Happy New Year

2018 A Year in Review by Reuben Hernandez

2018 was a life changing year because I became a father and embarked on one of my greatest adventures. Leuca Louise was born on September 30th, 2018 and it was the most remarkable experience I have ever had. I couldn’t help but cry the moment she was born. We’ve experienced so much love and beauty with Leuca. Yesterday she turned three months old, and I cherish every moment I spend with her and can’t believe how fast she’s growing. Being self employed has allowed me to spend quality time with her almost everyday, and I’m absolutely grateful for that. I love taking her to the movies and taking her for walks around the neighborhood in her carrier. She usually passes out from the body heat. Time is finite and something that I can’t make up, so I want to be intentional about how I’m spending and prioritizing it.

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Earlier this year I was commissioned by BBC Travel to do a photo and video story for their To the Ends of the Earth series. I had the opportunity to visit Supai, the only US town that receives its mail by mule train and is only accessible by hiking eight miles into the Grand Canyon or by helicopter. I hiked more than 20 miles off the grid carrying 40 - 50 lbs of photo and video gear, food, and camping supplies for this story. It was an adventure to say the least, and the Havasupai Falls are one of the most beautiful natural wonders I have ever seen. Check out the full story and interview with tribal elder Rex Tilusi here.

I traveled to Yellowknife, Canada near the Arctic Circle and photographed the Aurora Borealis for the first time, which has been at the top of my bucket list for quite a while. I was absolutely mesmerized by the aurora and seeing the green, magenta, red, and blue colors dance above me for several days was transcendent and beyond description. Photographing in 0 degree temperatures was challenging and much colder than the temperatures I experienced in Antarctica! I am currently developing a big project related to this and more on that to come…

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I joined Filmshop, a film collective committed to developing new work through peer support and collaboration. We meet weekly to workshop works in progress and to help bring each other’s projects to life. It has been invaluable being part of a community of like minded creatives and has forced me to be productive creatively. I directed a narrative short film, which was very much a Filmshop collaboration, and it will premiere on the big screen next year. Leuca even made it to one of our Filmshop meetings!

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My biggest takeaway this year is that life is beautiful and miraculous in a way that I have never experienced. Seeing Leuca being born and spending time with her has been extraordinary and wonderful. It's hard to believe that a year ago Leuca didn't exist. Now that she's here, my priorities have shifted and I must live in the present moment more than ever. I'm learning to be patient and focus on the big things that matter in life. According to my Dad Day instructor, being patient with Leuca is one of the most important things I could do for her development (patience is also required in many aspects of my work). He also said to be on time and I could definitely work on that. Our time is valuable and finite, and some would argue it's the most valuable thing we have to give. I don’t want Leuca to look back and wish I was around more. Going forward I'll have to live a more structured life to prioritize my time between family, work, personal projects, and exercise/dance/self-care.

Much love, peace, and Happy New Year to you all.

All My Best,
Reuben

2017 A Year in Review by Reuben Hernandez

According to the Weather Channel, it feels like 2°F outside in Brooklyn right now! Mamma mia! After living in NYC for nearly seven years, it still feels like a foreign concept to have to check the weather every single day. No one ever talked about the weather where I grew up in SoCal. Despite the cold, I still love it here and enjoy experiencing seasons and continual change.

And so 2017 ends on a very cold note. 2017 is also the end of American made denim; today the Cone Mills White Oak plant, the last American selvedge denim mill, sadly closes it's doors after 112 years in operation. Cone Mills White Oak denim is my favorite denim fabric, and I ordered one last pair before White Oak shuts down for good. 

As 2017 comes to a close, I look back with gratitude. My narrative short film, Maddie, premiered at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in NYC (sadly also closing it's doors for good next month) earlier this year. Maddie screened at a handful of film festivals and unexpectedly took home a few awards, including the Best Williamsburg Short Award at the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival in Brooklyn last month. Maddie will screen at a few more festivals in 2018. Big thanks to everyone that came out and supported our film this year. 

Another project I enjoyed working on this year was This Is Our New York, a short spot I directed for the New York Immigration Coalition, that was broadcasted on the big screen in Times Square.

On a personal note, the major highlight of 2017 was marrying my best friend Lisa in Puglia, Italy last summer alongside our dear friends and family members. We hosted a three day celebration and were intentional about spending quality time together with our loved ones over the course of several days. Afterwards, Lisa and I road tripped, swam, and ate our way around Southern Italy for a month. It was a memorable summer to say the least! 

