portraits

You Forget It All Starts Outside

When it comes to cooking, dining and just enjoying food, we sometimes forget that it all starts outside. Great produce is what makes a great dish and it’s something that I keep being reminded of.

There are two things that I love and its food and being outside. The connection between the two is often forgotten or overlooked but when you remember, your appreciation for what you eat is so much more.

To me, there is nothing as great as stepping outside into the sunshine, fresh air and wide open spaces. As a photographer I look at the light but I also make it a point to step outside every day for pure joy. It helps me to feel more grounded and remember the simple things in life. My friends joke about it because my delight on a sunny day has me even jollier than normal. We call it a ‘Suasti Kind of Day’.

There have been so many times that I have gone to eat in a great restaurant to be amazed at the food but the moment that I think about how long it took to actually grow a certain tomato, raise a piece of kobe or mature a beautiful cheese my appreciation sky rockets. It takes so long! The people who create these products for restaurants to use and put on our plates, go through so much trouble to nurture and take care of their produce. In a world which is about fast consumption, the slow and time honoured way that these producers work makes me think twice about how it ALL starts outside – in nature.

In doing this photoshoot for Odette, we decided to take Chef Julien Royer, outside, to where it all starts with food. We are so used to seeing chefs in the kitchen that we thought the often unspoken symmetry between nature and the kitchen would be a good way to remember exactly where a great dish starts.

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Julien Royer 

With Chef Julien growing up in the country in France we had to shoot this series outside in Singapore, for his restaurant, Odette, named for his grandmother who first taught him to cook. I imagine growing up in France, he spent countless hours outside on the farm, growing vegetables and harvesting them from season to season and perhaps even sitting under a tree and day dreaming about being a great chef one day.

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Julien Royer 

 

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Show People the Real You

There are so many social media platforms these days and so many options to buy from! It can be overwhelming but when you Google, it is an article with great imagery that is often the one you connect with. One that is real, inspiring and inviting.

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Pictures will appeal to various people for different reasons but the one consistency is that a well lit ‘real’ picture will engage your audience more. 60% of end users are more likely to engage with your business when you use pictures.

The power of the market is in your hands by combining authenticity with real imagery. Show people who you really are, what you stand for and why they should be doing business with you instead of your competitor.

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Humans like a good story and there is nothing more compelling than telling your brands visual story through a series of images. Planning your shoots with foresight to create a story will see your clients engage more and get to know you better. It’s a win-win situation for building long term relationships.

 

Why Are You Camera Shy Woman? Stop It.

I just came across the latest Dove advertisement and it focuses on women and how camera shy they can be.  The focus of the ad campaign is ” when did you stop thinking you were beautiful?” Towards the end of the clip you get to see some beautiful little girls preening happily in front of the mirror. When did it change?  If all the camera shy women in the world could see themselves through the eyes of their children, husband or loved one, the world would be a better place. They would feel gorgeous, sexy, happy and full of warmth.

I get to see how beautiful women are when I photograph them as their beauty shines when they are the least self conscious. During a shoot, when a mum leans in and has a whisper to her six year old and then throws her head back laughing, her beauty shines. When resting with a little one on her shoulder, relaxed and nurturing, again, her beauty shines.

A woman’s beauty is a combination of how she moves, the curve of her cheek, the joy she shows and the warmth she radiates. It is so much more than a straight photograph. Sometimes its the quiet moment in which she can gaze straight at the camera while relaxed, that is the moment in which even I can be startled as I see her confidence and her strength. The completeness of this woman hits home.

The images that capture your inner beauty, at the same time as making your outside looks shine, are the images I want to take.

Look up lady, look at the camera, you are beautiful.

Camera Shy? Look Up Beautiful

Eat, Pray, Love’s Ketut and Bali.

My most recent photography adventure has been to Ubud in Bali. Set in lush greenery, Ubud is so very peaceful and serene. Steeped in religious practice and tradition, it is miles away from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak and Kuta.

After arriving at Denpasar our main goal was to get to the beautiful hotel “Uma by Como”. We pleasantly chatted away to our driver Rocky who was transporting us to the hotel. Completely taken by the scenic views from our van, I was thoroughly engrossed in general chit chat and rice paddies. As the van slowed down I was expecting to pull into the hotel, however we found our self at someone else’s actual home.

Whose home you may wonder? If you have read the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert or seen the movie starring Julia Roberts, you may remember a good portion of the book being set in Bali. As we pulled up I asked Rocky  “Is this the hotel Rocky?”

“No, no. This is Ketut Liyer’s house. The medicine man!” replies smiley Rocky.

