hi, I'm Irene and this is my blog. all images and content © 2005-2019 Irene Nam unless stated otherwise. please do not use original images without permission. thank you!


in loving memory of
Oliver Yu-An Nam
Feb 1 - May 20 2014


I heart instagram

more Instagram love: @hulaseventy @emichyxxx @cinloughridge @fotomo


Bastille Day


to mama with love

To Mama With Love is a collaborative online art project that honors moms across the globe and raises funds to invest in remarkable women who are transforming the world. participants create heartspaces that include words, videos, photos & investments in honor of mamas they love. last year, the site attracted over 13,000 visits from across the globe and raised nearly $17,000, which was invested to build a children's home in Arusha, Tanzania. 

this year, the funds raised will be invested to expand the efforts of four extraordinary women who are building schools in Tanzania, providing education and loving care for local children in Nepal, and running shelters for women in Afghanistan.

so this Mother's Day, show a mama your love and change the world!

note: a group of talented women photographers have graciously donated original prints to benefit the To Mama With Love 2011 campaign. much much love and gratitude to Xanthe Berkeley, Rachel JamesJennifer Way, Lisa Field-Eliott, Meredith Winn, Lynn Van Der Velden-Elliott, Azuree Wiitala, Myla Kent, Stephanie C. Roberts, Jenny Vorwaller, Tomoko Matsubayashi, Fernanda Montoro, Kathya EthingtonKristin Zecchinelli and Jennifer Evans. I'm honored to call you friends.


how to have a fun vacation (Rome edition)

ditch the travel guidebook for one day.

pick a new word in Italian and repeat it endlessly (mine was grazie).

try every flavor of gelato until you find the perfect combination.

have pillow fights in your hotel room.

practice your voiceover skills. who knew that watching SpongeBob in Italian could be so fun?


London vs Paris

I am most excited today to share with you the new project and collaboration I've been working on the past few weeks with my fellow Shutter Sister Xanthe Berkeley.

London vs Paris: a photographic treasure hunt, looking for the beauty in ordinary things in London and Paris

we hope you'll like it.


you're 9!

9 things my sons have taught me:

being a mother is being on auto-repeat mode pretty much all the time.

how to (kick ass) play Wii hockey on Mario Sports Mix.

they will forget how many hours you spent crafting birthday invitations but will always remember that one day you were late picking them up for school.

to laugh at my own incompetence and mistakes.

doing the thing you love and that you do well for even a couple of hours a week can make everything else more enjoyable.

life balance is overrated.

kids need more of your attention and involvement as they get older, not less.

farting and then lying about it is not cool, no matter what age you are or what the circumstances might be.

learning to lose gracefully takes time.

I love you my crazy little monkeys.

Happy Birthday!

Fine Little Gallery featuring some of Will's drawings (thank you Elisabeth!)


on my to-stop-doing list today

spending a considerable amount of time and energy stressing out over things that I swore I would never worry about, such as elementary report cards, feed subscribers and body shape.

saying yes to unnecessary obligations and tasks that keep my focus away from what I really love and enjoy doing.

believing that I must work a certain number of hours each day (and make a certain amount of money each month) to feel legitimate as a writer and photographer.

thinking about that screenplay, and actually write it.

being so serious.

some things that are helping:

take that nap by Lisa Baldwin

remembering your genius. the artist in you. by Bindu Wiles

the simplest diet for lean fitness by Leo Babauta

and Sir Ken Robinson, always.


winter manifesto

it's about wrapping up another amazing session of the Simple Soulful Photography workshop that I learned so much from, dusting off my cameras and following my own advice.

about swimming at the local pool, homemade granola, pondering new ideas, wearing my favorite turtleneck sweater every day and sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows. lots of them.

it's about spending some much needed (and exceedingly good) time alone with Sean while Will is on a school ski trip for 12 days, talking, watching movies, going on photo walks, playing new board games, but mostly talking. and how shockingly little resemblance he bears to his twin brother.

but most importantly, it's about a revolution we've been waiting for years, celebrating the bravery of men and women who are fighting for democracy and freedom, and giving my sons a chance to grow up in a more just world.

(thank you all so much for your nice comments about the photo walk video and for sharing it with your friends. we should do it again soon!)


personal mission

a few weeks ago, before going on a photo walk I asked my Facebook friends if they wanted me to take a picture of something in particular. this simple question stirred such unexpected enthusiasm that early the next morning I walked giddily through snow piled streets on a personal mission to fulfill every request.

so here's for them.

bubble traffic


where I would like to get to

"my lack of knowledge in the beginning really helped, and really just made me refine what little I knew to make it work. I think if you ask any person that does a creative thing, they probably go to school and learn all these different things and as they get better it just narrows and narrows. you could ask most chefs, they just need five ingredients, one pan and a stick of butter and they can make the best meal you've ever had. and I think that's really where most photographers would like to get to, as not to have all that other stuff, be able to create the most beautiful image they can in the most simple way that they can."

- Scott Schumann aka The SatorialistIntel Visual Life

(note: this is an outtake from the Polaroid portraits that I shot for the Facing the Impossible exhibition, and one of my favorites.)