A few years ago, every time I had to go to hospital for an pregnancy check up, I had lunch at Panera that was located right next to the hospital. It just became a thing I did despite all the places to eat in Manhattan. So when I was given an assignment to shoot for Panera social, I immediately thought about the half a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup combo I always got. Sorry, this information actually has nothing to do with the job itself but I felt like sharing my personal Panera connection here. Thanks to the Anomaly team for their great sense of humor, and the amazing work by prop stylist, Adrian Crabbs, who actually made a historically accurate, Marco Polo era ship, entirely out of pasta. It was fun!
While I was setting up the lights and camera in Malcolm Morley’s studio, I asked painter why he had stopped making photorealistic work. He grinned charmingly and told me that when everyone else around him started getting into super-realism in the 80′s, it just didn’t make sense for him to keep doing it. Malcolm Morley, mostly known as a photorealist painter - he won the prestigious Turner Prize in London in 1984 - has gone through quite a progression as an artist. “I guess it’s not about getting better or worse, but the work just changed and moved on”, he told me. I respect when artists are honest and follow their gut feeling, welcoming new growth rather than being afraid of change. I went to his opening which was said to be his last due to his age. The show was filled with fighter airplane paintings, some I already had seen in his studio space. My 2 years old son pointed at every single airplane and busily repeated, “Panes! Panes! …Panes!”. The show was packed, but the artist sat by the door and greeted every single person who came to see his work. Thanks to Etta and Natasha at Dujour for the assignment, more about the artist can be read here.
As some of you may have heard, Hotel Okura, in Tokyo, was demolished in end of August, mostly due to the earthquake safety issues. Growing up in Chiba Japan, I remember my impression of Hotel Okura as child, was that it was the kind of place I would probably never get to stay at considering how fancy it was. Lucky for me, that turned out not be the case. Last year, Dujour Magazine hired me to photograph the Hotel Okura, and here are some of the photos from that assignment. For me, the main lobby was most memorable. I sat quietly in one of the chairs early in the morning before the shoot, and it seemed as though time was passing at a different speed than normal. I couldn’t quite figure out if time felt faster or slower like the famous Japanese legend of Urashima Taro. It is sad to see a special place like this lost forever, but I’m grateful I got the chance to experience it. The Dujour article can be read here.
Thanks so much to everyone who gave their support to make my long term project, I Used To Be You, into a book. I am so deeply grateful to Pocko, my friends and everyone else who showed interest in the project and encouraged me throughout my kickstarter campaign which was a challenge in and of itself. I was also very lucky to get quite a bit of media exposure for the kickstarter campaign as well, so thanks is in order for the Huffington Post, Good Magazine, Refinary 29, and ABC News to name a few. The book is scheduled to be released in spring of 2016 by Pocko in London. Please stay tuned. I look forward sharing more news about the book as it comes together.
Yes, it was a challenge trying to photograph my 18-month-old son while we were in Japan. The gigantic Japanese vegetables however behaved perfectly. They sat still and took my instructions very well.
Happy New Year!
Hope it will be a year filled with laughter and good sparks for everyone.
This photograph by Thomas Demand hung in the dining room. The dining room itself looked like one of Demand’s installations. We ate delicious grilled cheese and Italian tomato soup with Sarah and Garry Wolkowitz at the grey table during our lunch break. The very minimalist home looked almost like the gallery spaces from the location scout pictures, but I found that it was surprisingly warm and inviting. The open, and lively homeowners’ presence at the shoot had a lot to do with it. It was a great space to photograph, even though I wished I had one more wider angle lens! Photographed for Dujour; more pictures and the article can be found here.
The pictures here are for the article, A Recipe for Happiness, which was published in T magazine back in August. I’m constantly learning new things about shooting still life. The assignment was a fun exercise in coming up with solutions to create these images. Thanks to Victoria Petroconroy, who helped squeeze the trout and chicken into the capsules with determination and patience … And thanks to the chicken and the trout who… oh you know… (sad emoji face should follow).