Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is like a personal meme for myself every year.

I didn't particularly feel like doing it, but it helps give marking to a period of time and encourages me to work harder as time goes by.

So here we go.

The notable events of '09, in a somewhat chronological order:
- Covered the Ing Cup Finals round 1-3 in Singapore and met Go Seigen
- Selected as Featured Artist for Wacom Intuos 4's global campaign
- Broke up
- Visited hide's grave in Miurakaigen
- Attended X Japan's concert's after party in Tokyo
- Celebrated birthday in Tokyo too, the day after
- Attended 3 out of 12 of the deviantART WorldTour meetups (Singapore, Paris, London)
- Shot for SingaporeBrides.com in Paris & New York
- Shot editorials for Gothic & Lolita Bible
- Shot campaigns for Pond's in Jakarta for Indonesia, Montblanc in Singapore for Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, and Sony Vaio in Shanghai for China
- Saw the 1:1 life-size Gundam in Japan
- Went on a fruit diet for a month (which was kinda awesome)
- Attended a week of classes at Yale
- Won Overseas Master Photographer of the Year title at the Master Photography Awards 09 (UK)
- Placed 3rds in International Photography Awards' Advertising Catalogue and Fine Art Nudes
- Visited Mark Seliger's studio
- Visited deviantART HQ
- Launched my Postcard Collection (together with Noah)
- Covered Sugizo's concert
- Photographed Sugizo for personal work
- Grandma passed away

Notable shoots:
- Personal: Sugizo, Margaret (Celosia), Ivory Flame (Lilith), Yuta, Abby (The Coldest Day), Chiaki, Lara, Alodia
- Ads/Campaigns: Montblanc (Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand), Pond's (Indonesia), Sony (China), Lancome (Singapore)
- Editorials/Advertorials: Harper's Bazaar Singapore x6, Gothic Lolita Bible x4, SingaporeBrides.com x3, Elle Singapore

Resolutions (i.e. things I wanna but will most likely end up not doing) for '10:
- Read More
- Learn driving (gah)
- Play go

Plans (i.e. things I wanna but do actually want to properly seen done) for '10:
- Release new photobook
- Solo exhibition in June
- Publications for CGHUB
- Do more personal work

Sometimes it feels like I hardly did anything for the year. Sometimes it feels like what I do is never enough. Sometimes I question my existence, but sometimes, I guess moments like these, when a year ends and I am summing all these stuff up... it seems that it's actually not that bad at all.

Before L died, he'd once said to me, 'People forget eventually. You too will, one day.'

And in my vehement defence of saying I'll always remember, I carved that into my heart.

Perhaps unbeknownst to me, maybe to prove it to him, that was when I decided that I want to be remembered somehow after my death, and leaving my art behind was a way of doing it. Even if it may all be gone one day, at least, there was the illusion.

But something changed within me this year. It suddenly dawned on me that it's alright to be forgotten. That it's fine if no one remembers me when I'm gone. That if I died tomorrow and none of you knew it, it's okay.

This realization made the purpose of my photography contradicted. If I didn't need this, why do I still create?

I was lost and almost a little depressed.

It lasted for a while, a long while or a short while, I can't be sure anymore.

And then the news came that my paternal grandmother passed away.

I visited her a year ago in Huainan. I remember her joy upon seeing me, her happiness and excitement when I showed her my book and the pride in her eyes when I told her about my work.

When I received word of her passing, every important, impacting memory from my childhood flashed before me.

The morning I refused to eat breakfast because there wasn't any eggs.

The lonely months when I was hospitalized and her being the only one who ever visited.

The days when we talked about money, and the people who could afford to have meat on the table for every meal.

And bringing me to piano lessons, my teacher telling me how it wasn't easy for such an old lady to travel back and forth all the time.

They said it wasn't easier for anyone, my mum was working hard somewhere, she was lonely too. But she was strong, she was strong for me. So even if it was difficult, even if it was painful, even if I was lonely and lost and hurting, I needed to work hard, I had to become a strong girl.

I cried that day.

And then I remembered.

I remembered the happiness and joy I had in my heart when viewing beautiful things. It took the pain away, even if only for a moment.

I remembered the love and passion and devotion that bled from artists through their art; the awe I had at how things could ever be so breathtaking and beautiful that they soothed the heart.

I remembered -- it was a place I found solace in, and loved.

And that is enough for me for now, to keep creating.

Rainy days have a way of getting to me sometimes, sorry for the angst.


Ana Nogueira said...

Your words are inspiring. You're speaking with your heart, which is a thing that I admire, and I wish I had such ability.

I'm sorry for your grandmother :((

Andi Popescu said...

I hope you get to do all those things you wish for this year!
Also, condolences for your grandmother.

chik said...

