Category Archives: Music

Julia Chun: Art of the Dance


Photography and Text by Julia Chun, Copyright 2018


Art of the Dance


April 9th, 2016 is the day that transformed me for good. I was part of the After School Arts Program as a violin mentor –  a violinist for thirteen years and counting – and our student show had just ended. While I was cleaning up the stage, I saw dancers come into the venue for a different event. One of my friends let me in and I took my first dance class ever taught by a member of the world famous Kinjaz.

I’ve always been fascinated by dancers, admired their stage presence and techniques, and would choose to watch dance videos for hours over any other movie. I also believed that I inherently didn’t have what it took to become a dancer, lacking the groove and the skills. I did not qualify to be one. That day was the beginning of a new journey of discovering myself. Getting the moves wrong and looking flimsy in front of other dancers is very embarrassing, but I never feel so alive and present as I do when I take a dance class surrounded by people exuding energy. In that very moment, whatever fear that made be shield myself from being judged or criticized is suppressed by the sheer pleasure of doing what I do. Dancing introduced me a passion I have never felt while pursuing any other thing.

So when the assignment was released, I had no doubt about what I wanted to photograph. After all, dancing was what first drew me to videography and eventually led me to take  this photography class. When I was photographing dancers, I wanted to capture their presence, one of the qualities I value the most in a dancer. Can the dancer fill the space not just with movements but with his or her presence? I also always pictured dancers dancing in the streets, blending in casually with what we see in our everyday lives, and I finally had a chance to capture what I have been imagining.


About The Author: Julia Chun is a computer science major enrolled in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Julia Chun, click here



Also posted in Art, Documentary, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Travel, UPenn, Video, Women

Julia Chun: Art as Activism



Photography, Text and Video by Julia Chun, Copyright 2018


Art as Activism


Sometimes, a protest and going on a strike for a few weeks will do the job. Your city government hears you out and resolves your issues. 

Sometimes, a series of protests or making to the news headlines throughout the year will pass that bill that you’ve been fighting for.

Often times, issues are left unresolved. Some years, the society and the political scene seem to be fighting in your favor and in others, they turn their backs to you.

In this project, I wanted to capture the artwork and the people who use art as a means of activism to perpetuate political and cultural issues that need attention of the society. Some targeted topics that are more directly influenced by politics such as LGBTQ, reconstruction of a rundown town in Philly, black women oppression, and Islamophobia. Others created performances to enhance the sense of resonance, which is crucial in every minority communities or communities formed by people of the same race but with vastly different social status. One Indian American might be the CEO of Google while many others are still subject to deportation with DACA’s end. The commonality among all the artworks and people I captured is that they all fight for their long-lasting causes in a peaceful way through film, performance, music, and poetry.

I photographed three different events for this project. First series was themed “Resonance”, organized by the Asian Pacific American Heritage Week (APAHW), which featured different shows put together by cultural groups. The second series was also put together by APAHW, but it featured guests from outside of Penn to showcase their work and talk about the various issues they fight for – Islamophobia, LGBT rights, urban renovation, etc. The last series was called “SPEECH/ACT”, an exhibit taking place at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The artists used black poetry as a way to discuss black rights and used commercials to show black oppression in America.

After seeing so many protests, often violent, take place since the election last year, it was very mind opening to realize that there were so many other issues to fight for besides taxation or those that are starkly political. It was also inspiring to discover artists who are so persistently and actively trying to make a statement through their artwork shaped by their personal experiences, although they may never make it to the front page of a news paper.



About The Author: Julia Chun is a computer science major enrolled in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Julia Chun, click here



Also posted in Art, Current Events, Documentary, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, UPenn: Photography Students, Video, Women

TWS: November 2017


TWS: Portfolio Classics


Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017


Portrait of Res, R&B singer for Vibe Magazine, New York. 1999


To see a gallery of more portfolio classics by Tony Ward, click here


Also posted in Art, Blog, Covers, Fashion, Glamour, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Women

Janelle Tong: The Essence of Balance


Photography, Text & Video by Janelle Tong, Copyright 2017




The world as we know it operates in a constant balancing act. In an isolated chemical system, mass can neither be created nor destroyed and instead can only be affected by physical transformation. In art, the contrasts between light and dark balance to create a wide array of visual effects that can either capture reality as we perceive it or provide a distorted interpretation of the world around us. In music, there is balance between melody and harmony, between loud and soft, between the strings and brass, between major and minor keys—all of which, combined, results in a seamless narrative and musical progression through the piece.

With this context in mind, I used two violins—one traditional violin made of wood and one modern violin made of carbon fiber—to embody the essence of balance in art as a whole. From examining each instrument individually, we can find a multitude of balanced elements. From the mirrored f-shaped holes on the violin’s face to the even distribution of the four strings across the bridge and even to the symmetrical curves along the sides of the instrument, the violin physically represents what it means to be balanced. Furthermore, through positioning the instruments in a yin-yang fashion, we can explore how these two instruments can still balance each other in different visual scenarios. Considering the two violins are made from completely different materials, it creates an interesting contrast when comparing how the light interacts with their faces as well as how the contours of each instrument form shadows. Light and dark, forward and backward, left and right—the combinations of poses for both instruments are endless, which is yet another testament to how well these two violins can visually capture the essence of balance.



About The Author: Janelle Tong is a Senior enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017. To read additional articles by Janelle Tong, go here


Also posted in Blog, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Women

Studio News: “Saint Stephen’s” Netflix & Chill


Music Video by St._Ephen. Title: Netflix & Chill



Artist: St._Ephen





St._ephen “Saint Stephen” aka Stephen Levine local artist in the Philadelphia region was  born January 26 , 1993. Son to Marita Coston and Ronald Levine . At  an early age, Stephen was exposed to a range of eclectic music such as Motown and Classic Rock . Inspired by the Grateful Dead from their song St. Stephen; the name was once reborn . He spent summers with his Dad living in Montgomery township, Pennsylvania  and during the earliest part of his school years lived in New Jersey with his Mom  . Ultimately, Stephen spent the remainder of his teen life at Cheltenham High School .

During those years Stephen was introduced to participating in musical productions. Like singing in the high school choir , a cappella  groups , touring ensembles and musicals. After high school he decided to go to Montgomery Community College but decided to take a year off to pursue being a songwriter and an artist in music . “Netflix and Chill” is one of the many songs that Stephen has made over the past year.  Most of his songs are produced by Andrew Meoray and Xave Michael . The video was produced and directed by Joe Schaefer and Marissa Nicole Pina .

It took two days of filming with scenes shot in Dumbo, Brooklyn and  in parts of North Philadelphia. With this video, the directors wanted more of the clashing of colors and specific visual movements . They also tried to capture the natural art of just chilling. The people involved in the production deserves the utmost thanks, gratitude and appreciation. The question what is to come next?

His next single is called; Someone Better, featuring Xave Michael . Also, a full body of work is planned to be released by the summer of 2017. His grandfather’s favorite quote was “Be Ye not , but be prepared” . So whatever life has to bring Stephen aka “Saint Stephen”will surely be ready.

Also posted in Art, Blog, Current Events, Film, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Women