Skip to content
April 15, 2016 / Ginny Banks

Portraiture in Port Townsend.

I am happy to be teaching so many talented students in Port Townsend. We just finished a classic and environmental portrait class last month. I wanted to showcase the work of two students. The first is Johanna King. Johanna travels a lot and was lucky enough to go to Seville, Spain and document their legendary flamenco scene. The assignment was classic portraiture, environmental portraiture and one portrait portraying motion. These are Johanna’s black and white images. She did a great job of capturing the energy of the performance all while dealing with low light situations and small spaces.



In Seville, Johanna was out with her camera and happened upon a large group of people dressed to the nines for what she assumed must be a wedding. They walked past her on the sidewalk and she captured their finery in street photography style. The women’s hats, suits and shoes were the height of fashion. She grouped them as triptychs. I like her cropping decisions.



The other student is Rick York. Rick had his remarkable mannequin photography on exhibit at a local hair salon named Salon Delucca. He decided to do some portraits in the salon. I really like the way they turned out.





Rick took another beautiful portrait in a local shop named Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fibre Emporium. This is a photograph of the owner. I love the texture of her hair and scarf and the motion blur with all the colorful yarns behind her.


His environmental portrait with motion was a blacksmith’s shop that he visited. I love the energy of the photos. He is exploring pairing photos together and I like what he did with these next four.


January 9, 2016 / Ginny Banks

Narrative Photography Continued.

This blog post is a continuation of the same project so if you haven’t seen the earlier post scroll down and start from the beginning. Nora Curran photographed the next body of work. Nora enjoyed the portraiture assignment and decided to do a character study of her friend. Here is an excerpt from her written narrative. I photographed the most interesting person I know, my friend Joy. My goal was to capture her essence, her personality, true joy, through photographs. After choosing my favorite prints, I asked her to tell me some of her favorite songs. The following is the first lyric: Think of all the things that are wrong with your life and fix them. Think of all of the things that you love about your life, be thankful that you are blessed with them. Think of all the things that hold you back and realize that you don’t need them.






Tongxin Wang wrestled with many topics at first and finally settled on reflections. Her first image is a self-portrait and is a great introduction to her project. Most of her photographs deal with water. Here is her narrative about the first photograph. I am not confident to have myself in a picture. Even though I tried to take pictures of others using a mirror, I was always in the picture. One day after a shower, I saw the condensation on the mirror and cleared off a small area. I like that I am unclear and my camera is clear. I like this idea a lot because I can draw different things on the mirror with my hand and take a picture of it. I took several and decided on this one. It looks dreamy but fun.





The next group of photographs is by Zekun Huang. Zekun was experiencing great loneliness being so far away from his country. Each photograph is a self-portrait. He wrote captions for each image. There are more than 1400 square feet in this apartment that is in downtown Bellevue but I am the only one who lives inside.


I love cooking since it can give me satisfaction and make me no longer miss my home for a moment.


There is better education and better landscapes here but I cannot find the same feeling as my home country.


Audrey Spann entitled her work, What Being a Twin Means to Me. She introduces the viewer to her sister and herself as being similar but different. Often times people think that we are simply mirror images of one another. Although we do look alike we are not the same, we cast our own shadows. We are completely different people, who just look alike. Audrey wrote quotes for each set of photographs.




The next group of photographs are by Damon Tang. Damon elected to take a more technical approach to his photographs of still lives. He experimented with different lighting in each and called the project Light and Darkness. He states: I wanted my photos to be viewed in a way where one photo will share an aspect with another photo so that they will have the same idea in mind but the idea may be portrayed differently. The first is a triptych where I took multiple shots of my friend posing with the bass guitar. I used a handheld speed light to achieve the lights from different angles.





Gabby Kapa wrote a fictional piece that utilized a location that she found and wanted to photograph. She used herself and her friend as characters in the script. Her writing follows. If you sit here quietly, you’ll see them, hiding behind the trees, through the doorways, the windows, a quick movement in the corner of your eye. Here, we see a town, what is left of it and it’s people are crumbling brick walls covered in ivy that has spent years slowly crawling and obscuring everything. If you stay here long enough you can see those last few who lived here, trapped in the ruins of the town.






