Alone in the Han Garden

This summer I was contacted by Anna, a model from France. She had family in Guangzhou and was coming here for her summer vacation.Gardenbts She wanted to do a photo shoot that had a Chinese feeling. Surprising as it sounds, I do very little in this style despite that number of picturesque Chinese settings I am surrounded with here. But people always want what they don’t have and all too often the clients here want the photos to look as though they were shot in Europe or America.

I worked with the model and Shawna, my stylist, to come up with a concept. We wanted the Chinese setting but we didn’t want the photos to come across as historical reenactment so the clothing had to be modern with a classic feel.

AnnaTran-2352kOnce again the talented Visen of Jogo Studio took care of hair and makeup. He always does such a great job.




We shot all of this with natural light with a bit of flash for fill on the background. I had planned to use the flash unit a little more (a 400ws battery unit) but it inexplicably stopped working right before a shot where we would have had the light streaming through a stained glass window colouring the room.The light is broken.

GardenbtsThe real difficulty on the shoot however was communication. Anna only speaks French and Cantonese, and despite living in Canton I only speak English and Mandarin. I brought along my friend Bruce as an assistant as well as translator. Also Anna’s father was here on vacation too. He spoke over 10 languages and English luckily was one of them (though he said he hadn’t used it in tens years). So in the end with a bit of help, me and Anna got on just fine. Have a look at the photos, can you detect any miscommunication?






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