade experience. Including sky, sea, building and people, the sunshine is creating its own photography all the time. The interesting and meaningful thing that we can do is to find a special perspective and capture the fleeting moments. 

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I was lying on a boat near Miami beach, watching the mast above, and an airplane was flying through the blue sky.

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Looking up from the bottom of the Aquarium World in Cancun. The sunshine above and a big glass wall create a fantastic light effect.

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The blue glass roof of a commercial street in Miami. Photographed at noon.

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The city of Miami and the yacht bay.

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Photographed at the “New World Center” building in Miami, which is designed by Frank Gehry.

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Photographed in Key Largo beach, an island near Key West. A boy is stretching himself under sunshine.

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A lizard is standing on the historical ruins of Maya Civilization, raising its head and enjoy the sunshine. Photographed in Cancun, Mexico.

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A lizard is standing on the historical ruins of Maya Civilization, raising its head and enjoy the sunshine. Photographed in Cancun, Mexico.

My girlfriend and I were waiting for a dolphin show in an aquarium. She turned her head, looked at the sunset and I took this picture.

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About The Author: Mu Qiao is a Graduate student enrolled in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional articles by Mu Qiao, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/mu-qiao-what-is-love/

 

Also posted in Blog, Contemporary Architecture, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, Travel, UPenn Photography, Video

Wenjia Guo: Travel Friends

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Photography and Text by Wenjia Guo, Copyright 2018

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TRAVEL FRIENDS

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With increasingly people getting involved in my life, especially after a change to an English environment, I found myself more use for the word friend. Even chat with some strangers they may call you my friend. However, in Chinese environment, we seldom use the word friend, instead we call others the handsome or pretty, feeling that the word friend is kind of old fashioned. Then I asked myself, do I become more tolerant of friend’ s by definition? Do I cherish my new friends at Penn as well as my former friends? Then I find this closeness is more of a social ritual for me, to those real friends I may seldom express my love to.

A recent travel week for me was a huge opportunity to tell if my classmates are my friends. To me, they are much more like comrade-in-arms, study at Penn is a war, you fight with time, you fight with easy life, you fight with tiredness. Study is kind of the only past communication between us, since the studio almost took all of our lives. I know they are hardworking, they are smart, but those are not the most important characters of me as a friend. I want my friends to be kind and honest, which is the ingrained rule I set for myself. So, during the trip to Miami, I paid more attention to people around me than the wonderful beach views. We almost drank and smoked a Huka every day, we shared our stress, our dreams, our love stories and our fears. These people became much more vivid and they really participated in my life. Now I can say, people in my camera world are my friends.

This travel week was so unreal, we spent a week in Miami’s summer while Philadelphia was still covered with snow. We had a party on yacht without any stressful academic pressure. I may forget that week and feel like it was a dream, but I will always remember my friends.

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About The Author: Wenjia Guo is a Graduate student in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional articles by Wenjia Guo, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/wenjia-guo-mini-fab-lab/

 

Also posted in Blog, Contemporary Architecture, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Travel, Women