Midnight Diner

Midnight Diner

I’ve had Japan and Korea on my mind a lot lately. Places that are important to me because they have done so much to fuel my imagination and inspiration for so long now. When I am unable to travel, books, film, and TV are the best ways for me to get lost without leaving home. A couple of weeks ago I saw a Japanese film called Midnight Diner that I really enjoyed watching. It’s a film based on a TV show based on a manga comic, I think.

The basic premise is there is a small diner, only big enough to fit maybe eight people inside, on a back alley street in a neighborhood in Tokyo which only opens from 12 midnight until 6am in the morning. The man that runs it has a backstory that is never fully explored, he is left to be an understated presence in the lives of those who visit his shop which is what the film is really about, the late night visitors. There are three different stories that loosely tie together in the overall arch of the plot but in my opinion the film is held together and made enjoyable by an overall calmness that I admired quite a bit. It promotes positive choices and looking out for one another within a community, no matter how big or small. There is an underlying sense of joy and acceptance that left me feeling good after watching.

It made me feel naively hopeful that somehow or another we are all equally capable of looking out for each other and respecting each others beliefs, ideals, and personalities. A joyful life contains a delicate balance of self preservation and a mutual respect for others that work hand in hand. It’s easy to forget that we as individuals are not islands and the way we treat each other is paramount to building a sustainable future.

One way or another, this is where my thoughts took me after seeing Midnight Diner and I could easily recommend it to anyone looking for something easy going to watch. That is if you can manage to find a copy of it… Japanese films that aren’t anime or award winning sure are hard to come by in the US. I first saw it on a flight to California and later again after finding it through alternative means. Good luck with the search.

The wallpaper was shot will in Japan at the end of 2014 during a weeklong trip to Kyoto with YoungDoo. I have been hoarding images from that trip for a full year now and I’m starting to feel a bit guilty about it! Expect a nice Kyoto wallpaper pack int the future.

Heading South

Heading South

Sure, for some of you it’s cold out there right now but thats no reason to ignore the beautiful things happening outside. This was shot in December while on a photoshoot for some new friends of ours that own a cozy little bed and breakfast. If you’re ever near Carolina Beach, have a look.

I have recently realized how little I have traveled specifically to take photographs. Photography for me has always been more of a means to appreciate the world around me, a side effect to always wondering whats around the next bend in the road. The world is larger than I will ever fully understand because the amount of diversity and possibility within it is too great for any one person to ever fully soak in. Getting lost is one of life’s greatest opportunities and I highly recommend everyone take advantage of that as often as possible.

I crave making photographs because I crave the high that being emerged in an unknown place or situation brings me. The photos I make are taken because of an innate fascination of moments and details I come across unexpectedly.  While it’s fun to talk about the latest gadgets or our preference of format, the gear we use is not all that important in the grand scheme of things. I have said it here before and I will say it again; living a joyful, fulfilling life is the real secret to great photography. Now get out there and get lost.



On a cold afternoon in Seoul earlier this year YoungDoo and I climbed into a friends car for a long ride out to a coffee shop shaped like a twin lens reflex camera. Two stories of charm and warmth on an otherwise chilly day in Korea. Our timing worked out quite well as we arrived in time for both a sunset over the surrounding farmland and a coincidental flurrry of snow which amplified the modest trip into one that still comes to mind as a highlight of our time there last year.

I managed to capture this shot through a window in the side of the cafe which, if I am remembering correctly was tinted and offered up a strangely magic photo of the landscape outside. This image takes me right back to the glowing masterpiece that was that moment and I hope that you find some comfort in it as well.

This image came to mind after day dreaming of a nice, light snowfall among the unusually warm December we have had. Enjoy.

Beginning to look

Beginning To Look

Better late than never they say, so here is a little something for your desktop decorating needs for the holidays. While not as dramatic as my Blue Christmas image form a couple years back, this kind of kitschy decoration often comes to mind this time of year so why not highlight something simple. Heck, I even threw in a few bokeh holiday balls for good measure because, Christmas.

On a related note, I made a simple composition with my little OP-1 keyboard using a sample recorded from a holiday radio station. Without going to far into it, my history in making music still holds heavy inspirations from the heyday of late 1990’s/early 2000’s underground electronic music from labels like Warp, Reflex, NinjaTune, Tigerbeat6, Merck, and Schematic. I’ve long had a love affair with artists who create music with an inspired exploration of sound.

That said, heres my take on a holiday classic. May not be for everyone but I enjoyed making it. The tracks hypnotic repetition felt somehow natural to me when I first stumbled into it. In taking this iconic moment from an iconic holiday song and repeating it indefinitely I was sucked into its grip and surprisingly its feeling of warmth didn’t change as I heard it over and over again. I hope some of you enjoy it, let me know what you think, of course.

