Category Archives: 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 Architecture, Blog, Cameras, Contemporary Architecture, Current Events, Documentary, Engineering, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn: Photography Students, Women

Emily Cheng: But Where Are You Really From?

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Photography and Artist Statement by Emily Cheng, Copyright 2018

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But Where Are You Really From?

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To be Asian and living in America is to be a perpetual foreigner in our own land. Regardless of whether we were born in this country, or how much we have culturally assimilated, we are always deemed ‘other’ because of the color of our skin. I came to the United States four years ago from Hong Kong, armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and an American accent honed by years of international school and reality TV. Perhaps it was naivety, or just ignorance, but I believed that acceptance would come easily to me. While my experience in the U.S. has mostly been positive, it’s been marred by everyday incidents, from well-meaning questions to racially-charged catcalls, that constantly reinforce my foreignness.

“Ni Hao!”

“Damn China”

“Wow your English is so good”

“But where are you really from?”

I liken the Asian identity to a costume that we cannot shed, no matter how much we try. It’s something that differentiates us, exoticizes us in the eyes of our American peers. For Asian-Americans, that hyphen in our name is a constant reminder that we are not quite as American as our white counterparts. This photo series highlights the complexities and contradictions inherent in the Asian-American identity. It also expresses the otherness that Asians experience in American spaces everyday – from restaurants and supermarkets to schools and workplaces.

I came to America thinking it was a cultural melting pot. But as I prepare to leave after four years, I see a country that is increasingly hostile to immigrants and foreigners, a country that strives to be homogenous rather than full of color. I hope that this series gives you pause, that it makes you question the arbitrary characteristics that divide Americans. After all, to be American is not to have a certain skin color, nor to speak a certain language, but to simply embrace the country’s principles of freedom and liberty.

To quote former president Ronald Reagan, “America represents something universal in the human spirit. Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.”

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Wing_Hei_Emily_Cheng_Class_Portrait

Portrait of Emily Cheng by Esther Fleischer, Copyright 2018

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About The Author: Wing Hei Emily Cheng is a Senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018. To access additional articles by Ms. Cheng, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/emily-cheng-electric-avenue/

 

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

Hilary Lam: March for Our Lives – Anti-Gun Movement

 

Photography and Text by Hilary Lam, Copyright 2018

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March for Our Lives: Anti-Gun Movement

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Less than one month prior to the anti-gun rallies that took place across the United States, 17 children and adults were killed in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In 2012, 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school. And the deadliest school shooting in US history occurred at Virginia Tech in April of 2007, which led to the unfortunate deaths of 32 innocent lives.

The discourse on gun control laws escalated immediately after the most recent horrific event. Survivors of Stoneman Douglas High School voiced their concerns at a live-streamed town hall meeting with political representatives and members of the National Rifle Association less than a week later. At this moment, young and empowered teenage students openly confronted Senator Marco Rubio and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch directly. Pressing questions were asked and demands were made. The issue of NRA’s monetary donations to representatives, brought up a major concern over the role of incentives in altering gun control policies. Rubio did not state that he would turn down future NRA contributions. Another main concern was the ease in which citizens were able to purchase assault-rifles. Further restrictions and background checks for gun buyers are being demanded.

On March 24, thousands of people gathered in support of the student-run March for Our Lives rally. I personally attended the event at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia and was inspired by the number of parents who brought along their young children to this important event. It was reassuring to see my own community, students of all ages and residents of Philadelphia, united in efforts against another malicious attack on young lives due to the fault of guns being in the wrong hands. It was my first time experiencing a collaboration such as this one, and it is impossible not to notice the slogans and words expressed on the many posters. The energy, voices and actions of our youth is one that is so powerful and must be heard by all surrounding generations.

