Exhibition: A Glimpse at Photo Vogue

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Last Thursday I was in Milan for the opening of "A Glimpse at Photo Vogue" exhibition. I attended it with fellow photographer Kirsty Mitchell and her makeup artist Elbie Bayley. So happy to be reunited with Kirsty after WPPI in Vegas in February! Her presence also turned out to be quite vital, you shall soon find out why. But first check out some pictures :D


Galleria Carla Sozzani was an amazingly beautiful venue. Besides the gallery, the complex also held a cafe, bookstore, and boutique with killer fashion. The artists and works on display at the exhibition were diverse and all incredibly stunning. I'm very honored to be part of the show, once again thank you to the team at Photo Vogue and Vogue Italia for putting this together. ♥ 

Front of the exhibition
My work! :D
Someone checking out fellow Chinese photographer Kiki Xue's work, on display next to mine.

Really like this shot because they looked so contemplative. Mhmm.
Is that water? Yes that's water.
I had to explain a few times how the self portrait in water was taken, it was pretty fun seeing people's reactions when I told them about directing my assistant for element arrangements with a tiny mirror. :D

Crowd at the opening.
Ohai. Picture courtesy of Photo Vogue.
Cute message in the guest book, thank you!
View of the courtyard and cafe downstairs
And a wide shot!



I got to meet fanboys and fangirls, and strangers who didn't know of my work who loved my pictures. It was awesome.

I also fainted because I forgot I was allergic to alcohol.

Dun dun dunnn.  

You'd think for how much time I used to spend at a wine shop back in Singapore with people who loved champagne, that knowledge ought to have been ingrained in me by now. But NOPE, total brain fail.

There were servers walking around with drink trays at the show and at one point I thought "hey water!" because it was really warm and I was really thirsty. But It was white sparkling. I drank it anyway without really thinking. 

I'd always reacted badly to the bubbly stuff. At our dinners, people would usually make sure I didn't end up sampling too much, because I'd been known to disappear into the bathroom for half hour periods and coming out white as a sheet. But of course I would conveniently forget it all thinking surely a tiny bit couldn't hurt.

So anyway, a tiny shot glass of it, and half an hour later I started to feel the beginning of something unpleasant. At first I actually thought that I was getting tired because standing in heels was tiring, and it was crowded and too warm. So I headed towards the entrance for some fresh air. By the time I found Kirsty and Elbie there I'd realized that nooo it was my alcohol allergy.

I attempted sitting at at window sill across from the exhibition title wall, hoping for it to pass.

I was firmly in denial and waiting for it to go away.

Then I started started having trouble sitting up and, well, denial is bad for you Jingna.

The bookstore was right next to the gallery, just a few steps ahead, so I walked over and asked one of the store ladies if I could sit at the chair near the entrance, she said okay.

Then it started getting horrible and I was like omg I need to throw up for this to be over but I can't do it here, right in front of a bookstore and gallery! I hated the idea of inconveniencing people and that would be like, totally the epitome of it. Sometimes I'm so proud of my Asian upbringings. Priorities.

As I continued slowly dying inside I also realized how I super needed the bathroom. When it got bad like that, it was always a combination of cold sweat + vomit + stomachache + diarrhea + bonelessly weak + fainting spells. Ugh.

So basically I started melting onto the table next to me when the weakness hit and I knew the only way it was gonna go was get worse. Kirsty or Elbie, my savior! Managed to get me some water and a plastic bag from the store girl, who needed to open the door behind me for it which involved herculean efforts on my part to move the chair, but I made it. No throwing up over super expensive chairs and tables and books. I'd never been prouder of being able to move a chair.

Before I sat down I'd asked if there was a bathroom, the girl had told me downstairs, but because I knew all I could possibly accomplish was roll down the steps, I tried biding my time hoping to muster up some energy, but obviously it wasn't gonna happening. (Denial is bad.) Then at some point I think they finally realized just how severe it actually was and someone said if I could walk a bit, I could use the office bathroom at the back of the store on the same floor. I was like omg THANK YOU SO MUCH and I'M SO SORRY but THANK YOU SO MUCH. 

I stumbled across the store, leaning down on a table once halfway in the middle, telling Elbie when she asked if I needed a hand that I was totally okay making it on my own, like pft, why would I need someone to hold me to walk!? And promptly collapsed at the door to the office. Very nice.

I made it eventually, and couldn't be more thankful that it all happened within time for me to do all the things I had to do in the bathroom, without me having to inconvenience anyone or the store itself too much. And the bathroom was so blissfully clean I could do my super weak and fainting thing on the floor without feeling grossed out much afterwards. I know that's kind of ew, but what to do, dumb of me to forget, consequences in life and all that.

I'm just super glad it happened in the last half hour of the day and that I made it home in one piece.

Exciting show opening story I know. So proud of myself. For the exhibition. Totally.


Here's a pic with aforementioned shot glass:

Look at that tiny thing. Bane of my existence.

And although I just spent 800 words describing my alcohol allergy reaction, be assured that the majority of the time was spent in fantastic company. It's also made me miss doing solo shows. I was asked about Angel Dreams in a recent interview and it reminded me just how long it's been (3 years). I hope Motherland Chronicles will do well so I can have an excuse and a body of work to hold another exhibition. :D

One last look of my images at the show:

Celosia
Porcelain
Motherland Chronicles #7 - Self Portrait in Water
The Coldest Day


Once again thank you so much everyone for your kindness and support, and all those who came down as well, it was lovely meeting you! Love you all.



If any of you are in or near Milan and want to see the exhibition, it is running until August 10th:

Address: Galleria Carla Sozzani, 10 Corso Como, Milan
Hours: Everyday 10:30 am - 7:30 pm; Wednesday - Thursday 10:30 am - 9:00 pm

6 comments :

Unknown said...

I've been following you since highschool, it's great to see how far you've come in life! Keep doing what you love!

Giugiz said...

Here again, it was lovely to meet you :D

And when I realized that I've been following you since high school too, then university period (ended 2 yrs ago)..wow, time flies and you've gone so far!!

Congratulations and I'll tell everyone here I know to go to visit it ;) ("there is this amazing photographer you have to see, named Zhang Jingna")

Hug,

Giulia

Tatyana said...

So sorry that you felt so bad... :(

but thanks again for your great works! I was there last weekend, came specially from Zurich to see your and Kirsten's works! You, girls, are amazing! :) Very big inspiration!

All the best and hugs,
Tatyana

Michelle said...

Omigod your alcohol allergy symptoms are exactly like mine!! I call it "Alcohol Sickness", but it's actually called Alcohol Flush Syndrome. I've never met anyone who got it as bad as me. My sister gets a bit red, but can still drink. I go bright red and blotchy all down my body, dizzy, nauseous, weak, sweaty, and at its worst ave felt the blood draining out of my head and my vision black out. I have found that regular bikram yoga seems to help, now the effect when i drink alcohol is a lot more predictable and the hot yoga practice seems to help deal with the symptoms of the alcohol flush syndrome without actually curing it. Wow. I am ridiculously and weirdly excited that someone else in the world gets it as bad as me. Sorry for the long comment :D Love your work ;)

Anonymous said...

Congratz for your exhibition! You're destined for greatness^^
And ps: I totally have the same alcohol allergy, it's very inconvenient isn't it? Lol

丹丹 said...

@Michelle Also super-excited alcohol allergy happens to somebody else! TWO somebody else's! I'll have to give bikram a shot -- I've had put up with it for a while and it's only gotten worse as I've avoided alcohol @_@ I can't even have kombucha or hard cider anymore