Madison McGavran produced the next body of work. I was inspired by the ability to manipulate light as well as the effect that lighting has on night photographs. In night photography, light is the element that accentuates one object but hides another. I was able to use light in order to mold the message that I am trying to convey to the viewer. I also played with techniques that allowed me to manipulate light in unusual ways. I chose to do night photography because I was interested in how I could incorporate rich blacks in my photography in order to create a cohesive collection of photographs. There are a few images of old balance beams that had been tossed outside of a gym. Madison is also a gymnast so the work is even more autobiographical and mysterious.






The last set of photographs are by Amaya Palenque. I don’t have access to Amaya’s written accompaniment to these images but she was very daring. She chose to photograph at night in lonely, industrial areas of Seattle. She made these excursions by herself and the images are compelling.






January 8, 2016 / Ginny Banks

Narrative Photography.

This is a final project requiring a cohesive group of photographs that are accompanied with text of some sort such as a few paragraphs letting the reader know what is on the photographer’s mind, a sequential story, a poem or captions, etc. The first group is by Guewen Daniel. His work was entitled “Light and Shadows.” Here is an excerpt from his written piece. I like high contrast photography and shadow because they tend to be mystic and bring a feeling of wonder, sadness and loneliness that I like. I guess each photo could be interpreted differently but from my point of view it is all about darkness and loneliness. I don’t really know why I like those emotions so much but they are the ones I’ve felt the most in my youth. I guess I just respond more to those feelings now.










The next set of photographs are self-portraits exploring feelings and double exposures by Baily Richardson. Her writing follows. I took a double exposure for an idea connecting places and feelings. I liked the photograph so much that I decided to change my idea to “moody” double exposures. I have always enjoyed learning and challenging myself and that was more of what this project was to me. My photos all connect because they are dramatic and moody and they all have a similar feel to them. Each caption is intended to be just enough information to make the viewer think their own story. Each caption made me think of a memory and I really liked the idea of my photos meaning something different to every person who saw them.






The next group of photographs are the documentation of an event that existed from start to finish as a literal story by Julia Nguyen. This is her explanation of the event. Student Conservation Association is a nonprofit organization that I volunteered  with in 2015. We partnered up with Green Seattle to help restore a local park. Volunteers of all ages came out and spent the morning helping us replenish native plants around the park as well as learning how to use different types of tools. Volunteering is more than just a requirement for high school. It’s a way to give back to the earth we call home.






The next project was by Henry LaVallee. Henry took a trip to Prague with other students from Bellevue College. His photos function as a travelogue. The written work that accompanied the images were his journal of sorts containing philosophical musings about his experiences. The following is an excerpt. In travel, it would seem a waste of time and money not to make an international connection with someone else. A new friend, like a good song, brings memory and meaning to a life. Perhaps you meet someone from across the world in the cab of a train en route from Prague to Olomouc. You open yourself up to them and expose a part of yourself you are proud to share. Entering the unknown moment in front of you with the wisdom of all that has made you wonder in your past. Your future is an ice block you begin to carve into the shape your lover made when they whisper your name in the darkness. Henry’s photographs begin and end with a self-portrait.









The next photograph is children’s shoes from Auschwitz.



Cherish Clinton took the next series of photographs. She, too, documented an event, Black Lives Matter, in downtown Seattle. She really only discovered this event when already being downtown and photographing homeless people. Cherish really enjoys street photography and was not at all shy to approach people on the street and introduce herself. In her written part, Cherish expressed how she felt about photographing on the street. My piece is about unheard voices on the street. The loud, the desperate, the drunk, the high and the crazy are chosen. I didn’t plan any of these, they are all candid photographs. Street photography speaks to my soul. I love the raw grittiness, the high exposure, even the noise of light. These first few photographs are taken before she saw the event.







