Motherland Chronicles #8 - Underwater

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #8 - Underwater

Photography/Model: Jingna Zhang
Assistant: Abby Lim

I had a shot all planned out last week, and then for some reason I dug this up instead.

I'm not sure I can explain my obsession with water lately, it's like a terrible craving I can't control and I just keep being drawn to all my old pictures with water in them. It's crazy.

This was taken the first time I went to Lijiang. Abby and I stayed at Banyan Tree, there was an open-air jacuzzi in the yard of our villa, and because I can't resist doing shoots wherever I go, even on a true holiday, I did this.

In other news, you will soon see the result of my Fujiwara Kaoru-inspired shoot from late last year. Both the pic and the influences it has on my fashion work so far this year. I'm quite pleased with myself for it haha.

And last but not least, packages incoming for Motherland Chronicles! Here's a hint.

New Interviews: AERIS, SLR Lounge

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Yay new press stuff!

First one's an interview for AERIS Magazine, conducted by Yinsey Wang, who first interviewed me back in 2011 for Cambridge University's student newspaper Varsity.

I haven't been feeling up for interviews for a while now, amidst all the moving and busy schedules, it's really difficult to find time; but Yinsey always has such good questions that when we have our interviews I feel like I'm just having a pleasant chat rather than being asked the same things I've already gave answers to 500 years ago. :D

In this article I talked about Motherland Chronicles, inspirations, moving to New York, how I work, and being Chinese.

Check out the full interview here:

The 2nd one is kind of a feature, with a video of me hanging out with Von Wong, Kirsty Mitchell and Renee Robyn at WPPI.

Check out the article here:

And Youtube video here (where all I do is giggle, basically)

There are a couple other things coming up but I figured I'll post them a bit at a time so it's not too overwhelming. I really enjoyed my time at WPPI, and the interview with AERIS I love. Hope you guys like it!

Motherland Chronicles #7 - Self Portrait in Water

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Motherland Chronicles 7 - Self Portrait in Water

Photography: Jingna Zhang
Photo Assistant: Ngoc Vu

Wow this shoot. I don't even know where to begin. It was... tedious, but there's nothing quite as satisfying as laboring a bit for what you love.

I get asked on how to take or set up for self portraits, so here's a little on behind the scenes for this shot. It's pretty similar to how I take self portraits normally, just a little (a lot) more work.

I got a kiddy pool for the shoot because it's just kind of too limiting space-wise (and dangerous) in teh bath. But the pool I got turned out larger than necessary, then we had to forget to get a hose, so filling it up to just a quarter took Ngoc and I an hour of ferrying water via containers around the house. (Emptying it was worse, it was like never-ending scooping T_T)

AND IT WAS SO COLD. We turned the heat up super high but it was still freezing because the heater is all the way in the kitchen and so the living room remained super cold. T_T Thankfully Ngoc was there, and she was able to fetch me hot water every once in a while to keep the water temperature from dropping off to too cold. But the few times I shivered in the water though, my mind kept going back to the 1001 shoots where I tortured my models in various situations of cold before. I AM SO SORRY. You know I love you all.

The whole setup for this shoot took about an hour to arrange on top of the water-filling. It was a really slow process because I needed to gauge where to position things, then take a shot to see how it looked on camera, then rearrange and repeat.

The camera was mounted on top of my tripod, held at a really precarious angle because with its legs fully opened, the 70-200 is just a tad too close for the nearest focal length (ugh). So we taped 2 bottles of softdrinks to one of the legs to help keep it steady. And hooray!! No camera falling over this time! (Just once almost.)

Except I dropped my phone into the pool while trying to do light check. Gah. Thankfully after immediately powering off and a heater and 2 nights in a bag of rice it seems to work fine now. Why do all my self portrait shoots include equipment accidents. D:

Anyway so, hooked up to the camera were my laptop for tethering so I can see the screen, and also sync cord for the flash because I was using the hot-shoe for wireless shutter release.

I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted the shot to look like so it was just getting the lighting and framing right, then populating the shot with flowers and getting my hair in place.

The original idea was to have my hair flowing downwards, but turns out it was a bit too short to stay around my collarbone and just keeps falling behind my shoulders instead. I tried moving them to the side which had a really nice effect that looked like painted windswept movements, but I couldn't get the framing right because I had to keep moving while trying to pose and not crash into my tripod and press the shutter so... change of plans.

Mirror time! I would check it for placement of things and direct Ngoc on how to arrange my hair and the flowers. And after a dozen or so stop-starts this was it.

We started the shoot around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and finished packing up around close to 9pm at night. I don't think I've ever spent so long on just one photo, but it was certainly an interesting experience. Makes me itch to do more shots in water because now I think I can do better and just want to explore more things overall. But ahhhh the pain of filling it up, cleaning up, the cold! Maybe when it starts getting warmer. 

But I mean, look at this, isn't the way water catches light amazingly beautiful? Totally going to have more water-related photos in the future.


Motherland Chronicles #6 - Alli in Wonderland

Monday, March 11, 2013

Photography/Styling: Jingna Zhang
Hair & Makeup: Lindsey Rivera
Model: Alli Cripe @ Photogenics
Photo Assistants: Matthew Chretien, Conan Thai

I shot this in 2010 when I first decided to start on my 2nd photobook. Which, of course, went on permanent hiatus because, life. Since I hope to compile the pieces I'm putting out for Motherland Chronicles as a new book now, I figure it'd be apt to add this to the collection.

I'm secretly quite impressed with myself for not posting this for so long, it's one of my favorite shoots, but I guess the process of a difficult selection helped, there were so many beautiful pictures from this set.

Follow the Motherland Chronicles project on Facebook.


Updating from Irvine! (Ironically where this photo was taken.) Touched down yesterday and got to hang out with Toby and my fellow staff from Infinity Seven. Today is gonna be a day of StarCraft awesomeness! Blizzard campus and meeting up with friends I haven't seen in a long while, happiness~

Tomorrow I'm off to Vegas, the day after, back to New York, and on Friday a shoot for Harper's Bazaar Vietnam. Week of non-stop excitement! I'll even get lots of reading time during travel, yayyy.

Motherland Chronicles #5 - The Fifth

Monday, March 4, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #5

Photography: Jingna Zhang
Makeup: Fumiaki Nakagawa
Model: Kristi Wilson @ Q Management
Photo Assistants: Ngoc Vu, Bitna Kim, Tiffany Liu 

Headpiece and choker by Harlequin Romantique
Gold necklace by nOir Jewelry

Cuz, you know, one can never have too much Amano influence in their work. :D 

Been so busy shooting and producing. I want a good solid day off with 0 work :( 

Managed to squeeze in time and watch Guilty Crown while retouching photos though. The first half is like a mishmash of all the popular animes of late 1990 to early 2000's, then suddenly it's like the writer fell in love with Game of Thrones and decided IT'S KILLING TIME! And my fragile child heart whimpered as characters started dying one after another, like, woah. Was pretty cool in the end I guess, I wish I could read books while retouching. ._. 
Going to Heart of the Swarm launch event in Irvine this weekend!! Thank you so much Blizzard and Day9 for the invite, I'm so excited!!! :3