Motherland Chronicles #25 - Raven Girl

Friday, July 26, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #25 - Raven Girl

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Germaine Persinger
Photo Assistants: Ngoc Vu, Ernie Chang

Feather dress from Xiaolin by Julia Chew
Necklace by Harlequin Romantique
Backdrop from Savage Universal

Blog photo credits:
Work-in-progress of dress provided by Julia Chew 
Behind-the-scenes by Ernie Chang

At the beginning of Motherland Chronicles I made a few posts calling for designers and models to collaborate with on the project. Julia was one of a number of very talented people who reached out (and she's only 18!), offering her collection for me to shoot if I wanted. 

Amidst her designs there was a feather top that I was immediately in love with, and so I asked if she would be open to customizing something exclusively for the project... and she said yes! 

I went over her designs and pointed out things I liked from her existing pieces, then sent some references and suggestions on what would look good for what I had in mind for the photo. She came back to me with a sketch of the design and her plan for the dress in terms of materials a couple days later.

And then it was madness in getting the dress done.

1000+ feathers and a few months later it arrived in my mail.

The finished feather dress

It took me another 2 months before I found Germaine to model for the picture. 

And then of course because my shoots can never be completely smooth-sailing, Germaine fainted on set. Ahahahaha. /shot

Look at all that pretty curls before we fluffed it :D
So I shoot in my apartment and use the living room as a home studio. Because of how much I was travelling I thought perhaps I wouldn't be shooting as much at in NY this summer, and it'd be fine if we don't buy an AC cuz Motherland pictures are always single shots and don't take very long. 

Junya's probably thinking, "Jingna stop asking me to do 50 options and make up your mind!"
And so of course once I was on set I only focused on the shoot only and kind of forgot to feed everyone food and water. :( Plus the dress had a corset bodice underneath so it must have been pretty tight on top of being really warm in the studio with no AC.

Towards the end of the shoot Germaine was like "Um can I have some water..." and then before any of us could react she started to lean back looking like she was going to sit down, but promptly went supine on the floor like sleeping beauty in all her gorgeousness and head of hair. 

We were like omg omg oh crap are you okay!? And she was out for a little bit longer than I expected so I panicked a little for those very long, stretched seconds (it was maybe 5-10 seconds, but I'd thought she'd immediately come to). 

When she regained consciousness she looked a bit lost and asked "Oh hi was I out for long?" and after the phew and water we all started laughing and commenting on how gracefully she fell hahaha. 

I bought an AC immediately after that. :( 

Goethe's Sämmtliche Werke!
I like adjusting details on set personally to get things perfect. And Harlequin Romantique necklace!

All in all besides the incident it was a great shoot and I really enjoyed working on the picture. I'm super happy and can't gush enough about Julia's dress, the necklace from Harlequin Romantique (which I used as headpiece for MLC #2), the Monsoon collapsible backdrop from Savage Universal (used in MLC #12, #18, #21 and a few others), and the Goethe book I bought in Toronto a few years ago, which I just knew would come in as a beautiful piece of prop one day. Ahh it's perfect.

Toby's picture of the week also features Raven Girl telling a giant baby (and I mean GIANT) stories from the Goethe book. But creepy picture is creepy.

In other news, we're hitting the half year mark for Motherland Chronicles next week! Can you believe it!? I can't believe we lasted this long. Like, seriously, I've never been so consistent in my life (besides air rifle practice and my time in primary school, probably). 

I kind of want to do something uber special for it but unfortunately I'm going to Pennsic and even with a new shoot I might not have time to retouch the picture in time. :( 

Sigh so many sad faces in a blog post, but you can tell I'm pretty darn happy right? I can't wait to get Kickstarter for the book going. If only I can find the time to sit down and look through our video footage sighhh. Well soon, we're almost done designing the MLC logo!! :D 

And! Half year (almost)! Hooray!!

Motherland Chronicles #24 - Alodia

Monday, July 22, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #24 - Alodia

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Model: Alodia Gosiengfiao
Hair: James Thomas
Makeup: Lindsey Rivera
Photo Assistants: Julia Wang, JoEllen Elam

Lace top: Mother of London
Skirt: Firefly Path
Headdress: Bubbles And Frown
Studio: Pillar Box Studios

Got to shoot with Alodia again after 2 years~!! We did a lot of looks this time including a cosplay! Super excited to share all the pictures soon. Thank you to a great team who made the shoot possible and everyone who cheered us on for the collaboration! :D :D

Schön! Online Exclusive: Glitter

Schön! Online Exclusive, July 2013

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Styling: Laura Tiozzo
Makeup: Wendy Karcher
Model: Kristi Wilson @ Q Management
Photo Assistants: Ngoc Vu, Irene Zhan, Emily Lambert

New beauty story! Glitter was really fun to work with and we may or may not have gotten a little carried away. Till this day we still have random shimmering all over studio hahaha. :D

And some behind the scenes!