November 28, 2015 / Ginny Banks

Portraiture: Classic and Environmental.

In todays world of “selfies” it is nice to return to the genre of portraiture in photography. In this project, students explore both classic and environmental portraiture. Classic portraiture is a more traditional way of photographing a person focusing solely on the form utilizing a shallow depth of field. Environmental portraiture typically has a background that tells the viewer a little bit about the person being photographed usually with a deep depth of field. Students were required to take three photographs, one classic, one environmental and one environmental with motion. The first images are by Gabby Kapa.




The next image is by Maddie McGavron.


The next photograph is an environmental portrait by Maddie utilizing a unique vantage point.


The next photograph is by Baily Richardson. It is a portrait of her and her boyfriend. The side window lighting is lovely.


The next three images are by Janey Bucy. Janey made use of a typical Seattle day and photographed her sister.




The following photograph is by Kieran Breitner.


Damon Tang photographed his subject out in nature as well.


Alexis Hungerford photographed her boyfriend. I love how tightly she cropped in on his profile.



Her last photograph is an environmental panorama view of her boyfriend’s room.


Nannan Xie photographed the next two environmental portraits.

nannan 1

nannan 2

The next three photographs are self-portraits by Nora Curran.




Samantha Honmyo photographed her project at night using her sister as a model. The lighting is magical.



The next two photographs are by Xiaolu Zhang.



Audrey Spann took the next three photographs. All of them have a contemplative mood.




The next photograph is by Justus Rogers. It is a great example of motion.

Justus 3

Zekun Huang took the next two photographs here at Bellevue College.



Cherish Clinton is inspired to do street photography. The next three are her images.



I think she surprised this next woman!


Hannah Russell took this classic portrait of her mother. I think the lighting is beautiful.


Kevin Stake likes photographing skateboarding. His images are very well done.




Julia Nguyen took this next photograph of her friend at an expensive hotel.


The next group photograph is by Miki Kobayashi.

Tongxin Wang photographed her mother shopping.

Tongxin Wang 02

Finally, we end with two photographs by Jiarui Hu. The first is a self portrait.



October 17, 2015 / Ginny Banks

First Assignment: Pinhole!

This quarter we had many sunny days for the pinhole assignment. As usual, students had a lot of fun and the cameras they made were very diverse in size and shape. I am posting some of the group shots using 8×10 paper using the bigger barrel pinhole cameras in the lab. The first image has a negative and positive version. The rest are negatives.



I like the way the foliage appears in the next one.


It is difficult to find the center of what the pinhole sees but that is one of the unique things about it. It makes for unusual cropping!



Again, I love how off center this next one is.


This last one is very ghost-like. I love how they moved around during the exposure!


July 22, 2015 / Ginny Banks

Final Project: Narrative Photography.

These images were produced at the end of Spring Quarter. The project entailed finding a solid idea in which to take a body of photographs that relate on some level. Most students ended up with a different project than they started with. I enjoy their process and the extensive editing involved. For some, the project seemed very fluid while others struggled to find a topic that meant something to them. A written text accompanies the photographs. The first body of work was by Carissa Howland. It is called Platonic Love and is about Carissa and her friends. The caption for the first is as follows: Bailey Root — Bailey lives in a house by foxgloves, purple like the jacket we share that always smells like her dog. Sometimes, I carry her on my shoulders and sometimes I sleep on her floor while she talks about all the boys she dumped.


Thomas Crozier — Thomas sings in his low voice singing our names to the Jurassic Park theme song. He gets hungover falling asleep on my knees, he hasn’t brushed his hair since school started and it is much curlier than it used to be.


Daniella Roca —Daniella is loud; even though she is the smallest her voice fills the space. She will pick a fight with any one of us and win by default. We are all used to the yelling and comfortable with the noise chased with laughs.


Nawryn Emerson — Maybe she was in a softer light; I can’t help but to wonder if she sees me in shadows. We are always so milky tired, so stoned on forehead kisses.


