Friday, December 26, 2008

on haitus for the holidays?

It seems that, in a manner exactly the opposite of retail, photogs, models and MUAs all kind of go on break for the holidays. Me included - well, kinda. I am supposed to be on break but I do have a shoot on Sunday so long as the weather allows it.

My computer died so I am using my brother's. Lame.

Here's to hoping the new year brings many more shoots, more creativity, a new direction, and some real work!

Happy Christmas everyone...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

iDunno this happened, but somehow, my break has translated into a shoot on Sunday (with Anamika and Sinh) and another shoot the Sunday after that (with Bianca and Jonathan). Ehh. Go figure.

Monday, December 15, 2008

slave to the wage

I did some new edits of some old photos yesterday, actually from my first attempt at photography with my bff NJ. I got the dress from a thrift store, and she picked up the hat at another. The boots were hers and vintage. I decided on the outfit though. I miss taking photos like this. I didn't have a particular end-picture in mind, we were just creating art. There were no rules yet. And now, for example, I would say that the grass over NJ's face is distracting. But it is a beautiful photo, and you know, I like how the grass is coming over her face. I especially like the second one, though most people who have seen both diptychs prefer the first.


"Don't Look Back"

I really, really want to be published about now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Today by your friends at Vogue

I've recently decided that I need to change my photography direction which is why I decided to take this break (which has turned out to not be much of a break). I have seen my photography develop organically into a commercial/beauty/book-building kind of style, just because I have been studying the photographers around me and that is the kind of work they do.

My goal upon entering photography was, besides having fun and creating beautiful art, to shoot high fashion advertisements and editorials for fashion magazines, eventually bringing me to go. I am well aware that I have a long way to go.

So in an attempt to inspire me in the right kind of way, I went to my local borders and picked up a few magazine. I picked up Bazaar and Vogue because they are the top magazines period and are set at my highest goal, and I also picked up Elle just because they had an interesting editorial. I decided to leave Nylon even though I'd love to shoot for them. Bazaar had a lovely editorial this month as well, but I decided to leave Vogue unopened until I got home because it was the one I most wanted to study. This month, Jennifer Aniston graced the cover of Vogue, though I must say she did this less than gracefully, as she also was recently featured in a nude shoot for GQ...which is, well, less than classy.

The article on Ms. Aniston went on to call her stupid things like a simple beautiful and said that her style is so chic and simple - basically nice ways of saying she is neither. Jennifer Aniston looks like a kindergarten teacher, which is why I suppose the article on her featured run-of-the-mill pictures of her with a dog, her on a wood porch, blah blah blah etc. etc. The editorials were totally uninspiring. In fact, the only thing that really struck me in the entire magazine was a Longchamp ad featuring Kate Moss, the one in the lower right corner.

Unlike most designer handbag ads, which generally feature a model either (a) topless and covering her breasts with the hangbag or (b) clothed and doing some high fashion pose with the handbag, the longchamp ad is actually just a beautiful picture. Together the ads work as an editorial, telling some kind of beautiful story, and in the end, the story and atmosphere are so beautiful, the bag becomes beautiful. Bravo guys.

Also in complete disregard to my so-called "break," I booked another shoot with model Bianca in between now and when our favorite MUA Jonathan comes back from his vacay. I'll be a low-stress shoot (hopefully), three changes and just around Fremont. I have requested Bianca just do her own basic make-up and she is okay with that, and I don't want to do any beauty shots so it won't quite matter. It will be a casual editorial in nature, kind of holiday-themed for an imaginary alternative teen magazine that must exist only in my head haha. I purchased a little dress from Anthropologie and a cute headband from H&M today and we're now good to go.

And on a totally unrelated note, I can't stop listening to "Kids" by well as watching this awesome unofficial video for it on youtube, haha.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Alex, Can You Hear Me Now?

On Tuesday I did an editorial shoot with a visiting model named Crystal and my MUA buddy Jonathan A. We intended this to be styled much like the infamous Alexander Wang Ready to Wear, and I think we nailed it with the second look and not so much the first. Oh well! There are some beauty-ish shots from the first change I like a lot and a bit more from the second. Unfortunately, as high fashion as Crystal looks (she is just such a gorgeous asian model), I just couldn't get her to look any taller which is what I think killed the full-body shots. Since we were going for fashion editorial, I wasted a lot of full body shots.

Jonathan is happy with the shots though and there are enough for me to feel good about. Here are the best shots:

Regardless, we got some pretty good shots out of it, but only after being kicked out of Starbucks in the morning because Jonathan was hair spraying Crystal's hair. The people sitting directly near us didn't mind. In fact they seemed very interested, and an older woman sitting behind us was very sweet to us, though she was keeping Jonathan from his work. Someone must have complained though because they asked us to leave, and we compromised by going outside and working. This is definitely not the first time I have prepared for a shoot in a Starbucks but definitely the first we got kicked out. We then all drove over to our location, a super urban-y looking side of a building/parking lot. Jonathan commented that it, once again, smelled like piss, but fortunately there were far fewer cars going in and out than our last shoot with Hannah. Crystal is so good with her poses that we wrapped up our first change really fast. Jonathan commented it was his fastest first change ever, and it was my second. I ended up taking about 200 frames per change so we weren't slacking though.

