My Best Photos of 2014

The numbers aren’t good. If we’re talking sheer quantity, in 2012 I shot 18,455 photos, 12,031 in 2013 and just 7,228 in 2014. I put the blame on a full time job, a really long daily commute and a few personal issues – not the least of which was fracturing an ankle and doing major damage to an elbow in a fall in September. All of this added up to shooting far less than I would have liked. Also 2014 was the year in which I totally walked away from trying to do any kind of street photography – I just saw so many horrendously bad examples of street photos on various groups on Facebook that it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Even so, I did come away from the year having shot a few fun events and having some images I quite like. So here’s my year in photography.

In January the band Operator had a CD launch party at Backstage in Central. They were supported by Bank Job and The Sleeves.

 

 

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Also in January I had a chance to shoot with Hong Kong model Yumi at PASM. Recently she seems to be having some success as a DJ.

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In February one of my photos of Hong Kong singer Faye Wan (taken late 2013) was displayed in a photo exhibition in Soho.

 

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I had this idea for a year-long photo project, Hong Kong Women With Tattoos – or Hong Kong Ink, perhaps? It ended up being far more time consuming than I had expected and I was also having trouble finding women with larger tattoos to model for me. I shot Hui in March and this was a fun shoot.

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At the end of March, there was a festival of local bands called Friday Night Rocks timed to coincide with the annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.This show featured a large variety of terrific Hong Kong bands along with one band from Korea. Below – Hey Joe Trio, Shotgun Politics, Galaxy Express (2), Dr. Eggs.

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In April, also for my tattoo project, I shot Ines in the studio. A strong woman with a great story.

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Also in April, guitar great Robben Ford played a show in Shatin and I was able to get a “three songs, no flash” pass for that.

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At the end of August, I attended Hong Kong’s 2nd International Tattoo Convention.

 

 

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Just last week, I shot some of the bands appearing at the Wanch at a memorial concert for Hong Kong singer/songwriter Sue Shearman. Sue died from cancer at a crazy young age and the evening was called Well Fuck You Cancer and once again highlighted the amazing diversity of the independent music scene in Hong Kong. Below – Dark Himaya (2), Kestrels and Kites.

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So there you have it. I’m hoping that my move to Manila in 2015 will provide more opportunities for shooting. I won’t have a studio affiliation there as I do in Hong Kong but I’m hoping to meet many of the local photographers and to find some clubs that present some unique local bands.

Wanted: Women in Hong Kong with Tattoos – Hong Kong Ink

I’ve been trying to come up with a theme for a photo project for awhile and finally I have it – Hong Kong Women With Tattoos. HKWWT? Probably there’s a better name out there. Maybe Hong Kong Ink? I kind of like that!  Hong Kong Ink™®©. (or is that already taken? The URL is registered but redirects to a tech company. hkink is also taken. Hmmm.)

The first lady in this series is Chris B, known to all as the tattooed godmother of Hong Kong indie rock. I shot her at PASM a couple of years ago and we’ll probably do another shoot this spring.

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The second in the series is Faye Wan, whom I met when she was singing lead with HK indie band Hazden. Loved her voice, loved her look and was thrilled when she agreed to come to my studio to pose for some portraits.

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I used this shot of Faye in a recent group exhibition in a gallery in Soho:

SHS_8604-Edit-3-2I shot the third lady in this series just this past Saturday, a woman named Hui.

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As always, more photos can be found over at Spike’s Photos.

So … if you are a woman in Hong Kong, of any age and of any ethnic background, and you’ve got tattoos, I’d love to shoot some portraits of you and your ink. (If you’ve got a friend who fits the bill, please pass this info along.)  Preferably you can come to my studio, PASM Workshop, but if not other arrangements can be made. Please get in touch via the email link found on the upper right corner of this page.

 

Hong Kong Gossip Press Hates Women?

I don’t know if it’s Google Translate or what, but this is really bizarre.  Sadly, it’s not unusual; I see posts like this pretty often.

The title of this post is Angelina Zhang Reveals Being Sexually Harassed.  And here’s an excerpt from it:

An all new free racing form two nights ago held an event in Tsim Sha Tsui and even asked many sexy female artists to attend. Two Mainland milk cows Angelina Zhang (Cheung Woon Nga) and Daniella Wang Lidan did not disappoint. In terms of cup size Cheung Woon Nga seemed to have lost a battle. Later she said, “This time I definitely lose, but everyone are promoting the film so whatever!”

Yeah, so apparently this is how actresses from the Mainland who have breasts are referred to.  As milk cows.