Steve Chang — Steve likes to jump out behind doors always trying to scare me because he always can. He gets upset when I notice him subconsciously holding my waist; he is so warm and soft. He is tough but sensitive, can’t learn how to behave.


Sam Kramer — We all stopped letting Sam have the aux cord. We are collectively tired of his dubstep but fond of his extra sweaters. No one knows why we call him CC and if anyone did they keep it a secret not even he knows about.


Daniella and Nari — If we ever get bored we can always re-watch the X-files and call everyone up to get ice cream again. We have had good times born out of boredom and we can always have a few more.



Steve and Bailey — We are all in love with each other but at the same time, no one in particular. We know exactly what to do but in a much more real sense have no idea.


Daniella and Sam — When they fight they do so laughing and holding hands. Arguing about who gets to sleep on the couch and who drives in whose car. We never really get that mad nothing we can say can ever really hurt that bad.


Steve and Thomas — Steve teaches Thomas how to waltz, and when they watch Ocean’s Eleven they tangle their legs. Thomas is always out of it but never stopped calling Steve to play video games and inviting me to watch.


Thomas and Nari — We have been awake for days, me and the gang. No amount of sleep could ever be enough so we swim instead. Thomas will be the only one talking but we like his voice and his ideas about global warming so we nod along.




Steve and me — And they may not see me in the same light but who’s to say this isn’t how it is. Maybe just this once the sun really does rise for us and I’m not saying they put stars in the sky but if anyone could give them reason to shine they could.


The next series of photographs are by Colton White. The title of his work is Three Months of the Year. It is about the enjoyment of water for three summer months in the Pacific Northwest while the rest of the year is cold and rainy. His narrative is as follows: The most enjoyable part of this project was attempting to capture the different elements of the water. I wanted to use water as the main character in all of the photographs. My hope was to show the water above, at, and below the surface. Whether it was using the water to distort one half of my brother’s face, or utilizing it as filter for the two girls underwater, I wanted to showcase the full experience of it. Furthermore, I desired to show the different characteristics of water; the surface tension as my older brother surfaces through the water, the still, almost unearthly characteristic shown by the two girls under water in the deep, or the motion of the waves as they wash up on the beach and roll across the dock. Lastly, I wanted to freeze the constant motion of the water in my frame, so as to show the finest of details. The final “eye” photograph represents the excitement and realization of what is coming for our summer, those very important Three Months of the Year.


IMG_4266 copy copy















Kelea Browne is the next photographer. The topic of her work is yoga. Her words: Yoga is the practice where we unite the body, breath, mind and heart. This practice is very special to me for many reasons, but the main reason is because yoga is the only thing that cured my depression and anxiety as a teen. I first started to practice yoga in middle school. I remember feeling so relaxed and at ease after my first class. I felt a great connection to everything around me. It was mind blowing. I finally found peace in my crazy mind. After practicing yoga for around four years, I decided that I wanted to go to India to become a certified yoga instructor. The time I spent in India really made my connection to yoga a lot deeper and stronger. I learned so much more interesting things about the history of yoga and how it impacts the human body. The following images are yoga postures out in nature.







The next set of images is by Gabrielle Larsen. Her series was about portraying the undercurrent of fashion. We live in a dark and romantic and quite tragic world. — Karl Lagerfeld.






Gillian Peterson took a series of photographs documenting her father’s hospitalization. She managed to capture all the little details of being in a hospital room. The images speak for themselves.

















The next body of work is by Jake Wong. Jake enjoys night photography and wanted his project to involve long exposures and light. His images are striking and no written narrative accompanies them.










The next project is by Kirin Kim. Kirin wanted her work to be about the union of light and dark, line work in architecture and reflection. The following images are hers.









