Motherland Chronicles #4 - The Waiting

Monday, February 25, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #4 - The Waiting

Photography: Jingna Zhang
Hair/Makeup: Lindsey Rivera
Model: Giuliana/Ford L.A.
Photo Assistant: Xun Chi
Outfit from Max Tan

Los Angeles, 2010

Week 4!! From the archives because no timeeeee. Can't believe I've even managed to keep up with this crazy schedule. I mean, weekly personal work posts, I haven't managed this since my first year! And that's like 7 years ago now. Allow me to be proud of myself please. .___.

I've to apparently block in "Off Day" in my calendar because I'm incapable of keeping track when the last time I took a day off was.

Also also, my new intern is starting this week!!! I can hopefully finally stop writing emails till 8pm before I can have dinner and start retouching. So looking forward.

Yana Shmaylova

Friday, February 22, 2013

Photography: Jingna Zhang
Hair: Linh Nguyen @ Kate Ryan
Makeup: Wendy Karcher @ Melbourne Artists Management
Model: Yana Shmaylova @ Marilyn NY
Photo Assistants: Tony Li, Deborah Baik

Yay dream team! Linh always does such amazingly beautiful hair it makes me weep.

There were some logistics problems prior to the shoot but we made it happen in the end, and once on set it was super easy to get into the groove. Great hair, beautiful makeup, super pro model, so important to work with a great team who can make you forget all your troubles and just focus on their awesomeness!

Also in case you missed my previous post, I'm thinking about doing a few short videos, and would like to know what part of my work or photography in general you'd like to hear me talk about!

And and! I'm also looking for cosplayers to shoot with. If you're in the NY area and interested please send me an email with your work thank you!

PS: Is anyone going to WPPI? I'm probably going to be there on the 12th/13th!

Motherland Chornicles #3 - Self Portrait with Flowers

Monday, February 18, 2013

I have no explanation for this. Even broke my 'sleep by 1am' resolution which I had been keeping to so well this year. Staying up till 5 to finish an assignment, almost made me feel like I was back in school. Haha. I'll probably have to use something from the archives for week 4, so tired. T_T 

Questions for me?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If I were to make videos, what part of my work or photography in general would you like to hear me talk about?

Would be great if you can be as specific as possible! :D

And many thanks to all who've sent in suggestions via Facebook and Twitter!

Motherland Chronicles #2 - Winterland Fairytales

Monday, February 11, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #2 - Winterland Fairytales

Photography/Model: Zhang Jingna
Headpiece by Julee M Clark

I love the headpiece so much~ Makes me feel like a princess :D

Wall of text for behind the scenes instead of photos coming up, recent updates can be found at bottom of post. Enjoy! 

Man, I don't know why, but I let Toby talk me into going into the snow storm that started on Friday for a self portrait.

I did it on the rooftop of my new apartment building, and dude, climbing the ladder in a long skirt with camera bag and backpack while trying to balance a choker used as headpiece on my forehead was not easy. Upon reaching the top, when I opened the latch to get up, it freaking slammed back onto my head because, woah, wind, not forgiving.

After wrestling with all of that for a while I was finally on the roof and properly getting hailed on, I figured I'd make it quick since it was about 15 minutes to sunset anyway.

So I set up, trying to find an angle, but just as I was getting into position the wind freaking blew my tripod over! With my camera on it!!! I was in such shock and so numbed from the cold that I didn't even feel a response at that time besides trying to stop it from rolling and falling off the rooftop. Cuz dude, that's my baby.

I didn't even get to consider that my camera would break because just, no, it couldn't be allowed happen. Thank god it seemed to be ok. And because I was half freezing to death without any jackets whatsoever, I simply strapped my camera bag to one of the tripod legs to weigh that setup down, and continued shooting and prayed very very hard that it was enough to hold.

Truthfully speaking, I was doubtful about whether I could get a usable shot at all. My hair covered my face half the time, and besides disentangling the stray hair from the headpiece, I had to sort out my dress and scarf but still make it look cool. And of course once I was done the wind would ruin it all over again. So it was no surprise that when I finally figured out a pose that I thought would work with the clothing and composition, my camera refused to take any more pictures. Outright refused to respond to anything.

I attempted to brush off ice from the camera and wipe the lens, and tried taking a couple shots again, but nope, no response at all. So sigh, dejected, it was pack up time. 

On the way down, I may or may not have torn the seam of my dress a little, I was cold enough to not care, but woah, when I finally made it back to my room, shivering, it dawned on me finally just how dangerous my little expedition was.

A little bit more and my camera could have flown off the roof, or it could simply have fallen over a second time and the lens completely shatter, or [insert a handful other terrible terrible but very likely scenarios]... Yeah.

