Look Book Shoot Process

By | Art, Photography, Style Discovery | No Comments

I sometimes have no idea what I’m doing. In fact, almost always I have no idea. Sometimes I think of myself as a person with no ‘ideas’.

I met up with someone yesterday, who is totally different from me, as part of my ‘reaching out’ exercise (more on this later). She is an idea person. She said so herself and while I was talking to her over my coffee and her Turmeric Latte, I could sense that she could be perfect to complete my puzzle. She has my missing piece! She comes up with ideas and I then make things happen. Do you get the picture? It would be perfect.

Danielle Marklew’s Visual Diary

That is not to say that I’ve given up coming up with ideas. I’m steadily building my idea muscles. This is how I tackled my lack of idea situation.

When I decided to give my time for lookbook shoots for Rena and Danielle I was in the same quagmire. I didn’t know what I would do with their garments. A part of me was thinking I should be doing something amazing but I had no idea of how to create something amazing. The fear set in and the frustration of not being creative enough to come up with brilliant shooting ideas was consuming me.

After a few hours of emotional struggle, my logical (troubleshooting) brain kicked in. This was my logical self at work:

  • It’s not about me.
  • It’s about their work.
  • Ask them what they would like to see / do with their shoot.
  • Work things out / analyse from there what is needed.

This is the beauty of allowing others to feed my creative channel. Understanding that I wasn’t alone in creating the shoot, I made myself available to receive, synthesise and produce photographs that are richer in context and feel because it wasn’t just about me (coming up with the idea).

Photographs resulting from collaborating with Danielle

The shoot was successful by any measure (although measuring such work is futile if not impossible). I could say that without any shame because Danielle made a comment that if it wasn’t for the photos we created together she would not have been in this (fantastic) situation (I cannot say what this is… You’ll find out soon).

Opening up for possibilities and enable others to feed my creative energy worked for me. If you feel stuck why not try what I’ve done. It might not work but it might be just what you need.

Could we use your photos?

By | Photography

Photographers almost always start by shooting for ‘free’ in exchange for something – recommendations to others has been a big one for me. I started that way. There is no denying that anyone can take half-decent photos even with a mobile phone these days. Is it still worth paying a photographer? It is if your own photos are not good enough (for whatever reason) and if you like someone else’s (professional) photos more.

A few weeks ago the Sunday Times contacted me asking if they could use some of my graduate show images. The caller was a long-time acquaintance – I’ve known that person since 2008. Of course, I said yes without any hesitation fully knowing that she would want those images free of charge on the basis that the paper would have my name on it. Two different thoughts. The Sunday Times is a very well known brand. Wow, they want my images! Am I on a way to become ‘famous’? Well, on the flip side, however, they have photographers so why not use theirs? It’s a big paper, why can’t they just buy the images from me?

In reality, if I had not given them the images, probably someone else would have done it. And next year? I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I do believe at some point I need to say No to this type of request. With no regular monthly salary coming in as of February 2014, I want to make enough money to live off solely from shooting. One can’t really expect that if one gives away photos. It doesn’t mean I’ll never shoot for free. I’ll still do volunteer work for charitable and cultural/non-commercial organisations that I like.

———

But getting famous from a one-off spread in the Sunday Times? Who am I kidding, right? I never expected that anyway. As it happens, the digital version that appeared in social media didn’t even have my name on it anyway ;-)

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Maybe next year I’ll be so fully booked up I won’t be able to attend any of the graduate fashion shows. Fingers crossed! Missing out on those great graduate shows would be rather sad but at least it would mean that I wouldn’t have to survive on instant noodles.

Walk4Water by Aveda & Djurra

By | Photography

Putting a fashion show together takes a lot of effort and costs a lot of money.  If and when a fashion parade is organised for a charitable cause I know that everyone has ‘chipped’ in to promote a good cause. So when Sheree invited me to a show hosted by Aveda, a brand recognised with commitment to corporate social responsibilities, I couldn’t say no even though it was a very short notice.  I never used Aveda products before but I do know a good brand when I see one.

I only have to take a few steps to get a glass of filtered water straight out of a small drinking water tap. I only have to turn the tap on to take a cold or hot shower anytime I want. We all know that there are people across the globe with no direct access to water – having to walk a long way everyday to get a bucket or a pot of water. Walk4Water is a campaign organised by WaterAid Australian (NGO) in order to help those people in need. This particular parade was an initiative  by Aveda’s Earth Month 2013 and also by Djurra Lifestyle Salon in Fremantle.

