Elle Singapore - Swept Away

Monday, November 22, 2010

Swept Away
Elle Singapore, Dec 2010

Fashion Direction: Daphne Chen
Photography: Zhang Jingna

Photography Assistant: Karin Xiao
Styling Assistant: Rueban S
Hair: Ken Hong/Evolve Salon
Makeup: Elaine Décor
Nails: OPI/Forum Galleria OPI Centre
Model: Sasha Luss/Ave

This shoot was done just before I left Singapore. Daphne was a sweetheart to work with and it was really a great experience. We clicked right away and I found it super easy to suggest ideas for the concept. We also made the effort to cast models and do fabric shopping together. :D

I took some behind the scenes video but I have too little patience and knowledge when it comes to editing, and StarCraft II seems like such a better way to spend my time in comparison, so maybe next time~~ :D

Designaré Time: Departures by the hour - 24 hours in Lijiang according to fashion photographer Zhang Jingna

Friday, November 19, 2010

Departures by the hour, 24 hours in Lijiang according to fashion photographer Zhang Jingna
Designaré Time, 2010
Editors: Brian Kwek & Judy Cheong
Photography: Zhang Jingna

I surprised myself contributing a travel story for the inaugural issue of Designaré Time. Who'd have thought? XD

Designaré Time is an annual publication spun off from the main Designaré title, and seriously, the layout for this spread is so nice I almost couldn't recognize the images to be my photography when I first saw the PDF haha.

Isn't Lijiang so beautiful? The whole time this year I kept contemplating moving there to live for some months just to be away from the cities. But wanting to shoot in L.A. won out eventually, thou I stay faraway from L.A., enough that it's quiet too anyway hehe.

Anyway so if you run a travel magazine and need to fly someone for pictures please remember me~!!! :D :D

Talk at LCAD was great yesterday. The projector had some issues in the start but it was an enjoyable experience overall and the people and campus were wonderful.

Q&A was fun, I talked about the experience of shooting The Coldest Day and everyone had a good laugh at how stupid I was. XD They also have a small but awesome library with amazing selections, I met a girl who liked my work when we were there. She had a bunch of Yoshitaka Amano's artbooks in her hands so I related my experience of visiting Amano's home in Tokyo, it was amazing to relive those memories again.

My new editorial for Elle Singapore is out! 

PS: I also just realized my Lijiang Part II entry never came... /facepalm. One day...

Talk at LCAD this Thursday

Monday, November 15, 2010

I will be giving a talk at Laguna College of Art and Design this Thursday afternoon. If you're on campus please feel free to drop by. :)

For those back at home in Singapore, you can tune in to Channel 5 for The Big Shot, premiering Nov 23rd, 9pm, to catch my judging appearance.

Also made an update to the previous post, please take a look if you haven't seen it. Thank you everyone. <3

Sometimes I just really want it to stop hurting.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The accident had me thinking really hard about some things that had been on my mind for a long time.

It feels like the depression from my teenage years pretty much just melted into a very long and dreary quarter-life crisis that seems to go on forever.

I try really hard to do my best, to hopefully keep up with my promises and live for the ones who're no longer here. But sometimes I really feel like I'm not strong enough to go that far.

Sometimes when I look back, it feels like my life is merely an accumulation of running-aways. I left RGS because I couldn't fit in, because I was used to excelling in primary school and in a school full of girls made for the Ivy League, I was far from hardworking or smart enough in comparison.

My god-sister won her Olympics gold at 16. For so long I yearned for something close. I trained hard for air rifle, much harder than my peers at my best times. And much more than photography, I did know for certain that I was more than talented, prodigious or whatever they called it, I reached scores people took years to reach within months, I knew I was born for air rifle.

So for those years my mum and I struggled against the association which wanted me to do bad no matter what, just because I was the coach's daughter, just because I did well, just because I was talented, just because my stepdad wanted to rein my mum in.

I thought I was strong, I thought I could hold out till my moment of glory to prove them wrong and be saved. I tried so hard, but I was so wrong.

There was no one to save us when I won my gold at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships. What came after can only be called fate's idea of a bad joke—people ganged up to sabotage my mum in attempt to get her jailed for life. They lied and coerced students to sign letters of events that never happened. She was in and out of the police station every other morning.

We lived those months in constant fear. I repeatedly dreamt about my stepdad's threat to hurt or kill my sister if my mum didn't lend him money in visuals too vivid and bloody for comfort—we were always being hunted, I would always try to hide her away. And he would grab hold of my arm and carve the flesh off my skin as I watched and it felt too real and too horrifying.

Whatever last bits of strength I might have had left from those earlier years of pain left me. I broke. And then it was a downward spiral into nothingness.

Despite being trained by the best coaches with the sincerest intentions with the best teams in China and Korea those six years, I failed.

No matter the circumstances it's all excuses when it's over. I couldn't climb back up. I was messed up. In searching of something else to focus on I turned my attention to photography which was then only a hobby. The worse I was doing in air rifle the more I tried to run away from it because there were no expectations for me to fail in photo-taking.

I left school again one semester short of finishing my fashion diploma because I still didn't fit in, the school was being retarded, and because people hated me for doing well when I was always away too often for rifle. Lame really, couldn't never fit in.

Just fail after fail after fail after fail.

No matter what I do I'm just never strong enough.

And the more people tell me how amazing I am at photography the more I fear how I'd just fail and not be able to go on.

The more I think I'd gotten over their deaths the more the guilt of being alive haunts me. 

Some nights I remember Noah telling me the stories from his village the traumas from his childhood the freezing winters we spent together and how much more fortunate I am than what we were as children.

