photography

3 Days Home, 27 Away and What I Learned

April was a whirlwind of a month! I was anywhere but home, but if you were to ask me if I would live it again, I would say yes in a heartbeat!

Waukegan:
It all started in a town North of Chicago. My last trip for work before I was to take my week long vacation to Japan and Coachella. I was burnt out tired and ready for a break but had my last bit of business to handle before getting my break. The night I arrived I handled some work and then stepped out into a small bar I thought looked good for dinner.

At the table there was a group of people all clowning around with each other. There was a joke about the “typical male response” and I took this opportunity to join in agreeing with the males at the table. I did not know then but that was my in with them. We ended up joking there for about an hour or so then I got invited by the group to hangout at one of their places with the group. At that point I decided why not! I have nothing to lose.

I went and had a blast. It reminded me of hanging out with my fraternity brothers way back in college. We played spades and sat around making jokes. We laughed and I got to know the group better. They had a dynamic that made me fit right in. It was exactly the refresher I needed before my break. I ended up making new friends that I wouldn’t of made otherwise.

Lesson: Whenever you have a chance to meet new people take it! It opens your life up to amazing opportunities!

Japan:
After a day at home to pack, I quickly went to Japan. My first overseas trip ever! When I landed I was amazed by how beautiful everything looked. It was a sky clearer than I had seen before. Everyone did not look like me and that was a sudo-first. Basically I stood out like a sore thumb and not just because my ethnicity but the way I dressed.

The second day I was there, as I walked the street in my ripped jeans and t-shirt. A flood of black and blue suits filled the streets. It was fascinating, I saw few people with differences. I was shocked to see everyone in almost unison. If I wasn’t sure I was in another country I was now. I explored the culture that day searching for cherry blossoms. I was able to find a beautiful grove where everyone stopped to take photos. I took one too of course!

That evening I experienced their nightlife and it did not disappoint. I ended up at a place called Harlem. There I got introduced to one group with listening to house and rock music. Later in the night I went down to the bottom floor and was surrounded by those listening to hip hop. That was a complete culture blend. There were people from Canada, Switzerland, Japan (of course) and me from the US. We all just enjoyed the same music, meaning music is universal!

Lesson: Explore other cultures you’d be surprised at what you will see as similarities and difference.

Coachella:
My first Coachella…even though I went to UCR. Anyway I got to catch up with my high school friends and listen to some amazing artist. It was a plethora of chill people. I met some people from London, photographers, and a variety of cool people. On top of that I got to see great performers. Ladies don’t hate me for this but I hate Beyonce…blame single ladies and a high school ex. But I will admit she put on a extremely good performance! Probably one of my favorites but seeing The Weekend, Miguel, and even Chance grace the stage took the cake for me. I felt like my best self out there. It was amazing to be around so many just living and enjoying life!

Lesson: Your never to old to try something new! Life is for living and only by trying new things can you truly know what you like!

Sacramento and San Ramon:
My hometown! After rushing to the airport to make that flight. I got there and I ended up seeing all of the changes they made. It was like a different downtown from when I grew up. It was so artsy now…but unfortunately I forgot my camera. I did snap a cool pic on my phone though. It was good to be home and to walk about like the teen I used to be. Plus I got to get in a few workouts. There’s no where like home.

That Friday night I drove out to San Ramon to help with NSBE. When I got there I was quickly invited to an event in Oakland. I headed out there and got to hear a phenomenal list of guest speakers… I’ve got about 30 minutes on my phone. They all looked like me. Quote of the night, “We (black culture) spend so much on Henny! Why isn’t there a Henny University!” Basically why do we spend so much on going out when we can invest in ourselves and our community!

Lesson: When you open your ears you hear opportunities! I got a chance to hangout with the even planner who if he’s not a millionaire he’s at least an thousandaire. He was a normal guy just with a hard work ethic. He just listened to the world, wrote about it, and made things to improve it.

Houston:
Every time I come to Texas, I am reminded how much I love the state. If you guys fixed your weather, I would probably stay here. Definitely kidding. It was my first 2 week trip for work and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people. I learned Houston is one of the most diverse cities. Heard it twice so I’m counting that as validated. I love towns that I could sit down and just have a conversation with random people. It’s not like that everywhere but Houston you guys got it!

I also caught up with an old friend. That taught me a lot, while I did enjoy myself and felt great meeting with them over the weekend, I realized how much I’ve grown. I picked up on habits I dislike. It reminded me in the last 4 months I have grown and I know what things I like versus dislike in the people around me.

