52 Week Project Blog

Week 20/52 - Flowever

Oh man. I do have to apologize for releasing the next portrait of the week. Better late than never! Introducing the magnificent Nick Bash AKA Flow! He is the 20th portrait of the week for my environmental portraiture series that occurred between May 14th - May 20th. Over a month ago, I messaged Nick over Facebook about his main debut event that happened at Foundation Nightclub and asked to be on his guest list. Thrilled to his event, I asked in return to select him for my project. Sure enough, he was down for that exchange! We planned for the middle of May for his tattoo appointment on the first day and a second day for his podcast. Once we landed on his week, only one event was switched around due to some complication with his podcast event. In place of that event, we filled an alternative event with gloving. All of those will be presented after this paragraph. The structure of our time together will go as follow: who Nick is, what occurred during our time together, and what is coming for him. Every image here is divided into two days. 

Nick is quite an interesting man. We met in 2013 at an event called Freaknight 2013. This wild hair man attended the event to give an artistic light show called Gloving. That night forever changed my life. Why am I saying that? He gave an incredible performance with his LED glove that made me see color and light differently. He inspired me to give gloving a try. Compare to Nick, I'm not a master to the craft. He's worked effortlessly in the craft and garnered a community with the same interest together, he is called Flow for a reason. He even gathered the attention of the world renowned leading company in modern light show apparels and gloving, Emazing Lights, for a sponsorship and competition. Later on in the blog, you will get to see why I titled the blog "Flowever". Besides gloving, Nick is a DJ. He has killed the club floor at STAGE, Foundation, and Amber Nightclub. I'm sure he's done more than I can list and he continues to build his name with more events. 

When I said "wild hair man", he had a full head of hair and a crazy beard. Last year, Nick went through transformation. Not purposely however. Curious to learn more about the transformation, we had a conversation about Alopecia Areata. Last year, he noticed hair loss slowly and was scared he was in serious health trouble. Having visited the doctor about it, he learned he was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease. Instead of coping with the thought of never having hair again, he turned it around and used it for comedy such as memes from One Punch Man and saving money on razor and shaving creams. Jokingly aside, he's a recognizable person with a quirky personality. 

May 15th, I met with Nick at the Honey Hole in Capitol Hill where his tattoo appointment was nearby. After years of watching this young man grow online, it was great to see him in person. We walked to the Artful Dodger Tattoo and Comics, which to my knowledge never knew this place existed. This wasn't his first time at the parlor. He's a usual customer for the place. He wanted a simple, yet beautiful initial tattoo of his father on his right inner wrist. It says "RDB" for Russell Dean Bash in memorial for his recent passing earlier in February. Rest in Peace. Shoot, I almost forgot to mention. Nick loves to draw, especially for tattoo design. His arm was all designed from him using a graph line paper. Nick is one unstoppable creator. While we were waiting for his tattoo artist, Jake, to finish prepping, Nick and I started to our photo shoot. Being surrounded with comic book culture and toys, the direction I gave him is to pick up a book and start reading. A few minutes later, Jake let us use their Playstation 4 to watch Netflix. We played Bob Ross painting and left it to play in the background. The first image you see at the top of the page is a great capture. That's how I see him. Once the session happened, I photographed both Jake and Nick. Nick usually shows his silly side to even trying his hardest to hide the pain. I don't know if I can muster the gut to get a tattoo done on my wrist, but he sure sucked it up. After the session, I wanted to take him to a dope graffiti art wall within Cap Hill. Seeing Nick wear bright, artistic sweater, I figured the location fits him perfectly. The first day was a success and we couldn't wait for the second day.

For our second day, we had to move it to the next evening. I did not that as an issue. There was supposed to be a podcast, but that got dropped. I thought up an alternative shoot that related to his gloving. The rest of the blog will show still images of his gloving. I promise you will be impressed with the art. 

The second night of our session was a ton of fun. In the beginning, I got lost driving to his house because it's like in the middle of nowhere even using GPS. Once I arrived at his house, he brought up the idea of doing our shoot at a different location instead of his house. Before this, I was prepared with my studio gear and equipment with a backdrop and stands to create an environment. Realizing we were set into a full night, we drove off to look for a secluded location. 15 minutes later, we parked at Lynnwood High School. The school had plenty of lighting and thick metal wall for an industrial feel. I brought my LED backpack and wore it in front of me to add unique color lighting for Nick's lightshow. Given this was my second time photographing a glover previously seen in Week 13, I used what I learned and applied them to Nick's session. Definitely a vast improvement in timing and focusing my subject, I captured the essence of a glover. 

The light show I captured 655 images in total. Before going through the images, I used all 655 images and created a timelapse video of his lightshow. I always wanted to turn my photos into a timelapse. What better way to show gloving in a different way? Anywhere on the internet, there are amazing videos of people giving lightshow. Nothing wrong with that. For me and maybe others, I felt something was missing about showing the art. In photography, I have seen photos of glovers giving shows to their audience with the use of an external flash. I can see it is helpful to illuminate the environment and be an an easier time focusing on the glover since it's usually pitch black inside. For our show, my LED backpack and Nick's glove along with a single light above us, it was perfect. I slowed down time for my shutter speed and switched from autofocus to manual mode to capture the flow of the lights, held the shutter down for continuous shooting, and not have to worry about my camera trying to focus on something. Magic happened in front of me! He was having a blast gloving and I was creating magic in my camera. I selected a few from our show to see how time was frozen when there was motion happening. This is how I imagine a lightshow. 

Before I wrap this up, I want to add a couple of important thoughts. Seeing Nick again after years of watching him grow, it was great to spend one on one with him. To hear what he's been up to and what is coming up for him, I can't wait for the city to grow with him and get him blown up. He has a following because he follows his passion. He's a genuine person who encourages others to keep hustling and wants to give back in his own way. We have so much in common. The one thing I wanted to add the most is if it wasn't for my ex-girlfriend, Nick and I would have never met. Sure we would have met in later times through different people, but the timing meant greater than that. He's a friend I can keep forever.  

Finally, Thank you Nick for being in my project. This was an amazing experience with you. I hope you love the photos and video created just for you. 

Week 21 is coming soon! Stay tune for the next blog!