Uncommon Cartography Link Stash

I was asked to put together a list of what I’m reading, what others have been sharing with me, what’s inspiring me. Daily I find I manage to follow a bagillion rabbit trails and am always seeking to discover connections between them. I will be sharing in this document the links that are truly articulating something which is inspiring and resonating with me.

Together Everything Is Possible


Ultimately, the people who choose to champion originality are the ones who propel us forward. After spending years studying them and interacting with them, I am struck that their inner experiences are not any different from our own. They feel the same fear, the same doubt, as the rest of us. What sets them apart is that they take action anyway. They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try. - Adam Grant, Originals Photography by: Yunkin Keophomma

Photography by: Yunkin Keophomma

Almost every week I have the chance to meet beautiful and talented people who are trying to share their craft with the world. Whether they are engineers or photographers, I love hearing their stories. I am inspired by those who hold onto their dreams even when it takes a little longer to break through, to become known for that thing which they are so very passionate about.

Photography by: Yunkin Keophomma

But even more than being inspired by the tenacity and persistence of so many individuals, I am incredibly motivated by how people more and more are joining together to help each other reach their dreams. Because the reality is that while there is much we can do alone, there is much more that we can do together. My favorite artists are those who have been a part of a movement, who surrounded themselves with people who would challenge them even at times compete with them so that their skills were sharpened.  Let's not gloss things over -- Hemingway and Fitzgerald were brutal with each other. It's not fun to have your flaws under a magnifying glass, but as Ira Glass says,

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Honestly, we've gotten a little too comfortable with not speaking the truth to each other. The reality is though we may have great aspirations, some of our work is shitty. Only when we look that truth in the face can we get better. We do each other no service by not encouraging one another to raise the bar of excellence. While the role of the critic is greatly dismissed, the critic does call out that sort of underdog spirit in an artist that determines to overcome, to make their voice known. A great strength is embedded in our core when we have to fight for what we believe in.

Photography by: Yunkin Keophomma

Never forget your real identity. You are a luminous cosmic stardust being forged into the crucible of cosmic fire. - Deepak Chopra

Photography by: Yunkin Keophomma

It's about being real, true, transparent, and authentically You. Cracks, bumps, flaws, and all. When the light shines through our imperfections, that's when we are truly able to touch other people's hearts and souls. - Rebecca Campbell

Last summer, I had the chance to collaborate with an incredible group of individuals who are each cultivating beauty in their own sphere. They are people who are pushing themselves and raising the bar in the creative community. We shot at the magical venue, The RUINS, located in lower Queen Anne. Everyone reached out to their contacts and favorite people to work with, and out of this came the ultimate dream team.

As we were shooting I could walk into each room and see these creatives like fairy godmothers absolutely transforming the models and surroundings. But more than transformation, it was each of their ability to call out, to usher out the best light of the individuals they were working with. This shoot while it produced amazing images beyond what I could have dreamed of, it revealed to me that together we truly can do anything.

So let's keep doing it. We made mistakes, we had challenges, but we learned so much. Nobody does it perfect the first time, but goodness we sure are off to a damn good start (I mean can you believe these photos?! Yunkin you sir there just aren't even words). And you know what? Even more than that -- I like you guys, and feel so very lucky to be creating in the same city as each of you. Let's do BIG things, bigger than we can IMAGINE in 2017.

Photography by: Yunkin Keophomma

To everyone else it looked like a single leap. But in reality it was hundreds of little baby steps.