I have some great photos on the back burner to share with you guys and I will be choosing the winners of the cool little 50ft keychains soon! If you are among those fortunate enough to get a break this time of year I hope you enjoy it and to those that don’t, I wish you the best as well. See you again soon.


Tis The Season

The chill is settling back in, albeit slowly, the trees have mostly shaken off their leaves for their poetic yearly run as the living dead, and thousands of little lightbulbs are starting to light up around town. It could only mean one thing; Christmas is near. Like a candy cane stripped boulder blocking out the sun, its hard to ignore. I had written a long few paragraphs about the way I have seen this holiday evolve through my life but it ended up feeling a bit too dark so I’m going to keep my musing short and to the point.

Don’t feel burdened by this time of year, life is way to short for that. If all you are going to buy for some distant relative is a random Sharper Image disposable novelty then maybe just consider a card instead. Expectations and obligation should not enter into the equation. Maybe listen to the words of the endless holiday songs you will inevitably hear and remember that this time of year can be truly joyful if we focus on the love and happiness of family and those close to us rather than the pressure to buy anything and everything that’s cheap or on sale because you think you have to. Balance.

Rhetoric out of the way, I have made a few gift idea posts in the past and people have always seemed to enjoy them so let me take a moment and point you back to my previous entries here, here, and here, because as far as I know many of the things on those lists still exist and they are still great ideas in my book.

I took some time to add to that growing collection again this year. Not an extensive list and some items may seem old hat, but there are a number of things I have considered writing whole posts about here so this has been a good excuse to share some cool stuff I use every day and think others could find handy as well. Anyways, I do hope everyone is entering the season in good spirits, have fun out there! Follow the link to see the list. (more…)



Speaking of memory, heres a photo that fills YoungDoo with thoughts of her childhood. As I was editing this down for a wallpaper use she immediately recognized the tree and landscape behind it as her childhood home in a small town in South Korea and started rattling off memories of the space distant in her mind.

The ability of a photograph, new or old, to pull forward and organize thoughts is amazing to me. No matter how many photographs are captured in today’s society with its abundance of mundane snapshots, there is still plenty of room to creatively capture our lives and the things we come across as a means to inspire and cultivate an emotional response from friends and strangers alike. I could swear I have said this before among these pages, but photography truly is a gift and it can be so incredibly rewarding if you take the time to treat it with the respect it deserves and requires to sustain a place in our lives for generations to come.

By the way, enjoy the new desktop! I have been using this one myself for a week or two and thought it was time I get it out there for you guys. See you next time.



I have been digging through old photographs a lot lately and it has reminded me of one of my key motivators to pick up the camera every morning. To remember. There is not a day that passes where I don’t fear it will go forgotten completely if I don’t do at least one thing to remember it.

Too many days pass by well under the radar, may as well try and discover something worth remembering in each day. Give it some meaning, even in such a small way. The simple act of noticing something beautiful is often enough to leave me feeling satisfied.

Time is clear, distinct, but far from patient. Being able to cheat the system and look back on forgotten days is a self motivating pattern. A way to remind myself that every day offers something to look back on and be thankful for and in that, photography is an inspiration palindrome. Or something.

While poking around for a new wallpaper to share I came across this image shot in Korea earlier this year. We were walking to one of my favorite little coffee shops in Seoul, Coffee Kitchen, on a bitter winter afternoon and out of the blue one cross street had the bright, blinding sun setting down between buildings calling out for my cameras attention. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the last taste of sun that day back in January.



Swift and unperturbed, the wind took this day hostage and left a blanket of brown and green in its wake. The fall is creeping in, giving us a peak into the coming months of cool days and rest. The past couple of weeks of calm, grey weather is feeding my desire to create. It’s comforting to me, means its time to start getting cozy as the colder months blow in and I can’t wait.

I’m starting to notice the distant call of words, photography, calm music, and artistic expression off in the distance and thought it’s high time I made my way back to these pages to share with you guys. I look forward to digging into the fragments of work I have around from these past busy months and get the ball rolling around here again. Hey there October, good to see you. Lets see where this fall takes us.

Mums v1


Sunlight has been little more than a long lost memory around NC as of late. The dismal weather we have been having was refreshing in my book but I think I am in the minority there. Just before the rain rain YoungDoo bought this flowerpot full of mums to welcome the coming fall weather.

They proved to be a colorful reminder that not everything was all grey and murky through the storms and on lighter, hazy days, charming little drops of rain would collect among the flowering plant. I took advantage one day as I was leaving for work and snapped a few photos that I thought would make for nice wallpapers for anyone else who could use a subtle reminder on a cold gloomy day. Enjoy!

mums v2


To whom it may concern,



• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
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If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J


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Thank you for your understanding and support!

John Carey (curator, owner)