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This film was shot for Studio Concepts class at Syracuse University, taught by Robyn Tomlin. To view the complete video, click here. Feel free to comment, and share your thoughts of the film. To find out more about the sound design of the piece visit my audio website and click here.

The film was shot in Peekskill, and Syracuse, New York.

In a recently made short video of mine, I explore the concept of how smartphones have social impacts in everyday life. For further explanation on my ideas, read the paragraph below the image–if you would like to watch the short first, click the links or image below.

iSolation. © Eliot J Grigo 2013

iSolation from Eliot Grigo on Vimeo.

We live in a world ruled by its man-made products. The phenomenon of using a smartphone, and having it by your side all of the time, is becoming worrying. In a public setting, if someone is “old-fashioned”, doesn’t own a smartphone, or even simply looking for someone to talk to, they will notice what I mean by this phenomenon being worrying.  When everyone is dissolved into their “my-screen-is-bigger” screens, its as if everyone is alone, even though in this growing world we are surrounded by so many people.

This short film is a true story. These events did happen to me on a bus–yes–in a slightly different way but I’m also willing to bet that’s its a true story for many people. You’re waiting with a group of people for checkout, waiting in a laundromat, flying on an airplane, riding in an elevator–people tune out from you and everyone around them while they tap away at their phones. To me, its a problem, as I hope is clear in the short, where my character chooses to conform and tune out.

The sad truth of it all, is that we all still want to connect–’we never want to be alone’, as Louis C.K. puts it during an interview on Conan. My take on this is that we are not totally “tuned-out”, but just out of sync, and that causes us to become isolated. In my short there is a miscommunication between my character on a bus, and a girl that he tries to communicate directly with; they miss each other, and continue with their lives.

During iSolation when two characters on the bus (played by Eliot Grigo on the left, and Dia Matthews on the right) miss each other’s glance.

What do humans do now? Now that you can’t turn a corner without seeing someone with a slate of aluminum in their hands, what do we do? Have we integrated this technology too closely to our lives–are smartphones playing too big a role? Are they not a problem at all? Please feel free to comment on these questions. Lastly, thanks to all that helped in the creation of this video, and the irony of it all is that you’re probably reading this on your phone while surrounded by other people with phones.

A walk home. © Eliot J Grigo

A walk home. © Eliot J Grigo

En Midsommar Flicka. A short portrait session with Caroline Albertson, 18, inspired by the festivities of the Scandinavians held every year on the longest day: Midsommar, or Midsummer. These photographs follow a young girl walking home from the celebrations like små grodorna, and as many girls do, she picks her seven flowers that will allow her to dream of the man she will one day marry. All images © Eliot J Grigo.

© Eliot J Grigo

First Flower. © Eliot J Grigo

Forest Light.

Forest Light. © Eliot J Grigo

Chapel Dreams. © Eliot J Grigo.

Chapel Dreams. © Eliot J Grigo.

Butterfly. © Eliot J Grigo.

Skymning. © Eliot J Grigo

© Eliot J Grigo

For the last year or two I have been extensively shooting both family portraits and individual portraits. I am always taking portraits–always. My friends may think that carrying a camera around my neck all of the time is overkill. However, photography is all about intuition. Photography is intuition. When you’re asked to shoot a wedding, if you do not have a intuitive eye and mind, you’ll miss the shot on the biggest day of your client’s life. Intuition is something I’ve been able to cultivate in this respect of photography.

Katie and Tyler kiss in a three-wheeled scooter during their after party at their parents scooter rental business. They were married June 29, 2013.

Katie and Tyler kiss in a three-wheeled scooter during their after party at their parents scooter rental business. They were married June 29, 2013. © Eliot J. Grigo

The shot, could be any moment. Many people argue it’s the kiss during the ceremony, but I would disagree. It’s the moments when the bride and groom are not “putting on a show” for their friends and families, but rather when they escape the waves of relatives and get some one on one time. Such as the image above, when the bride and groom snuck away from the crowd and spent a moment together. Regardless, a separated photo shoot is key in my “during” workflow.

