• Toan Nguyen: Freedom

    Daniel Brooks

    Posted on March 19, 2012 by Toan Nguyen

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    Taking on this assignment, I knew I had to photograph Daniel Brooks. As a freshman at UPENN, I have become friends with many students since the beginning of the school year. Yet, among those, there is none quite like Daniel. He has charisma – that would make anyone feel like his best friend. Miami is Daniel’s hometown, known for the sunshine and the warm atmosphere that would make any visitor feel like home. Coming from a place that values a relaxing attitude, Brooks expresses himself fully as a person that is always willing to smile. His facial expression of smiling and laughing at the same time accentuates a sense of happiness, his usual emotional state.

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    Daniel Brooks

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    As Brooks and I became close friends, I also got to know his other emotional states, other than happiness. Very often, when he is upset, he usually knits his eyebrow as if there are many thoughts in his mind.

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    Brooks is a smoker. While many smoke to show off their coolness, Brooks is different. He finds in smoking the tranquility he needs when things do not turn out the way he wants. Brooks, then, often smokes when he is upset or feels the urge to clear out his mind. The act of exhaling smoke, as he describes, symbolizes the feeling of relieving stressfulness, which brings him peacefulness.

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    Daniel Brooks

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    Another reason that he smokes, is because occasionally smoking allows Brooks to concentrate. When there are various external circumstances that distract Brooks from focusing on a certain issue, smoking allows him to eliminate those distractions in his thinking process. This is fascinating, as not only smoking is helpful as a tool of relaxation, it aids him in his thinking.

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    Daniel Brooks

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    My friend has a habit of exhaling very slowly to watch the smoke vanishing in the air. This is also a reason why I like capturing photographs of him exhaling smoke and with this eyes gazing at the smoke slowly vanishing. This brings a dreamy mood for Brooks, the character in the photo as he seeks tranquility in his activity.

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    Daniel Brooks, therefore, presents himself as a character with happiness, as illustrated by a constant smile and laugh on his face. Yet, when he is at other emotional states, there are certain facial expressions or habits that are attached with them. The knitting of the eyebrows and the habit of smoking and gazing at the smoke vanishing characterize Brooks as a very deep person in accordance with his happiness.

    About The Author: Toan Nguyen is a freshman enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Class of 2015