Amanda Koster

thoughts and experiences of an international documentarian

Archive for the ‘real people’ Category

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What is cool?

Have been shooting and writing a project about Seattle for a magazine out of Beijing, VISION . The feature is all about Seattle: art, music, coffee, neighborhoods… you get the idea. Its been a huge project, ultimately 80 pages, especially considering I am leaving to live in India for 2 months at the end of August. I couldn’t resist. This is a beautiful publication. It is an awesome opportunity to create Seattle for a young Chinese audience. The chance to go beyond grunge (which I missed) and whatever else we are known for.

We are definitely aware, very smart, diverse, socially concious, international, still drinking lots of coffee and yes, very cool. While shooting the coffee piece, I stumbled upon some smart young men, one being Dominic Canterbury of DC-Strategic. He saw me photographing some cool green sneakers, hoping to show Chinese what Seattleites were into, footwear wise. “I though you were a cool catcher”, someone how shoots what is cool around the world for designers, marketing, etc. “No.” Well not really. Why did I shoot the green sneakers, anyway?

We chatted for awhile about what made something cool. After plowing though and nixing some surface possibilities we landed on something. Dominique asked “What do you think is cool?” Quite for awhile. “Cool is when one is detached from it all. When someone chooses what IS, rather than what it isn’t or what it should be”. We were a quiet. Didn’t mean to be profound, just though about it, let my mind get past all the typical reasons for what makes things cool. “Tipping Point’s” Hush Puppy theory flashed through my brain as well. I landed on detachment. Not, ‘not caring’ but instead ‘being ok with what is.’

That’s cool to me.

Written by amandakoster

August 14, 2007 at 2:23 am

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Real Beauty Shoot
By Amber French
(Amanda’s assistant on the shoot)

What an incredible experience. The women that came to model just made the entire day! They were so full of life and joy. Young and old alike. A particular experience that really moved me, was when Amanda was photographing an 5 foot tall, 87 year old half deaf women, with milk chocolaty brown skin, and long wavy hair, so silver it could line all the clouds in the sky. She was the most delightful women you could ever meet.

She was wearing a crisp white shirt against a pale white wall. Towards the end of the shoot Amanda and I both could see her going somewhere beyond the studio in her mind. We could both feel that something really incredible was happening, but I could not have dreamt how much of an impact that moment would be on all three of our lives. The words that the women shared with me after the shoot, I will never forget. She told of her friend that had died recently, and at her memorial service her family put on a slide show of images of this women throughout her life. She told of how beautiful her friend was, and how everyone sat in complete silence while viewing the photographs of this women’s entire life. And then she preceded to tell me where her mind went when it wasn’t with us. She was thinking of her own memorial service, and how wonderful it would be if the images that Amanda was taking would be shown there. To show people how beautiful she was, to show people WHO she was.

After that I walked her, and her caregiver/best friend (who is only 7 years younger, and just as beautiful) down to their car. As she struggled down the stairs from the studio with a glowing smile on her face, I realized that she had spent all the energy that she had saved up for the remaining weekend on this afternoon of shooting. When they drove away in their car, I was so completely taken back by the experience that I was moved to tears.

It was an amazing day with five amazing women! It wouldn’t have been the same with professional models, it wouldn’t have been the same at all.


Written by amandakoster

July 31, 2007 at 4:13 am

Posted in real people, real women

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real beauty.

I just cast for my upcoming shoot about real beauty. so FUN! My editors and I like the casting images so much, we can’t imagine what the shoot will look like. can’t wait to get all these fabulous women together! Stay tuned for production shots from the shoot taken by my fabulous intern, Amber, on the far left.

Written by amandakoster

July 3, 2007 at 5:01 am

Posted in real people

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Don’t die with music in you

Yesterday was an amazing day in Seattle starting with an incredible morning. I woke around 5:30, jumped out of the house and headed to Seward Park, my new favorite place to hang. After a perfect view of Mount Rainer serenaded by some random jazz sounds (sounds from a trumpet, my favorite), I turned to the corner and found this guy, playing trumpet out of his car. He told me he does this all the time.

Amazing the beauty and music all around us when we decide to hear it. It truly is a gift to just do what one loves. Happy July!

Written by amandakoster

July 1, 2007 at 2:18 pm

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Real Beauty. Real People. Beautiful.

I am casting for an upcoming shoot about real beauty. casting to me means approaching of course my freinds but then also ‘strangers’ wherever I am. I want diversity for this. I want diversity in my life period, and definitely in my photos.

It is incredible how sweet people are when i say this is what/why i am doing, want to be a part of it? I walk around my neighborhood (the most diverse zip code in Washington State!) and ask people, can take your picture? I end up meeting new people and learning something new about life. Everyone has a story to tell. Actually…. they have many. My neighbor Barrier was telling me that most people don’t say hello anymore, just chat with each other. I walked up to his porch and we hung out for awhile. He asked me to email him my phone number and me and my ‘husbands’ (oldskool man) favorite song, he’ll learn it on the organ and call us on our anniversary and play it for us.

How sweet. “Why do you want to do that?” I asked him. Because he likes to call and say I love you “Before Stevie Wonder sang it!” he grinned. Barrier told me he survived prostate cancer and during all that the doctors found a whole bunch of other medical issues. He live through it all, “I’m healthy now, just too fat!” he said.

Here is Barrier. The song is “Luna” by Susana Bacha.

Written by amandakoster

June 28, 2007 at 2:23 pm

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summer in seattle let’s SHOOT!!!

my assistant: amber. cool shades.

Written by amandakoster

June 26, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Posted in real people