Wang Lidan said that she was already used to appear in low cut clothing every time. Cheung Woon Nga felt the same way. Before she was an artist she never pushed up. Luckily Hong Kong people were civilized and courteous as they absolutely would not cop a feel. However she also revealed that online she was taken advantage of and even sexually harassed. “They said, ‘since you chest was so big let me touch it.’ Some even asked for an one night stand. They really are irresponsible. I of course was upset.” Cheung Woon Nga said that although she played a wild girl in the film, she was not the same way in reality. She hoped to be able to make more movies with a healthier image. Was she afraid of being typecast? She understood that the future road would be hard. Now she only wants to improve herself more.

Sure, one can take issue with someone claiming to be sexually harassed because some 12 year old left a stupid comment on an internet post.  But when the press refers to women as cows, that’s not harassment?

 

SlutWalk Hong Kong

That got your attention, didn’t it?  It certainly got mine just now when I saw they were following me on Twitter and I checked their Facebook page.  Here’s part of how they describe themselves:

“SlutWalk began in Toronto in February of 2011. It began because a few people had had ENOUGH of victim-blaming, of slut-shaming and sexual profiling. We had enough of being angry, wanting better education, awareness and treatment and not seeing more about it. …Now, months later Satellite SlutWalks are happening across many different communities, different cities, different countries and with different people.” These SlutWalks are founded by people in their own cities who feel the need to publicly challenge sexual violence.

“SlutWalk is about expressing our unity, fighting to shed the stereotypes and myths of sexual assault and supporting a better understanding of why sexual violence happens, supporting victims and survivors, and putting the blame where it belongs: on those who perpetrate it.”

The date is December 4th.  The Facebook page doesn’t credit the organizers but in principle, I definitely support this sort of thing.

Chrissie Chau in Lingerie

Lots more photos here, here and here.  (Though to be honest, I don’t think these are very good photos.  Something about her make-up or maybe it’s the overall color processing on the shots, everything just seems dull and flat (no pun intended).  Of course when you have a model like Chrissie, you can get away with a lot.

 

Miss Hong Kong 2011

And here she is, the winner of the Miss Hong Kong 2011 pageant, Rebecca Zhu.

Looks like the judges made the right choice, no?

Here’s the first runner up, Hyman Chu.

That’s right.  A woman named Hyman.  [Insert your own jokes here.]

Here’s second runner up Whitney Hui.

She looks sassy.  (Sorry, very tired, that’s the only word that came to mind.)

Pics and results from here.

Killing Time With Hong Kong Celebrity Gossip

I’ve got several blogs in my RSS reader that provide translations of the current stories making the rounds of local celebrity gossip.   I have zero interest in Canto-pop, I don’t watch local TV shows and I believe that, Johnnie To excepted, Hong Kong simply isn’t turning out the same quality of films that it did back in the 80’s and 90’s.  I don’t deny it, I look at this stuff because I enjoy looking at photos of attractive women.

For the most part, HK celebrity gossip is every bit as silly as the American stuff but there are extra dimensions to it.  One is that the public morality is the equivalent of the US in the 1950s.  All Hong Kong stars are publicly chaste – this despite the Edison Chen scandal from a few years back that showed (gasp!) that attractive young people enjoy sex.   Beyond that, while I’m extremely grateful that people are taking the time to translate this stuff into English, sometimes the translations are just plain funny.

Anyway, here’s a random selection of items that caught my eye from the past several weeks.

Owodog has not dated in five years.  This guy’s English name is Owodog?

In the film many actresses appeared in bikini. Owodog honestly said that he was very nervous. He did not dare to look at them directly and felt very embarrassed as he did not know where to put his eyes. Did he like girls with fuller busts? Owodog said that he admired more talented girls, being able to play the piano or draw was more important than a full figure.

Carina Lau denies finding surrogate mother.  When the story broke a few days earlier about Lau and husband Tony Leung finding a surrogate mother in the US, all I could think was, “Is this how low they need to go for publicity?”  But maybe it was the press just making up something to sell more magazines?

Kenneth Ma rarely brings women home.  Apparently in this case it means “rarely brings women home to meet his parents.”

Niki Chow picked up after work by boyfriend in an expensive car.  Wait!  A gorgeous Hong Kong star is dating a rich guy?  Stop the presses!

Jessica ends 2 year relationship.  First of all, Jessica Hsuan is 40 years old and damn she looks mighty fit.  “Always keen to settle down, Jessica had been in a stable relationship with South African origin and vet Ruan. They have been together for over 2 years. Back in April, there were rumours that she invested in a 1,000,000 Hong Kong dollar property as a love nest for them both and wedding plans for next year.”  I’m scratching my head over what she could have possibly bought for HK$1 million – I think that would get you 700 square feet in Yuen Long or a closet in Soho.

Linda Wong gets mean to keep an eye on her father. Her father’s been ill so she yells at him every time he tries to drink a glass of wine.  The way she’s wearing that dress, she can be mean to me anytime she pleases.

