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Listening a lot. Creative director, editor. Talk with me about better futures for immersive stories.

A multimedia column reflecting the present culture through a futuristic lens written by Rashad Dobbins.

In the wake of the 2020 election, poet and rapper Rashad Dobbins began developing a series of poems titled Monolith 202.

Rashad’s concept, in verse

In the future
Washington D.C. was torn
by a false flag
The nation’s capital was moved
and D.C. was turned into a weapon
The entire city became a military forge
experimenting with fringe tech and weapons
of geomancy and technomancy

Creative reflectionists from
tell the stories from the past to
the present — future
of how Washington D.C.
transitioned to

And a poem…

Between 1990 and 1992, up to 300,000 Romanians emigrated in a wave following the political regime change in 1989. — The World Bank

It’s the first cool night in October. The sky’s a sheet of indigo peppered with stars. The smell of lavender is still floating in the air.

“Tell me a story from when you were a kid. One you haven’t told me before.”

I’m in Penny’s bed, pulling her comforter closer to my nose. Shadows dance on her ceiling. Dov strolls in, and she gives him a smile my dad and I never shared. …

Findings and observations from someone without a green thumb.

“Botanica is a visual study of micro-ecosystems, the backbone of our biosphere. The ecosystem depends on these micro-ecosystems to survive. Yet, they are often overlooked in mainstream discourse about the environmental crisis. This work seeks to create a visual space for vital mini-ecologies to coexist before their imminent extinction.” — Aster Reem David

Blissfully Aware Episode 23

A conversation with documentary filmmaker Leslie Askew

“It’s my purpose to be a voice and a vehicle for other people. End of. It has nothing to do with me. If I’m serving that, then I’m on my path. So I’m happy to help anyone who can advance it.” — Leslie Askew

Inside the Episode

The status quo says only some media creators are artists. That resources are scarce. Today, a story from Leslie Askew about her birth as an artist. Her storytelling has taken her from CNN to independent documentary film.

This is a story about bucking the art establishment in favor of listening to your inner voice. What…

Blissfully Aware Episode 12

A conversation with still life photographer Maria Baez

“No one knows where the work is going to take them. Doing work in the first place is such a vulnerable thing. Putting it out there, you’re already in the unknown.” — Maria Baez

In this episode, I sit with Maria Baez, a principal photographer at Maria is a friend, and we got to know each other at Estée Lauder Companies, where she set up a fantastic in-house media studio, and I worked on creative strategy. She is a talented content creator and thought partner who is five years into her commercial photography career.

We usually talk with…

Blissfully Aware Episode 9

Photographer Heather White on creating beauty out of love and loss

“Our flaws are what make us interesting. And so I feel like when I’m behind the camera, I’m not just a portrait photographer, I’m a documentary photographer. I’m just there with the studio lights, and I’m documenting the energy and the people. I’m capturing those in-between moments and emotions. Nothing’s posed, everything’s real. That’s the sweet spot where you capture the real person.” — Heather White

I am so thrilled to have Heather White with us this week. Heather is a birth doula and a documentary photographer, and she brings so much warmth and courage to everything she touches.

Blissfully Aware Episode 8

Stephanie Rooker’s never been casual about music

“My mission is to wake up the voices. We need all the voices, we need all the songs. No one can be left out. We need all of them, more than ever. The more people can step into owning their power and their magic and their capacity to heal themselves and heal this world, the better.” — Stephanie Rooker

Stephanie Rooker is a force of soul in the New York music community and beyond. She is a vocalist, composer, voice teacher, therapeutic sound facilitator, and founder of Voice Journey.

Her albums have been described as brooding, sometimes sultry, with…


The photographer talks about renewing herself by pushing her comfort zone and even creating before thinking

Dutch photographer Melissa Schriek has had a glorious summer. Her ongoing bodies of work “The City is a Choreography” and “A Study of Uncomfortable Positions” received excellent write-ups (here and here). Her unique eye has also earned her commissions for fashion labels Tony Ta and HENK. Where she goes from here is up to her, and the possibilities are endless.

Seeing Melissa’s work for the first time is impossible not to pause. It’s striking. The images are like a crazy dream, where you’re the spectator of a balletic trance. The city hums in the background. It’s raw, sometimes bent out…


Photography and structures by Massimo Gammacurta

Perforated egg, a still life.
Perforated egg, a still life.

It is hard to talk about pain. To grasp its cause, make sense of it, and put it into perspective. It’s deep-rooted and complex. When the ache is vast, how do we heal? How do we find the courage to acknowledge trauma in the first place? That’s a massive question that deserves exploration. And we will do that at The Daring, separately.

But let’s say that you and I got there. We moved through surprising, messy flashes of awareness where every muscle was straining for a shorthand to escape. Imagine all that behind you for now, and you are breathing…


Marie Weikopf’s intimate portraits capture Berlin drag culture

A couple of years ago, Marie Weikopf started documenting the life of drag queens in Berlin. They showed her their homes, their transitions, and took her to the shows. While shooting and editing the series, she focused on intimate, in-between moments. Indeed, the portraits are pensive records that encapsulate the contemplative artistry of drag culture.

Candid and in color, the personality Marie captures is phenomenal, given how subtly demonstrative the artists are in her presence. We’re gliding into a fascinating and private space. Describing the experience, Marie tells us: “The art of drag queen seems like something staged, or even…

Ioana Friedman

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