A Night Out.
My phone's screen is a little blurry, but I think it says it's seven minutes until midnight. The smell in this room is not great, but it's keeping me grounded while the walls start to twirl. Trying to pull up the zipper on my good jeans is a lot harder while trying to keep balance on the five inch stilts I bought just for tonight. Walking out of the stall I catch my appearance in the mirror. Im not even going to try to be modest. I still look good. Thanks to the liquor, my confidence is at an all time high. After all the sweat, my very expensive foundation is still glowing. I have to get back out there before my looks start to melt. After giving my wild hair one last boost and telling the beautiful blurs in the bathroom that I love them too, I make my way back to the dance floor.
Fuck. Now I have to find my friends. Okay self, where did we last see them? Checking my phone is useless because that would involve the ability to read. I walk through the crowd with a confident facade because I'm sure they can all smell fear. Suddenly, a curve ball. The intro to my favorite song is starting to play. Friends or not, this is my moment. Just as my alter ego starts to make an appearance, I spot my salvation. My friends have found me just in time for the first word. I start to feel the bass fighting with my heart beat for the right rhythm. The warmth of the thick air keeps my body heat high. Looking at others in my circle I can feel the synchronization of our energy. Everyone around me flashing big smiles of their bright porcelain. Strangers' eyes wandering, searching for their early morning destination. I've never felt this good in my life. I haven't been able to feel my feet for the past hour. My head is floating from the rush and at this moment I am invincible.
Hours later, at two forty-seven a.m., I'm stuffing my face full of grease. I can tell from the way the guy next to me is staring that I just laughed too loud. I want to be polite but I'm just so tired. My body is slowing down but I can't stop smiling. I still don't know what is next for us tonight. I don't want it to end but my bed is calling me and it hates being sent to voicemail. Is someone calling an uber? That might be what we’re talking about but my brain just can't hold on long enough to keep focus. After minutes of waiting and taking pictures I won't remember, I'm pushed into a silver mom-van. My impromptu three minute nap in the back seat led to me waking up right in front of my apartment gate. Holy shit, I'm home? After staring from the window for a while, I realize that blessings shouldn't be questioned and hop out of the Lyft. While waving a sluggish goodbye to my friends, the key finally unlocks my door. I stumble through the room, peeling my clothes off and rubbing my face off. The collision of my face and a pillow thankfully knocks me out. Thus the perfect ending to the perfect night out.
A Portrait From Behind The Lens.
Brief description of age, name, hometown.
My name is René Calvillo. I am a 23-year-old Latinx photographer from Los Angeles, California. My main focus is portrait/editorial photography on film & digital.
What started your love for photos/photography?
I don’t know what kicked off my love for photography. It would be hard to depict a certain point in my life where it was apparent; I do remember craving some sort of creative outlet and it happened to be photography.
What are your inspirations?
My inspirations are drawn from several creatives that have single-handedly transformed whatever medium they’ve dedicated to. Some of which are Dorian Ulises López Macias, Annie Leibovitz, Chuck Grant, Luke Gilford, Ruthie Brownfield, and of course Solange.
Where do you see your art/career in five years?
I see myself in New York working on my craft. I’m currently in a university studying business management and digital marketing. As soon as I finish, I plan to save enough money and fly to New York. The editorial scene is big there. I also see my portfolio growing, I’ve kept it growing steadily over the years, but I’m dedicated to enlarging it vastly this year.
What feelings or though do you hope to evoke through your art?
In my craft, I hope to invite the viewer into the world of the image and let them become synchronized with the space of that image. I’ve recently gotten into more documentation photography on film as it does a good job of bringing forth that experience that I’m trying to provide. I also hope to capture the persona of each individual through portrait photographs, making sure that every photograph fits my style while still capturing that individual’s rawest self.
What is the hardest part about what you do?
The hardest part is maintaining consistency in the production of my work. I’ve gone weeks without shooting and I’ve gone weeks with back to back shooting. Trying to make art in a capitalistic society and trying to survive is not ideal.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Seeing the art completed. There is so much work goes into making the idea come alive or trying to evoke a certain emotion into the photograph. It is immensely satisfying when I’ve managed to capture whatever thought or emotion on camera as I pictured it in my head.
Any specific goals you plan to accomplish soon?
