Inspired ~ Truth, Humility, Service, Gratitude, Beauty

15 05 2015

2015 AIA National Convention Keynote

Bill Clinton

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the opening keynote program of the 2015 American Institute of Architects National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme of the convention this year is “Impact,” and all of the talks were created to underscore that theme. The featured keynote speaker was former president Bill Clinton, who was amazing to see and hear, of course. Surprisingly, I was just as inspired, and perhaps even more by the speakers that preceded him in the program, all architects, and especially Moshe Safdie. As an aside, I am not an architect myself, but I did attend architecture school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where I met my husband, who is a licensed architect. We met while both serving as officers in the student chapter of the AIA, AIAS, and we first started dating at the AIAS National Convention in Chicago in 1988. So, we are grateful for the AIA and the field of architecture for bringing us together! Even though I did not end up becoming an architect I am an avid enthusiast of architecture and good design in general, and I accompany my husband to many activities, functions, seminars, and conventions. I also am a professional photographer, and although I did not specifically set out to make my specialty architectural photography (my photography hobby at the time I started my business was mostly landscape and floral photography), that’s the area where I receive most of my commissions.

Back to yesterday’s keynote and Moshe Safdie: although the talks were focused on the “Impact” of architects and architecture, the theme and inspiration could be applied to anyone in any field. How do we impact others? How does our work impact others? How do we impact our environment and the world? What is our purpose in what we do and in life? Safdie wrote a book in 1982 entitled “Form & Purpose.” He closed his talk by reciting a poem from that book. They are memorable words of timeless relevance:

He who seeks Truth
Shall find Beauty

He who seeks Beauty
Shall find Vanity

He who seeks Order
Shall find Gratification

He who seeks Gratification
Shall be Disappointed

He who considers himself as the servant of his fellow being
Shall find the joy of Self-Expression

He who seeks Self-Expression
Shall fall into the pit of Arrogance

Arrogance is incompatible with nature
Thru the nature of the universe
and the nature of man
we shall seek Truth

If we seek truth we shall find Beauty

~ Moshe Safdie

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My New Photography Web Site

20 06 2012

It’s fairly basic, but my new professional photography web site, Michelle C. Torres-Grant Photography,  is up & running!





Patina Restaurant & The Walt Disney Concert Hall

26 10 2011

Walt Disney Concert Hall-2Walt Disney Concert HallPatina Restaurant-23Patina RestaurantPatina Restaurant-12Patina Restaurant-13
Patina Restaurant-3Patina Restaurant-2Patina Restaurant-18Patina Restaurant-4Patina Restaurant-19Patina Restaurant-5
Patina Restaurant-8Patina Restaurant-6Patina Restaurant-7Patina Restaurant-9Patina Restaurant-10Patina Restaurant-11
Patina Restaurant-14Patina Restaurant-15Patina Restaurant-16Patina Restaurant-17Patina Restaurant-24Patina Restaurant-25

We were staying in downtown Los Angeles because my husband was attending the Urban Land Institute Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. As is usual on my husband’s business trips, I accompanied him. My job is to make his business fun by planning social engagements, activities and interesting culinary adventures as a break between his many business obligations.

The first evening I decided it was a perfect opportunity to use the gift certificate we had obtained by using our American Express Membership Rewards points at the acclaimed fine dining establishment, Patina, located within the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. I was just a little concerned, because a few weeks before I had read on my FB feed that someone had less than a stellar experience at Patina. I already had the gift certificate, however, and so I decided we may as well use it and form our own opinion of the restaurant. As I often do, I made my reservation through OpenTable.com (more points earned!) and called ahead to see if it was okay if we brought our own bottle of wine. We were in luck; normally they charge a corkage fee of $30.00 (the highest I’ve ever encountered), but Tuesday evening there was no corkage fee whatsoever! Things were going in the right direction already.

I won’t go into greater detail here ~ I’ll let the photos tell the story ~ but our dining experience there was top notch. We received courteous, attentive, competent, yet unobtrusive service. Everything we ate was creative, artistically presented, absolutely fresh and delicious. Kudos to executive chef Tony Esnault and general manager Christian Philippo. Mr. Philippo came to our table several times throughout the meal to make sure everything was perfect…and it was!

Los Angeles, California ~ 25 October 2011








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