Exhibition: Your Favorite Artist's Favorite Artist

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, Kris Kuksi sent me a message on Facebook asking if I had any works available to show. He wanted to invite me to exhibit with him at Joshua Liner Gallery's upcoming show—Your Favorite Artist's Favorite Artist—taking place in New York from November 20th to December 20th. 

For those of you not familiar with Kris' work:

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Eleven Madison Park

Finally checked out Eleven Madison Park with my fellow Gundam Wing fan sister Melinda aka prodigybombay.

It was a really lovely experience. Coupled with the fact that the afternoon light was beautiful and my iPhone 5 turned out some pretty pictures, I figure I might as well blog it.

The experience was exquisite. From presentation to service to food, you can see just how much thought and care was put into every element at the restaurant.

But what stood out to me most was the beauty in presentation.

I don't think myself a gourmet by any stretch, but I've dined at a number of lovely places during my travels, and the food and table presentation at EMP was definitely one of the best I've seen, enhancing the dining experience as a highlight than merely a point to be complimented on.

Carrot tartare, with ingredients laid out on the side for you to choose what to mix in.

Out of 16 courses I loved the sea urchin snow with smoked cantaloupe and conch the most (top left, 1st pic). It reminded me a little of my time at Saturne in Paris, one of my fondest meals to date. But the clams, tomato confit with lobster, foie gras, roasted duck with apricots and fennel, picnic basket (hehe), malted egg cream, were all amazing in their own right.

The picnic basket was soooo cute. Even though I'd read about it online, it still held a lot of charm when laid out on my table in a room flooded with warm afternoon sunlight.

It took us about 3.5 hours to finish our meal, a little less time than I'd originally expected for a 16-course menu. 2 cookies and a pretzel were considered a course each so those didn't take up time, I guess it was the only real disappointment if you compared it to Guy Savoy's endless dessert trolleys. But I suppose that was just me being a kid wanting more sweets and not getting enough. I need a lot of desserts to go with my food. .__.

At the end of our meal our server was kind enough to request a kitchen tour for us. We managed to take a peek into the kitchens behind a standing table, and a dessert chef whipped up an Arnold Palmer drink, with sorbet and all, right in front of us.

Before heading home we were given a jar of granola! A small but sweet touch and super delicious. Thank you EMP for the souvenir.

All in all, though not a place I can return to weekly, it's an awesome experience I wholly recommend. :D

PS: Feel free to recommend me more places to eat in NY!

Motherland Chronicles #2 - Winterland Fairytales

Motherland Chronicles #2 - Winterland Fairytales

Photography/Model: Zhang Jingna
Headpiece by Julee M Clark

I love the headpiece so much~ Makes me feel like a princess :D

Wall of text for behind the scenes instead of photos coming up, recent updates can be found at bottom of post. Enjoy! 

Man, I don't know why, but I let Toby talk me into going into the snow storm that started on Friday for a self portrait.

I did it on the rooftop of my new apartment building, and dude, climbing the ladder in a long skirt with camera bag and backpack while trying to balance a choker used as headpiece on my forehead was not easy. Upon reaching the top, when I opened the latch to get up, it freaking slammed back onto my head because, woah, wind, not forgiving.

After wrestling with all of that for a while I was finally on the roof and properly getting hailed on, I figured I'd make it quick since it was about 15 minutes to sunset anyway.

So I set up, trying to find an angle, but just as I was getting into position the wind freaking blew my tripod over! With my camera on it!!! I was in such shock and so numbed from the cold that I didn't even feel a response at that time besides trying to stop it from rolling and falling off the rooftop. Cuz dude, that's my baby.

I didn't even get to consider that my camera would break because just, no, it couldn't be allowed happen. Thank god it seemed to be ok. And because I was half freezing to death without any jackets whatsoever, I simply strapped my camera bag to one of the tripod legs to weigh that setup down, and continued shooting and prayed very very hard that it was enough to hold.

