“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 Pianist 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!
Hospice UK - Fundraising Fashion Lunch
In spring, I photographed an exclusive fundraising fashion lunch at the stunning Mosimann’s private dining club, Belgravia; guests including Lady Shakira Caine, Dame Siân Phillips DBE, Patricia Hodge and David Sassoon. The lunch was followed by a fashion show which showcased fabulous designs from Dame Zandra Rhodes, Amanda Wakeley, Connolly, Nabil Nayal, Daniel Blake and Rachel Trevor-Morgan.
I’m very pleased to hear that they raised more than £21,000 from the event, which is going towards the charity’s work for hospice and palliative care.
Principle Tower - Views at Night
After documenting Principal Tower's marketing pavilion opening last year, this time, I took some photos to show the breathtaking views from the building at night. As the building was still not completed yet, Maya, the sales manager and I had to climb 39 floors of stairs to take the photos. (I’m glad to find out that my new habits of exercise finally paid off!)
Eva Air Celebrating Evergreen Group's 50th Anniversary
This year is the 50th anniversary for Evergreen Group. I took some photos and made a short video for Eva Air to show iconic sites of London together with wishes from their London crew.
Another year I shot for Taiwan Ministry of Culture and their fantastic events in London!
Started with Atayal Weavers of Taiwan in London Craft Week 2018, showing Atayal aboriginal people's ancient textile-weaving traditions at the British Library.
'Formosa' by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre at Sadler's Wells. 'Using gesture, script, music and other elements of the island, Lin explores how writing has a power to distort memories and erase history.'
Taiwanese Artist Yuan Goang-Ming’s solo exhibition - 'Tomorrowland' at Hayward Gallery. Below is the video from the opening night where the artist discussed his work with Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward Gallery.
Writer Wu Ming-Yi in Conversation with Professor Barak Kushner
Award-winning Author Wu Ming-yi from Taiwan talking about his book Stolen Bicycle with Professor Barak Kushner from Cambridge at the National Liberal Club. Stolen Bicycle is a 'majestic historical novel and a profound, startlingly intimate meditation on memory, family and home. Heartbreaking family sagas are played out against the backdrop of social revolution in this nail-biting historical drama.' Definitely a good read.
Weddings - Two Beautiful Stories
Two couples got married this year and they happened to be my good friends!
Justin and Lisa had a very sweet wedding in May in Oberndorf, Germany. They met each other in Connecticut and after 3 years of long distance relationship between the US and Germany, they decided to move to London to start a life together in 2013. They brought one suitcase each and without knowing anyone, they've created an amazing life in London. I'm very excited about their new chapter in Chicago next year for them.
Vinci and Steve met each other during travelling in Croatia when they lived in the UK in 2011. They now live in Hong Kong and came back to the UK for a summer holiday and had an engagement shoot with me in Southbank where they used to hang out. They’re a couple who love traveling the world and despite none of them are from Thailand, they're going to have a big wedding celebration next year in Phuket and I can’t wait for it!
Creative Portrait - Steam Punk
I constantly get inspired by the people I meet - that’s one of the reasons I love my job and never feel like I’m working! I’ve got some clients telling me about having one shoot a year regularly for themselves – some with creative ideas and some simply want to remember how they look like every year and I think it’s a fantastic idea!
One of the most exciting projects from these is the session with Stephanie. She is a very creative person and always has at least a theme shoot every year; and this year, it's Steam Punk. She created a character, collected props from different parts of the world and collaborated with a talented costume designer Lyndsey Clark. We shot at the gorgeous Maunsel House and are very happy with the final results that we created together!
Taiwan at Lord Mayor's Show 2018
Lord Mayor's Show is one of the longest-established event in London, dating back to the 16th century. I was very excited to see Taiwanese Overseas Communities in the UK also took part in this parade for the second time. I was in the parade taking photos with my filming partner Sara, running around with the parade team to document this exciting moment. I’ve edited the video together with some photos I took in the video below.
Nefnüf is a London-based womenswear brand based on a traditional approach to quality and longevity, centred on the idea of timeless luxury. Each Nefnüf garment is designed in London and created in accordance with the commitment to fair working environments.
Interestingly, I started last year with a shoot with Sophie, and this time, I ended my 2018 with a shoot with her.
If you ask me one thing about Sophie, I’ll say she’s one of the most organised people I’ve ever met!Very happy for her about the launch of her new business – The Art of Organising, to help other women 'get their sh*t together' and creating their dream life or a successful business as a life coach and business consultant.
More projects from 2018, click to see more!
It's nearly the end of the year. While reflecting on what I've done this year, I thought why not sharing some of my exciting projects here!
It was a sexy start with Twisted, a fetish inspired lingerie brand. I took photos for their website and online shop in January. If you haven't heard of this brand, check it out now! Their mission is to empower women to embrace their desires, and make every day that little bit naughtier.
In February, I took photos for Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week AW17 for the third time. Covered catwalks in the beautiful Freemason's Hall such as Pam Hogg, Ashley Isham, Rocky Star, Hellvagirl, Han Wen, Annderstand, House of MEA and more.
Later, I went to all Zeal Network's offices in London, Madrid and Hamburg to take corporate photos for their new website and marketing materials. In addition, I attended their 3-day annual event to document their talks, presentations, fun activities as well as capture the interactions within the company.
In May, I participated in Burt's Bees' Bring Back The Bees campaign with blogger Lottie Murphy. Bees are disappearing at alarming rates and Burt’s Bees Foundation were raising the awareness and helping them by planting thousands of wildflower seeds. We visited Nicky from the British Bee Keepers Association and learned so much about them.
Fun fact about bees: The honey bee’s wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to nine kilometers, and as fast as twenty five kilometers per hour!
(Side story: I was stung while shooting. Left quietly straightaway because I knew if I panicked, they would attack me more and Nicky said I have a very calm ch'i!)
Despite having lived in London for 10 years, I still very much want to connect with my roots- Taiwan and Asia. Earlier this year, I took official photos again for the talented Artists Hsiao-Chi Tsai and Kimiya Yoshikawa's latest installation work for Harvey Nichols' window display, 'Joys of Spring'. In Summer, I also got to photograph Japanese Gallery's beautiful art pieces and antiques for their new website.
Not to mention, I still continuously photograph Taiwan Embassy's National Day Celebration in the UK and their cultural events through out the year including London East Asia Film Festival 2017, The Tenant – a concert theatre performance in National Portrait Gallery and London Craft week 2017 in V&A Museum and Herrick Gallery, Mayfair.
Talking about new (year), there's a new tall building in London skyline called Principal Tower, designed by Foster + Partners. Their marketing pavilion just recently opened and I was commissioned to make a video to document this exciting evening.
In October, I photographed Wella's annual event at the beautiful The Ned London. Guess who was the ambassador there? Sophie Turner - Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones! (Yes, I'm a big fan of that series!)
Last but not least, I worked with the talented Violinist Yijia Zhang for his new album, Life, by taking photos as well as designing the album cover and booklet. Unlike his last album which is more classical, this album is full of modern energy including rock songs such as Bon Jovi's It's My Life and Green Day's Wake Me Up When September Ends. I can't wait to see its release next year!
These pretty much sum up my big projects over the year. I'm very grateful to be able to participate in these projects and very much looking forward to my new adventures in 2018!