The last series of photographs are by Kevin Pham. They are based on a true story yet with staged actors. His friend Ryan is like his brother because they share so much together. One day Ryan was walking downtown and he accidentally bumped a girl walking by and she dropped her wallet. He got down to help her pick up her wallet and apologize. Her name was Cindy and she was very pretty and he asked her for her telephone number. They got together and started to fall in love. One day Cindy went into a coffee shop to get several coffees for them both while Ryan waited outside. Inside the coffee shop, Cindy encountered her old boyfriend. She tried to avoid talking with him but he missed her and gave her a hug from the back. Ryan thought Cindy was taking too long and came into the shop to see about her. He  saw them hugging and misunderstood. Cindy slapped her old boyfriend because she hadn’t given her permission to hug her. Abruptly, Ryan left the shop and Cindy followed him to try to explain. Ryan was angry and didn’t listen to her. She started crying and ran away from him. He tried to run and catch her. She crossed the street without looking and got hit by a car and died immediately.


at home

IMG_5317 as Smart Object-1

new people

waiting for




IMG_5424 as Smart Object-1

The last image shows Ryan at Cindy’s grave site and her ghost next to him.

the End


July 16, 2015 / Ginny Banks

Portraiture: Environmental and Classical.

This project covers the main aspects of photographing people. Students photograph a person(s) in an environment that tells the viewer something about them. This style of portraiture makes students think more in depth about the person they choose to photograph. They also photograph in the mode of classic portraiture which is mostly about a person with a soft background with more emphasis on the figure itself. The project also required using different shutter speeds to photograph motion, either action that is frozen or varying degrees of motion blur. The first two photographs are environmental portraits by Jun Kim. He manages to capture quiet moments with his friend.



The next two images are environmental by Carissa Howland. She photographed her friends.



The next photographs by Jin Sun are great examples of his friends in their art spaces expressing what they love to do.



The following photograph is unusual due to being a double exposure. It is basically a classic portrait by Jake Wong.


Colton White utilized a technique called “a frame within a frame” in his photograph of his brother at the beach.


The next one by Colton is a great example of motion.


Kirin Kim photographed the next two images. I love the softness of the mood and how the light from the window illuminates the profile of the boy.


I like the vantage point of this next photograph by Kirin.


Eason Feng took the next three photographs. He captures light very well in these first two.



The next two photographs are by Eason as well on a trip to Las Vegas.



The following photograph of her brother by Kelea Browne is both classical and environmental. The background is muted but still shows us that he is in a restaurant/bar.


Kelea loves yoga and was inspired to take this next photograph.


The next two photographs are by Kevin Pham. They showcase drawing classes in the art building at Bellevue College.



The last two by Kevin is a classic portrait of a dancer and of a young girl.



The next two photographs are by Ismael Purganan. The first is environmental.


The next is a classic portrait of his mother. I love the pattern on her dress and the curtains behind her. Also, that he placed her off center.


A photograph of a body builder contest is by Keoni Aparis. I love the sensation of motion.


The next photograph is of a glass artist hard at work by Tyler Griffin.


Another self-portrait by Tyler shows ghostly figures by his car.


The next photograph is by Paulina Hui. I love the sense of motion and the carefree happiness it conveys.


The next two photographs are by Riley Pascual. They are portraits of his younger sister.



The next photograph is a classic portrait by Gillian Peterson.


The next two photographs are by Darung Leng. The first is an action shot and the second is a classic portrait of a classmate.



The next photograph is by Chase Rabideau. I love the subtle lighting.


A great environmental portrait by Sam Ethington shows a sculpture at Bellevue College.


The last photograph is by Tim Park. Tim loves soccer. This is a nice motion shot.



May 28, 2015 / Ginny Banks

Elements of Design.

The elements of design and design principles are the building blocks of composition. This project involved looking at the ordinary world as a source of raw material and inspiration. Students were to apply elements of design and design principles to their photographs. The subject matter was entirely up to the individual student. It was interesting to me because I could see what each student liked to photograph. Some of the elements you might see present in the photographs are: line, shape, form, space, value and texture. Some design principles are: unity, balance (asymmetry and symmetry), emphasis/focal point, repetition/pattern, movement/direction, contrast and rhythm. The first two were by Hyeonjin (Jun) Kim. They are beautiful panoramas.