Ahh – I have so many goals. So. Damn. Many. Sometimes I wish I would’ve taken the traditional route of just having a 9-5 cause my dreams are so damn big and complicated. I hope to publish a zine or book soon, but only once I’ve had enough collective work of one project. I’m also going to be offering other photography services apart from the editorial-style I regularly do, just to fund any personal projects I have the thought of executing. Ultimately, my goal is to work for major publications worldwide.
I’ve provided some of my favorite (semi-recent) photographs I haven’t published anywhere (yet). They’re a mix of digital & film. Portraits to the documentation of human experience.
More of my work is available at www.renecalvillo.com & you can reach me through firstname.lastname@example.org
Leap Year Poetry
How Much Does A Diploma Weigh?
As I get older I get the “So what are your plans?”. Which usually means “Are you going to school? How do you plan to support yourself for the rest of your life? Do you have a job that others find respectable?”. Then when I say that I didn't get a chance to finish college because life isn't always as we see it, the mood switches. Suddenly I’m not worth as much as I was before my answer. Though people never come out say it like that, facial expressions and tone of voice fill in the blanks. Sadly to many, being in college or getting some type of further education sets you above others. Do I believe this? Fuck no. Have I watched people around me including family reach their goals without more than a high school diploma? Fuck yeah. Now I’m not bashing school because for a lot of professions, higher education is required. Personally, I had a great time in college when I attended. It teaches you life lessons and can give you friends you carry forever. If given the opportunity, I would recommend college to anyone who is looking into it. I just don't want to keep perpetuating the stereotype that college is the only way to be successful.
Currently, America makes it a lot harder to succeed without a college degree. There are so many success stories of those who did not reach a degree. For example my mother is an accomplished, highly skilled, and compassionate social worker. She has attained more high test scores and education hours than those needed to fulfill a PhD. She didn’t get the chance to finish her degree but yet she stands intelligent, hard working, and over-qualified for any job she wished to apply to. She is acclaimed amongst her clients, coworkers, and every company she has ever worked for. Cynthia Johnson, my mother, has achieved being successful, raising a child on her own, and chasing after her goals without diplomacy. She is an inspiration and a true role model. She has shown that no matter what the circumstances, hard work and passion for what you do truly pays off. Although many have achieved greatness without, why is choosing not to go to school something people feel ashamed of? Why is it that we feel the need to to put others below us when we have no idea what adversities others face?
There are many out there that have all the experience or drive for their dream job but are set back because of a lack of diplomacy. Higher education should not determine someone’s worth or work ethic. Some of the country’s hardest working people are those without a college degree. In reality only about thirty three percent of the country has a bachelor's degree. Qualification for a job should not be limited to those who hold one. Experience and dedication to the position should weigh just as heavy as a degree. Jobs should be given to those that strive and have earned it. Whether it be by education, internships, past work experience, or those who have shown true drive. I am very proud of those who have a degree, are chasing one, or even multiple. Stay focused on your path and watch all your hard work pay off, because school is fucking hard. To those not in school for whatever reason, chase that dream. Chase it until you can smell it. Chase it until it tells you to stop breathing down its neck. Chase it until no one can tell you that you don't deserve it.
What is TAKEOVERRSZN?
First & foremost, it’s deeper than fitness. IESHATAKEOVER was always my name since high school. TAKEOVERSZN was always a phrase I would say when it’s time for me to lead or do great things. It was a phrase that constantly boosted my confidence during my meets for track or basketball games. It boosted my confidence to hear my teammates, peers and etc., say this quote as well.
Fitness has been a part of my life since I was a baby. My whole family is/was athletic. When I had to drop out of college and give up track, it took a huge toll on me mentally and emotionally. Sports was something I always was apart of. I had to leave college and work full-time. I was working two jobs and got lost in the adult world. I was mentally drained and felt like I was losing everything due to a few hard obstacles I had to face. I needed something to be passionate about again. The gym was always my safe haven. Although I was lost in the adult world, I always found time to workout. During this time away from school, I told myself I still needed to educate myself daily. I purchased a personal training course a year before I actually finally took the exam. For an entire year, I kept procrastinating and letting life take control of my time. January 13, 2019 I told myself “ENOUGH”. I forced myself to create a fitness instagram page and I started my journey to becoming a personal trainer. This was the true start to TAKEOVERRSZN. I also made sure my first post would be a quote that inspired me to never give up. I chose the quote “70% of people who start a plan, quit. Except you, NOT. THIS. TIME.” This quote has a special meaning to me because I had a history of starting things and not finishing them. Whenever I got bored of something or etc, I would just choose something else to do. But that never was the case with anything fitness related, I always gave 100% of myself to my team or fitness goals.
