hi, I'm Irene and this is my blog. all images and content © 2005-2016 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


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.)


grain of sand

"you don't have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation." 

- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


happy ending

we've just returned from a short trip in Chamonix Mont-Blanc, and I will kindly spare you the details of having to share toilets and shower booths with 20 other people (including some I'd never met before, who sang their lungs out at ungodly hours of the morning or toweled off in public space), because the truth is, I'd do it all over again just to watch that expression of sheer joy on my sons' faces the first time they rode a ski lift and came down the beginner slope.

I couldn't have hoped for a better way to end 2010.

Happy New Year!


thank you note

a short but sincere, heartfelt thank you before I report for chaperone duty and get on a bus with 20 students for a few days in the Alps, watch my sons ski for the first time and eat too much cheese.

thank you, thank you all so much for your generosity and support in helping my friend Gail reach her pledged goal and raise the finishing funds for her documentary film Opening our Eyes. I am humbled, inspired, and proud of the way we rallied around this project, of what our small group has helped achieve.

and congratulations to Azuree Wiitala, the winner of the giveaway.

happy Holidays!


facing the impossible (plus a giveaway)

a few weeks ago I was asked by The Impossible Project to test and shoot the new PX600 Silver Shade UV+ film and PX70 Color Shade PUSH!, and selected to participate in the new Facing the Impossible exhibition at the NYC Impossible Project Space.

needless to say I am beyond ecstatic (and the lights on our Christmas tree pale in comparison to the beam on my face).

but there's more.

my friend photographer and filmmaker Gail Mooney recently traveled to six continents for 99 days to shoot her documentary film Opening our Eyes about people making a positive difference in the world. I learned so much spending a couple of days in her presence at the European Summit for Global Transformation, about how amazing it is what one small act can do, about being a woman photographer in our society today, about our responsibility to remember the truths about our work, and to hold them at once – of its playfulness, and of its power.

so to celebrate the opening of the Facing The Impossible exhibit, I'm giving away a pack of PX600 Silver Shade UV+ and PX70 Color Shade PUSH! film with a reusable shopping bag from The Impossible Project Store and a Baby Holga camera. all you have to do is back Gail's kickstarter project for a 1$ minimum pledge amount, and leave a comment here before December 24th, 2010 to be entered in a random drawing.

(note: the two images of this post are the ones that are on exhibit at the NYC Impossible Project Space. you can watch a short video of the opening reception here. also, many thanks to AnneEmilie and Marlene from the Impossible Project office in Vienna for their time and kind encouragement.)

UPDATE: we made it! thank you all so much for your ongoing support and generosity in helping Gail reach her pledged goal! you can still donate and leave a comment here to enter the giveaway. anything pledged forward will be shared with the subjects of the film for their causes.


a little something for you (the beach edition)

I remember waking up one day a few weeks ago, sitting at my desk and not knowing what to do except putting my energy into something to create space for a more positive, and loving view of my own life. so this year again, I thought I'd make a little something to thank you all for visiting this blog, sending emails, joining the Simple Soulful Photography workshop, ordering prints and showing support in one form or another.

download your free printable 2011 calendar here.


(the belated) fall manifesto

it's about bundling up in my favorite scarf, crisp leaves crunching under my feet and the smell of roasting chestnuts wafting through the air.

about more books from the local library, pumpkin lattes, trips to the planetarium, and potato and leek soup. with garlic croutons.

it's about supporting the Girl Effect blogging campaign and the empowerment of girls in developing countries.

about falling in love with Polaroid all over again. and good friends who inspire me in the most unexpected and wonderful ways.

it's about encouraging my boys to explore as many avenues as possible, helping them discover their true passion, and affirming the things that they're good at but are not valued by school. like sketching, playing bongos, baking yogurt cake and singing John Lennon.

and while I don't think it's appropriate for me to discuss the issues I have with my sons' school here, nor the many reasons for my anger and rattling frustration, it's about (seriously) questioning public education.

changing education paradigms

bringing on the learning revolution


remembering Amsterdam

I want to write about the European Summit for Global Transformation. I really do. but I have spent the past couple of weeks dealing with bouts of insomnia and leaning over a bowl and inhaling eucalyptus steam with a towel over my head to help relieve a sinus congestion (again). and the truth is, my friends Lisa, Maggie, Gail and Rebecca have articulated it far better than I could ever express it.

but I will tell you this. yes, the experience was humbling and transformative. every person I met, every story told and lesson learned has changed the way I think and perceive things, parent my sons and do my morning yoga.

I was reminded of important issues that resonate with my spirit and feed my passion. of activists, social entrepreneurs and change makers whose dedication, advocacy and selflessness are inspiring me to follow more unconventional routes. that it doesn't matter how remarkable or grand your contribution is, really. that one small act can save a life.