The Coldest Day

One of the most disastrous shoots I'd ever had. But certainly most memorable and happy one as well.

The warning signs were there, everything was wrong even before the shoot took place. Arissa was going to model for this originally, I planned it so carefully, meticulously, had Rick spend a day doing location recce because it was in the middle of nowhere. And 3 days before, she called and told me she wasn't able to get on a flight (it was a high-traffic week I think) and the next available one was 2 days later which by then would be the last day of her leave, and pointless.

I was so devastated I cried, I think she did too.

Abby is my assistant from Brunei, she flew to Tokyo to assist the shoots with Chiaki and was going to follow me to Kyoto to meet up with Arissa.

Left without a choice since the whole team's already booked their tickets, I said, come model for me, let's just do the shoot and create some memories.

I've an obsession with flowers in Japan (okay I've an obsession with flowers, period) and usually shop for them before my shoots. But our call time being 8am, the train to location taking an hour and me wanting good morning sun for the light, we couldn't get flowers before we departed since no shops were open. Therefore I settled on buying flowers at our destination -- only to find that it's so obscure there were no stores at all. So we got back on the train to take to the next nearest civilization... and all this time we were already half frozen to death. (It was late winter, I underestimated the cold truly, this time)

So clearly the weather didn't favour us, and didn't plan to as the day went on. After finally getting the flowers and taking the train back, we discovered that our walk to the actual location was something like an hour instead of the 10min as Rick had told us.

It was so cold and the wind so cutting for the first time I feared that I was gonna end up killing one of my models from a photoshoot. Like, seriously.

And being persistent as I was, I'd asked her to go into the waters, wet and submerge herself at some point of time. And the water was, obviously, way colder. Freezing enough that my bones were in pain just by placing my feet in for a minute. I really thought we would die. Yet I was still asking her of it. I don't know what I was thinking, I reflected a lot upon it later on about how far we could really push another for a shoot... I think I just wanted to have something (even if just one picture) for everyone who already spent so much effort...

Abby shivered nonstop for some 3 hours after we got back into Kyoto. T_T

And then we had a parfait night (I think we ordered 8 in total?) lol.

I learnt defeat. Of things not carrying out according to plan no matter how meticulous I'd prepared.

It was painful, but we had so so much fun and laughter together. And Abby despite the cold still fought on to make the pictures for me, I realized how blessed and loved I was, truly.

She stayed in such high spirits, during our lunch break when she walked into a eatery completely drenched, she was even able to laugh at herself and attempt telling the lady boss (who completely didn't understand her) that she tried drowning herself and we saved her. Hahaha.

I can't say it's the most epic of photos, but all the memories that come along with this, I treasure so very dearly. Thank you Abby, Chris, Rick. You're some of my best assistants. <3 Model: Abby Photo/makeup/hair: me Assistants: Chris Wolf, Rick Bowen