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

Backlog photos and stuff

Man. Lugging 2 lights+stands+17"MBP+1Ds MIII around in this weather, alone, is no freaking joke.

So tired my whole body aches so bad.

Thus, instead of heading down to Harajuku on a seemingly gorgeous Saturday, I'm gonna stay at home and emo, so I can rest up enough and repeat the above routine for tomorrow's shoot.

Cuz I'd been updating more on twitter than blogging, here's a random a mix of things from the past few months I'd been meaning to blog about. The pile is ever-growing but here's a start nonetheless.

Wacom Intuos4. Brand new from this trip.

This thing's so freaking gorgeous I wanna put it on display. Like, serously.

The one I'd been using for the past years had been a 9x12 which is just waaaaay too huge to carry around for travel. This new one's medium-sized and is so much easier to bring around. Now I can bring it on shoots to do quick demos on the spot for clients and my team. Yayness. Thou I'd still prefer the 9x12 for long-period usage since it's better for my wrist.

Post-shoot snap with Kokusyoku Sumire in their beautifully decorated cafe, stolen from their blog here.

I super love the figurines in the background. They're made by another Japanese artist who doesn't sell them anymore. /emo

This shoot was for Gothic Lolita Bible Aug issue (I think)

Okay, moving on to end Apr/early May photos:

With my lovely assistant Abby in Kyoto

With Kagetsuki at the Ghibli Museum.

Also, if I may, plug her new awesome fashion blog with Dawn - Monoxious.

More from the Ghibli Museum and cafe~

My X Japan concert guest pass. Shiny stuff *_*

Goban used in The Go Master movie filming. The go-kes here weren't inside, they're just in collection of the person I visited, designed personally by Honinbo Shuei.


Ninja Jingna making okonomiyaki in awesome Junya coat. Chris looking very very skinny...

And Gullimer's (sp?) Village for Young People, with nary a soul in sight. With Rick, Chris, and Abby who's cropped off because my self-portrait skills aren't awesome enough. ;_;

Birthday dinner


From my meetup~ That huge white book is my portfolio. XD

Gorgeous new Givenchy jacket

Awesome old mag store on rue de Temple

Not forgetting the inevitable stuff that break our banks...

There're a lot of other epicness, recorded in my iPhone, and all lost along with it during the Paris trip. T_T Oh well~ at least I have this:

Awesome food on Singapore Airlines. Hahahha.

Last but not least, a polaroid with Ivory Flame after the Lilith shoot. She's really really super stunning to photograph~

Sorry for the seemingly outdated/bland stuff. I'm working on trying to finding something interesting to blog about but being so busy everything seems like they'd just be too boring for a read. I'm so sorry!! T_T

Heading to Jakarta on Monday!!

Vue Studio, 24 Apr 09.

Probably the last time for me to use this place before the studio moves to a new location. They were already halfway through with the tear-downs when I was there today.

I'd done some 30 shoots here since the end of 2007 -- agency tests, fashion and portrait editorials, covers, interviews, filming... The very place where I was first granted ample chances to play with various Profoto lights, Hasselblad backs and lots of studio space; the very place where I printed the beautiful canvas prints for my exhibition last year; the very place, where I'd spent days with my assistants and interns, where it had felt like family.

I was a little sad, enough that I didn't want to see the new studio after the photoshoot today.

Ahhhhh~ I'm going to miss the old lady who couldn't write receipts for the lunches we ordered. She made everyone who came to the studio succumb to her awesome burgers, fries and chicken wings. I really loved her milk tea ;_;

It was bare, beautiful and quiet. I looked at the lights, makeup room, stashes of comp cards, the space, and I tried to memorize this place, bit by bit, for the little corner that I'd reserved for it in my heart.