© Eliot J. Grigo

© Eliot J. Grigo

The bride and groom are not the only ones on stage–so are the families. The mother of the bride will obviously want to see beautiful pictures of her daughter on her special day, but also a great picture of herself–after all she did get a new dress for this event too! Below are some select candids shot at the last two weddings I’ve shot.

Photography is my world, together we can document you’re special day–visit my contact page for wedding photography inquiries. All images © Eliot J. Grigo.

Night in Sweden during the summer is an oxymoron–it never gets entirely dark. This is perfect for a photographer like myself–who would appreciate a little extra ambient light when shooting on the city streets at night.

© Eliot J. Grigo

I could only hear the light sounds of metal discs squealing on the buses and trams nearby, while a silky ocean breeze flew through the canals and streets to flutter by my face. The air was chilly, but it didn’t tickle my skin, it was soothing. I had the pleasure of using the blue bikes that can be found every few blocks. Riding through an unfamiliar city, with unfamiliar corners and destinations, is like being a little kid again–discovering that new neighborhood, or part of the woods, that you never knew existed.

Reflections

Space

Half the fun is being in a new place–the other is finding the pictures. Or, letting them come to you. Enjoy. All images © Eliot J. Grigo.

I recently returned from a 10 day trip to Göteburg, Sweden–and all I want is to go back. I only experienced the surface of the culture; witnessing an absence of social and economic issues when in reality there are problems. Sweden being a “Blue Zone“, most everyone is happy, equal, and the people who work at McDonalds, party with the lawyers and doctors. Whereas in the United States, those who work at fast food joints, or drive dump trucks, are looked down upon and “unsuccessful”. Even with the riots in Stockholm, Sweden appears to be an incredibly stable and peaceful country–a quality of life-utopia.

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Göteburg Square – a very busy section of the city. Göteburg is the second largest city in Sweden, Stockholm being the first.

Architecture

The architecture in Sweden is very interesting–a clash of the new and old. In districts like Haga, it is primarily old architecture that is similar to Palladian architecture (excuse my lack of technical architecture knowledge), yet modern elements play a large role in organization and transport. For instance, every few blocks there is a station filled with blue bicycles that citizens and tourists can use to get around–even the nostalgic streets of Haga. The pictures below do the architecture better justice than my words.

The Swedes

No one has an attitude in Sweden–everyone is fairly humble and will graciously speak to a tourist in English if necessary. Speaking to some of my Swedish hosts, they said that they must pass an English proficiency test in order to go on in their schooling from middle school, so naturally most everyone speaks at least english if not an additional language.

In addition to being a rather kind people, the Swedish are also very attractive. I saw less than 10 overweight people during my entire 10 days in Göteburg. They are healthy, fit, and happy. In the gallery above, there is a portrait of a man begging for money, who was one the few homeless beggars I saw during my stay. It is eye opening coming from a country where obesity, health issues, and homelessness are significant problems.

Education

The school system is a little different from here in the United States. Kids start elementary school later, as well as high school. It is also very rare for a Swede to go to college directly after high school. Many are encouraged to take what we call a “gap year” for one or two years. To me, this is something very cool, because not only is there less stress, it allows students to think about what they want to do, and grow mentally before a new chapter of life. Instead of applying to each school individually, students apply to one program that allows them to list their top choices, and wait for their acceptances based primarily off of their grades in high school. Below are two photographs inside a Swedish high school in Kullavik.

The Swedish lifestyle is very interesting to me, and based on my experience I am considering living there in the future or possibly transferring to a film school in Stockholm or Göteburg. I know a majority of the social issues in Sweden are rooted in immigration, but we’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned for more posts on Sweden and my trip. All images (unless noted) © Eliot J. Grigo. Below is a portrait of me on my last day, taken by Maya Sosland.

Last Day. © Maya Sosland

Last Day. © Maya Sosland