Backstage photography at the Dundas couture show
35mm film with flash
SOURCE: Chloe Chill – Read entire story here.
I was in a bit of a creative block today.
I have so many things I want to photograph and create that at times I find it overwhelming. On top of that, when I do create work that I feel really satisfied with I have this moment of pride and joy and then the terror of oh God, what am I going to do next? To take a photograph is one aspect of photography, to make a photograph is another. Making a photograph, a process I have been sharing in more and more detail on my Instagram stories, requires a harmony of light, technical knowledge, talent and what feels like a billion…painful…gut wrenching decisions. Sometimes when I’m starting out my day setting up the camera I can feel paralyzed with the daunting amount of decisions that are ahead. Internal monolog: “What’s the theme today, what do I want to communicate, what prop do I want to use, what do I have lying around, what is missing, what does it need, where should the shadows fall, which lens, which aperture, should their be one petal…two… five… ten?… maybe turned a hair to the left, no get rid of them all. God, what I did yesterday was so much better. Did I just peak?…” For example.
A few times the past few months I’ve given in and continued my series on the history of Versailles in an attempt to bury my head in a pillow. But most days I just take a deep breathe and try to quiet my mind down to one thing. Just start with one thing. That’s my best advice for anyone stuck with where to begin, with what to photograph. I have found that once I get my camera set up, choose that one thing (today I started with plums) the wheels start turning and one thing leads to another, as it does in life, and voila! You are on the move making the decisions that were so crippling moments before. The one thing doesn’t have to be a prop either, or subject matter, you can start with just say a lens. I’m going to shoot with my macro lens. You make that first decision and then that leads to the next and so on. Other times I have just started with a spot of beautiful light raking across the floor, well the floor was dirty so I covered it, then I found something I had lying around that could play in the light and I was off to the races.
This still life started with plums and ended with a concept around an Autumn harvest, a sort of chaotic cornucopia which is a pretty accurate representation of where my mind was today. I raided my fruit bowls, tore apart my bouquets and foraged for more figs from the garden. Then, in one of the ways photography can truly become magical, a bee flew in the windows and landed right in my still life and I was once again, satisfied.
SOURCE: Ann Street Studio – Read entire story here.
How I came to be Margaret whileÂ my kid brother ended up with aÂ boss-ass name like Major Zhang (yes, that is his real name; yes he is much cooler than I) is a short and unremarkable tale. Major’s Chinese name is ç« æ�ƒ (zhÄ�ngÂ quÃ¡n). InÂ the most literal sense, the first characterÂ (our surname) relates to books, chapters, officiating stamps andÂ seals, and in the right context, octopus – otherwise known asÂ my favourite emoji. æ�ƒ means power. Ergo, Major Zhang and a beautiful existenceÂ of being aÂ bonafide homie.
Meanwhile the latter of my motherland monikerÂ in ç« å‡� (zhÄ�ng nÃng)Â translates to something in the realm of coagulation, condensation, cohesion, and other similarly charmingÂ terms of endearment and/or insigniasÂ of breathtaking beauty.Â You (by which I mean my parents) might take some
figurative liberties to arrive at an English equivalent of say… precipitation of knowledge… withÂ a vague footnote referencing the ocean.
A pearl of wisdom, you might say. I would indulge that withÂ ba doom tsh, but I’m not even joking when I say that Mama and BaÂ Zhang looked up eponymous synonyms to “Pearl” in a name dictionary, and destined me to a life of great posture and Little Britain witticisms.
If I had been a boy, I was to be called Malcolm – disciple of Saint Columba, slayerÂ of Macbeth.
I’m just going to leave that one there.
Cue visual segue into my subconscious personal affinities to this pearl campaign I shot slash directed for KailisÂ one rainy day in Brooklyn.
JestÂ aside, Anh and Alexandra really are such dream womenÂ for me to have shot. Both are such focused individuals with open minds to the shifting shapes ofÂ art and culture, without compromising their own perspectives and sense of self. Both know theirÂ faces and bodies so well, which (need I say it again) makes for smooth sailing on aÂ set like this with loopy creatives like yours truly, throwing outÂ garbled instructions on body contortion and the ideological reasons as to why your face might be buried in your pearl-adorned hands.
Once in a while (truly – only once in a while), a shoot will manifest exactly as you’d visualised. And of these rare instances, it can almost always be attributedÂ to perfect set chemistry.
Thank you team for this gloriousÂ day.
PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING //Â MARGARET ZHANG
HAIR //Â TAKUYA SUGAWARA
MAKE UP // KATIE HUGHES
CINEMATOGRAPHY // DAISY ZHOU
MODELS // ALEXANDRA AGOSTON + ANH DUONG @Â IMG
PRODUCER // SAMANTHA BENNETTS
PHOTO ASSIST // ADAM MANTELL
DIGITAL OPERATOR //Â SEAN GREENE
STYLING ASSIST// EMMA SOUSA
SOURCE: Shine By Three – Read entire story here.
Sitting in traffic en route back to Los Angeles from a weekend in Palm Springs, the question was posed to the car at large: where didÂ we see ourselvesÂ living in ten years time? (For context, all present lead relentless intercontinental work travel schedules.) The ensuing banter drew fairly predictableÂ conclusions – that New York was no place for children (and yet all our friends with kids in Manhattan seemed to be doing just fine); that Australia was basically a socialist country and was there really anywhere else with that degree ofÂ accessibility to education and healthcare (or was it just all we knew); that word on the grapevine was that Vancouver was a pretty good place to grow up (but could you handle the cold Winters); that Los Angeles was an absolute hell no (but Malibu – what about Malibu? Cher lives there, you know).
