lifestyle

Postcards from Taipei + A Playlist for Asia

taipei_danshui_fishermans_wharf_sophia_hsin-5.jpgSunset at Fisherman’s Wharf in Tamshui, Taipei

It is so weird being back in Canada after a month in Asia.

While I feel that my soul will forever be stuck somewhere in the Pacific Ocean between North America and Asia, I am glad for photos and stories to linger over these trips and memories.

When I think of Taipei, I think of the scorching tropics, the smell of pineapples, scooter exhaust and a city vibrant with the best selection of night markets, alleyways and temples that take you back in time.

Here you will find the perfect mix of western influence and Chinese tradition with traces of Japan. But the best thing about Taipei is always the hospitality of people who are ready to make a tourist feel like local.

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Huashan 1914 Creative Park: One of my favourite places with ongoing exhibitions of Asian designers and creatives, music festivals and coffee shops to sit in and watch Taipei go by.

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Taipei Main Station. Taken in 2014

So if you ever find yourself in Taipei, be prepared to let go of your western politeness, go all out with the best food, island scooter adventures and a warm experience of Asia you will not too soon forget.

A playlist for your trip: 

1. Crowd Lu – 100 Ways of Living (盧廣仲 – 100種生活)
If you are on the hunt for Taiwanese musicians this guy is such a good place to start. I love his humble lyrics like buying breakfast with homies (soy milk and salty donuts all day every day), wise words from his grandmother to the pursuit of his musical journey. He also works often with my favourite photographer Hideaki Hamada.

2. Nujabes – Aruarian Dance
Trust me. So. good.

3. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence
I found out about Mr. Sakamoto during my college years and my ears have been in love since. A pianist and slightly moodier composer (much like Studio Ghibli for adults), you will find yourself moved with his soft and deep pieces like Energy Flow and Rain.

4. Deserts Chang – Bao Bei (張懸 – 寶貝)
This lady is an inspo with her soft vocals, rich cadenzas and creating music for deeply sentimental people.

5. Shanghai Restoration Project – Jade Buddha Temple w/ Di Johnston
I found out about Dave Liang during my years living in China. It has been a treat following this Asian American producer turn Chinese folk songs into modern tunes. Shanghai Restoration Project brings me back to Shanghainese streets, steamed dumplings and music theatres with women clad in silk gowns and jade bracelets.

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Taipei has a pace that is surprisingly laid back for a popular Asian city. I love watching the locals stop for photos of flowers, trees, boats and anything that catches their fancy.
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Exploring old alley ways around Gongguan. Many of these apartments used to be air raid hidings from the Taiwan/Japan War in the 1900s.
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Monster shaved ice at Roji, Taipei – Are they not cute? I died a sweet death

If there was a time I grew up not knowing whether I was Taiwanese or Canadian, I am grateful for this city where I learn about my heritage every time I visit. Taipei will forever be my home away from home and hold a special place in my heart.

I leave you with a favourite quote from Ansel Adams:

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.

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Till next time.

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Three tips on Photography and Styling

scanteak_canada_gastown-17.jpgI get many questions on photography and styling so I thought I will share some tips here along with photos from a recent shoot for Scanteak.

There is no greater joy than the moments on set where you get to be behind the camera, working with your hands and finishing a project with a feeling of great contentment.

Here they are: scanteak_purebread_gastown-5.jpg

1. Keep it simple, work on composition and utilize white space
I am guilty of over-preparing for every set even now but I am always surprised how a good space, ample planning and fresh beautiful props go a very long way. As Phil Hansen says ” “We need to first be limited in order to become limitless.” You don’t need a lot to create magic but it does take some practice and honing to create a refined look. Remember that imperfection is beautiful too.

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2. Choose your light carefully
Lighting, lighting, lighting! Photography is all about lighting. You can shoot the most wonderful set in bad light and it will be 😦
I love working with natural light, by a large window and preferably during a time when there is no direct sunlight hitting the subject. If I am shooting indoors I always ask  to turn off  certain lights as multiple light sources can distract and change the tone of your photos.