I started speaking things into existence. I bought a journal and wrote all my goals in that book. I started studying again for my exam and really started to get focused on my goals. In May 2019, I took my exam and PASSED. I was finally a certified personal trainer and this is when my business really started to take off. I always had people asking me fitness questions due to my body composition but they took me more serious once the word CERTIFIED was mentioned. I started creating 30 day challenges and having 1on1 sessions with people. It has been a tough but beautiful journey ever since.I’m not where I want to be but I have patience. I make sure to educate myself daily to prepare myself for God’s future blessings. I know my business will be big one day, it’s only been a year so far. I’m only 23. I got my whole life ahead of me to become the best personal trainer in the world.
I’ve dealt with people not believing in me or my business. The advice I would give to other business owners is; stop thinking that everyone needs to believe in you because they really don’t. It’s YOUR job to believe in yourself. Create your own path. Be the leader. People will start to believe and follow you on their own time. Just remain focused. Promote yourself until it pays off because they’ll either get mad and delete you or inspired and support you. ALWAYS remember that.
My favorite part of becoming a personal trainer is having people look up to you. Having the ability to boost people’s confidence through fitness. It makes me proud whenever a client tells me that their confidence is growing or that they are changing their lifestyle to be more healthy. It’s deeper than fitness. I post daily “messages of the day” just to tell my clients/followers that they are beautiful and have always been beautiful. I have my share of insecurities and have dealt with a lot so I make sure to let everyone around me know that I’m not perfect just because I’m a trainer. I go through insecurities as well, especially since I was diagnosed with a skin condition called psoriasis. I’ve also been through bullying because of my appearance from a young age until high school. But I don’t let these things TAKEOVER my life because I am the one in control.. ITAKEOVER. Nobody is me and I am no one else but ME, and I will continue to present this message to my followers/clients. TAKEOVER is deeper than fitness. TAKEOVER YOUR LIFE.
To all those who support me, thank you. There has been dozens of times I thought of giving up, but then there would be that one person that reminds me why I do what I do. It would be disrespectful to myself and my supporters if I gave up. I promise I never will.
Thank you, TAKEOVERRSZN.
The Finish Line.
What does the finish line of success look like? Is there a stack of money waiting for you at the end? Or is it pride and a sense of self prophecy? Many people will say things like “If you want success you just have to go out there and get it”. To many people, this statement is very true. A lot have an formidable drive that brings an impressive tunnel vision. Others will have a harder time. While each path is perfectly different, how the fuck are we supposed to know if we’re on that golden path? Sometimes I see others way ahead of me on their path and it makes me feel like I’m failing or losing the game. Am I just a slow jogger? Should I pick up the pace or am I going at a safe pace?
A lot of the time I think about how life unfolds and the situations we get ourselves into. Not all of the decisions we make can be a huge power move that will skyrocket us to our goals. Some decisions, if not many, are made because we have no other option. Many times I have made a decision based on what my life looked like at that specific moment in time. A few were questionable, but I stand behind them one hundred percent. Some of these decisions left me in a place where I felt as if I was at the bottom of a sinkhole. Although I felt really pitiful towards myself, I had to remember that this decision wasn’t the final one. I had to be my biggest sponsor in the race to my success. Not only financially but through emotional support as well.
Your road to success may not be short or sweet. Your road may be cracked and filled with potholes that sometimes pop a tire, but that doesn’t stop someone from driving on it. Most of the streets in Los Angeles are the worst I have seen and people still speed along determined to see their destination. The end of your road might not even be a success in your career. It could simply be happiness. Success shouldn’t always mean money, even though this country seems to drive the idea into our brains. The finish line should be contentment, something that brings you joy and ease. If money and fame bring you that feeling, chase after it with all your might. Just be sure to take your time, move at your own pace. You might be a slow jogger but you’ll get there when you’re ready.
Am I Getting Old?
Why doesn’t anyone really explain how fast time goes? I mean sure there are jokes made, memes sent, and birthday parties every year but that doesn’t mean that we took our youth seriously. Now, most will laugh at me and tell me that I am crazy for feeling old at the newfound age of twenty-two, but in all honesty, I never thought I would be this old. Does this mean I thought I was going to die young? No. It does mean that when you are twelve or seventeen you never really take into consideration that one day you’re not going be as young as you are at that moment. The truth is, it only gets older from here.