Now you know what the event was for so  I can tell you a bit about the show. By the way, whatever happened to the cool change I was expecting? I thought the summer was over. I was totally misled. It was too hot for a fashion parade in a warehouse in Perth City Farm. With just one fan running to cool the crowd, I was getting soaked in sweat even before the start of the show.

I also threw a bit of tantrum to a total stranger when I arrived at the venue complaining that the media (tripods etc) couldn’t be right after the catwalk – it should have a good five to ten meter distance blah blah. It turned out the ‘stranger’ knew me and my work already although I’ve never heard of him. When I found that out I felt so embarrassed. So I could be so nasty and impatient with a stranger but not so to someone who knows me – how strange! I apologised for being such a ‘bitch’ and we got on well for the rest of the show.

What I really liked about the show was a simple make up with variety of funky hair styles. Backstage must have been incredibly hectic considering there were only limited number of models for 7 different sets.

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The models.. I have never seen these models before. Presumably the agency which sponsored the event doesn’t have much presence in the Perth runway scene as it’s dominated by Scene, Viviens and Chadwick. Amongst the fresh and amateurish models I noticed one girl who walked like a pro. At any angle she looked great and photogenic. I hope I get to see her in other shows later this year.

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The whole production was of high quality despite the modest venue (although perfectly apt for the concept of the show). I felt that the show and the crew deserved a bigger venue and the audience. I really wish – if this was to become an annual outing for our talented local designers and fashionable retailers – the show could be better publicised so that we could have a lot more people getting entertained, educated and they could chip in (by buying tickets for the show) for a great cause.

For a weeknight show (Monday for no less!), it was such as good thing to attend. I would like to thank and congratulate the designers and retailers who participated in the runway.

  • Megan Salmon (Megan Salmon)
  • Sheree Dornan (Love in Tokyo)
  • Fenella Peacock (Nells)
  • Sabrina Wong (Sab five five)
  • Alex & Vera
  • Shop 28
  • Pigeon Hole

And big cheers go to the hair&makeup team, models from Metro models and backstage dressers.

Hair
  • Directed by Anita Sutton Galloway
  • Djurra Lifestyle Salon and Spa and Element Aveda Concept salon 
Makeup
  • Directed by Holly Mudge and Leanne Baxter
  • Djurra Lifestyle Salon and Spa and Element Aveda Concept salon

If you want to see the runway images head over to the Facebook Album or Flickr photo stream or PASS (new service I signed up which will only be available for a year)

I guess you wouldn’t be surprised to see me buying Aveda products or going out to get a treatment at Djurra in Fremantle. It pays to do good things for the humanity.

L’Oreal Paris Runway 03 by Grazia

By | Photography

It’s been a marathon of reviewing 11 runway shows and sorting out images to upload from the Fashion Festival since I returned from Melbourne. No matter how much I love fashion, by the time I finished loading the very last set of images online I had definitely had enough of looking at the computer screen. But then, I did realise there are eight other shows to cover so I decided, for runway 3, I’d pick my favs and not much else.

The premise of the festival was ‘shop the runway’. Often people interchange fashion festivals with fashion weeks. However, they are very different things. Festivals are for consumers and fashion weeks are more for industry people. Therefore, the shop the runway concept is quite a good one if executed well. If I was shopping the runway I’d pick the following designs from L’Oreal Paris Runway 03.

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Alice McCall

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Ginger & Smart

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Ksubi

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Life with Bird

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Michael Lo Sordo

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Michael Lo Sordo

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Michael Lo Sordo

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Tigerlily

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Tigerlily

 

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YB J’aime by Yeojin Bae

 

How do you think the shop the runway concept worked?

What was really cool about LMFF was that the official website had runway photos for each designer  basically the next morning after the show. That was the key for the ‘shop the runway’ concept to work. Girls, myself included, like things to be there ‘right now’ or even ‘wanted them yesterday’, so the speed with which things are uploaded is crucial. Designers have a ‘shop the runway’ button in the website and an image carousel from their runway show has clickable ‘hot spots’ linking to corresponding product pages.

