Lijiang: Part I

I did a shoot with Sugizo today.

I still can't wrap my mind around the surreality of the events so I'll just do my previous travel posts first.

I'd almost forgotten how my blog looked like over the five days while in Lijiang. Almost.

I tried googling for ways to get onto all these banned sites (blogger/facebook/twitter) upon my arrival but it was just way too much work. Even when I did find ways to surf, I still couldn't login. Sighhh.

Well I guess it wasn't so bad for the blog since I would have needed to consolidate pictures anyway, just kinda annoying that I couldn't update fb and twitter as and when.

So anyway, Lijiang... I was there... on a friggin' real holiday.

It was so awesome it was kinda like, work-less (well for the most of it).

I'd been meaning to go on a holiday for a while now, but it just never really quite happened. I'm kinda glad that Abby reminded me of the supposed existence of such a intended trip one random day or I would have scheduled the whole of December for work otherwise. =_=;;

Okay anyway pictures~!

We stayed at Sleepy Inn for the first three nights. It's in Shuhe Old Town, the room's spacious, there's a skylight and we could see the moon through it in the morning.

Love the view~ :3

Went to the Liming Mountains on our first day.

Passed by the Yangtzu River First Turn (长江第一关) at Shigu mid-way. Apparently the flow of the river turns 180 degrees here, from south to north-bound.

Then to Liming Mountain~

Atop the Liming Mountain. Up and down the path we walked it supposedly totals up to some 10000 steps or so. Bad bad idea to do climbing on the first day. Reaaaallly bad. Our legs could barely move the second day onwards haha.

Ah well at least it was fun~ Headed to Lijiang Old Town for dinner.

They had so much awesome stuff but there's only so much two girls can order. Aiiiii. T_T

A whole pathway of wooden prayer plates. Really really beautiful.

I really wanna put Day 2 in this post too but I'm too sleepy. I'd just have do a very long Part II later! :D

Oh man, I'm so incredibly behind on my posts. I have like, the New York Part II, Yale Part II and all those ads and editorial and shoot posts which I'd been meaning to blog but have never got around to... I need to get over the feeling that I'm spamming my page if I update anything out of my system.

Hmm looking back, I really have a lot lesser entries this year than the last two.

Caught Laughing

Taken at Moomba during my short trip back to Singapore. Photo courtesy of Lee Hong.

This Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair dress + Gadget Grow vest + YSL ankle boots is one of my current favourite combinations to wear. Too bad unlike the Japanese girls I can't stand going out like this in winter.

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.

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Noah and I have known each other for some six years now. We've both grown and influenced each other so much over the years, thinking back, it's incredible how fast time flies. I'm so glad we finally got publish something together. (Well, at the same time anyway. Haha) He's preparing for an artbook which had been delayed for years and years, but hopefully with the new year coming it's going to happen. And if it does, we may hop by SDCC together. Crossing fingers now. :D