“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” Katie Thurmes
That quote by Katie Thurmes sums up why I love what I do: capturing people's special moments so they can just relax and have a good time.
This year, I had the pleasure to photograph a wedding in Chelsea Old Town Hall, some fun birthdays and corporate events such as Superdrug Presents and Ingleton Wood LLP’s annual corporate client drinks reception at the Flight Club.
Unless there is a specific request, I usually try to get a mix of candid and posed shots discreetly, edit a great selection and deliver via Google Drive and a separate photo gallery for clients to easily share the images with their guests (password protected of course!)
Event Photography: Superdrug Presents
One of the exciting events that I covered this year is Superdrug Presents. Superdrug launched its first beauty event at The Yard, Shoreditch this year. It’s a whole weekend event with lots of different masterclasses, beauty treatment studio and exclusive new product reviews. It was lots of fun just to watch. Guest include The Only Way is Essex favourite Billie Faiers, Love Island star Kaz Crossley, Influencer Imogen Horton…
Event Photography: Chestertons Polo in the Park
I was commissioned to cover Chestertons Polo in the Park in Hurlingham Park, Fulham by one of its sponsors, ICM, I photographed the VIP area, the game between Frasers England and Australia and the award ceremony.
It was exciting to witness the game as it changes too. World-renowned polo player Nina Clarkin competed alongside her male teammates in the Frasers England, levelling the playing field in this traditionally male sport.
Did you know - Polo was originally invented 2,500 years ago as a cavalry training exercise, not as a spectator sport and very little has changed over the years. When the game breaks at halftime, people are invited to walk on the field and stomp down the turf that are torn up by the horses’ hooves during the game, this is called divot stomping, a very important tradition (and fun for the audience) in polo!
Speaking of horses, this summer, I also documented a horse rescue mission and took photos of some of the animals in Blue Cross Rehoming Centre in Burford. Photographing these animals had to be done discreetly, as some were more nervous and sensitive than others. I have two bunnies at home, which helps me to understand and interact with the animals I work with better.
According to Blue Cross, every summer, the number of strays admitted to Blue Cross rises by almost two thirds, compared to the winter months. This is because animals tend to stray further in the warm weather, especially if they are not neutered. Check out their website to see what amazing things they do and give them some help if possible.
Book Launch: The Life You Can Save
Another charity that I helped with this year is The Life You Can Save. Name based on the book written by Peter Singer, the charity held the 10th Anniversary Edition book launch at The Conduit Club, Mayfair. The charity’s work is based on ideas from the book. This book tells us how giving just a little money to the right causes can be enough to save a life, very inspiring! Check out what great things the charity does and download the free e-book from their website.
Event Photography & Video Production: Taipei Representative Office in the UK
I’m from Taiwan, so allow me to talk about Taiwan for a bit! This year again, I photographed the official Taiwan National Day Reception, held by the Taipei Representative Office in the UK at the National Liberal Club. I’m very proud of being a Taiwanese, and especially proud that our country is one of the most democratic and open-minded countries in Asia. This year, same-sex marriage was also legalised in Taiwan – the first in Asia!
The Cultural Event Series was part of a long-standing relationship with the Taiwan Cultural Division, who I have been working with for 6 years. Below is a very short video I made to highlight some of their events this year.
Embassy and Cultural Institute Series Violinist Dr. Simon Shiao and Pionist Dr. Lucy Chen’s concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields
V&A Friday Late - ‘Pick of Litter’ Dancer Yu-Hsien Wu’s solo piece 'Dirty PawS', and Artist Kuang-Yi Ku’s 'Pet's Pettings' at the Victoria and Albert Museum
‘Sound of Design’ - Taiwan’s Contemporary Album Art Celebrating Taiwan’s vibrant record design and packaging culture, the exhibition was held in September as part of the London Design Festival. I created a promo video showcasing some of the work from the exhibition.
Taiwan Cinema as part of London East Asia Film Festival 2019 Open Air Cinema showing ‘On Happiness Road’ in Leicester Square and ‘Taiwan Cinema Night’ - a screening of the film ‘Deep Evil’ directed by Mark Lu, followed by a reception at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel to celebrate the fourth consecutive year that Taiwan cinema has been a part of the festival.
Choral Treasures of Taiwan Bao Lai x Jian Shan Indigenous Youth Choir in London
Inclusive Choreographic Lab Resident Island Dance Theatre from Taiwan worked with dancers from Stopgap Dance Company in London between 18-22 August 2019 to develop inclusion dance composition. This cross-cultural collaboration overcomes physical limits and language barriers to create powerful contemporary dance.
Check Culture of Taiwan website to see their upcoming events in the new year.
Taiwan finally had its own film festival this year in the UK (and Iceland!). Festival curator Aephie Chen thinks 'the uniqueness of Taiwanese film is largely overlooked, as it has long been considered a part of Chinese-language cinema- a broad and indistinct category... plenty of talented emerging filmmakers and films remain unknown and this festival aims to change that.'
I took photos of the screening of legendary filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang's VR film ‘The Deserted’ and opening reception in Asia House. Ambassador David Lin was in attendance, as well as director Tsai Ming-Liang and many other notable figures from the UK cinema and television industry.
One of the reasons I love my job is to help people photograph who they are, as they are at that moment and show their best side through my photographic work.
This year, I had the great opportunity to take portraits for people who are amazing in their own ways... Shelly - a very brave and positive lady; Donald from the States, who I enjoyed the conversation about Taiwan’s history and politics with; Former Olympic athlete Patrick with a great smile; Dr. Karim and Dr.Mohan - winners of Best Doctor of the Year Award 2019 at Safety in Beauty Diamond Awards... I am very grateful for all their trusts and the opportunities they gave me, and I’m truly inspired by all of them and their individual stories.
Gelati is company that makes delicious gelatos and sell them at different spots across London. If you don't know yet - gelato is Italian for ‘frozen’ and is generally creamier, denser and richer-tasting than ice cream.
A combination of commercial photography and event photography skills is required for this project, plus research with a moodboard beforehand and improvisation on the day. We took photos of the Gelati customers at their stands at St Paul's and Spitalfields Market in a sunny day this summer, showing the 'instant happiness' that their gelatos could offer. A fun day it was!
As a creative person, I love to work with other creatives, and Stephanie Ashton is definitely on top of my list. Stephanie is a transgender model and blogger, I met her last year for her steampunk-themed shoot. This year, she took it to another level, vampirette in three different eras - Medieval, Victorian and Modern time.
As before, she sourced all her beautiful outfits from different parts of the world, with the help of the brilliant costume designer Lyndsey and amazing Makeup artist Cindy. It was a fun shoot and the results are stunning.
If you like art and fancy something different, Dorothy Circus Gallery in West London is the place to be. I started taking photos for their exhibition openings since this autumn, featuring the work of artists including Saner (Edgar Flores) and Matthew Grabelsk, and will continue to work with them next year.
It's not just about the art collections. The gallery itself is like a quirky little wonderland and every corner is picturesque!
Interior & Event Photography: Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel
My last project of the year was at the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel, a Grade II listed landmark building with luxurious contemporary designer interiors. Photographing their beautiful interiors with festive decorations and Christmas Carols is definitely the perfect way to end this year!