In all honesty, this isn’t a piece about fear of the future. This is a piece about realizing that forever young really is just a song. Sure you can feel young for as long as you like, but one afternoon over a cup of Trader Joe's coffee we are going to realize that we are no longer able to consider ourselves young. Why is it that we spend most of our adolescent lives yearning for people to find us mature? Younger women lust blindly after older men, searching for that maturity validation. Young men buy elaborate cars when they can’t even drive stick. As someone diagnosed with a case of chronic baby-face syndrome, my whole life all I ever wanted was for someone to tell me that I look two years older than what I actually was. Not because I wanted to look old, but because I didn’t want to be seen as a child.
Although I still party, bar hop, and spend my money on mindless things, I am really starting to feel old. Just the other day I saw that my credit score went up and I almost shrieked out of joy. Six years ago I would’ve thought that a credit score was the number of times you swiped a credit card. Now I pay rent, car insurance, WiFi bills, and even to park my car (perks of living next to the crowded neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles). Although sad that my childhood has officially been over for years now, I find myself excited about what getting older means. Instead of looking forward to prom or being able to drink (legally), I am looking forward to the start of my career and maybe even a family. I know that I am still very young and have so much to go through, but nothing makes me feel older than when some kid tells me that what used to be my favorite song is a throwback. No one really believes how fast time flies, but I guess that’s because we're all just trying to have fun.
Love me? Love me not?
Captured by a Free Spirit.
Hey there! My name is Cori and I’m a 22 year old aspiring photographer living in the greater Los Angeles area. I'm a free spirit, originally from Malibu, and later I migrated inland to Glendale. Growing up wasn’t the easiest task for me or anyone for that matter, but I always found solace in my art. Whether that be music, painting, or photography. My outlets are, and always have been, endless. Some of my earliest memories include cameras, printed photos, negatives, and slides. Going through the boxes of family photos and my dad's surfing slides had to be my favorite past time. Always inquiring “mom, who's this?” or “do you ‘member this day?” I was infatuated with the idea of capturing moments.
Fast forward to present day; I work in a photo studio, go to The Los Angeles Center of Photography. and freelance all at the same time. Getting here took a few mushroom trips, some time devoted to my spirituality, and countless difficult conversations with my mom. Nevertheless, I made it. I can’t say it was easy to get here, convincing my family was the hardest part. My best advice for that situation is to hear your family out and be respectful. However, do whatever the fuck you want. It is always going to be your life so take that risk! That’s what I did, now I have a job that I love and get to learn even more about my passion.
I have so many aspirations for the future. Mainly I’d like to do documentary style photography and do my part to open our society’s eyes to the destruction we’re doing to our home. Also, shed light on how a plant based diet can have such an impact on reversing those effects. I see myself farther in the future opening up my own studio for creatives to record music, utilize photo studio space, and develop their digital/ film photography. That’s only in the future though, you always have to be mindful to enjoy the present moment. For now I’ll be at the studio spreading love and taking photos.
When you have a connection with someone, it is almost required to be open with them. Any kind of connection that counts is one that is trying to be or is, transparent. Often times we present our selves as what we think people want to see. We let these images that we feel others need cloud our raw form. How can we expect honesty if we can't give it?
We are told in our lives that we have to be there for one another. What I have failed to realize is that people have made that sound way easier than it is. It's as if your telling a child to speak without teaching them how. Feelings, just like children, need to be nurtured and given time to grow. On the other hand, they have to be taken seriously and be shown respect. Growing up as an only child with a single mother I have learned to deal with many things on my own. One of these many things were my emotions. I have had no trouble sharing my thoughts on certain opinions, but sharing my truest of feelings with anyone but has been a foreign language that I am still having trouble trying to speak.
As my mind grows with age so do my emotions. I have since stopped try to avoid the conversations and actions that require me to get uncomfortable. Just as standing in a room naked can make one uncomfortable, sharing one's most private thoughts can be just the same. This was one of the hardest hills to get over in many of my personal connections. People around me started to fear that I had no feelings at all because of my lack of expression. In the end, I felt the loneliest I have ever felt in my life.
Moving forward I have decided that I don’t want to know what lonely feels like anymore. As hard and gut-wrenching bearing your soul to someone is, it’s worth it. That look of acceptance and loyalty in your loved one's eye when they accept your soul in its most raw form is the most rewarding feeling to ever grace a heart.
My name is Bri. I am a twenty- one year old trying to survive in Los Angeles.