It’s Here, Where I’m From

There’s a large displacement between myself and my ethnic background. I’m chinese, though I can’t speak or understand any chinese what so ever. This family doesn’t do much in way of the culture- visit the cemetery, have chopsticks in the kitchen drawers, eat chinese takeout and perhaps cook chinese food once in a while (though not very much at all). So as you probably may know I don’t really associate myself with a lot of that to do with being chinese.

Couple years back I went around China to indulge in a little cultural history- where i’m from, where my grandparents lived (a village in Guangzhou) and how I came to New Zealand. Well, actually not so much the last bit- seeing as I was born here, but how my Grandparents made their way over there.

My grandparents were caught in the middle of the Mao/Japanese invasion- separated between Hong Kong and Guangzhou/China. I’m unsure of the story exactly.. but I do know it involves escaping on a train, a man getting shot for helping them and eventually making it to New Zealand. If I were a better story teller, or knew the facts I would elaborate.. just know that it was a difficult time.

These photos are rough at best. They’re of what was the house my grandparents used to live in before leaving the village, and of the village itself (which was known for making denim!). Though it was a while ago since i’ve been there, I do remember how.. eerie the place is. It is mostly the elderly and infants, as everyone in between has either gone off to school or work- there’s definitely a sense of (dare I say) death floating around. Feels rather haunted..
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Revisiting the Past

Filed under: Film Photography


/Anne-Sophie Torossian

I have removed a category (me, since it was essentially the same as ‘fundamental’), and added a new one.. R6.2. Which just stands for Leica R6.2, my new camera which I haven’t really talked about. I bought it when I was in Paris last, last month (it’s November remember? yeah.. the year goes fast). It is my dream camera, and a replacement for my old Canon AE1 which broke while I was away too.

A new category just for all the rolls of film I recently have been getting developed (from years, and years back) that I neglected to get done having lack of funds to do so.

The first roll of shots are ones across Paris, Seoul and NZ. Bare with me.. I’m pretty rusty and never really hit the right focal plane, but i’m learning. I believe these were all shot on ilford FP4 but I could be wrong.. I am pretty forgetful.
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A Sneak Peak/The Weekend Shoots

I had three shoots go down this weekend, wrapping up using the 5×4 for the rest of the year. A mix of ‘behind the scenes’ (not really behind the scenes.. as there is not much to photograph) and test shots of what’s to come for a new show opening December. I’m excited about these ones, maybe nervous.. shoots normally take me 5-7 hours.. these ones have been going down real fast.. sometimes under 2 hours! Either i’m doing something wrong or i’m becoming incredibly efficient. We’ll see after the film gets developed this week..

Below, another very heavy image enriched post.

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Friday’s

Filed under: Fundamentals, Photography

Working with kids and animals is notoriously difficult. I’ve had a pretty good track record with animals (being that they were really tame, or really dead) but not so much with kids.. while i’ve shot quite a few kids in hopes of using them in my work, i’ve only once succeeded in getting them to portray the right look.

Last eve I worked on two shoots- a couple (not really a couple, but one for my sake) and a young girl named Sakura. She was pretty spot on.. I can only hope the photos turn out. Only three more shoots to go this weekend.. i’m ready to crash now.
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Seoul Got Soul: Save The Bike Lane

Filed under: Bicycles

/One more Bike, One less Car

Dk has put up ‘Save The Bike Lane’, a short film out of Seoul that aired at this years Bicycle Film Festival. It is also the anniversary of DKShop aka David Jongkwon Kim’s project Seoul Got Soul.

Dk is the one director I didn’t get to meet in Seoul. Hopefully next time. I love watching his films.

Never Enough.


/double dark slides and my photoshoot journal

I’ve been trying to change up my shoots a little, moving more towards constant lights (they create a better atmosphere- don’t need to rely on sync cables, can take a bit more abuse from the weather, etc), using 35mm as well as my large format camera (you wouldn’t believe the costs involved) but of course still keeping with film.. digital maybe one day, just not today.