It's not like my affirmation will do anything...but I'm personally very impressed at what you've accomplished so far. I guess that feeling is heightened because you are so young and close to my age. Trust me...you have so much to be proud of.

I was sifting through a photography magazine a few days ago in Wal-Mart...and guess what I saw? None other than your photo for the Wacom campaign!

I also wish to express my condolences at your grandma's passing. I know I love mine dearly..and it's the grandma's who always seem to be there for you when you really need them.

Happy New Year as well!

Bottle Bell Photography said...

Beautiful narrative. All of it. x
You be safe, and warm, and happy in the new year. You have a very lovely kindness that truly radiates (through your work and outside of it ;)

ash x

Junshien said...

Your pictures can make the heart break.

Sometimes, your writing does the same too.

That's beautiful.

lovelikenew said...

you are beautiful too :)

a real work of art.

thanks for sharing your craft, it's so inspiring. i bought your softcover photography collection recently, and i can't wait to receive it in the mail!!!

keep believing in your art.

ps. i love this post and the title of your book "something beautiful"

totally relevant :)
(we need to be reminded that there's still beautiful things in life, everyday, and the ones who can appreciate them are blessed abundantly)

God bless !

RaniaM said...

That was very honest and touching. I wish you all the best Jingna.

kx said...



Tara said...

beautifully written.
I've always loved how you see things and how you put that onto paper...as magically as your photos touch a person's heart...your descriptions of events and insights truly touch a soul..

i could so relate to how you feel about a year passing by and how people forget...this narrative flows like a fairy tale..i love happy endings :) Have an amazing year!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother ... mine passed away too in May.

I was devastated and cried for a while. I never felt such sudden sorrow, because deep down I always wished I could talk to her in a normal idle conversation ... She spoke in a different dialect of Chinese so I could never understand her. I always wanted to ask her what her childhood was like, her favorite kind of rain, her favorite things, her first love.

But somehow as I look back, I think looking into her eyes, set against a beautifully aged face, were worth more than a thousand words that she could ever say to me, because they were so young, full of love, and brilliant and have seen so much, despite everything she went through back in China.

Your words reminded me of her.

Wishing you all the best. :-)

Yamabuki said...

Thank you for sharing so much of your life.

Your writing is very poetic.

Your thoughts about death are so caring

You have touched my heart.

Here is my recent poem about my own death:

"Don't listen to the poet
In his morning coffee there is a tear drop."

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

An Old Man's Grumblings


Is this all that I have left,
To talk of death and an old man's complaints?

Shouldn't I be dreaming of angels with their wings
Ready to bear me up on that long flight home?


Still of what use are these poems?
Will they ease my passing?

Or just crowd more life
Into my tired soul?


Yes my eyes still greet the moon.
With tobacco offerings

Daily rituals to calm these old bones
And warm my slowing heart.

Yet each night when falling asleep
I remember all my dreams of death


These poems you ask for
Are not what I really need.

But I'll not be here long
So I'll write them for you.

Scribed in blood to mark the seasons
In sacred circles of bone white chalk.


Now the years spin faster.
Waking me at 2 or 3 A.M.

To vex my nights
And Stir my pulse

With spirit messages for the living
Like the sun setting at dawn

From old to young
Against the flow of time.


I prefer the Bardo's living fire
Taking me into the light I crave.

Not for me the grave
With its stone walled musings.

Let my bones burn bright
like a cold full moon.

Silvery in clouded breath.
Let my burning flesh melt like snow.

Sending my footsteps back to the stars
and leave no tracks with my dying.

Dec 09

KCBW said...

I think that you did wonderfully on your end of the year meme. What a great reminder to yourself of your accomplishments. My greatest accomplishment was receiving your photobook so I'm very excited to hear you want to make another!

I understand your confusion on the contradiction in photography. But contradictions don't always have to live separately from each other I suppose.

Happy New Year!

Maynas Eric said...

All the best and continue to inspire others with your life.

You have some strong people in your life, your grandmother, your mother and a teacher who seem to taught you more than piano, the appreciation of loved ones.


There are people who watch you from afar too, watching your growth over the years every now and then is a blessing, for you have grown well and found your strengths early in life. Sometimes, not many people do and not many people will.


I imagine that your greatest strength is in your "Vision", seeing beyond what the eyes can see that triggers the inside of the mind. Being neat, clear in thoughts helps too.