Photo by Nathan Smith

Photo by Nathan Smith

Grotta del Soffio, Italy

Grotta del Soffio, Italy

Grotta della Poesia Grande, Italy. One of our favorite spots.

Grotta della Poesia Grande, Italy. One of our favorite spots.

Matera, Italy

Matera, Italy

This year I really had to learn not to sweat the small things in life. Life is too short to focus on little things that really don't matter in the end. I definitely want to continue working on this in 2018 and beyond.

Next year, I will also dance much more.

I also launched a brand new website that you're looking at right now (thanks to my web guru Katherine).

Last but not least, I moved my business into a new studio this year with my friends at Skypie Studio, and have been much more productive and happier. It has been really great and invaluable to move my work life outside of the house, and constantly be surrounded by a community of creatives. I have some exciting projects that I'm looking forward to working on next year.

Much love, peace, and Happy New Year to you all.

All My Best,
Reuben

2016 A Year in Review by Katherine Yaksich

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2016 A Year in Review

As I write this, it’s hard to believe that I’m approaching my six year anniversary of living in NYC.

2016 was an interesting year, to say the least. A lot of people can’t wait for it to be over. I learned a thing or two and some memorable experiences include:

Antarctica premiered in NYC earlier this year and screened at a handful of film festivals.

Beauty, Balance, and Grace premiered in Paris, France.

I had the opportunity to film Bono this year for a PSA for the Red Nose Day campaign. Spike Jonze randomly showed up and then thanked me for allowing him to help out. It was surreal. Bono and his crew were so gracious and kind and it was truly a pleasure to work with them. I’ve looked up to Bono for many years so it was such an honor to meet him.

This year I wrote and directed my first narrative short film, Maddie, that will premiere next year. I’m so thankful for my talented cast and crew that worked so hard on this project and gave so much. Writing is a new creative process for me, and I’ve learned that I can do it even out of necessity. It was an empowering experience to own a project completely from start to finish, and to learn firsthand that anything is possible. So many elements of this film seemed impossible and daunting at first, but we somehow pulled it off. People helped out from near and far and I’m truly grateful for all the support. We look forward to sharing Maddie on the big screen in 2017 so stay tuned for upcoming screenings.

I spent two months abroad in Europe this summer, working on post production for Maddie and recovering. Production on Maddie gave me a serious ass kicking so it was a much needed breath of fresh air to spend the summer away from NYC. 

One of my major takeaways from 2016 is that if you have a creative vision/idea that you believe in, then you just need to go for it and figure it out along the way. Some people thought that making Maddie would not be possible, but deep down I believed in my vision and was absolutely determined to see it through. I also learned a hell of a lot along the way, which will be invaluable.

See you next year.

All My Best,
Reuben


 

2014 A Year in Review by Katherine Yaksich

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2014 | A Year in Review

Greetings from California! When I look back at 2014, I can’t help but be surprised by how quickly the year flew by. It’s quite startling actually. I’ve decided that moving forward I need to reevaluate and work on my relationship with time. I need to savor the adventures a bit more and stop more frequently to soak up, enjoy, and live in the moment.

I’m also incredibly grateful for all of the beautiful moments I experienced and the people I shared them with. One thing I’m proud of is how much time I was able to spend with my friends that live on the west coast. I took 7 trips out west to CA this year, mostly for work. But more than ever, I realize that cultivating friendships and community takes a lot of work and energy, but is also meaningful, necessary, rewarding, and quite possibly the most important aspect of life. I want to be intentional about cultivating relationships and one way I will do this is by designing adventures specifically for that purpose. This past year I finally summited Half Dome with my friend Matt and in 2015, I will head to South Africa, Tanzania, and Zanzibar with my friend Drew to conquer Kilimanjaro and hopefully get some great views of “big cats playing ball”. 

One of my major highlights of 2014 was the time I spent as the Photographer in Residence onboard the M/S Expedition ship in the Arctic, 600 - 800 miles from the North Pole. It was truly a transformative experience spent in the wild, beautiful, and fragile polar environment, and made me realize firsthand the importance of safeguarding the future of our planet. I’m so excited to embark in a few weeks on a 2 month adventure and photo residency back onboard the M/S Expedition down in Antarctica, which has been on my bucket list ever since I was in 4th grade and is also my final continent to explore. It will definitely be a meaningful experience that will undoubtedly shape my life and future work.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure and for allowing me to share some of my favorite moments. I wish you a beautiful, adventurous, and transformative 2015! 

The photos above are my top 10 favorite images of 2014 with captions below.