BOY’Z announces reunion, invests 6 figures in an all new album.  Apparently they’ve now changed their name from “Boy’z” to “BOY’Z”.  Seriously.

Anyway, bonus, here’s a pic of me with Boy’z back in 2004 at the premiere of Harry Potter 3:

Fala Chen Afraid of Filming Kiss Scenes: Saliva is Unhygienic.  Seriously, where to even begin with that one?

Mavis Pan: Everyone Treats Me Like a Prostitute.  Mavis always turns up in the gossip pages.  More on her further down.

Linda Chung’s Heart Toyed by Lawyer Boyfriend and Unwittingly Became Third Party. ” Shockingly, Linda’s lawyer boyfriend already possessed a long-time girlfriend, Joyce, who was also a lawyer.”

Edison Chen Turned Black-Face Upon Hearing Cecilia Cheung’s Name.  Cecilia of course was one of the women whose pictures turned up on Edison Chen’s computer.  She’s married to Nicholas Tse and the disintegration of their marriage has been playing out in the magazines on an almost-daily basis for the past several months.  Now I don’t know what the original Chinese headline would have been, but assuming a direct translation, and trying to wonder how quickly any reporter in the US would be fired for using a phrase like “turned black-face.”

One Day After Grandmother’s Funeral, Raymond Lam Went Clubbing and Hungrily Kissed Kibby Lau. Lam of course previously linked with Mavis Pan.  I’m sure he was kissing Kibby because he was in need of consolation.  And a sandwich.

Koni Lui Covers Up Chest to Avoid Public Complaints at 2011 Mr. Hong Kong Contest.  “At last year’s Mr. Hong Kong Contest, Koni wore a plunging red gown. The exposure level of her dress led to 39 public complaints filed at the Broadcasting Authority.”  Of course right now the bluenoses in the US are having a field day with Nicki Minaj’s recent wardrobe malfunction.

Mavis Pan: My First Date With Raymond Lam Was On His Bed!  And every man is thinking, “Way to go Raymond!”

“We could not go to any public places. Our first date was at Raymond’s house. We laid on his bed and chatted for the entire evening. Then we hugged and went to sleep. This gave me the feeling that he was too lewd. I found him to be very good.”

Went to sleep?  He was “too lewd”?  But she found him to be “very good”?  Uh-huh.

Finally, just some really nice shots of Li Bingbing and Jun Ji-hyun from a recent photoshoot for Trendshealth magazine, from here.  This year Li Bingbing has been showing up everywhere, from the beach at Cannes to U.S. TV.  Sometimes I look at photos of her and wonder why, other times I see photos like these:

Milk Cow Blues

One thing you gotta love is the wide variety of sexual euphemisms you come across in Hong Kong.  They can be amazingly descriptive or astonishingly crass.  Very often they relate to food – ugly women are referred to as pork chops while a massage with no happy ending might be deemed a veggie.

Anyway, was reading this report here.  “Alex Fong Lik Sun has taken legal action against a Mainland magazine that reported a relationship between him and Zhang Xinyu.”   Here is a picture of Mr. Fong and Ms. Zhang from that site.

Apparently elsewhere in that article, the magazine referred to Ms. Zhang as a “Mainland Milk Cow.”

My guess is they mean she has large breasts.  While it’s not immediately evident in that photo above, a bit of Googling provides more proof.

The term is funny and yet it seems a shame to hang such an epithet on such a lovely and generously endowed lady.

Moving Day

Not for the blog, for me, moving from one village in Sai Kung to another.  Farewell million dollar view.  Hello saving some significant money on rent.   As of now things are about 75% packed and about 50% moved to the new place.  Everything else goes over on Friday.  PCCW is supposed to get me hooked up on Saturday but since this is PCCW, anything can happen.   So for the next couple of days I may or may not be able to approve comments and respond to emails.  Patience please.

In the meantime, the folks who brought you the Steve Jobs action figure have a new figure, “the man who invented poking.”  Yes, a Mark Zuckerberg action figure.

As of this writing, they have not been shut down by Facebook’s lawyers and there are 53 left in stock in their store.  Yeah, I ordered one.

If plastic dolls don’t do it for you, what about the real thing?  (Okay, a photo of the real thing.)

This is Zhao Ming, the production assistant turned movie star in China.  I previously wrote about her (and had a photo) here.  The above photo came from here, and there are several more from this session, the 2011 Pink Ribbon campaign for breast awareness.   Is it too obvious for me to write that the campaign must be working because I’m aware of her breasts?   On an only slightly more serious note, have you noticed how mainland actresses and models are far less shy than their Hong Kong counterparts?  This has been true of the models we’ve worked with at PASM Workshop and obviously true in this young lady’s case.