The thing that made my trip is in the airport I came across an old friend from high school! We caught up and she’s a recruiter for exactly what I do! It’s funny how the universe has a way of connecting people. It was great just catching up and learning about her line of work. As I write this boarding my flight, I can only be grateful for my time away. I am looking forward to my bed though.

Lesson: While you can take longer trips by yourself. The reason why is it forces you to learn what you like and enjoy. It reminded me going forward that life is a learning process, sometimes you’ll fail to learn.

Photos from my travels!

photography

3 Ways Photography Helps Me Fight Depression

Note: I have never officially been diagnosed but more often than not I wake up pessimistic than optimistic.

Now that we have that disclaimer out the way, my name is Demetri Wilright. I’m 26 years old at the time of writing this and I work in the IT industry. For understanding, here is why I believe I suffer from depression. When I was 5 years old I decided to be an engineer. I knew exactly what I wanted to be and from a 5 year old’s dream to now I made it in all senses of the word. But yet day after day in my career I’ve felt something missing. I end up feeling down on myself about what I don’t have rather than the blessings I’ve received. I’m harder on myself than anyone else and that leads my thoughts to a negative place.

Enter photography! From the day I got my camera in December of 2016, I’ve had a huge up swing of positivity in my life. In the past year I went from a lot of “down days” to so far only 2 I can remember in the past year. That’s a great shift for me! I went from why and what am I doing, to how can I get better and do more. Photography changed my perspective on life. Here are 3 reasons why I believe photography helps me do that:

1. It forces me to look at the best qualities of my environment

Now if you’ve ever taken a photo then you know you only snap your best. All social media nowadays is a reflection of that. So think about it if you are constantly searching for the best where you are, how can you think negatively? I know I can’t!

2. It forces me to look my best

For work, I do a lot of solo traveling so instead of snapping portraits of friends and family, I have to snap portraits of myself. I used to run track and my mom told me this, “Look good, run good.” Now the same thing applies to portraits, “ Look good, portrait good.” When I am my best outfits or my best looks that’s when I take the best selfies. So I have to be on point even the days when I don’t want to get dressed or do anything. You never know when a perfect photo opportunity will arrive!

3. It forces me to learn

Instead of hours wallowing in self-pity, I look for ways to get better at taking photos. It gives me something to study and get better at with actionable steps. For example, today I focused on getting beautiful landscape shots with different apertures. Also, instead of looking at Instagram with the man I wish I could do that or look like that, my approach is now how’d they get that shot, how can I do a shot like that or another like it? I look at others looking to learn not with envy. It’s a very different feeling. I even will reach out to other photographers and ask about how they got their shot. It’s creating a community type of feeling. That in itself is phenomenal!

4. (Bonus) It has reconnected me with my friends and family

In one of the two “down days” I’ve had I decided to represent how I felt with a photo. I shared that photo with my friends and family. The responses I got were phenomenal. I could not help but feel grateful. It took time to completely get past it but knowing I had so much support I didn’t realize I had, healed me faster. Again thank you everyone!

(This is the photo I shot that day)

So here is what I have noticed in my first full year of photography, negativity is at an all time low. Positivity is at an all time high. I’m loving the skin I was born into more every day. I’m willing to reach out and ask others for help. I’m learning to connect with my environment and others around me, in a world that is slowly getting less connected personally and more digitally. Overall, I feel empowered and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for the world.

-Demetri
Instagram: @photosbydemy

photography

Me Vs Him Series

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had this internal battle with myself.  This feeling of wanting to do something or feeling like I deserve something and in the back of my mind feeling like I can’t.  It’s that feeling of battling against myself.  Basically like there is Me…and then there is Him.

He’s always been there trying to tell me “no that’s not possible”, “why would you want to do that”, “that’s not something that you can do”.  I’ve always had to fight against that feeling I would not be able to do it.  He’s in my subconscious, he is my doubts, he is there trying to prevent my constant striving for greatness.  He’s like a shadow trying to loom over me.

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Several times, I had this conversation: “I want to go out tonight, I know I will have a good time.”  In the back of my mind he’s there saying, “Well what if you don’t.”

Overall, I have started winning my battles against him, but I have to remember that he is a part of who I am.  So the battle may not be Me Vs Him, but it a battle to remain positive and continue to grow.  When He gets in the way of my growth we will be in conflict, but I will never let him decide if I am good enough.

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I am Him and I must be at peace with that.