FILLER Magazine: Full of Grace

Friday, July 19, 2013

Full of Grace
FILLER Magazine, Summer 2013

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Styling: Alicia Simpson
Art Direction: Ryan Johnson
Hair & Makeup: Anna Nenoiu @ Page One Management
Model: Kenley @ Elmer Olsen Models
Photo Assistants: Ben Von Wong, Sam Tsang 

Haven't done location work in a long long time, it was fun! :D Many thanks to my awesome team for putting up with me and the great work all round, especially Ben and Sam for lugging all that lights with us the whole day! And also my lovely Canadian agent Suzy Johnston for the support and encouragement from start to end!


Motherland Chronicles #23 - Dive + Behind the Scenes

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #23 - Dive
Photography: Zhang Jingna

Video: Underwater Assistance: Brenda Stumpf
Model: Jessica Dru Johnson
Makeup: Jenn Nelson
Photo Assistant: Matt Cadwallader
Special thanks to Brian Sousa for the pool

My first underwater photoshoot!!! It was so fun, but so hard too. T_T

I was fortunate to have my lovely model Jessica help pull this together, and her friend Brenda Stumpf (wonderful underwater photographer) give me all the underwater guidance, assistance and equipment I needed for the shoot. So thank you Jessica, Brenda, Jenn, Matt, and Brian who helped make this shoot possible. I can't say it enough!

Brenda managed put a little video together. It doesn't have very much footage unfortunately because the camera's housing got flooded :( But I figure it's still cool to see how things looked behind the scenes:

(Hello my first YouTube video. I'm not sure if I'll have anything again, but why not subscribe just in case? :D :D)

The shoot --

I know a number of people who've attempted underwater model photography. I've heard about the difficulties, I've imagined it, I've even experienced it as a model once.

But knowing the difficulties didn't quite make the shoot easier.

Sure, I didn't go in blind, but knowing it won't be easy just made me afraid that I wouldn't be able to get a single shot at all. (A trend in my Motherland Chronicles photoshoots, me being terrified of taking bad pictures, and after every one I'm drenched in enough self-loathing to bathe an army. It's very sad.)

Nevertheless, exploration is the point of the exercise.

Thank you Brenda for getting a picture for me
We had one light fixed to the camera housing (on an arm which I can adjust and twist around), and another above water, for when the sun started to go down.

I think the thing I'm most unused to is the wide angle lens and impeded movement in water.

Lens because I shoot with a 70-200mm most of the time when I'm photographing people, and movement because I like moving around when I shoot. It made me very sad when I can't shift as freely as on land. Or stay still when I'm floating.
Actually, you know I need to review photos every few shots, and it's not quite ideal while threading water, so my preferred position is to stand with my feet on the pool's floor.

But because I need depth for the model's dive and clothes to move around, I can't shoot in the shallow end. The compromise is to stand where I can just about raise my head for air if I tiptoe, so when my hands are occupied with the camera I can still surface for breaths. 

But like, I have these weights tied around my waist to help me sink when I dive, and so I keep sliding towards the deep end when I'm tiptoeing, and sometimes it means going under before I've taken a breath... It's very inconvenient.

Ohai, don't mind me, I'm just floating.
In other news, because I was inexperienced and it took some time to get the hang of things, I ended up staying in the water for 6 hours. I don't think I'd ever been in the water for so long in my life.

My hands were so pruney by the end of the shoot I felt that my fingernails would come off if I tried to peel them with a little bit of force.


I'm really thankful that Jessica's such a great model because I know it's hard to model underwater, and harder when it's so many freaking hours (and freezing, after sundown). She was positively shivering by hour 4, and I know I tend to not rest till I've gotten my shots so... thank you Jes for putting up with me. ♥

I can't wait to do this again.

And here, have some screenshots because I think the video is cool. It also makes me want to try filming next time.


Motherland Chronicles #22 - Julia II

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Motherland Chronicles #22 - Julia II

Photography: Zhang Jingna
Hair: Junya Nakashima
Makeup: Gregg Brockington
Model: Julia Gorbach
Photo Assistant: Ngoc Vu
Necklace from Harlequin Romantique

Couldn't resist processing the close up because it's really really such a lovely picture! (And also because I'm so completely worn with trying to do 10 things at once in L.A. and haven't had room to do a new shoot for Motherland this week >_<)