The next photograph was by Beka Anderson. It is a great example of contrast and texture.


The next photograph is by Cailin Lainier. It has such a sense of joy and showcases balance and movement.


The next photograph is by Carissa Howland. Carissa has done some wonderful photographs of moments with her friends. I particularly liked the vantage point of this one and the texture of the hair.


The next three photographs are by Deng (Eason) Feng. The first is very much about form in space.


This next photograph utilizes reflection and is a great example of balance and emphasis.


The last of Eason’s is very much about line and shape. I love shots like this from a plane.


This photograph is by Kelea Browne. I love the gesture of her friend. It illustrates focal point and emphasis and also form and space.


This photograph is by Hannah Hobbs-Mallyon. She photographed this image in her bedroom and it shows asymmetry and form.


The next photograph is excellent for leading lines and contrast by Jake Wong.


Darung Leng took this next photograph. It is a great example of shallow depth of field and line work.


Tyler Griffin photographed some beautiful nature images. I love the smoothness of the water and the sense of movement.


The last two are by Yicun (Isabella) Liu. This one is great for symmetry and texture as well as focal point.


This one utilizes form and space as well as symmetry and emphasis.



April 23, 2015 / Ginny Banks

Spring Quarter Pinhole Project.

Sometimes I think the pinhole photography assignment is the best project all quarter! We always do it at the start of the quarter. It is a great introduction to aperture (size of pinhole) and shutter speed (how long you expose). Students create cameras that are many different sizes from Altoids canisters to tea and cookie tins. I love it when students personalize their cameras like these first ones. This one is by Cailin Lanier.


The next is by Beka Anderson.


Cailin and Beka posed for the their positive pinhole on the stairs.


One more pinhole camera is by Isabella Liu.


The next pinhole negative is by Gabrielle Larsen.


I like the positive version as well.


The following negative pinhole is an image of some of the architecture at Bellevue College. I like the way the trees look. This photograph is by Isabella Liu.


Another scene of the same building shows some beautiful cloud reflections in the windows of the same building. It is a positive pinhole by Sam Ethington.


I like the next negative and positive version by Eason Feng.



Eason also took the next photograph in the hallway of the art building. Student self-portraits are hanging on the wall.


The next positive is by Gillian Peterson. I really like the flower she captured.


The next two are by Gillian as well. Captain America!



Jun Kim did the next pinhole both negative and positive.



The next close up is by Jannie Phan. I like the distortion!



Ashley Johnston took this self-portrait. I love the pose!


The following negative and positive pinholes are by Paulina Hui.



The next pinhole positive shows a beautiful design by Kirin Kim.


Jin Sun did the next pinhole positive.


The last pinhole is by Riley Pascual.




March 28, 2015 / Ginny Banks

Final Project: Narrative Photography continued.

Steve Groves decided to build a series of images that emulated the black and white films from the past. His body of work using the same two models wasn’t so much a story as an adventure in different lighting techniques trying to replicate the older films from Hollywood. The first photograph was a Hollywood glamour shot of Steve’s female model. Steve’s inspiration was Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn.

Steve Final-7

The next image was depicting Phantom of the Opera. Steve used a two light setup with a high powered light aimed at the Phantom’s face to mimic the bright white of a porcelain mask.

Steve Final-2

The next image was from Dracula. Steve lit the scene with a pair of lights emphasizing contrast.

Steve Final-4

This next film noir shot of a detective was lit from outside a window, through half closed blinds.

Steve Final-5

The next photograph was replicating Alfred Hitchcock lighting which was the most difficult to achieve.  It is lit using a three light setup and took an hour to get it just right.

Steve Final-3

The next photograph gives the feel of Broadway and is entitled American Bandstand. Steve used a homemade ring light as a backdrop.

Steve Final-6

The last image replicated a Clint Eastwood Western. This image was shot with a white muslin backdrop and composited with a background image of a desert.

Steve Final-1