I am not one that is moved easily and emotionally by watching films. Not to say I don’t love films or I don’t appreciate the craft or technique that goes into making films. From the very first frame of Alfonso Cuarón’sROMA’ something switched in me. This film was different, a good different and I knew I was in for what would be an emotional journey. Told through harrowing film making, acting, unique and dynamic choices in storytelling and plot line. All of this from the perspective of two domestic workers of a politically charged 1970’s Mexico. Although as the movie progresses the storyline focuses more so on one domestic worker than the other (there’s a reason).

(L to R) Marco Graf as Pepe, Daniela Demesa as Sofi, Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marina De Tavira as Sofia, Diego Cortina Autrey as Toño, Carlos Peralta Jacobson as Paco in Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Photo by Carlos Somonte


Cléo (played superbly by newcomer Yalitza Aparicio in her first acting role no less!) as a central character shines throughout the movie where a story such as this could get boring or trite. This doesn’t. Yalitza with just the smallest of gestures shows how aptly she ingested this character coupled with brilliant acting from the rest of the cast as well. You feel as if you’re not watching a movie but getting a sacred glimpse into a family’s home. This also holds true to Alfonso Cuarón’s editing style and choice of film. The use of a Kodachrome black and white style make the film have a simple look and feel, akin to a 70s home movie. To a viewer these choices may seem pointless as they are quite minute. Cuarón’s choices no matter how big or small serve us the viewer two major things watching this … To put you into a nostalgic mood and in the perspective of Cléo’s character. In real is a person who often goes nameless and faceless in society. Cuarón by doing so allows the viewer to relate to Cléo the most as we draw empathy for her and her situation with the use of Nostalgia. Cléo represents not only herself but countless others in her position. So Cuarón drew less upon a backstory per se unlike other characters in the film, most notably Sofia, the wife and maternal figure of the family Cléo worked for (who is played by the brilliant, Marina De Tavira). All in all I got exactly what Cuarón was trying to convey across the screen and that’s the goal of a filmmaker. Especially from a film that is so well acted across the board and with so many tiny intricacies you could write a term paper on it. This also was the first film I’ve seen from Alfonso Cuarón so you can bet I will be watching more.

Until then,
Brittney W. 🙂 x

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The Dawning Of MAY …

Meet MAY (now The Dawn Of MAY) , she’s the Melbourne born and New York City based singer-songwriter who voice and lyrics are beautiful and haunting. She is signed to Bastille’s Best Laid Plans where she will release her debut EP, Phantom and video “Last September” come November 2nd.

This week I not only had the privilege of seeing her play live in the most intimate setting in Los Angeles but I also got to interview her. You can view MAY’s answers below ….

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I always start out with an with ice breaker question. So Early Bird or Night Owl?

MAY: I am a night owl, that is for certain… It’s the most enigmatic and curious time… When the best ideas come… Also, something mysterious and thought provoking about wondering who else is awake and who/what they are thinking about too.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you tell us how you got started as a Singer-Songwriter? What was the catalyst for you?

MAY: I have always written since I was a child and gravitated towards the piano. I would play how I felt from as young as I can remember. Writing and music have always been very sentimental for me.

TRB: Can you tell me more about your typical creative, recording and writing process and what goes on behind that?

MAY: For me, it purely begins with a feeling. I have to write about something almost immediately after it happens. I sit down at the piano and my hands find chords, depending on that feeling, and the story and words come from within those chords.

“MAY’s voice is instantly iconic and hauntingly beautiful.” – Dan Smith/Bastille

TRB: You just released a new song this past Friday called “Northern Lights”. Can you tell me more about that track it’s really is quite haunting in it’s sorrow.

MAY: Northern Lights is written in memory of my late father. I wrote it just outside of Hudson, New York, in the midst of the woods. I went up there for a few days and it, more so, wrote itself. To this day I cannot sing the whole song without a tear falling from my eye. There’s something about memories living on forever though music that has a profound effect on me.

TRB: Speaking of lyrics, Are themes of love and loss and human relationships where you feel most comfortable in your storytelling?

MAY: Definitely. I write when I cannot comprehend something or someone or a situation… It’s a natural exploration of my questions and findings in life; a way of moving on and making sense of the world.

TRB: Is there a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning to you or is your favorite?

MAY: I think as a whole, the lyrics in ‘Baby Save Me Tonight’ are my most favorite. It came almost word for word from an actual conversation I had, one whiskey filled night, with a friend in Montreal while I was working on the EP. I feel many people can relate to the meanings in this song.

TRB: Are there any current artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you been digging?

MAY: I tend to listen to the same songs over and over again… My playlist is rarely updated… Mazzy Star, Leonard Cohen, Cigarettes After Sex. I am loving Erik Satie right now and Chopin – Prelude in E minor. One of my favorite songs to listen to whilst walking around New York is Tchaikovsky – Waltz of the Flowers.