Shop the Runway Gallery

Shop the Runway Gallery

It would have worked really well if girls could figure out how to use it. Yes, it kinda worked  for me but it could have been better. This would be a brilliant thing for Perth Fashion Festival if PFF could find a website developer who can provide an affordable technical solution with a better user experience than the one we saw at LMFF.  Ah well, I should stop right there. As a project manager working for a web development company I have a lot to say on this subject but this is not the right forum. Definitely not.

I’ll continue to talk about the festival so you’ll hear more about shop the runway anyway. Until then, ciao.

L’Oreal Paris Runway 02 at LMFF

By | LMFF, Photography

I decided to jump back to an earlier part of the festival. Previously, I showed you Carmilla’s awesomely crazy prints and Kate Sylvester’s quirky femininity. Looking back at the images from the parade, it is difficult to tell one collection from another. Everyone seems to be doing bold block colours, and prints.

Another thing I realised was I also had images from the 2010 Perth Fashion Festival in which Leona Edmiston was featured as part of the Times Square runway at Fashion Paramount. Looking at the designs, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether much has changed since then (it doesn’t help that my photos from 2010 weren’t quite optimal). Or is it just the cyclic nature of the fashion business that we are seeing?

Regardless of my less than lukewarm reaction to the parade I quite liked Leona Edmiston’s bright abstract patterned long and short dresses. They worked particularly well with floppy hats.

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WA’s local label Morrison had a leather number which made me rather excited. The rest of the collection seemed a little too mature to my liking.

 

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As I mentioned, this combination of bright orange set and a printed top could be anyone’s design. And these are by Lisa Ho. I think it works.

 

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Did I mention bold colours? How about this ‘brave’ colour ensemble by Bianca Spender? If an outfit can make a leggy model look less leggy, I would stay well away from it. That said, some people might dig bright coloured stuff with a healthy dose of disregard for especially leggy looks.

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I thought L’Oreal Paris Runway 03 was a little less ‘same same’ than Runway 02. Let’s find that out tomorrow, although ‘tomorrow’ might be in a day or two as I’m getting away from it all and heading out of town into the ‘sticks’. Where I’m going probably won’t have any internet or telephone connection and we may end up bogged in sand dunes. Never mind…perhaps you can make up your own mind about L’Oreal Paris Runway 03 by looking at the images.

Aesthetic workout with Perth Upmarket

By | Photography

Weather has been glorious. Rays of sunshine streaming down and reminded us that summer is still here to stay. I used to do pop-up markets every time they sprung up. A few years on, things became mundane as I got to see the same stall owners each time. I skipped a few and last Sunday there I was with my friends, we ventured out to UWA for the first Upmarket of the year at Winthrop Hall.

It was huge. Probably twice as big as the last one I visited. And there was a variety of things on offer – all hand crafted food, accessories, clothes and beautiful things – for excited shoppers and hungry kids.

It was packed with people although someone commented that they expected a lot more people to come out if it wasn’t for the long weekend.

We didn’t buy anything but I remembered how love going to markets like this. In the next Upmarket we might pick up something. Or we might not. It is good to go out to see beautiful things. It is actually important to go out to markets like this  for people like me who need regular aesthetic workouts. As my friend mentioned, ‘aesthetic fitness’ is a requirement for some people. Beautiful things make me happy. It is different from ownership -e.g. impulse purchase of a fancy bag – most times getting surrounded by beautiful things is enough to keep me happy without having to own any of them.

I’m certain many of you reading this are in the same boat. If you were lying around with your ipad I suggest putting that little gadget away for a bit and get out for a aesthetic workout. If you find me there come and say hi. I might make a nice photo snap for you just the way I do for my friends.

Did you miss out the market last Sunday? Have a look at these images then.

Less

By | Blogging, Photography

It seems all of the days signifying the New Year have come and gone – New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Chinese New Year and Valentines Day. The latter for me means just another day early in the year. Not one of those ‘rush out and buy a bunch of over priced roses’ days. This would be the time one would look

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Interesting turns

By | Photography

I started this blog back in 2008 and that was just a couple of months before the start of the Perth Fashion Festival. Back then, I was the only blogger standing in the media pit against pretty much an all male press corp. It took quite a bit of convincing to get the PR company to include..

