SingaporeBrides: 1000 Roses

For fashion.singaporebrides.com

Art Direction & Photography: Zhang Jingna
Editor: Fazillah Abdul Gaffa
Hair: Andrea Claire
Makeup: Dewi Mahoney
Photography assistants: Karin Xiao, Jacob Tan Yin Qi & Z Han
Hair styling assistant: Blaire Walmsley
Models: Julia Valimaki, Sasha Luss & Zivile Cibaite/Ave

My deepest thanks to SingaporeBrides.com for being supportive of me doing the creative and direction, and my lovely assistants for arranging and re-arranging those very thorny roses that filled up all 18-foot wide of our backdrop.

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.

SingaporeBrides Paris Behind the Scenes


For some odd reasons the frequency of encountering rain is super high when I shoot outdoors whether in Singapore or overseas. It's something a couple of my editors had been commenting on excessively this year, and at one point I was blamed for bringing rain on shopping days upon my touch-down. D:

Right, if I could reeaaaaally make rain... hurhurr.

But frankly, I'm not really one to complain about it.

Rainy days do make shootings more difficult, but I find gloomy skies wonderful.

And when it rains, everything starts to catch light and become reflective, I think that in itself adds a beautiful touch to an image.

I lost a lot of sleep during the stressful 3-4 weeks of planning.

The Parisian model agencies my editor was speaking to were really unresponsive, and I had became skeptical of working with people on first contact out of fear for the unreliability of a new person. It happened too many times when I was in Europe -- hair/makeup/models not turning up, cancelling a day before shoot, etc. We had planned so much with regards to the locations and styling I just couldn't risk it, having limited days in Paris.

Eventually we found a good management from the Netherlands for the model, and I had Andrea Perry-Bevan, whom I worked with in Manchester about half a year prior, to fly in for the hair and makeup.

All this was done whilst preparing for a campaign for Orchard Central, shot on the day I was due to take off. I quite literally went to the studio with my luggage and stuff so I could head for the airport straight after.

I arrived in Paris on a Saturday morning, had a meetup with some local fans from facebook at Six Huit before moving on to drop my luggage off and start the location recceing.

We were scheduled to shoot two days, one on location indoors and one outdoors. To put it simply, it just translates to a hell lot of recce work.

Unfortunately, we didn't accomplish that much in the end on Saturday, with my jet-lag kicking in and being exhausted from the last shoot and all. And the places we went just weren't satisfactory.

We continued on Sunday. Places to places. The final decision for the indoor location was a really old hotel with gothic furniture from the 16th century. It was small, but splendid. I stayed a night in the room after the shoot since it was paid for. :D

It was really funny when I met up with the chief editor of Gothic & Lolita Bible a few days later, to find out that she was staying in that very place during her visit. We two were going on and on about this "awesome gothic hotel" we each knew, and then suddenly someone else asked the name, and we realized it was the very same one! Hahahaha.

Monday we moved on to check out potential outdoor locations. I wanted to cover notable places and we narrowed the list down to: Arc de Triomphe, Pont Alexandre III, Eiffel Tower, Lourve, Sacré Cœur and Notre Dame.

That night Andrea was dropped off at the wrong hotel, we had a huge scare waiting, but she found her way eventually.

With all things in order we were more or less set for the shoot the next two days.

Tuesday morning our model Anne arrived from Amsterdam. The team waited for her at the hotel while Andrea and I went flower shopping. It ate a lot of time from the morning but it's a component I can just never seem leave to someone else to do.

The entire shoot was done with natural light that came in through the windows.

I am fortunate enough in the sense that SingaporeBrides always allows me the maximum freedom in direction, so I can have my own lighting and mood and expression down to the smallest details in each photograph.

Of course I do discuss with the editor on my plans, concepts and directions, but because of how flexible they are while knowing what's acceptable and not for their own direction (many times I think clients don't know what they don't want), I find that I create some of the best editorial images with and for them (aside from maybe Bazaar, which works pretty much the same and similarly the quality of results).