TRB: Throwing in a fun one here… What was your favorite Children’s book growing up?

MAY: What I loved most was actually a series that my father used to make up and they were called ‘Mary Stories’ – About a little girl with green eyes and red hair and her brother Tom and all the mischief they would get up to. It was such a treat when he would be home early to put us to bed and tell us a ‘Mary Story’. Imaginary and made up stories were always my favorite.

“Insane voice “ Jessie Ware

TRB: How have your adoptive city (NYC) and hometown (Melbourne) inspired and influenced your songwriting?

MAY: New York has definitely influenced my writing. I feel, I have grown up a lot in New York and many significant life events have happened to me since moving. The imagery is all through my music and the very interesting characters I meet in the city play major roles in my stories and in my life.

TRB: And what’s next for MAY?

MAY: My EP, ‘Phantom’, will be out on November 2, along with a video for the next single ‘Last September’. I am also currently working on my next record, which I am very excited about…

WATCH MAY:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM585Mu1T5T7Iv9GJYEf68A

STREAM MAY // SPOTIFY:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/5BOL6IPAKcXHbgXpiyoHUv?si=wEvKu2m6TkC-k2K89_lS3w

FOLLOW MAY // SOCIALS:

INSTAGRAM: www.instgram.com/thedawnofmay

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/thedawnofmay

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/thedawnofmay

Until then,
Brittney W.

Good grief!

The Bastille boys have done it again, my favorite band has a knack for surprising us fans with music out of the blue and in this case beautiful shot soundcheck videos! If you haven’t seen Bad News it’s linked.

So with only a day of warning my favorite South London based band released the amazingly cinematic live performance version of their latest single Quarter Past Midnight. It was filmed during soundcheck at the Royal Albert Hall in London on the bands’ ReORCHESTRATED tour.

The video not only beautifully shot but well edited is interspersed with clips from the actual live show. All which help to not only capture the high energy and freneticism of a Quarter Past Midnight but a Bastille live show as well. It also features a bigger glimpse into the choir and the orchestra that was a major part of the ReORCHESTRATED tour for those who could not be apart. But don’t only take my word for it. Go watch now below …

“QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT” // (LIVE FROM ROYAL ALBERT HALL)”

Until then,

Brittney W.

Hey, guys! I’m back with the final round up of Arroyo Seco Weekend. Yesterday (Sunday, June 24th) I headed back out for round two with hopes of seeing as many bands as possible. But first on my schedule was an interview with Lisa Coleman (Keyboards/Piano) of The Revolution. We had a very quick chat after their set at the Sycamore stage and a quick photo. The interview will be posted later!

ARROYO SECO WEEKEND

Photo Credit: The Revolution – ARROYO SECO Weekend

The entire day was quite the adventure as a whole. As my plus one and I ended up getting turned around upon arrival. Some super nice security people and workers at the festival helped us get back where we needed to be. We ended up getting a free trip on a golf cart in the process. By happenstance, I met Alanis Morrisette‘s shoe designer and artist in line. He liked my Neon Converse so he gave me a very quick peek of the shoes he designed for her. Alanis wore the shoes at her set that evening onstage at The Oaks. Which I thought was cool.

ARROYO SECO WEEKEND

Photo Credit: Alanis Morrisette – ARROYO SECO WEEKEND

So I ended up seeing The Revolution, Alanis Morrisette, the tail end of The Bangles, and the set I was most looking forward to seeing the entire weekend, Gary Clark Jr He is a favorite artist of mine. It was such a treat to finally see him live. The guitar skills and vocals on point. His band just as exceptional as him. I was headbanging, rocking out and just all around getting down the entire show. By then I was tired, not used to festivals and felt it was time to say bye to Arroyo Seco Weekend. It was very fun and reminded me how much I live for and love live music, so thank you.

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Photo Credit: Gary Clark Jr – ARROYO SECO WEEKEND

Until then,

Brittney W. 🙂 xx

P.S. I am available for booking all summer for freelance photography and music journalist gigs. Please inquire through my email or contact! Prices are negotiable.

Hey, guys it’s Brittney here! You know what else is here? That’s right the second inuaguaral Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena, CA. The music and arts festival which is billed as a fun also family friendly music filled weekend. It’s definitely is that.

