Motherland Chronicles #47 - Womb

Motherland Chronicles #47 - Womb

Photography: Zhang Jingna zemotion
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Germaine Persinger
Photo Assistants: Ngoc Vu, Bitna Kim, Tiffany Liu

From the same shoot as Rusalka. This one made me think of the Legend of Nüwa. The flowers reminded me of the five-colored stones she used to repair the heavens. Chinese mythos ♥ :D

Motherland Chronicles #45 - Rusalka

Uncensored image can be viewed on my Tumblr.

Motherland Chronicles #45 - Rusalka

Photography: Zhang Jingna zemotion
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Germaine Persinger
Photo Assistants: Ngoc Vu, Bitna Kim, Tiffany Liu
Necklace & Body Chain: Harlequin Romantique

At the beginning of last year I did a self portrait in water. Motherland Chronicles had just started and the only model I had was myself, sometimes I just edited old photos for weeks I didn't shoot self portraits. I've been meaning to reuse the kiddy pool and shoot a model in it ever since then, but at the same time, I'd been circumspect about doing it because the water gets very cold, first hand experience and all that.

Eventually though, I was just like, omg screw this I want to shoot in water again! And so I made as much preparations as I could, and did all the things I didn't do the first time -- lined the floor with carpet, tarp and blankets, turned up the heater, and hoped for the best. And with more assistants, we were also able to constantly add hot water to the pool and that definitely helped with the water temperature. So thank you my lovely team for the great effort in keep Germaine warm.

Besides water, the other key element here are the flowers. There's not much to say about it other than I just arrange them however I think will look good for the shot depending on the model's pose. But I do however want to share a random interesting thought that occurred to me the other day. :D

So pretty much every time I decide to use flowers in a shoot, I buy them from the deli/florist down the street on the day itself. And since the choices are based on the season and what they stock at the shop on that very day, it means the store's inventory kind of influences and decides how and what I'm shooting each time. Take a moment to absorb the significance of that.

It basically goes like, here is a complete stranger deciding on what flowers to sell at his stands on any given day, because he thinks they will sell, I go there, make an arbitrary selection, bring them home, shoot something that's kind of important to me, post it on the internets. That person literally set the direction for a part of my life for a day, and affects what you see in the end artwork. Isn't that kind of awesome and mind-boggling? Just a little bit?

So anyway, random thought is random! But it makes me really thankful for these guys selling flowers, cuz if not for them many of the pieces for Motherland Chronicles wouldn't have happened at all. Thank you deli market strangers, you're awesome.

And that's that! A really super random anecdote from doing the series and shooting at home. Hope everyone's having a great week so far~ 8D

Motherland Chronicles #25 - Raven Girl

Motherland Chronicles #25 - Raven Girl

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Germaine Persinger
Photo Assistants: Ngoc Vu, Ernie Chang

Feather dress from Xiaolin by Julia Chew
Necklace by Harlequin Romantique
Backdrop from Savage Universal

Blog photo credits:
Work-in-progress of dress provided by Julia Chew 
Behind-the-scenes by Ernie Chang

At the beginning of Motherland Chronicles I made a few posts calling for designers and models to collaborate with on the project. Julia was one of a number of very talented people who reached out (and she's only 18!), offering her collection for me to shoot if I wanted. 

Amidst her designs there was a feather top that I was immediately in love with, and so I asked if she would be open to customizing something exclusively for the project... and she said yes! 

I went over her designs and pointed out things I liked from her existing pieces, then sent some references and suggestions on what would look good for what I had in mind for the photo. She came back to me with a sketch of the design and her plan for the dress in terms of materials a couple days later.

And then it was madness in getting the dress done.

1000+ feathers and a few months later it arrived in my mail.

The finished feather dress

It took me another 2 months before I found Germaine to model for the picture. 