Truthfully speaking, I was doubtful about whether I could get a usable shot at all. My hair covered my face half the time, and besides disentangling the stray hair from the headpiece, I had to sort out my dress and scarf but still make it look cool. And of course once I was done the wind would ruin it all over again. So it was no surprise that when I finally figured out a pose that I thought would work with the clothing and composition, my camera refused to take any more pictures. Outright refused to respond to anything.

I attempted to brush off ice from the camera and wipe the lens, and tried taking a couple shots again, but nope, no response at all. So sigh, dejected, it was pack up time. 

On the way down, I may or may not have torn the seam of my dress a little, I was cold enough to not care, but woah, when I finally made it back to my room, shivering, it dawned on me finally just how dangerous my little expedition was.

A little bit more and my camera could have flown off the roof, or it could simply have fallen over a second time and the lens completely shatter, or [insert a handful other terrible terrible but very likely scenarios]... Yeah.

It's probably just unreasonable to think I could have dealt with so many aspects of setting up for a self portrait in such extreme weather with almost no time, entirely on my own. I really should have had an assistant. -_-

But oh well, at least everything turned out okay in the end and I have a photo I like, which I even processed in the same evening! Score. I don't think I've processed a photo from a shoot on the same day since my first year, so it's a really awesome feeling actually.

And that's week 2! I hope you enjoyed my little story and sorry for the wall of text. If anything I hope it'd let you think twice about doing on location self portraits without assistance, or just try not to be too impulsive like I was. Haha. :D 
 
---

A quick update on the past week:

Moved into my new place with roommates the weekend before! Very nice space, I can't wait to start fitting it out for shooting.

Did an interview and was asked to talk about Motherland Chronicles, it put me in a good mood throughout, makes me super happy that the project is picking up some interest. :D

I'm also starting to receive new jewelry and props from collaborators, some specifically designed for MLC, so I'm very excited about the upcoming weeks' shoots.

And NYFW! Was fun. Bumped into familiar faces and enjoyed myself, hope I'll get to go to more of the major shows next season.

But those very same days! LUNA SEA was in Singapore! The whole week my Facebook feed was flooded with updates about them and I was so sad I couldn't be there. Sugizo said the band loved Singapore though, so maybe they would return in the future, or I can just wait for them to come to thhe US again? :D

I've got a big meeting coming up this week! Wish me luck please.  
Last but not least I'd like to wish everyone a super duper Happy Lunar New Year! Have a good one and enjoy! I miss my pineapple tarts and nian gao and lo hei and all that awesomesauce mandarin oranges. But I do have some homemade dumplings from grandma to tide me over, and Gundam Night today! Time to build me some Master Grade Wing Zeroes.

SingaporeBrides.com - New York

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Assistant: Teresa Yeh
Styling: Furqan Saini
Hair: Crews
Makeup: Perry Foulke
Model: Lauren Holl

This was done in New York last year. Never got around to posting because it's too easy to lose track over when stuff actually get published these days... But hey, here it is. One of my favourites. I always enjoy it when I'm allowed to do a campaign in black and white. Too bad it doesn't happen too often.

I'm leaving L.A. for Japan on Saturday for a week, then back to Singapore for a month or two to deal with work and stuff.

There've been a lot of changes and new plans being put into place this year, a lot of things which I'm not sure if I should/can talk about.

I end up spending too much on shoots these days almost all the time. I paid $100 for gas alone the other day when we drove out to the desert, not counting clothes, food, props and things, and that was just one of the many. But when I think about the new book (or the possibility of one), I feel like it's all okay. This is after all why I work, so I can afford to produce more pictures that I (and hopefully you) like.

~

My assistant Conan took some photos of me the other day. For a feature in Elle Singapore's October issue along with an interview. It really makes me happy being photographed as a photographer because no one forces me to smile anymore (as opposed to the air rifle days). 

In the upcoming issue of Fool's Mate (Oct as well) there will be some brand new photos I did with Sugizo shot here in the US.