I had a few little hiccups on last weekends shoot.. hired a few big lights (ranging from 1kW to 4kW) and still couldn’t hit a decent aperture despite draining the house of ALL its power (no joke. had to unplug everything). But despite all of that, the models were wonderful- Diana, as usual, and Maddy who was the center of this one. I’ve only had the test shots back so far and they’re good. I’m really pleased despite the lack of light.

Next weekend brings on another 5+ shoots (I dropped one, too much work) so we’re definitely back into the swing of things.
Check all the other photos afterwards.

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The world sans light

Filed under: Culture, Image and Words


The world sans light aka All Black.

Everything was black on Sunday night.. the French lost (disappointingly so.) I thought they played well, carried possession and territory the majority of the game and in reality should have won that (almost had you fooled I knew what I was talking about didn’t I?). Actually I just wanted to get the others at work fired up, maybe see how patient New Zealand would be, because sometimes certain members of the crowds can be such assholes. Having heard some “dumb bitch” (aka k___ ___ from k____ ____) yell ‘smash him’ clearly this was more than just Rugby to some.

As celebrations went into the night, so did a few fights including one between a guy dressed as a cow vs plaid shirt guy. The streets were filled.. getting home took hours and getting out of bed in the morning for work was just the same. Optimistic note, I had fun. It was a good night. We stole beers, walked through crowds, got free drinks from friends and embarrassed each other (or just me) infront of strangers.

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To Be Young

Filed under: Growing Up

Today was the lowest of lows. A real test for the asian genes. A slap to my 23 year old face.

At Qubic we often get a flood of young girls come in mostly to try on denim cut offs, take photos of themselves in numerous outfits probably for facebook (I assume myspace is out) and the odd ones will pick up a pair of Vans (red or navy, size 6.5 or 7.5). I was working the floor today at Qubic, talking to customers and the usual when 3 young girls came in had a quick chat and wander through the store before leaving. One of them came back in, and in true teenage style, came up to me and said: “my friend would like your number” ..that caught me by surprise. I remember getting the guts to asking a stranger out, and had I remembered that moment I probably would have responded with something along the lines of “oh i’m flattered, but i’m probably a little old for her.” But no, I was too off caught off guard and instead responded “how old do you think I am? ..how old are you?”

“15..”

..Why am I courting 15 year old girls? As if it’s not weird enough to serve them in semi age inappropriate shorts! The conversation died quickly after I told them I was 23, NOT 15 (Do I look 15?! ..no. don’t answer that) and was soon destroyed when my coworker made jokes (in which I don’t think they realised they were jokes) when he said I was lying and closer to 30. From here on in i’m going to start dressing like someone twice my age and hopefully my genes will follow suit.

In retrospect I should have just given her my number, taken her out on a date then dropped the 23 bomb on her mid way through.. just so this would be a better story.

RWC Follow Through

Filed under: Events, Image and Words

Last weekend I headed down town with Maddy to check out the All Blacks vs Wallabies game.. not that we really knew what was going on.. what a line out is or why they spent the last 5minutes running into each other making little progress.. kick it or something? what do I know.. we spent most of it drawing on these amazing post it notes I bought in korea town. It’s the first time I’ve been down to check all the RWC stuff out- Wynyard Quarter has taken a major overhaul which is great, but I wonder how long it’ll last. Didn’t see the tram going too.. what a shame.

Tonight will be interesting though.. certainly test the patience of the nation. See you in the riot.

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The Next Month

Filed under: Fundamentals, Photography


/Sinar P 5×4 Large Format, Canon 550D (not mine), Leica R6.2, Film, lenses and filter.

I’ll be quite busy coming up.. tonight has been running around preparing last minute details for tomorrows photoshoot. I have three photoshoots this weekend and six the following in preparation for my next solo show opening with Mcnamara in December.

1.5 weeks of shooting, .5 weeks of developing, 2.5 weeks of editing, 1 week of test prints, .5 weeks of printing and then transporting them down to the gallery for installation.