It's probably just unreasonable to think I could have dealt with so many aspects of setting up for a self portrait in such extreme weather with almost no time, entirely on my own. I really should have had an assistant. -_-

But oh well, at least everything turned out okay in the end and I have a photo I like, which I even processed in the same evening! Score. I don't think I've processed a photo from a shoot on the same day since my first year, so it's a really awesome feeling actually.

And that's week 2! I hope you enjoyed my little story and sorry for the wall of text. If anything I hope it'd let you think twice about doing on location self portraits without assistance, or just try not to be too impulsive like I was. Haha. :D 

A quick update on the past week:

Moved into my new place with roommates the weekend before! Very nice space, I can't wait to start fitting it out for shooting.

Did an interview and was asked to talk about Motherland Chronicles, it put me in a good mood throughout, makes me super happy that the project is picking up some interest. :D

I'm also starting to receive new jewelry and props from collaborators, some specifically designed for MLC, so I'm very excited about the upcoming weeks' shoots.

And NYFW! Was fun. Bumped into familiar faces and enjoyed myself, hope I'll get to go to more of the major shows next season.

But those very same days! LUNA SEA was in Singapore! The whole week my Facebook feed was flooded with updates about them and I was so sad I couldn't be there. Sugizo said the band loved Singapore though, so maybe they would return in the future, or I can just wait for them to come to thhe US again? :D

I've got a big meeting coming up this week! Wish me luck please. <3 br=""> 
Last but not least I'd like to wish everyone a super duper Happy Lunar New Year! Have a good one and enjoy! I miss my pineapple tarts and nian gao and lo hei and all that awesomesauce mandarin oranges. But I do have some homemade dumplings from grandma to tide me over, and Gundam Night today! Time to build me some Master Grade Wing Zeroes.

Motherland Chronicles #1- The First

Monday, February 4, 2013

Motherland Chronicle - The First

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Linh Nguyen
Makeup: Wendy Karcher
Model: Yana Shmaylova/Marilyn NY
Photo assistants: Tony Li, Deborah Baik

Mask by Casin dei Nobili
Feather headdress by Zhang Jingna

This image marks the beginning of Motherland Chronicles. There is only one rule that's truly restrictive for this project -- to keep to the deadlines and submit a picture a week. 

I can do anything I want and dig up unprocessed images from my massive archives, and I plan to do that maybe as soon as week two, but I thought for the very first post, I really wanted it to be sort of impressive and mysterious; lay down the foundation of what this will be, to remind myself what I sought to do with this -- explore things I've always wanted to do and do them instead of putting them off for 'some day'. 

Behind the scenes/making of:

I spent a lot of time trying to think of possible themes and came up with nothing, then I combed through my archives to mark images I could process in case I couldn't plan something in time, but the inspiration came eventually at a rather unlikely place during a sourcing trip -- a Halloween costume store.

Once I saw masks on display, I remembered the beautiful one I bought in Venice last year and knew right away that it would be the anchor for the mysterious and solemn mood I wanted for marking the beginning of MLC. (So "how do I get inspired"? -- go out! :D)  

When I first bought this I had a very clear image of what I wanted to do, but the final shot is a different interpretation of my vision, so I think I may revisit this again at a later time. 

Also when I saw the masks at the Halloween store I thought it would be great if I could have feathers on mine too! So I set out to make a headpiece myself. Bought a bunch of feathers and also gold and dark brown paint to match the mask's own colouring.

Gold paint is so pretty @_@ 

I haven't done DIY stuff in so long, it was so fun and I got to use a glue gun for the first time! My cosplayer friend Aku was appalled I didn't know of its existence when I stayed with her last year, so when I needed adhesive for the headpiece I figured it would be my redeeming moment. And omg it's like godsend, except the glue smelled bad and gave me a headache. T_T

This is how it's supposed to look! Except I only thought to hold it up against my face with the headpiece tucked into the mask when checking proportions and placement, and totally forgot that I'll need to tie the mask itself on the model while shooting.

Only when I got on set did I realize this positioning won't be possible unless the tie string goes over the feathers, which omg is utter fail Jingna! So to my dismay we could only stick it in at the corner instead, but in the end it worked out alright, with the tip of the feathers aligned along the edge the hair, though I totally had a very despairing OTL moment.

Our pretty model Yana getting her hair done by hair wizard Linh Nguyen (who did the luscious braids in my Bazaar Vietnam Nu Renaissance Aristocrat shoot). 

The final shot pained me to pick. I was undecided between two pictures and went to a dozen artist friends for advice, who gave me very evenly divided choices, making it all the harder for me to choose lol.

In the end I went with this quieter, more classical looking shot because I think it represents me just a tad more than the other seemingly more impactful piece. But who knows, maybe I can't resist and will end up processing that photo eventually. In the mean time I hope you can like this all the same. :D

Also would like to thank everyone who's given their support for this project, you know how nervous I'd been and how much I'd been crying over how much I was worrying. Here's on to next week! :D

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