Motherland Chronicles #1- The First


Motherland Chronicle - The First

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Linh Nguyen
Makeup: Wendy Karcher
Model: Yana Shmaylova/Marilyn NY
Photo assistants: Tony Li, Deborah Baik

Mask by Casin dei Nobili
Feather headdress by Zhang Jingna

This image marks the beginning of Motherland Chronicles. There is only one rule that's truly restrictive for this project -- to keep to the deadlines and submit a picture a week. 

I can do anything I want and dig up unprocessed images from my massive archives, and I plan to do that maybe as soon as week two, but I thought for the very first post, I really wanted it to be sort of impressive and mysterious; lay down the foundation of what this will be, to remind myself what I sought to do with this -- explore things I've always wanted to do and do them instead of putting them off for 'some day'. 

Behind the scenes/making of:

I spent a lot of time trying to think of possible themes and came up with nothing, then I combed through my archives to mark images I could process in case I couldn't plan something in time, but the inspiration came eventually at a rather unlikely place during a sourcing trip -- a Halloween costume store.

Once I saw masks on display, I remembered the beautiful one I bought in Venice last year and knew right away that it would be the anchor for the mysterious and solemn mood I wanted for marking the beginning of MLC. (So "how do I get inspired"? -- go out! :D)  

When I first bought this I had a very clear image of what I wanted to do, but the final shot is a different interpretation of my vision, so I think I may revisit this again at a later time. 

Also when I saw the masks at the Halloween store I thought it would be great if I could have feathers on mine too! So I set out to make a headpiece myself. Bought a bunch of feathers and also gold and dark brown paint to match the mask's own colouring.

Gold paint is so pretty @_@ 

I haven't done DIY stuff in so long, it was so fun and I got to use a glue gun for the first time! My cosplayer friend Aku was appalled I didn't know of its existence when I stayed with her last year, so when I needed adhesive for the headpiece I figured it would be my redeeming moment. And omg it's like godsend, except the glue smelled bad and gave me a headache. T_T

This is how it's supposed to look! Except I only thought to hold it up against my face with the headpiece tucked into the mask when checking proportions and placement, and totally forgot that I'll need to tie the mask itself on the model while shooting.

Only when I got on set did I realize this positioning won't be possible unless the tie string goes over the feathers, which omg is utter fail Jingna! So to my dismay we could only stick it in at the corner instead, but in the end it worked out alright, with the tip of the feathers aligned along the edge the hair, though I totally had a very despairing OTL moment.

Our pretty model Yana getting her hair done by hair wizard Linh Nguyen (who did the luscious braids in my Bazaar Vietnam Nu Renaissance Aristocrat shoot). 

The final shot pained me to pick. I was undecided between two pictures and went to a dozen artist friends for advice, who gave me very evenly divided choices, making it all the harder for me to choose lol.

In the end I went with this quieter, more classical looking shot because I think it represents me just a tad more than the other seemingly more impactful piece. But who knows, maybe I can't resist and will end up processing that photo eventually. In the mean time I hope you can like this all the same. :D

Also would like to thank everyone who's given their support for this project, you know how nervous I'd been and how much I'd been crying over how much I was worrying. Here's on to next week! :D

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