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Hawaiian Christmas Party

By | Photography

It is that silly season when every company holds some sort of function to celebrate the end of the calendar year. If there is one place I would rather not be, then that would be a company Christmas party. However, ever since I took up the ‘voluntary’ position of designated photog, the pain of having to ‘drink and enjoy’ has been turned into a different kind of duty. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I can so handle a photographic assignment/duty; it’s just that I don’t like going to parties, especially when one has to dress up for such an occasion.

This is my first Chrissy function at Vivid Group, having started working there in February this year. Our trusty event organiser Caris set the Hawaiian theme so everyone was tasked to ‘dress up’ for the occasion. The rebel in me couldn’t help but to rebel so I ended up with just getting out of my regular black and wearing something not black. Most other Vividians were more obliging and the party was colourful and cheerful – quite the contrast from our usual gray and black.

I work with crazily wonderful people. Although it is the most overused line, the guys at Vivid work hard and play hard. (I can do the former but not the latter – so much to learn in that department!).

While I spend my evenings going around discovering things for Style Discovery, I spend my days with these people whom I have come to love and respect. I’m lucky to have found such a workplace.

I hope the after-party didn’t get too messy. No doubt I’ll find out all of the juicy stories when I return to the trenches on Monday.

Have a good weekend!

Camera Gear

By | Photography

I sometimes get an aimless gear envy. That is just the feeling that only if I had a particular piece of equipment it would be so cool and I’d make much better images. Gear envy is a well known and prevalent problem among many people.

I have a very good set of gear already – full frame Nikon body, 700-200mm telephoto, 28-70mm mid zoom, 35mm DX F1.8, Speedlight SB800 and so on. Like any other gadgetry, it never feels enough though. There is always something tempting me with all kinds of fluff – so many more megapixels and so much higher ISO and HD video etc as if they matter when making photos.

Good gear doesn’t make a good photographer. I know that but it is my selective memory that forgets all that and I just clamour over newer and shiner releases each month.

A couple of days ago, I was fortunate enough to watch an hour long documentary/interview on Natalie Fobes, who used to shoot for National Geographic. One of the interesting things was that she was not using anything special. Her gear was simply something that I see a lot in the media pits. If Canon 5D MKII – equivalent to my current Nikon body – is good enough for a world renowned photo journalist why should I stress over anything better?

After a little banter with my guy about how I would one day own a Hasselblad and that then I would know that I had made my name, that notion went out the window after that interview. It also reminded me that I had the original Rolleiflex which is a loan from my friend. I realised I haven’t touched it for months. I got off my lazy ass and took it to a pro camera store to get some film. Yes, it takes a medium format film being a camera from the early 60s. The old gentleman who was the only guy in the shop who knew anything about this type of camera and film asked me what kind of film I wanted. I think I answered something random and he had to rephrase it by saying ‘did you want colour or black and white?’.

Rolleiflex

He loaded the film since I didn’t even know how to open the machine to load one. And the excitement of shooting with a Twin Reflex Lens camera was so high until he looked at me and said that it wasn’t going to happen as the film loader was not functioning. He kindly rescued the film out of the camera and I had to pack this beauty away to give it back to the owner.

No matter, it is a beautiful machine to look at and to hold. Buying brand new costs over $5,000 these days. I could get one from eBay for about $1,500. Do I need one? No. Will it make interesting photos? Perhaps. Is this another ‘gear envy’ item. Definitely, Yes. Will I succumb to it? Maybe.

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Fashion photo shoot

By | Photography | 3 Comments

Just came back from the Fashion TV Diamond Model Awards Perth final. Before that I was in Fremantle doing an all-day photo shoot. Tired. Here’s a selection of images. Maybe I’ll post the model awards photos tomorrow (probably not)

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Have a very warm and lovely Sunday!

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Ares + Aphrodite Photo Exhibition at Breaks Cafe

By | Photography | One Comment

It’s rather embarrassing but apparently my photo is being exhibited at Breaks Cafe in Fremantle as part of a group show called Ares + Aphrodite.

The exhibition was a result of a workshop organised by the Snap Shooter, Seng Mah at Up On High Studio in Fremantle.

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Honestly, if I can make images like this anyone can. Seng will teach you how… he happens to run regular theme based workshops. If you happen to be out and about in High Street, Fremantle why don’t you pop in to see my photo (above) and others. The exhibition runs until November 30, 2009. I’ll be having breakfast with fellow photographers at 10 this Saturday. Will you join us?