Some nights my mind won't stop replaying the image of L's fractured sprawling body, the blood, his broken head and all the brains that were spilled on the grounds, it hurt so so much to think.

Some nights I remember M crying and she was like the sun and she never cried, but when we talked about H's death she cried and cried and cried and we were only twelve and they used to be so close and I knew how it hurt and it hurt me too.

Some nights I remember grandma visiting me and the empty hospital corridors and how lonely I'd felt ever since my first memory.

Some nights I remember the first time I tried to stab myself with a pair of scissors and how I wished that process wouldn't hurt so I could just go and despite being four I knew I'd never be fixed.

Some nights I remember being told I wasn't wanted and I think about how little I do and how much I fail and I really wish I didn't exist.

Some nights I wonder how everyone else copes with everyone else's deaths and at the same time I don't want to know, because if I don't hurt and don't remember then their deaths and existence would be lost and that would be too sad. 

Sometimes I just really want it to stop hurting but I know it never will.

And no I'm not suddenly being emo, I'd just always tried to hold it in for fear of being a negative influence, for fear of being judged. But the people who want to judge will judge either way and people who don't get it will never do, and the people who talk without consideration for others' feelings will continue to be that way, so whatever.

Sometimes people talk like I don't have feelings, but I'm only human like you and probably more emotional, and I can't be treated like a hero and be expected to be perfect because I am not. I'm just someone broken trying to live a little bit of life in this world and it's so hard because it's as if there is no place for me anywhere.

Sometimes all the expectations really weigh and I seriously don't think I'm that great or amazing, and whatever I do it never seems to ever be enough because it's never enough because there's still so much farther to go and I feel like I'll never have the strength to get there, because my life had been nothing but a spiral of fail and hurt and pain.

Sometimes I just really want it to stop hurting.



I just want to say thank you everyone for the emails, messages and comments.

I feel very touched, very loved.

You have no idea how long and often those thoughts have plagued me, how much your words and reassurances and understandings mean.

Sometimes there is no room and nowhere to say anything else next to a piece of work, and it's so easy to be taken granted for to be assumed to be judged at and it's so lonely and painful to deal with along with everything else.

Your words and support really made me feel that I'm not as much a... failure as I believed. Made me feel that, even if just for a little bit, that those failures were okay.

I read every single comment, email and message received, and I cried reading many of them. Thank you, thank you thank you thank you. I'll get better and be a stronger girl.

Sunday's Accident

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On the drive home from San Gabriel after dinner on Sunday night my roommates and I met with an accident.

I was in the backseat so I didn't see what was happening. I only know we were turning out onto the main road one moment and the next there was a loud bang as we smashed into another car, and the air filled itself with chemicals and smoke and the seat belt strapped so hard into my body it hurt and in that instant I was grateful it held me from crashing into the seat in front.

The smoke got worse and for a moment that felt too long, no one moved. I thought we were going to die.

It became painful to breathe, I thought my friends were hurt, or worse dead. I thought the car would go up in flames, I couldn't see through to anything except the cracked windshield. I thought maybe I was going to be trapped inside because it was happening too fast and I would be out before finding the strength and solution to get out.
And then that frozen moment was over. As if in a dream the guys opened their doors, the seat in front of me was pushed forward and I climbed out for air.

The front of the car was a wreck, liquids were streaking towards the sides of the road. The other car had pulled over to the side after the crossing. We went over and in the backseat there was a baby in a carrier wailing.

We hesitantly approached the mother to ask if the child was fine because for all we know something terrible could have happened to such a fragile body. Praise all the gods out there no one was badly injured. I'm so grateful we are all alive.

The moments in the car made me think it almost regrettable for me to be dying then. It made me regret how little I'd done with my life, how sad I'd barely done anything enough, how disappointing I'd started taking the existence of others for granted again.

Sometimes, it feels as if death doesn't want me to forget how easily it can take everything away.

Before the Tide Comes

Monday, November 1, 2010

Before the Tide Comes
Fashion Gone Rogue Exclusive, 7 Oct 2010

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Styling: Mildred von Hildegard
Hair: Chloe Doan & Kelsey Petersen
Makeup: Angela Peralta
Model: Denise Mullins/Photogenics
Photo assistant: Conan Thai
All outfits from Mother of London, Long Parachute Dress from All Saints

I'd been in love with Mother of London's designs for a long, long, long, long time.

Being able to photograph pieces from the label was like a dream come true.

When I visited Mildred's studio in L.A. I swear I wanted to raid the place. Her agreeing to attend the shoot and offering to help with styling was an extremely sweet gesture and she's just sooooo awesome.

Around the time when I was planning to shoot this my Long Parachute Dress from All Saints arrived and I thought it would be perfect to pair with some of her individual tops. I know I'm not the only one who thinks the particular coordination turned out totally Edward-Scissorhand-ish.

We were also super lucky to get Denise from Photogenics who moved amazingly well and was an utter delight to work with. It was so smooth that the photoshoot itself took lesser than three hours, probably my shortest ever for so many images.

Also thanks to Angela for the wonderful makeup, Chloe and Kelsey for putting up with my hair demands, and Conan being the ever wonderful friend and assistant.

High quality images can be found on Fashion Gone Rogue.

Behind the scenes photos from footage by David C.P. Chan.

I guess this is my sort-of Halloween post because StarCraft II took over my weekend and I didn't celebrate at all. Felt so bad for the kids who came knocking on our door cuz we had no candies! Sighhh ;_;

Angela Peralta touching up Denise's makeup
Mother of London's super designer Mildred von Hildegard

PS: Please pardon the hideous sunhat. Got it at Walmart the morning I shot with Sugizo because nothing else was open!