But then it all depends. What if aÂ dream career curveball or prospectiveÂ love of your life forevermore shouldÂ lead you to settle in the great unknown? Is it conviction or myopia that defines your trajectory? Are social rules misguided or clichÃ©d for aÂ reason? What is life?
And then we pulled over for gas. When car conversation resumed, we withdrew from the edge of existential spiralling to more palatable Sunday evening chatter like the waning impact of food flatlays andÂ Kendrick’s DNA video.
WeeksÂ later, returning to Aussie shores ahead ofÂ my exhibition, I had the great privilege of showing an American mateÂ the badass babe that is Sydney for the first time. Our coastal and foreshore walks, our avocado toast, our ocean pools and impossible
sunsets. More than anything, the sense of community and unspoken mutual love for all of the above made me secretly proud. To be floating in ocean, transfixed by a pastel sky and glassyÂ waves, and look around atÂ the smattering of people doing the exact same thing, beaming at each other at how lucky theyÂ are to behold the sensory overload that is theirÂ daily ocean therapy – that’s quite something.Â Everyone here is just soÂ nice, my American friend exclaimed after a weekend of eating and swimming and eating and swimming our way down theÂ coastline.
In stark contrast to our high-paced home in New York, seaside SydneyÂ is no hurry. In industry and policy, this can be frustrating. But in lifestyle, it’s difficultÂ to replicate. It’s a languishing ease that I wanted to capture in this short I shot with Miu Miu
in the heat of Summer earlier this year at Clovelly. It’s one of my favourite beaches – bolder in its concrete convenience, choppier waves, thriving inÂ marine life and spectacular for people watching.
DIRECTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER & STYLIST //Â MARGARET ZHANG
HAIR & MAKE UP // CHLOE LANGFORD
MODEL //Â PIEN WEKKING @ IMG
PRODUCER //Â SAMANTHA BENNETTS
PHOTO ASSIST //Â ANA SUNTAY-TAÃ‘EDO
SOURCE: Shine By Three – Read entire story here.
Despite the outdated hair colour, the release of this story is oddly timely. Compared to last year’sÂ set schlep, jumping between all too many projects and clients to remain reasonably sane, theÂ first quarter of 2017 hasÂ felt busier, and yet infinitely more calmÂ (save the daily silent rage over news media headlines).
Cue exaggerated arm movements in reference to the ephemeralÂ passage of time.
The primary reason for beingÂ back in Australia for the past two weeks (aside from a few speaking gigs ranging in topic areas from future digitalÂ consumers to female empowerment to science of skincare) was to finish shooting a piano-based short film I’ve had in the works for the past 6 months (and won’t be out for another 5). It’s been strange to have spent such an extended period of time and such a studied, almost clinical, stanceÂ onÂ conveying an emotional experience with performance art that should be so intimateÂ and raw.
It seems sacrilegious. Somehow.
While in Brisbane, I joined some dear friends and their kidsÂ for the Queensland Ballet’s opening night of their new program. “Don’t you miss ballet?” their eldest daughter wanted to know in intermission. Settling back into our seats, my phone lit up with a message from a girl I grew up studying dance with from age 3 through till my mid-teen divergence. Word backstage amongst her colleagues was that I was in the audience tonight, she said. Could it be true? True indeed.
Post-show, between reminiscing on childhood stage make-up and getting back up to speed on 7 missed years of perceived adulthood, the same sentiment came up. Did I ever wonder what could have been? Didn’t I pine for the rhapsodic athleticism, the harrowing physical exertion, the ease with which oneÂ loses their linear sense of time under the heat of stage lights and audience anticipation? Or was it indifference? I could never really tell as a kid.
Ironically, it’s the systematic natureÂ of ballet that I miss the most. For all of its emotional outpourings, it’s a science. Calculated by unforgiving beats of four. No time for missteps. Nowhere to hide technical shortcomings. Every day: leg
warmers at dawn, dripping with sweat by noon, cursing the same Gershwin passage that we’d drilled over and over all afternoon. And yet, in the fiveÂ minutes on stage that you spend a wholeÂ semester preparing for,Â anything canÂ happen. Your body can’t so precisely control how you respond to simultaneous sound stimulus and heightened sensitivity to every joint and sinew clicking over in your shoulders and your thighs. No two performances will ever be the same, which sounds obvious on paper andÂ conceited out loud. But how else can you help somebody understand whatever it is that happens in your chest when you’re truly immersed in something that so defines the way you think and move?
Structured, butÂ not predictable? Serena offered.
Of course, I’m immensely grateful that I discovered what intellectually stimulates me enough to qualify a vocational “passion” at this early an age.Â But, ballet and piano areÂ my first great loves – and they remain an emotional benchmark against which all perceived creative fulfilment is measured. I would never claim to be the best, and even less a professional. The focus is the way in which I hope to capture the aforementioned.
Watch this space.
LOOK 1:Â Rachel Gilbert dress – Bloch pointe shoes
LOOK 2: Rachel GilbertÂ top
LOOK 3:Â Bloch leotardÂ – Bloch tutu
LOOK 4:Â By Johnny bodysuit – Agent Provoceateur corset –Â Bloch tutu and pointe shoes
LOOK 5:Â Jac + Jack tops (layered) –Â Bloch tutu and pointe shoes
Swarovski jewelleryÂ throughout
SOURCE: Shine By Three – Read entire story here.