And then of course because my shoots can never be completely smooth-sailing, Germaine fainted on set. Ahahahaha. /shot

Look at all that pretty curls before we fluffed it :D

So I shoot in my apartment and use the living room as a home studio. Because of how much I was travelling I thought perhaps I wouldn't be shooting as much at in NY this summer, and it'd be fine if we don't buy an AC cuz Motherland pictures are always single shots and don't take very long. 

Junya's probably thinking, "Jingna stop asking me to do 50 options and make up your mind!"

And so of course once I was on set I only focused on the shoot only and kind of forgot to feed everyone food and water. :( Plus the dress had a corset bodice underneath so it must have been pretty tight on top of being really warm in the studio with no AC.

Towards the end of the shoot Germaine was like "Um can I have some water..." and then before any of us could react she started to lean back looking like she was going to sit down, but promptly went supine on the floor like sleeping beauty in all her gorgeousness and head of hair. 

We were like omg omg oh crap are you okay!? And she was out for a little bit longer than I expected so I panicked a little for those very long, stretched seconds (it was maybe 5-10 seconds, but I'd thought she'd immediately come to). 

When she regained consciousness she looked a bit lost and asked "Oh hi was I out for long?" and after the phew and water we all started laughing and commenting on how gracefully she fell hahaha. 

I bought an AC immediately after that. :( 

Goethe's Sämmtliche Werke! ♥
I like adjusting details on set personally to get things perfect. And Harlequin Romantique necklace! ♥

All in all besides the incident it was a great shoot and I really enjoyed working on the picture. I'm super happy and can't gush enough about Julia's dress, the necklace from Harlequin Romantique (which I used as headpiece for MLC #2), the Monsoon collapsible backdrop from Savage Universal (used in MLC #12, #18, #21 and a few others), and the Goethe book I bought in Toronto a few years ago, which I just knew would come in as a beautiful piece of prop one day. Ahh it's perfect.

Toby's picture of the week also features Raven Girl telling a giant baby (and I mean GIANT) stories from the Goethe book. But creepy picture is creepy.
 

In other news, we're hitting the half year mark for Motherland Chronicles next week! Can you believe it!? I can't believe we lasted this long. Like, seriously, I've never been so consistent in my life (besides air rifle practice and my time in primary school, probably). 

I kind of want to do something uber special for it but unfortunately I'm going to Pennsic and even with a new shoot I might not have time to retouch the picture in time. :( 

Sigh so many sad faces in a blog post, but you can tell I'm pretty darn happy right? I can't wait to get Kickstarter for the book going. If only I can find the time to sit down and look through our video footage sighhh. Well soon, we're almost done designing the MLC logo!! :D 

And! Half year (almost)! Hooray!!

Motherland Chronicles #22 - Julia II

Motherland Chronicles #22 - Julia II

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Julia Gorbach
Photo Assistant: Ngoc Vu
Necklace from Harlequin Romantique

Couldn't resist processing the close up because it's really really such a lovely picture! (And also because I'm so completely worn with trying to do 10 things at once in L.A. and haven't had room to do a new shoot for Motherland this week >_<)

Motherland Chronicles #21 - Her Resting Place

"Here is my love.
Here is the sound of my heart.
Surely you will understand."
- Heart of Thomas

Motherland Chronicles #21 - Her Resting Place

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Julia Gorbach
Photo Assistant: Ngoc Vu
Backdrop from Savage Paper

---

In memory of L. 

Motherland Chronicles #20 - Lily II

Motherland Chronicles #20 - Lily II

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Lily Olsen-Ecker
Photo Assistant: Ngoc Vu
Head piece and choker from Harlequin Romantique

Wow, can't quite believe we're at week 20 already!

We're beginning to seriously plan the specs of doing an artbook for the project. It's super exciting and tiring because I have this unstoppable compulsion to make lists and go crazy about trying to get everything asap. Still gotta do fashion work ofc, but it's such an exhilarating feeling I see no point in trying to hold back. :D

On that note, not sure if you guys saw, but Yuumei did a super beautiful guest piece for us! Check it out here. :3 We have a stellar list of artists coming along for the book so keep an eye out on the Facebook page for updates~