May 2010 be a great year for you ahead Jingna, may you find what you are looking for in Life and may Life brings the experiences necessary to get it. :)


Shu Fen said...

the angst is quite all right.

i understand the feeling of nothing you do is ever enough, but sometimes you have to remember you're just around my age yet you are so much more accomplished than most of us at our age. take life easier, and enjoy it fully. :)

akukaonal said...

somehow i felt like crying as if its my grandma... condolence to u n families..

all d best... ^_^

dXc said...

ni hao. my condolences to you and your family. i read your previous entry and felt sorrow return to me as my father recently lost his mother, my grandmother =(

and thanks for sharing, everything. your thoughts, feelings, your art. you have quite a vision and talent that defines captivating.

i dont really know why i'm saying all this. i think i'm just jealous of your adventures and abilities =P. and especially of the food which u so deliciously presented. damn.

i'm done. thank you for your time =) happy new year!

Bella Kotak said...

I'm sorry about the death of your grandmother. It's always hard. You write so beautifully and with such honesty and openness.

Since I visit your blog regularly I feel as though I know you and can happily say that you inspire me to be better as I'm sure you have hundreds of individuals out there. You've touched so many lives without even realising it and I can honestly say that you Jingna will not be so easily forgotten.

Good luck for this year. I hope it is everything you want it to be and so much more!

B x

rginedav said...

Your story about your grandmother made me tear up, especially since it reminded me about my own grandmother during her final days. I'm really sorry to hear about your loss, but i'm really glad you were able to bring out something beautiful from it.

I think everybody feels the same way about their year's accomplishments; we're always wondering if we've done enough. It's okay to feel this way, because it always makes you hungry to do so much more in the future. You've had an amazing 2009 though, and I hope that you'll have an even more fruitful year ahead. (:

burialapplicant829 said...

Beautiful entry. Happy 2010, from a fan of your work.

cheryl said...


Anonymous said...

Sorry if the following might appear a bit inappropriate, but I want to let it out anyways^^;

This is the very reason why I adore GACKT still, although he changed so much; when looked close, he has not changed at all - or rather, you can still see where he came from.
People always find ways to complain and some even turn their back, that's ... just normal, I guess. Happens.
However, all I would demand or rather wish for would be that they try to not forget that they once felt something close to love for him, & that even though they have chosen another path to follow now, he once influenced them and pushed their backs a little.
It's surely also everything he is asking for.
His reason to create is in order to be remembered and helping others to find confidence and solace.

Pretty much think that those things are goals of just every artist.

Asuka111 said...

Sorry about your grandmother.

Hope you success in what you wish to do this year.
I'm looking forward to see your new work of art! :)

"Live like there is no tomorrow. Die like you are still alive" - V. Vajiramedhi

Amber said...

My condolences to you about your grandmother's passing. Mine just passed away too. Your entry made me tear a lot. It truly exudes a beautiful melancholic feel. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Saw your article on the morning Chinese papers today. It was an interesting read and the article was quite quirky. Love the last few paragraphs.

Hope your 2010 will be awesome, successful and smooth. Looking forward to your new photobook and your solo exhibition. Hopefully it'll be in Singapore. I'll definitely attend if it's in Singapore.

And...I always thought your photography as visual poetry for the soul. Hope you feel much better now.

With Love,

P.S: I can't set my mind to learn driving too. Bleh.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jingna,

you've achieved for yourself probably what half of the population can never achieve in their entire lifetime. Do be proud of yourself.

"The primary cause of unhappiness is not the situation, but your thoughts about it." ~ Eckhart Tolle

Have a good 2010!

Samantha Nandez said...

This last year has certainly been a wild ride for you, in both happy times and sad. I hope that you keep your passion alive, and remember all the great memories from your friends and family. Even the sad ones, for they help you learn and grow as a person.

I hope this next year for you is full of even greater things to come.

Boris said...

You're a true artist. You inspire me, and that's really something, considering I'm much older than you.

Keep inspiring us.

khimair said...

"And then I remembered.

I remembered the happiness and joy I had in my heart when viewing beautiful things. It took the pain away, even if only for a moment.

I remembered the love and passion and devotion that bled from artists through their art; the awe I had at how things could ever be so breathtaking and beautiful that they soothed the heart."

Beautifull and powerfull words.. thanks for this words. I love them.
This words are inpiration.

Jeanett Karin said...

thats a very honest and beautiful reason to keep creating :)

i am sorry for your loss

shi hao said...

Hello! Just happened to pop by. Your blog looks really different these days.
Play Go is on your list!
*Uber Surprised*

JewelKelvin said...

"I remembered the happiness and joy I had in my heart when viewing beautiful things. It took the pain away, even if only for a moment."

What a beautiful mind you have my dear. To be able to stay positive when face to face with sorrow and pain, I look up to you for that. Though sometimes I too understand how you feel that you maybe all alone in this vast land but remember we* are always here for you. Either for an ear to listen or an eye to view your continuesly exquisite work and well written posts, we* are always here for you.

So, here's to another good year for all of us :)

Jewel Ling