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About The Author: Hilary Lam is a Graduate student enrolled in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional article by Hilary Lam, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/hilary-lam-the-organic-form-as-sculpture/

 

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, News, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Women

Lilibeth Montero: National Dominican Student Conference

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Photography and Text by Lilibeth Montero, Copyright 2018

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National Dominican Student Conference

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On March 23th- 25th 2018 I attended the National Dominican Student Conference in New York City. The conference featured speeches from famous Dominican’s like Orange is the New Black star Dascha Polanco and rapper Amara La Negra. The conference was designed to be an open and safe space for students of Dominican descent to discuss openly about the issues facing the Dominican community.

One of the main issues facing the Dominican community concerns their identity. After, 174 years the Dominican Republic continues to face the consequences of European colonialism. Once long ago, the Dominican Republic and Haiti were a single Island. But with colonialism, the Island was split into two creating a deeply divided society. Now 174 years later the Dominican Republic and Haiti remain divided. Today, the Dominican youth has accepted and embraced their African routes, however the older Dominican generations continue to deny their African ancestry. Older generations of Dominican people are incredibly racist to Haitians, and value lighter European features.  The students at the conference go by the name “Afro-Latinas” or “Afro-Latinos” embracing both their African and their latin American side. The Dominican community is struggling at finding an identity. Questioning if they are “black” enough, or “latin” enough.

Another aspect of the conference focused on mental health, a taboo subject in the Dominican community. For so long, Dominicans were forced to live in silence. The older generations of Dominicans for so long attempted to hide the sun with their thumb. The conversation was a passionate and heartwarming one.

The conference ended on March 25th with a Traditional Dominican breakfast. At the end of the conference, it was clear students felt empowered and left with hope. Hope to better their community, and confidence that other Dominican students are working hard to make a difference.

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About The Author: Lilibeth Montero is a freshman enrolled in the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021. To access additional articles by Lilibeth Montero, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/lilibeth-montero-whats-in-my-bag/

 

Also posted in Announcements, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Women

Rongrong Liu: A Colorful Favela

Photography and Text by Rongrong Liu, Copyright 2018

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A COLORFUL FAVELA

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Favela, in Portuguese, means a slum. Thousands of books and reports talk about these Brazilian shanty towns. There are 786 favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Each one has around 160,000 people. They live and die in these shady places because they cannot afford to live in the cities. If you type the word into Google, nothing positive shows up.They are said to be extremely dangerous and full of violence and drugs. However, after staying in Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, I found most of the urban areas essentially not too different, so my curiosity drove me to take a tour to the inner side of Brazil.

The tour guide was born and bred in Favela. He is a self-taught English and German speaker. He receives thousands of perfect reviews on Trip Advisor and must be able to afford a good life in urban Rio, but he still chooses to live in Favela. With a curiosity about this person and the place for certain, we arrived after a half-an-hour drive. Within expectation, the town is not as prosperous as some coastal areas, but it has most of what cities have- restaurants, clinics, supermarkets, bars, and surprisingly, banks. Considered as neglected places by the government, favelas are not provided with any subsidies, hence they developed their own self-sufficient economy. It is true that “some people just give up at some point of their life”, as said by the tour guide, but at the same time “there are still people who strive to change their fate. I learned English and German. I have been a tour guide for 26 years.” It is hard to imagine that a person can still be passionate after sharing the same thing and showing people around the same place for 26 years. However, I guess he just wants to use his ability to tell the world the positive side of Favela.

I didn’t know how much words can tell about a real favela, but I believe the camera can. I recorded what I saw along the road. There are all those yellow stick figure graffiti everywhere on the walls, on the wire poles, full of happiness and hope. On my way visiting, which was around 3pm in the afternoon, three teenage girls with backpacks passed by. After communicating with our tour guide, the girls gave the most beautiful smile on their faces to welcome us as foreigners. They pinched my face, and gave me a big hug. I guess that was the warmest and the most pure hug that I haven’t received for a long while.

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About The Author: Rongrong Liu is a Junior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Rongrong Liu, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/rongrong-liu-a-macro-view-of-utensils/

 

Also posted in Current Events, Environment, Friends of TWS, Music, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography