Not Zooey.

Soon after I graduated from the mundane suburban life that was my high school experience I was granted with the gift of my graduation by traveling to New York. I was there for a week and fell in love. I recall flying out of LaGuardia on a plane back to Los Angeles, looking out the window and thinking "I shall live there one day!" Fast forward to four years down the line and that is where we are currently. Much happened in between that plane ride and now. I went to off to college. I had my first apartment. I created a new life for myself. I graduated. Again, this time with a BFA which I still think is weird to say, that I am a college graduated. I experienced the loss of the person I loved most on this planet. I put my life on full-fledged pause mode. Depression took hold of me, unable to move, unable to create. Simply existing. Nothing more. Nothing less. Simply existing in the mundane routine of comfort. I found myself out. I began to come back to life.  I began shooting again. I was traveling between the coasts constantly. Exhaustingly.

Funny enough, where I lived in good Ol' Pasadena was directly across from a place called "Central Park" a place in which I had midnight running-through-the-sprinkler-sessions and fell straight on my ass, sopping wet under the ongoing sprinklers, had multiple chats over milkshakes on benches, had silly string wars (in which I always won, thank you very much) and was called "elf" by more homeless men than I would care to admit to... Fast forward to now where I am currently sitting at my dining room table overlooking across from my New York apartment, the REAL Central Park.  I lived above a pizzeria (that still in my opinion is the best pizza I've ever had, or perhaps because out of my pure laziness I would order it instead of having to fend for myself in the kitchen, at one point or another the staff would recognize me coming in from my way from the gym and would order a pizza to go, 'cause productivity at its finest...) The train that would pass by my window, which once annoyed me to no end, but yet on the nights where insomnia became me, the low hum of the train and the beep it produced quickly became my  lullaby and is now a sound I miss more deeply than I would have ever possibly imagined. I had to move out of the apartment where I sought comfort for many years, which then ending up breaking my heart in order to eventually leave it. I had no idea the true impact that it would take on me, simply leaving an apartment. I was in denial as to the true amount of stress my move would cost me. For the month leading up, I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I took my stress out upon people that didn't deserve it. I didn't necessarily understand as to what was happening to me, for I was beyond frustrated with myself that out of all the things I had been through in the past year the fact of leaving my beloved apartment was taking such a heavy toll on me. One friend actually slapped me and then said "I have known you for ten years and I don't know who this version is! Who is this?" And there is quite possibly nothing worse than admitting that you are not as strong as you think that you are. By the time I left #305, I was 94 pounds and out of pure exhaustion, my first night away from my now empty apartment was the first night in almost two months whereas I gotten a full nights sleep. I was heartbroken to having to leave the place I once called home. I have moved on multiple occasions before, for being a child of divorce, between my two parental figures and within these twenty two years of my life, thus far, I have probably lived in at least a dozen different homes. I was used to moving, I was used to the temporary situations. I had became an expert at packing a place up fast. In-between all the different houses in which I lived and may have used the word "home" but purely as a description of the physical representation of the word, never truly feeling it. I didn't necessarily know the feeling of the word "home" until I gave my thirty day notice and realized how different this move was above all the others.  That was my home. It is where I grew up. Where I found who I was. Where I lost myself. Where I had to find myself again.  My home. Mine. And I had to leave. With a final goodbye to the ghost that also occupied my apartment, I stepped through the threshold with tears in my eyes and left. Within the pages of my previous notebook, in the very back remains one polaroid, all the others are exhibited upon my bedroom walls, a polaroid of my empty apartment. I still have my original set of keys upon my keyring, I cannot bear to take them off. Even with the fact remaining that a new family now occupies my now former place, the hope in me still remains that they are kind to my lovable poltergeist, Jerry.  

If you know me personally, then you know how horrible I truly am when it comes to goodbyes. I loathe them. In my experience, they always tend to feel like some sort of awkward breakup, no matter whom the person I may be hugging goodbye is. Always the same shade of finding nowhere "good" in the goodbye. I had a final goodbye dinner with the friends that became family. And I wept. I wept in public. I don't cry. Before that moment I could only count on one hand the number of people that had ever seen me cry in my twenty two years on this planet. I couldn't even finish the speech I thought up before the tears came on. Looking upon the faces of the people I loved and realized how truly beautiful the life I created in LA truly was. 

Now being technically "homeless" in the most non-literal sense. Drifting from place to place then on August 21st at 1:45pm I boarded a plane from LAX to JFK, where I would land to grab a taxi to an apartment which I had found off of Craigslist. I checked out the address off of Google Maps and could tell it was a real place, but as I knocked on the door I was just hoping that it was real. And so, at 12:30am I knocked on my new residences door to meet the first of my four other roommates, Denis. Everyone else was asleep. I was exhausted. I was terrified and just about every other emotion in between. And so with two suitcases in hand, I was shown my new room. The bed was already made for me, and I remember going to sleep that night, staring up at the ceiling and thinking, "This is it. This is really happening. Tomorrow when you wake up, you are going to wake up in New York." 

And so I woke up in New York. And so the real story begins. 

My first real day living in New York was full of exploration. So I sought out grandeur at the grandest place of all. Grand Central Station.  

My first real day living in New York was full of exploration. So I sought out grandeur at the grandest place of all. Grand Central Station.  

She is pretty. And pretty amazing. 

She is pretty. And pretty amazing. 

And then I met and shot Celia. 

Fashion Week happened again. 

Apparently "Eyes Wide Shut" is very in right now. 

Human coat hanger. Human pretzel. 

Human coat hanger. Human pretzel. 

I then collaborated with a truly wonderful designed based in Brooklyn. Dyanna Csaposs. Her brand being "Children of Defiance" 

She is just as beautiful as her designs. 

She is just as beautiful as her designs. 

And here are some shots we did in collaboration. We were inspired by a certain movie. If you can guess, which one. It is one of my absolute favorites. 

And here are some shots we did in collaboration. We were inspired by a certain movie. If you can guess, which one. It is one of my absolute favorites. 

Giselle and Dyanna working in the studio

Giselle and Dyanna working in the studio

My favorite then came into town. 

We thrifted. Adventured. Confused my roomates. Discussed life after graduation and on what it means to be an adult, and then clearly did not get so far in that last bit for then we sought out chocolate cake for breakfast...

She helped me set up my record player. Therefore I am entirely grateful. If you know me, you then know how close music is held in my heart. I can't play a single note of it but there is not a day that goes by whereas I don't listen to music. When I was packing up my apartment the last things I packed up were my records. One friend that came over to help me pack began putting them in a box and I nearly had a panic attack. The first record I played was also the very last, someone turned off my record player mid song, Alt-J's "Something Good," and I knew the exact moment it was paused and that was precisely where I picked it back up in New York.

My roommates have been very gracious when it comes to "not hearing" what I am listening to on my beloved record player, they elect to choose to ignore my sound levels, but they have grown to know me well enough to no longer ask how my day was but moreso instead ask, "What song is currently stuck in your head?" And as of right now it is "Here comes your man" by The Pixies. 

When Erica was in town the apartment thus then created something we now call "Tiramisu Thursdays" in which, if you can call it, make and then eat tiramisu. Well, I should specify more clearly, Denis makes the tiramisu and then we eat it... Denis, is an amazing cook. He is Italian and therefore makes ample amounts of pasta, therefore I often refer to him as a minion of Satan destined to make me fat. I don't think he appreciates that title much, but anyways, he makes a mean tiramisu. 95% sure he made it for he wanted Erica to come back to the apartment and Erica is my soul twin in many ways. Denis knows that I have quite the hankering sweet tooth so therefore Erica would as well, and so she showed up at the door once again, accidentally, wearing the exact same outfit as me. 

Found this very talented Austrian in New York. Severin Koller, beyond talented in every aspect of the word. 

He shot me in film. I shot him in digital.   Here is his counter shot of me. 

He shot me in film. I shot him in digital. 

Here is his counter shot of me. 

The odd thing is, there is no flash attached to that Fuji. Mystery light, indeed. 

The odd thing is, there is no flash attached to that Fuji. Mystery light, indeed. 

He also found me in my natural habitat. Writing nonsense in a coffee shop. 

He also found me in my natural habitat. Writing nonsense in a coffee shop. 

Who once was my roommate, became my California soul sister. 

Who once was my roommate, became my California soul sister. 

I also have a love affair with her window. Its very serious. 

I also have a love affair with her window. Its very serious. 

For a full month, we occupied the same space under the category that is "roommates" and very quickly we strived past that title. She knocked on my door my very first morning and introduced herself, Athena. I told her that I was in dire need of caffeination so she took me to grab coffee with her, she bought my cortado and said "Welcome to New York!" Months later she told me, "It was when you first ordered a cortado that I knew I liked you!" Funny enough, I just ended a breakfast date with her. We quickly bonded over the fact that even though we were down the hall from one another we were both secretly watching "Gilmore Girls."

There are very few people on this planet that you can simply coexist with. She is one of them. She since moved out of our once shared space, she has made her place my home as well. There were days in which she came home from work and found me asleep in her bed and didn't question it. She has let me us her apartment as what she so calls "Model Headquarters." She is also a California native and a powerhouse in so many ways. As of right now, I have only been in New York for five months, therefore I have only known her for five months but somehow we joke in that we feel like we have known each other from past lives. From someone who was once a stranger, to a roommate, to my friend has now graduated to my sister and I adore her completely. She is a complete and utter powerhouse and as much of a Goddess as her name suggests. 

She and one other roommate offered the same sentiment, just varying slightly in their word play and it is this, "Bren, before you walked through the door, my life here was fairly boring and it wasn't until you moved in that suddenly all these weird, wonderful things started to happen to me. And it is all because of you!"

She then took this of me in my full essence. Messy hair, mismatched socks, coffee in hand, laughing at the nonsense that surrounds. 

She then took this of me in my full essence. Messy hair, mismatched socks, coffee in hand, laughing at the nonsense that surrounds. 

The reality of the situation. I actually loathe cigarettes, I used to smoke them in my unguided youth when I'd get drunk. Now I just pose with them for photos and can't even do that seriously. 

The reality of the situation. I actually loathe cigarettes, I used to smoke them in my unguided youth when I'd get drunk. Now I just pose with them for photos and can't even do that seriously. 

I found my favorite little cucumber in Williamsburg. We went to school together and the last time we saw each other was the night of my graduation. A lot has happened within that time. She told me she barely even recognized me now. Esther is beyond talented, her way of photographing people is beyond stunning. How she can get fellow humans to emote such unique emotions and be able to capture that on film has always been something I have deeply admired about her. 

I found my favorite little cucumber in Williamsburg. We went to school together and the last time we saw each other was the night of my graduation. A lot has happened within that time. She told me she barely even recognized me now. Esther is beyond talented, her way of photographing people is beyond stunning. How she can get fellow humans to emote such unique emotions and be able to capture that on film has always been something I have deeply admired about her. 

I showed her around town and she photographed me in the process. 

I showed her around town and she photographed me in the process. 

One of my 3/4 boy roommates, Francois-Renee, I wonder if you can tell by his name where he is from. He takes a selfie with the cats. The first conversation I ever had with Francois was this:   Oh hey! I am Brenna! You're the new roommate! Welcome! How are you?  "I am alright! My girlfriend just broke up with me!"  Oh, I am so sorry! That is horrible!   "And it is my 21st birthday!"  Hold on.   I left the apartment, went down to the grocery store below us and bought a six pack of Stone Beer for him.    

One of my 3/4 boy roommates, Francois-Renee, I wonder if you can tell by his name where he is from. He takes a selfie with the cats. The first conversation I ever had with Francois was this: 

Oh hey! I am Brenna! You're the new roommate! Welcome! How are you?

"I am alright! My girlfriend just broke up with me!"

Oh, I am so sorry! That is horrible! 

"And it is my 21st birthday!"

Hold on. 

I left the apartment, went down to the grocery store below us and bought a six pack of Stone Beer for him. 

 

My previous place of residence, I lived above a bar. A great bar, the Stone Brewery tasting room. I have never necessarily been a big drinker but I loved this place, but with my living above a bar I felt as if my life were some sort of sitcom. Now, my life is now much more a contrasting variety of sitcom with my being the only girl living in a testosterone dominated, five bedroom apartment. I often tell people about this scenario and the most common remark is this "It is like you are living the 'New Girl' lifestyle! You are the 'New Girl'!" Now, any comparison to the lovely Zooey Deschanel I shall take very willingly, in the ways in which she is quirky and odd I can take that comparison, for I used loathe the idea that I could ever be labeled as "quirky" but now I have come to fully embrace it! For I have (once again) been caught dancing in the living room more times than I can count, and they have also labeled me as the "Indie Rock Queen" which is a title I actually do not despise. Although, when it comes her excessive baking habits, we could not be more opposite. I break the stereotype with being the only girl by also being the least domestic when it comes to my cooking abilities. Or lack there of. My extent of culinary skill only comes out to play when I make my go-to dinner which is quinoa, which has thus been labeled as "hipster salad" according to my boys. I won't lie, I only really got through one season of "New Girl," not really my thing, but in the ways the male characters indulge her by watching her chick flicks, the indulgent factor is relevant in my case, but the taste in movies is night and day, for they have indulged me in my Stanley Kubric marathons, watching excessive amounts of Tarantino films and forcing "Rick and Morty" upon them, which they ended up loving. Besides the dark hair and sitcomesque lifestyle, I am most unfortunately not Zooey Deschanel. 

 

One of said cats. Don't let the face deceive you. This cat is actually satan.

One of said cats. Don't let the face deceive you. This cat is actually satan.

I renamed her Floof. I suppose she is pretty cute. 

I renamed her Floof. I suppose she is pretty cute. 

Now, I did bounce between the coasts more than I should have. But when I did go back I got commentary from friends very much like this: "You come back from New York, you cut your hair, and you're drinking espressos and americanos?!? Its almost as if I don't know who you are anymore!" I find that somewhat laughable, but here a friend photographed me in a coat that is not in my more typical shade of black, therefore I can now understand as to why I may be unrecognizable. 

Now, I did bounce between the coasts more than I should have. But when I did go back I got commentary from friends very much like this: "You come back from New York, you cut your hair, and you're drinking espressos and americanos?!? Its almost as if I don't know who you are anymore!" I find that somewhat laughable, but here a friend photographed me in a coat that is not in my more typical shade of black, therefore I can now understand as to why I may be unrecognizable. 

Actual human chameleon, Colleen. 

I have never truly experienced shooting anyone like her before, with each outfit change she became an entirely new persona. She truly is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. 

I have never truly experienced shooting anyone like her before, with each outfit change she became an entirely new persona. She truly is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. 

Hazel

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Final frames of 2016. Taken on New Years Eve, in Los Angeles. 

Robin. 

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Robin also just so happened to be one of my first shoots of 2016. She came over, to find my apartment already is the process of dismantled for I began the process of packing up my place to prepare for New York, she would then come over a matter of months later to fully help me pack. She is a saint. She then came over once again on New Years Eve while my parents were packing up their house in order to go on with their next stage of life, and now no one in the dark haired Weeks clan is in California. What is so interesting about photography is the concept of time that passes while a photograph is immortalized, looking back on some of the first photographs we ever took together, I can't help but laugh for we are hardly those same people anymore. From the first frames to now, she has somehow and thankfully become one of my best friends and I don't know what I would do without her. 

Robin also just so happened to be one of my first shoots of 2016. She came over, to find my apartment already is the process of dismantled for I began the process of packing up my place to prepare for New York, she would then come over a matter of months later to fully help me pack. She is a saint. She then came over once again on New Years Eve while my parents were packing up their house in order to go on with their next stage of life, and now no one in the dark haired Weeks clan is in California. What is so interesting about photography is the concept of time that passes while a photograph is immortalized, looking back on some of the first photographs we ever took together, I can't help but laugh for we are hardly those same people anymore. From the first frames to now, she has somehow and thankfully become one of my best friends and I don't know what I would do without her. 

With 2016 coming to an end, everyone had the comments of "Oh Fuck 2016!" (Although, I feel as if everyone says that every year but this year the onslaught of the same commentary was overwhelming!) 2016 may not have necessarily been one of the best years of my life, but for me it was one of the overall most beneficial, for it was the year of transitions. Both physicalyl and mentally. Throughout the year I felt as if I were three entirely different people, some I may be proud of and some I may not necessarily be, but either way those versions are apart of me and whether they be negative or positive, I have learned from them. And for that I am thankful.