On the second day rain came around mid-day. It wasn't heavy, but enough for us to need umbrellas. I was prepared with a parasol I'd bought from Korea 5 years ago for the very purpose of photo-taking. =D

And so my assistants held makeup items and umbrellas for Andrea and me, and we continued shooting that way in the rain till the end.

There're quite a few outtakes from the shoot I love that couldn't work in the editorial as a set, however, I hope I'd be able to revisit them one day~

I really enjoyed working on this and I hope everyone like the images. Now I shall be off to do my packing for Tokyo. Though actually, I don't have much to pack aside from a kimono for new year's eve, seeing as how I haven't unpacked from Lijiang. Hahahaha.

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.

Summer

Fashion story done for SingaporeBrides.com a while back.

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Styling: Furqan Saini
Hair: Yvonne Lee
Makeup: Joanna Koh
Model: Nathaline/Ave, Diana/Looque
Photography assistants: Octavia S, Tan Yong Kuan, Hoong Wei Long

Kinda in the mood for summer~ so just posting some brighter photos, just for a while. :D

I'm gonna blog about go for the rest of the entry, so feel free to skip. XD

Recent news about Lee Sedol's intended 1.5-year-long break had been spreading like wild fire (well, for the go-lovers, anyway).

I read up a bit on Sina here and here (both Chinese, sorry), so I'm just gonna sum it up a bit in English for those who want to know.

Story began with his refusal to join the Korean league.

Because 4 teams withdrew from the league this year. 3 joined only after much efforts from the Hanguk Kiwon (Korean Baduk Association), one of which was a team from Lee Sedol's hometown. His withdrawal probably meant the withdrawal of major sponsors from the competitions and directly affects other professionals whose main income may come from playing in the league's games.

Hanguk Kiwon then called for a major meeting to discuss his actions, voting was conducted for whether he should be penalized.

86 voted for yes, 37 opposed and 2 forfeited. Online voting conducted by a major Chinese weiqi news websites for the public came up with totally opposite results though.

Lee Sedol's reasons for withdrawal were due to personal timing issues as well as concerns for the rating system.

(Wow, I'd make a horrible news reporter, so heck, I give up my attempt to sound formal because I can't put in my personal opinion~~!)

For someone of Lee Sedol's level, currently Korean #1, he has to win 10 out of 12 games in order to maintain his scores (which is, btw, pretty freaking damn difficult considering the frequency of these games, not counting the ones he has to play for all other major tournaments.).

Heck, he's contracted to play for a Chinese team in the Chinese league and each game he wins in that is equivalent to 10 games he wins in the Korean league, go figure.

Anyway what I'm basically trying to say is that games played in the leagues are just not what the very top pros put their most attention to, ranking drop is definitely a major no-no, so I think his decision to withdraw is pretty valid as a competitor.

This issue about how he should be penalized (I can't be bothered to find the article on what Hanguk Kiwon actually said) eventually ended up pretty unpleasant (come on, voting by all the pros, that's like, public shaming), and I'm sure eventually upset him deeply, so he decided that he'll stop playing go for 1.5 years and will only return in January 2011.

I usually never find myself in much of a position to comment on anything at all, the same goes for this, but I must honestly say that I think this is what makes Lee Sedol Lee Sedol.

Perhaps I'm biased because he is one of the top players, perhaps I'm biased because I didn't leave the national team back in my days when similar situations arose, but I know for sure that I'm biased because of just how rebellious he is.

His character that is piercing and ruthless like his go, that has so much pride, so much fearlessness and bravado, all that he's not afraid of being, that sets him apart from all the other top players of our time, Lee Sedol is someone whose name will be long remembered in the history of go.

And um, wow, that was so so much longer than I intended. I actually just wanted to say that Lee Sedol's my hero. But oh well, hahaha.