Archive for January, 2009

on sandy’s deli

I took my last Sandy’s Deli picture sometime in the summer of 2005.  Life was chaotic – my dad was in the hospital with an unknown ailment and I was working at the store with my mother, while unpaid tax bills kept piling up.  One afternoon a very small fire broke out due to some bad wiring, and a band of firemen came trudging through with their bulky gear, making the store (and me) feel little.  Prior to our Engine Co. rescue, my mother and I were running back and forth, she this way, me that way, like cartoon characters.  This life felt uncertain and unsustainable.  Something, it seemed, needed to change.

When things normalized, my parents decided to sell Sandy’s Deli.  A few days later, the store and all the merchandise were sold. The whole shebang, minus the personal affects, just like that.  I had started to feel like my photo project was coming to an end anyway.  Suddenly, the decision was made for me.

Last week, in a borrowed car, F. and I drove along the L-train route, exploring East Williamsburg and Bushwick.  Somewhere along the way, I realized we were only a few blocks away from Sandy’s Deli.  As we approached the store, F. said he recognized it right away from one of my photos.  We drove past really slowly, trying to get a good look.  Several customers were inside.  I would have stopped the car but there wasn’t any parking.  Peering through the windows, I just couldn’t believe I spent all that time in that space taking all those pictures.  It wasn’t the same place anymore.

© Hee Jin Kang

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new year, new gear

Ebony 45s
© http://www.ebonycamera.com

Oh boy, I’m thinking of buying a new camera.  Currently I shoot with a cherrywood Wista 45DX.  It’s adorable but I need something more serious.  For all my serious photographing.

I want the Ebony 45s in mahogany.  Only 1.75 kg!  And it’s not a folding camera, hooray, I am sick of having to fold and unfold my 4×5 when traveling.  I’d rather just pull it out of my case and pop it onto the tripod without any hassle.

Of course, the Ebony 45s is not cheap. $2,650 – ouch.  But it will inspire me.

Other nice 4×5 cameras to consider:

Chamonix 045n-1
K. B. Canham 4×5

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© David Bergman, www.gigapan.org

Photographer David Bergman has created the coolest photograph of the Inauguration ever!  Go to Gigapan.org now.  You will not be disappointed.   The photograph is made up of 220 images with a final image size of 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels.  That is one seriously big picture.  The zoom function kicks butt.  Puffy, Beyoncé, Denzel!  Clarence Thomas sleeping!  Yo-yo Ma snapping pics!  Mysterious disappearing bodies and misaligned heads!  Photo-nerdish as I am, I was most excited to spot a large-format wooden camera (lower right-hand corner) and standing next to it, Annie Leibovitz!

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Being in DC for the Inauguration was amazing, we are still taking it all in.

The best swag ever?  The Obama puppet my friend Ganda bought for me while we stood on the Silver Ticket holders line in the freezing cold.  Oh yes!

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The Office of the President Elect (a.k.a. Change.gov) has released the new official portrait for President Barack Obama (press release).


Seriously, I think he’s smiling at me, really!  What a flirt!

Photographed by Pete Souza.  Apparently it’s the first time an official presidential portrait was taken with a digital camera. Wooo…

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oh! bama

Is Barack Obama President Yet?


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This year, I am investing in the handmade, which is why I LOVE the website Etsy.com: “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade.”  You can spend hours poring over offerings made by people all over the world!  Handmade everything – candles, leg warmers, marmalade, jewelry, comics, puppets, stationery, knitting, soaps, “geekery” (huh?).  You can also choose to buy locally (Brooklyn!).

I also want to write more real letters and cards this year.  I have ribbon-wrapped packages of letters from my college years and earlier, but every since email, well… you know.  I feel like I’ve forgotten my penmanship!

So, how pleased was I to find that there are many, many people on Etsy making handmade letterpress cards (my favorite!).

I bought these lovely cards by simplesong designs:


(They arrived today and are so pretty that I was inspired to write this post)

I also bought cards from Joie Studio and dozi, and ordered letterpress business cards from Lucky Duck Letterpress.  You may be the lucky friend receiving words of love from me soon!


Here are some more handmade camera cards from Etsy.

Smile greeting cards by What Katie Does:


Camera Gocco cards by two guitars:


(Do you know what Gocco is?  I didn’t)

Camera note cards by MildredMade:


Most things on Etsy are reasonably priced and there’s something really exciting about supporting handmade endeavors.  Once you start on Etsy though, you won’t be able to stop.  And you’ll feel inspired to start making things yourself, like Cook’s Illustrated No-Knead Bread 2.0:



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smiling milk

© Hee Jin Kang

Hey coconut milk, what is so funny?

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Everyone is up for some self-reflection this time of year. Thinking back over the last 12 months, making new resolutions or recycling old ones.

Test your new year Authentic Happiness Inventory with these UPenn Positive Psychology Center’s questionnaires. I kind of love these kinds of tests – forced reflection – I try to complete them very quickly without too much second-guessing.

How optimistic, grateful, compassionate are you?

(h/t to Gretchen Rubin’s wonderful blog The Happiness Project)

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