Breaks Cafe
85 High Street, Fremantle

Charlie’s Nikon FE

By | Photography | No Comments

Last Saturday we went to Charlie and Leesa’s place. We haven’t seen them since last year so we had so much to catch up on. One of them being camera stuff. My friend Charlie is an AVID specialist having worked in the TV industry for many years. Now he’s running his own AVID training and equipment hire business while teaching at Central TAFE. As you can imagine, he knows a thing or two about audio visual stuff.

So it happens that he took our second wedding (first one being in Korea in 10997) photographs in 1998. Anyway, I found out that he had no less than a legendary Nikon FE tucked away gathering dust somewhere in his house. I forgot to ask him whether that was the camera he used for our wedding. Regardless I was so excited to find out that he was happy to let me play with his camera gear. The camera and all of its lenses are here with me now. I started shooting last week. I don’t know what they look like as I don’t live close enough to a photo lab any more. How painful!

Nikon FE is supposed to be an easy camera to use. It only has the Aperture priority mode and there are knobs for ASA and shutter speed. Pretty much nothing else – simple. No cumbersome menus, buttons, other bells and whistles.

I’m dying to see the photos.. I haven’t even written down all the settings that I used for each photograph. My bad. All of them may well turn out to be a complete disaster. Who knows.

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Discovery of Olympus OM10

By | Photography | No Comments

I caught a bit of a camera bug this holiday season. This isn’t sort of a bug which only makes mere mortals yak on endless about pixels and full digital lenses. This is a mega bug that makes me covet all things camera – Box Brownie, Leica, Mamiya, Holga, disposable film cameras, all things Lomo and so on.

There’s a legend in my household which is often told to embarrass moi. Back in the old days, I’m talking early 90’s. I bought a top of the range Nikon.. which was named F90 (N90 in the USA). I was a complete dummy when it came to SLR cameras. I did not know what aperture meant and what shutter speed did when making photos. I shot everything in the Auto mode and I didn’t know any better for many years. Fast forward 10 years. My friend Charlie who is a little more cluey about cameras was having a look at my SLR gear one day. I presented two lenses from my camera bag which has been tucked away in my closet and only saw some daylight once a year. One of the lenses was 70-210mm. This really meant squat to me. I only knew it as a telephoto lens but never found it useful until Charlie pulled the lens barrel out to extend the length. My eyes widened. Charlie and my guy couldn’t stop laughing at me. Look Ma, it’s a TELEPHOTO lens! For ten years, I only used it at 70mm and I didn’t know that the lens was meant to be pulled out to be used for 85mm and onwards.

Time flew without me attempting to know anything about my cameras. I’ve been a good ol’ ‘point and shoot’ happy snapper and everything was honky dory. Then digital cameras came out. The same story. It was even better as I could dump any bad shots without wasting paper. As with any amateur gadget hungry chicks, I bought a DSLR (Nikon D50) without much thought three years ago. The ‘shooting auto’ saga continued until this year. I finally started understanding what I was doing this year thanks to Mr. Ken Rockwell. The result of this enlightenment can be found in many of my posts: Elsa Couture and Unwrapped and High Street collective to name a few.

Today, I had one of the happiest moments. When I was rambling on about different film formats and vintage film cameras my guy pointed out that he also had a vintage camera. Olympus OM10 with a 50mm f/1.8 lens has been hidden in the darkest corner of our house for years until today. I was so eager to start shooting but it didn’t have any power. Batteries were flat. They might have been sitting in there for over 10 years without being used. Oh well, first thing tomorrow, you know what I’ll be doing.

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This camera first came out in 1979. This is older than you maybe? This 30 year old manual is going to be my bed time reading tonight. 2009 is going to be exciting. I’ll be making pictures with films. I’ll be having fun.

I hope this is going to be my last rambling on cameras. I do hope to get my hands on a decent medium format camera such as Hasselblad, a toy camera such as Holga 120N(or CFN), a rangefinder like Mamiya 7, wide format digital like Leica D-Lux 4, full frame film SLR such as Nikon F5 or F6, and oh the list goes on and on. There’s a definite risk of this blog becoming a camera blog. Yikes.