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A few my favourite creatives: @verdenius, @cafe_no_ma, MUJI and Azuma Makoto

3. Put together a mood/vision board
If you are an indecisive person like me (I can never decide on pho or sushi, too hard!), a good trick is sketch your concepts, put together a mood or vision board, print it and take it to the shoot. It’s very helpful having a visual guide on set and you also save time communicating to people(example: bring me a chair that looks like this!).

Other than that, planning, creating a shot list, getting inspiration and getting hands on practice is always a good thing. And of course, rules are meant to be broken so take these tips with a grain of salt and trust your gut. As the wonderful Rumi says:

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

scanteak_canada-6.jpgLeave any questions here and I’ll get back to you!

Photography, art direction and styling by me

Summer in Vancouver

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English Bay, the place of pretty sunsets

This coming month marks three years of me being in Canada. Three crazy years of going down this creative journey that’s often crazy but always fun.

I’m at this season where I feel happily overwhelmed by life and work and it’s kind of amazing. If you ask me a thousand times why I take photos I will say it’s because the world is beautiful and that there are many stories waiting to be told.

I like about how nice it is to be alive and living in a place where I have the liberty to create and write about things that matter. I hope to never take these things for granted.

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The summer is being very wonderful and I am loving all the light it brings. So much colour and time to shoot and see. And you know it’s precious because it doesn’t stick around 🙂
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Here are a few shots from my neighbourhood, city and portraits of lovley people.

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Light and shadows – this is my favourite balcony in Vancouver
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And because it is nice to share  – here are a few books I’m currently loving:  Rework by Jason Fried(great left brain strategy for creatives), A Wilder Life (Good book with plant solutions for daily life) and Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I’ve always been inspired by children books and writers since I’m making my own. I’m trying read every book I can get my hands on—they’re great. Miss Peregrine will be coming out in theatre and of course anything directed by Tim Burton is a must see.
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If you’re looking for me – I will be by the beach.english_bay
Here’s to a wonderful summer!

Photo of me by Michiko
Pants and Black Lace Espadrilles from Zara
Stripe Top from Joe Fresh
Beach Blanket from Scout and Catalogue

Life Recently + Print Giveaway {Closed}

The summer season brings a lot of new things to do and new people to meet around town.
Here are a few snaps of things I’ve been up to and also things I’ve been lucky to receive and photograph.

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Granville Island with the girls Nicole and Aileen +  Roasted dinners that make me love summer

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So lucky I live by the beach + for the love of wedding season

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The two of us on a shoot around Vancouver- it took us 3 hours, 5 locations and 3 scoops of ice cream. Talk about perfectionists 🙂

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There are definitely up and downs working as a freelancer and times where I wish I had the safety of a cubicle job or the brains to come up with the next IKEA. At the end of the day I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else so here it is. I’ll always try to share as much of it as possible here on the blog.

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Here are prints of Amelia, printed polaroid style from Memories Lab– a photo lab based in Hong Kong. I am really impressed with the quality and have gotten great feedback from friends though they were possibly under the influence of “the hedgehog”.
I’ll be giving some prints away to people who have been following my work for a while.

Simply leave a comment here and I’ll select three people at random. Entries must be posted by Wednesday, July 29th, at 8 a.m. PST. Good luck!

ps: my earphones are from Sudio, dress from ZARA and the watch from here.

A Wes Anderson Love Story

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If you haven’t watched a Wes Anderson film you should probably stop reading and go watch now cause that’s what I’ll be talking about for a while. I have this thing for film that invites you into a whole different world and I LOVE his quirky creativity and and his attention for symmetrical detail.

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Inspired by his creative genius. I had the opportunity to incorporate the concept in shoot with Matt and Dani. A wonderful couple who share an equal obsession with photography, adventure and Wes Anderson.

Here is a favourite from that day:

M + D (19 of 50)

The best times in photography are always those moments when you push a little further into your creativity or when you absolutely don’t expect it at all.

Yes, this is my favourite photo. Not because it feels like Wes Anderson but because it’s something I’ve never done before and I totally love it.

I will leave you with more one more photo and my fave soundtrack from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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xo