I promised to talk about our first collaboration in Japan but never got around to, but I think it's a good time to mention that it wouldn't have been possible without my dear friend Chiaki, whom some of you may remember as the model in the Sakuran photos I did in Tokyo a few years ago.

A movie she starred in recently (Tarda Estate) is showing at the Venice International Film Festival, and as a friend I honestly can't be any prouder. *sniffs*

Gonna be shooting back to back the whole of next three days. There's just so much that I want to do but too little time.

~

If you wanna get updates on my new shoes or dumplings I made or random behind the scenes photos, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Also I'm finally HR9 on MHFU. Too bad there's no time for the Ukanlos right now. I really hate the crack in the middle of the battleground with undying passion.

Lauren

Photographed in New York for fashion.singaporebrides.com.

The weather was just starting to get a little chilly when we had the shoot, but it was more or less pretty kind with us when we shot -- kind of a rare thing when I'm shooting overseas, something I was infinitely grateful for.

The location was empty save for a cellist playing when we arrived. I had Lauren leaning against some pillars at first, then a few different poses and I was more or less ready to move on. We were pressing for time and I was trying to finish within a few frames so we could change into to the next dress before the light went out for the day.

However the music kept playing, and playing, and it was so magnificent and poetic as the melodies echoed throughout the halls I felt an urge and need to capture the beautiful moment in which we were submersed in. I told Lauren to hold up her dress, to twirl and walk and move towards the light. She did, and everything came to live in the viewfinder. I had my shot.

It's one of those 'simple' photographs, where everything else is stripped away and the image is about the essence of a certain moment. I had my assistants moved away with the reflectors to give her full space for movements and photographed with whatever natural light there was left before the sun went down. In those moments it was just about the harmony between the two of us, and it was beautiful.

New York

I'm still trying to cultivate a habit of taking more travel pictures. And despite having finally borrowed a compact camera this trip, I still don't. =_=' This shot is stolen from my assistant Teresa's camera when she was taking behind-the-scenes for us last night.

Me in Times Square~

And Teresa.

Assistants and interns please be prepared when applying, thank you. =D

Backtracking a few days from before I went off to Yale. This is from the outfit shoot for Monoxious with Arissa.

I just love my Alice Auaa top so much~

Shopping with her~

Waiting for people on set

I was walking across the road back to the team and Teresa took this. It's so ridiculous and funny and I love it. :3

Forest Hills~ Around my neighbourhood :3

The hairpins sisters, hair styled courtesy of Furqan. Hahaa.

Yale: Part I

So at some point of time, I decided to run away from New York and spend a week in Yale. So far it feels pretty surreal. The whole experience is very Harry-goes-to-Hogwarts-like.

I haven't gone for any classes yet, but I'm super super in love with the architecture~

(And just for clarification, I'm just dropping in for a week of classes)

Back of the Sheffield Sterling Strathcona building as the sun is setting

The Peabody Museum of Natural History

Divinity school (a divinity school!?)

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Sterling Memorial Library's hallway.

One of the reading rooms inside the library. It's so beautiful omg T_T

Detail from Berkeley College's dining hall.

Our common room.

Made me feel like I was on a movie set as we chatted into the night. I... I think I've used the word love too many times in this post already... but yeah, I love. ;_;

Also visited the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art, took some pictures with my Lumix, but I forgot to bring the USB cable so I'm waiting for my back up to arrive next week in New York. I think those will be in a later post if I manage to get around to them. :D

And a last pic backtracking a few days prior taken in New York City.

It was the day before I left for Yale. A collaboration with Arissa for her fashion blog Monoxious. It's kinda crazy that we fly around so much these days, our only opportunities to hang out are while overseas.

On a totally unrelated note, does anyone have a good salon/hairdresser to recommend in NYC? My hair is kinda growing out and I really need to touch up the roots. I've always done the colours in Tokyo so I'm not sure if it's easy to achieve the same tones here since Japan has so many brands that seem to be used domestically only. I'm a bit skeptical about random walk-ins, so would really appreciate if someone can introduce a good place (that's hopefully not going to cost toooooo much). Thank you. =D