All My Best, 
Reuben

1. Polar Bears in the Arctic, photographed about 100 meters away from a zodiac and one of the most challenging images I’ve ever captured (Svalbard, Norway)

2. Dr. Tom Smith, rifle master and naturalist, once saved a polar bear’s life by punching it in the face (Svalbard, Norway)

3. A mountain peak emerges in Inglefieldbreen, Svalbard, less than 800 miles from the North Pole

4. NYC Ballet, Jen Trahan for Reuben Hernandez Studios, NYC

5. Yosemite’s Half Dome summit with Matthew Morgan (California)

6. Blood Moon/Total Lunar Eclipse, photographed from Southern California

7. Christopher “Push” Costa at PMT Dance Studio, NYC

8. Spiderman Parkour Self Portrait, Brooklyn, NY

9. JR’s Inside Out Project at Millions March NYC 

10. 9/11/2014, NYC

by Katherine Yaksich

A motion picture selfie making fresh tracks and floating on clouds on New Year’s Day, 2014 in Vail Colorado. Filmed on the GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition using a GoPole.

Part of my ongoing Self Portrait Series

by Katherine Yaksich

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2013 was definitely a year to remember, and above are my ten favorite images from last year. Looking back at all the images I captured and the projects I was fortunate to work on makes me realize how blessed and lucky I am. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to travel all around the world doing what I love, telling stories, capturing beauty, and working with incredibly talented, creative people. It’s been absolutely fulfilling, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

I kicked off 2013 marveling at the infamous Sydney fireworks from a sailboat in the harbor. The fireworks were literally exploding right above my head, and it was breathtaking and surreal. After exploring Australia and New Zealand for 6 weeks (and knocking several things off of my bucket list :), I was home in NY for a few days before I was back on the road again for a month filming Exposed, a documentary film series about tuberculosis in the UK, South Africa, India, Nashville, and DC. Working on Exposed was definitely a professional highlight, and securing our visas for India was nothing short of a miracle!

Personally, a memorable moment was meeting the French artist, JR, one of my favorite artists and the creator of the Inside Out Project, the world’s largest participatory art project. I was asked to document and shoot time-lapse of his large scale pasting/installation in Times Square. That whole experience was magical, and it made me feel like a kid in a candy store.

Another major highlight of 2013 was being selected as a finalist for Tropfest NY, the world’s largest short film festival, hosted by Liev Schreiber and judged by Malcolm Gladwell and Academy Award winning producer, Fisher Stevens (The Cove). We had the incredible opportunity to premiere our short film on the big screen in front of tens of thousands of people! It was quite unforgettable, and probably one of my most significant accomplishments since moving to NY just over 3 years ago. 

Other highlights include filming/surfing in Mexico, catching up with loved ones back home in California, exhibiting at Photoville, and finishing the year snowboarding fresh powder in Vail, Colorado.

I also spent a month living in Paris, learning French, riding a bike, drinking lots of coffee, and trying to soak in and absorb all of the beauty that is literally all over that place. The Eiffel Tower still gets me every single time. 

I’m so thankful and grateful for an awesome and fulfilling year of adventure, beauty, exploration, and good times. All together, I spent over 16 weeks on the road. If there’s anything I’ve learned this past year, it’s that you shouldn’t ask yourself what kind of job you want, but rather what kind of lifestyle you want to live. Live the life you imagined, and do it courageously. It’s always important to keep it fun and exciting, especially when things get challenging or frustrating. If you don’t like your job or what you’re doing, then quit it. 

Last but not least, thank you so much to all of my friends, loved ones, clients, and colleagues for joining me on this crazy, wild adventure. It wouldn’t be the same without you, and I truly cannot thank you enough. I’ve decided to dedicate this space as a place where I will try and give back and be generous as much as possible (inspired by Chase Jarvis).

Let’s create something beautiful together this year!

Carpe Diem,
Reuben

Photo Captions
1. A shark on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, just outside Port Douglas
2. New Delhi, India, the 7th largest urban agglomeration in the world with a population of 23 million people
3. Hadouken self-portrait in Austin, Texas using the remote timer and my wristwatch
4. Paris, France, also known as the City of Light
5. A portrait of a Parisian in Le Marais
6. The scene outside my apartment window in Lisbon, Portugal
7. The Indian Sunrise on the 6 am train from New Delhi to Agra
8. The Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand, one of Jacques Cousteau’s top 10 favorite dive locations in the world
9. Pristine, untouched beauty in Wilson’s Promontory, Australia
10. Winter wonderland on Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado

All images © Reuben Hernandez