👆🏾👆🏾 My Photography above!! 👆🏾👆🏾

I arrived very early hoping to a quick lay of land and scope out the media tent. Which wasn’t hard to do considering it was all right by the box office. Most of today’s adventures were prep for tomorrow where I have a much Fuller schedule. But today I decided to check out a few of Arroyo Seco’s other offerings. I stopped by the Visit Pasadena tent and did a Instagram post in exchange for a parasol which is much needed and in demand in the Pasadena heat. They also gave out super cute bandanas which were personalized with our initials. After that I realized it was 1:00pm and I had a band I needed to see. So I dropped by the Willow stage and was pleasantly surprised by the unique stylings of ‘Typhoon‘ a super groovy and hard rocking band from Salem, Oregon. The addition of a female violinist and background singer I thought was cool. The crowd was loving it too and ‘Typhoon’ ended up packing the Willow Stage. Definitely my fave today (mind you I did not stay the entire time). Although my partner in crime, my Mom loved the first band we checked out and Arroyo Seco opener, “Maxim Ludwig“. I also got a chance to come heck out the Glasshouse record store which housed a ton of cool, new and rare vinyl including tons from the Arroyo Seco artists. I made two purchases, Joy Division and Ryan Adams. I say a job well done. All in all today was for me to gain my bearings, check out the site, look at some of the activations. Some working better than others. Tomorrow I have a much fuller day (way too many artists to see!) so that means a much bigger recap! Maybe even a few surprises …

👇🏾👇🏾 Peep the official imagery from Goldenvoice in a gallery below! 👇🏾👇🏾

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Until then,

Brittney W. 🙂 xx

“This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”

At some point every photographer makes a post like this. I have been trying to avoid it realizing that maybe it’s best not to as my photography tips, tricks and editing style is definitely a bit different than most and might be of some interest. So here goes, these are my favorite and most used apps in my pursuit in the art of photography. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

CAMERA SETUP: Canon Rebel EOS T3i EF-S 18 55 IS II Lens Kit with Nifty Fifty lens & MOTO DROID TURBO 2.

My Baby!
Canon Rebel EOS T3i EF-S 18 55 IS II Lens Kit

1. Snapseed – It’s a app I use at a bare minimum and only for tiny more exact edits. I also use it more for my Concert photography than say my fine art photography work.

2. VSCO – Again, another app that most photographers use but one I that agree is essential. Great for small and big edits, fantastic filters (you can even make your own with the VSCO + feature), the ease of use is what I love best though. Definitely a fave!

3. Adobe Photoshop ExpressAdobe Lightroom CC – First off I’m not the biggest fan of Photoshop to begin with but it’s helpful when used lightly and I mean with a deft hand on my Concert or Editorial work. It can get out of hand real fast. But when I use it, I prefer to the IOS and Android app versions as it’s much easier to control. Other than that I prefer other apps.

4. Pixlr & Phonto – I grouped these together because they’re not are not my go to photography editing apps but rather I use them a lot in my artworking and graphic design projects when my photography is present. Pixlr and Phonto are just more fun and easier to use and add a bit of pizazz as well. Speaking of graphic design …

5. Canva & Desygner – These two are my favorites for more advanced design work using my photography (or not) instead of using programs like Adobe InDesign. They are also much cheaper as well. I do love Adobe InDesign so I recommend it as well but for photographers and designers who can’t afford or just don’t want to it’s a great alternate.

6. Trigraphy – You know those photos of mine that look like old style paintings and very dreamy? Well part of that process (albeit a tiny part) involves the Trigraphy app. As most of it though is just my super weird brain. And yes I repeat it starts out with a photo.

7. A Color Story & A Design Kit – Both are really fun easy tools I use in my fine art photography. Since my fine art photography leans towards nature, still life and abstract variety. A Color Story allows for perfect simple editing and saving of the steps as a recipe. The other app A Design Kit allows you to take your photos or art further adding cute and kitschy designs, lettering and other flair. Making designing for your brand or just cute designs that much easier.

8. Huji – I know it’s pretty new (at least to me) and I know all of cool kids use it. But I still love the kitschy factor to it and unpredictability you get with each photo. Since the app is minicking a disposable camera, it’s basically just fun and fits into my aesthetic quite well.

9. PRIIME & PRIIME COLLECTIONS – Another great app with the perfect filters and editing features that allow for just enough. It’s also very photographer centric. Showcasing filters you can use by other photographers and how to use them. The VSCO and A Color Story apps do that as well. Plus the app let’s you edit photos in RAW form which is always a major plus!

10. DARKROOM & FILMBORN – This my favorite app for recreating analog and black and white photos. I don’t solely use the app to achieve this look but finishing my photos I shot digitally in one of these apps makes the photos come as close to old school vintage and black and white as I can without using a film camera. I also keep my aesthetic in the process. It’s a win-win.

11. PIXELMATOR – I use this app to edit all of my photography at some point in the process. So it’s great for simple edits and even bigger ones. Also for artistic photography and more editorial or commercial imagery. I even use it for some graphic design projects. It’s a powerful tool that gets the job done.

So these are my favorite apps I use in my photography and graphic design work. I use the apps whether I shoot in RAW on my Canon or shoot on my Moto Droid Turbo 2 Android phone. I hope this article will be of use to some photogs out there. As there are different types and styles of editing and photographers out there. The key is to find your true style by finding what works best for you. I’ve included a list of the apps below and clickable links above for you to get them on iOS App store. But most (if not all) of the apps are also available on Android and the Google Play Store.

“This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”
– Brittney W. 🙂 xx