Photography by: Yunkin Keophomma

Together this team made magic possible, let's keep taking each and every one of those baby steps towards our dreams. You all continue to amaze me, and I can't wait to work with them again:

  • Collaboration Producer: @uncommoncartography
  • Photos: @danieljshapiro @yunkinkeophomma
  • Behind The Scenes Photos: @greenteleaf
  • Venue: @the_ruins
  • Gowns: @belltown_bride @pmndesigner   , Justin Zachary Couture
  • Event Design/Floral: @kalebnormanjames
  • Makeup: @j0rdanr0ss @melissakornmakeupartist
  • Hair: @makahmatt 
  • Wardrobe Stylist: @julietandlou
  • Jewelry: @shannonkoszyk / @namikoabloom 
  • Food/Dessert: @the_ruins
  • Champagne/Wine: @preceptwine 
  • Stationery Suite: @greyandcake
  • Models: @annavina10 @noellejohnsun @diana_jean_o @imsuzijane @rodasfeker @_myfriendhanna                                             

Ps: Next week a blog post will feature Daniel Shapiro's photography from this shoot :)

Take A Grand Tour Of Your Hometown


Do not sink into the everydayness of your life. Fight despair. Find treasure. - Billy Sothern

I recently stumbled upon the brilliant art of Cooper and Gorfer, and then upon research found out that I had just missed their exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard. I can't begin to tell you how frequently this happens to me. The thing is so often we don't see something unless we are actually looking for it.

I have come to realize that my favorite writers are those who work is textured and layered with richness. You know the ones who reference other unheard of yet brilliant people, little-known places, and things in such an effortless way that you feel you need to do research? Because if these people, places and things are woven so seamlessly into your hero's life then maybe you should know a little more about them as well?

An individual's ability to see the world around them from a unique perspective gives them something to articulate beauty in a way that allows others around them to have their eyes opened to previously unseen or unexplored treasure.  Below are five ideas of how you can shake up the mundane of your every day and perhaps just maybe rediscover your childlike wonder.

Taking a new route has the ability to shake a lot up. It makes me think of those sci-fi movies where someone changes just one thing in the future and it has countless ripple effects. I feel like exploring a new route has the potential to do just the same thing. Once when I was following my path down a favorite alley which is a bit grimy, and a lady once yelled at a guy who was peeing as we were walking by... anyways, on this particulate walk two well-dressed joggers came running out of nowhere, I was slightly confused but when I turned the corner I saw there was a photographer. That guy had found my secret alley and now it became his perfect spot for a photo shoot. You never know where inspiration will strike.

I learned how to speak to strangers from a young age. While most kids are told to not talk to strangers well my father seemed to teach us girls that the opposite was true. Every new person led to an interesting story. As a young girl, I was rather embarrassed by how it never failed that if we were with my Dad some random person was going to begin speaking to him. My Dad was always gracious even if the person was a bit grimy looking on the outside. Because of these relationships my family built with "strangers" I learned how to blow bubble gum from a felon, I did arts and crafts with mental patients, and even once to my Mom's ever lasting embarrassment went dumpster diving for "the best cookies" in town.

Now there is definitely a time and a place for comfort food, trust me perhaps its just the southern side but I believe it's very important to know what a person's comfort food is. But if you are needing to stir your creative juices then, well a new food can be an explosion of feelings. I have had pho my fair share of times, I mean I live on the edge of the international district in Seattle... but I had never had pho like the way my friend  Yenvy fixed mine up the first time I visited Phnom Penh Noodle House. You see on each table is this house made special sauce. Just go there and try it. Or if you are not in Seattle, ask the waiter what his or her favorite dish on the menu is. Ordering outside of your comfort zone does not mean it has to be snails, though I have tasted those and they were garlicky deliciousness in my mouth!

Last but not least, magnify a detail. This is something that comedians seem to do amazingly well. I mean have you listened to Anjelah Johnson's Nail Salon or Ellen Degeneres Toilet Paper? Just like we have the ability to worry and stress about things, we can also see the magic in the minute detail of a dark gray feather on the sidewalk, that new piece of graffiti on a wall or look up, have you ever noticed those lights before?

So the next time you feel that perhaps your town does not have so much to offer, that you are dying to take a flight out to some glamorous city ... well just take one more look time spent so often causes there to be a familiarity that closes our eyes to the magic that lies just before us.