We then went back to the car and stumbled across this tiny Swedish bakery. In downtown Hayward, can you believe it? We all got cookies which Crystal changed in the car and then the owners were nice enough to let us do the second look on their outside tables. Their pastries were delicious and they brought as samples as we worked. I liked the second change a lot more than the first. Crystal wore my white Michael Stars shirt, a chunky coin necklace I got from Hebron, Palestine, a silence + noise bandage skirt, leggs tights with intentional runs, and some payless shoes I borrowed from shaza. With what Jonathan did to her hair and make-up, she looked amazing.

We shot our second change on the side of another urban-y looking building with lots of bricks and bars. We attracted a bit more attention here, but it didn't bother us. Crystal kept bringing it with the poses and I again got about 200 frames before we called it quits. We were all ready to leave Hayward and it was only 2:30. Crystal went back to the pastry place to buy cookies and Jonathan and I went to Lucky to buy cheap make-up. Using me as a canvas, Jonathan found some nice things, and I did too, including a red lip gloss I gave to Sami and some lollipops I intend to use for my next shoot with Bianca. Then I drove Jonathan to the BART, and I was home really early, earlier than any other shoot day. I am trying to learn to shoot faster so I can get in more changes, but I have to admit that crystal made it easy by posing so well.

Speaking of Sami and Bianca! I went with Sami yesterday to an old train station in a part of my city I have never been to. It was awesome! I am going to use it for my shoot with Bianca, an upcoming editorial shoot which will also involve Jonathan. I am going with my unofficial assistant Sarah to check out some more locations tomorrow. I promise this will be something cool. I'm really intent on having good styling for this one since I feel like I pretty much lost my whole first look with Crystal due to bad styling. So Bianca, Sarah and I are hitting the mall sometimes soon to find the clothing. I also bought a few new shoes (for me) that I think may be useful for the shoot as well.

I'm also getting ready to buy my first ever leather-bound portfolio. I am thinking something colorful and cute. I am just so excited!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


So now I seriously am going to take a break after my next few shoots. I have seen my photography going in a direction that is not making me happy - basically that it is becoming more commercial than high-fashion and that is bothering me. I have decided after my next few shoots, I need to just keep buying Vogue and Bazaar and study the ads and editorials. But I already have made promises to shoot three more times.

I have a shoot on Tuesday with the awesome MUA Jonathan and a visiting model Crystal. Crystal is a little short, but I love, love, love her look. We'll be shooting in the downtown area for an urban tone. I'll post as soon as I am done editing as you guys know.

I am also doing another shoot with the beautiful model Anamika and MUA Sinh with a more romantic theme to it. We're trying to plan a date right now.

And lastly, I am trying to figure out something for cute model Bianca right now. She has winter break soon so it is a short window of free-time for her, so I am trying to think of somethings good.

In the mean time, I am busy conjuring up more high-fashion-like, edgy shoots. There are a lot of ideas going on in my head, and when something definite comes out of it, I'll be back to shooting in no time.

I finally got an external hard-drive to back up all of my images and super large music collection, so I feel a lot safer now. The photos were also taking up a lot of space and my poor laptop and its hard drive was almost full. The external is 500G so it should hold me over for a long time. I have finally started my new HR job. It's not very many hours, and it's only $10 an hour, but it gives me something more to do per day and it brings in a little money. I am happy to have money at my disposal again to pay for styling and jonathan's BART. I bought my mom this game she had been wanting for a long time as well, as well as a few new things for me. It feels good to have my own money again. Also on my list of things to buy is a domain name for my photography, a leatherbound portfolio, fiberwig mascara, the my so-called life box set, cover-up and a medium format camera (probably a holga).

I also just got this lomo camera from Urban. I have yet to develop a roll, but i think this camera is awesome. i wanted that fisheye effect but don't want to buy a lens because it is just so esoteric and expensive. So I bought the urban version. I intend to have a lot of fun with it - I think it would be great for parties and street portraits, and photographing anything that is wide, or round, or both! One of my friends, Sami, went with me and bought the urban holga. We intend to start going on photo adventures together, and both of us are thinking of taking a class at a local community college on black and white photography so as to learn how to develop film. I mean, it's about time.

Sami and I are also working on another, really cool project, but you'll know about that in due time.

I also took a new self-portrait the other day. I thought it was about time I had a self-portrait with my camera. I like the way it came out:

On a totally random note, everyone needs to check out Editors, Electrelane (listen to "I Want To Be President"), and the Ferocious Few. These are three bands I have been listening to a lot lately. Also, if you go here, you can download Girl Talk's album "Feed the Animals" for just a donation.