Our Summer of Creativity Looks like Joey Ramone and Smells Like Roasted Almonds

D1 A Perspectives Summer Polaroids v02

At D1A, we love talking about finding a fresh perspective. But what does that actually look like in practice? Is it something you can spark and if so, how?

This, among other things, is on our minds this summer, as we return to the warm-weather routines (read: cheap flights and heavily air-conditioned museum days) that were off-limits last year. In that spirit, we challenged three D1Aers — Senior Creative Levi Walton in New York, Associate Creative Strategist Molly Harris in L.A. and Digital Strategy Coordinator Asia Clark in Chicago — to take on our Summer of Creativity Photo Brief. We left them to their own devices with the prompts, Keith Haring-tribute Polaroid cameras, and the sole caveat that none of the images should be taken inside their homes.

The main post-challenge take-away from Slack chats with each of our photographers: the brief’s not as simple as it may seem.

“I thought it would be easier to just find things for those prompts, but sometimes I was like, 'oh, this is just not right,’” Levi said of his experience. “It caused me to challenge myself to be more creative and see things differently.”

Our request for shots of “hot”-screaming and odd-shaped objects in particular presented hurdles, and there was some wavering between desires to plan ahead and wait for the “decisive moment.” But we think they smashed it in the end. Evidence below:


Take a photo of something that’s not a historical landmark but should be.

Molly: The second most important sign in LA (Sunset Foot Clinic’s happy/sad rotating street sign) was taken down and sold to this shop after 30+ years of ruling the intersection between Silverlake and Echo Park. The absurdity of its design and function made it impossible to ignore and beloved by the community (and even some celebs omg). So I say restore the eyesore!

Asia: Beggars Pizza is a popular pizza chain known for its deep-dish pizza (the best pizza) on the South Side of Chicago. This restaurant should be a historical landmark for its role in making the pizza a great experience through many years for many South Side families.

Levi: I just love this camel.


Someone you know doing something for the first time:

Molly: My best friend Sarina just opened up SSALETTA, her first design and fabrication shop with an emphasis on furniture and interior design. I’ve watched her learn and develop as a metalworker over the course of six years and am constantly amazed by her passion and unwavering self-confidence.

Asia: My cousin isn’t the most adventurous eater and hasn’t explored the culinary world yet. This photo shows her walking towards a Thai restaurant in Chicago to try Thai cuisines for the first time.

Levi: This is my friend Deon. This was our first time hanging out as just friends, after a recent breakup. I’m happy we managed to stay friends in the process; we learned a lot from each other!


Take a photo of something that screams “hot.”

Molly: Walked down Hollywood Blvd on a 95 temperature Saturday and ate a hotdog next to a wax statue of Hugh Jackman — call that 4 degrees of heat.

Asia: When my friends and I get together, there’s always one person in the group with a random bright idea. On this day, we decided to heat our favorite sugary pillows indoors to make up for our lost plans due to the rain. *warning: try this at your own risk*

Levi: Here’s some kids trying to stay in the shade while visiting the public swimming pool. There’s also a line of ice cream/shaved ice vendors, saving everyone from the heatwave.


Take a photo of your favorite smell.

Molly: This one was tricky because my all time favorite smell is from the petals of a Texas Mountain Laurel tree, which grows… in Texas, so I captured a photo of a projected Google Image. They smell like grape Kool Aid, it’s awesome (trust).

Asia: Navy Pier is a touristy heaven filled with many attractions and year-round events. As a Chicagoan I’m no tourist, and I don’t go often, but when I do, I relish in the smell of roasted almonds wafting through the halls from a small booth called Completely Nuts.

Levi: I love the smell of peanut butter. There should be peanut butter-scented candles, if there isn’t already.


Take a photo of someone with main character energy.

Levi: I love her energy and confidence. It was hot outside, so she was just walking around in her bathing suit and a towel wrapped around her waist. Main character energy indeed.

Molly: If you get buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, it’s likely you lived and breathed main character energy (or had the money to rest among those that did). One of my favorite graves on the property honors the late Johnny Ramone from The Ramones. His band was ok, but this commemorative stance absolutely rocks.

Asia: Think of that one main character moving through the world at the beat of their own drum, trying new things and living their most creative selves. George (the main character in this photo and close friend) is THAT.


Take a photo of an unexpected shape.

Asia: This is the most unexpected shape you can find in Chicago. I would not think in a million years that I would walk past a literal fountain in the shape of the poop emoji.

Levi: I love the shape of these leaves, and the contrast they make with the red backdrop. This is definitely my favorite shot from the series.

Molly: Tbh I was sick during this photo assignment which limited my ability to photograph inside/near people, so I snapped an interesting tile design outside an arcade. It looks like sunglasses to me but idk i'm not a gamer.