“Whaatttt? Oh my gosh!” I screeched. What in the world was I doing here? We had asked Rocky (just generally) if Ketut Liyer from the book Eat, Love, Pray was a real person you could visit and then lo and behold he actually brought us to see him! Surprised didn’t quite describe it. We scrambled out of the van to see what lay beyond the beautiful stone wall.

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A welcome from Ketut Liyer.

It was a bit surreal to see a character from a book right in front of your eyes. He looked pretty good for his age considering he is meant to be about 110 at this point. Sitting cross-legged on the verandah of his compound he was happily telling the fortunes of the tourists before us.

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Eat, Pray, Love’s Ketut Liyer. Still smiley at the age of 110 it seems!

He was delighted to have his picture taken and to see what he looked like. We were number 24 for the day and one of the last people he saw. While I don’t place too much faith in his fortune telling skills, it was a treat to see him in real life.

Take a number to see Ketut.

I spent some time looking into his eyes as he spoke and was greeted with a warm spirited person.  All the best to you Ketut Liyer, thank you for being so pleased to pose for me.

Ketut is thrilled to see a picture of himself on my camera.

Ketut is thrilled to see a picture of himself on my camera.

Show Us Your Personality Please

The Honeycombers in Singapore is an online destination that tells you what is happening all around the island. They cover openings of new restaurants to fabulous new brands arriving and even quirky little stores you didn’t know existed. It is also an online directory so whenever you are in a bind you can simply look things up on the site. You can discover everything great in Singapore at http://www.thehoneycombers.com after you check out the fab team below.

After moving to Singapore from Manhattan I was at a loss as to where to find things on my new little island. I longed for something like The Honeycombers and BAM, one day, everything just collided perfectly. I found them and they found me! It was a match.  The photography gods were listening and I now have a team I love working with in conjunction with my own brand.

The Honeycombers have just launched a newly renovated site and with that came new team photos. We shot it against a nice grey wall at Chris’, the founder and owner’s house. I really love this grey wall. It has such character. But I digress, I wanted to show the team’s character – not just the wall’s!

The aim was to showcase everyone’s personality and that it was a fun team. Doing ‘work’ on this team involves a lot of laughter and it is part of what makes The Honeycombers the way it is. I wanted to capture the spirit of each team member, the semi-formal and the goofy sides of their personalities.

The shoot was fast as we are comfortable with each other and, here, you get to see the final product. Team Honeycombers, show us your personalities please.

Chris - our fun, fearless, fabulous leader

Chris – our fun, fearless, fabulous leader

Mel - our marvelous senior editor who is the bomb diggity of writers

Mel – our marvelous senior editor who is the bomb diggity of writers

Tina - our awesome relationship manager

Tina – our awesome relationship manager

Rachel - our super talented graphics guru

Rachel – our super talented graphics guru

Cosmopolitan’s Fearless Men

These are some of the fearless men who I shot for Cosmopolitan Magazine Singapore. They were featured in September 2012’s issue. This is my personal black and white edit which I only just got around to doing, months later! I say better late than never.

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I have shot Bobby Tonelli and George Young before so it was a very easy shoot and these guys are great at what the do. They all have such ease in front of the camera. They can relax into different moods and be sexy and laugh on cue – that is what I call talent.

I am using this post to draw some light to how a commercial shoot goes. You can see here that I have edited these images to look sultry and sexy and a little bit dark, just like the fearless men themselves. However, on the set of the shoot it was anything but dark and sultry – we were all having a laugh and teasing each other, getting the shot, checking make-up and just rolling along. Very different to what the end result actually looks like.

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George Young posing perfectly.

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Oli Pettigrew is also featured and although he looks very sombre here – between shots he managed to try and eat his shoe!

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Commercial shoots are planned and organized well beforehand. The tone of the images can be edited and what goes on during the shoot is definitely not what you end up seeing. I enjoy seeing how shoots are made and what goes on behind the scenes so I thought I would share a little insight with you. The cheeky posing of George and Bobby and the shoe eating Oli are not necessarily going to make it to print but it is definitely fun to see and know about.

Whose Eyes? Mama’s Eyes

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Mama’s Eyes

Where did I come from? Who’s eyes do I have? Who do I look like? My Mum or Dad?  Everyone wonders these questions. This shoot captured that this little pumpkin truly has her mother’s eyes.

Time goes by so fast  and when she is a ‘big girl’ six she will hardly believe that she used to be this little. She will be curious about what she sounded like, how she acted and what she looked like. Having  a photo session like this gives such a good reference point to talk about the past. It always amazes me that there can be traces of ancestral history all over a child’s features. Perhaps her grandmother’s chin, her father’s face shape and so forth. It is  like a beautiful map of people and time combined into a tiny little person who is adored

When she is sixteen, then twenty-five and when she has children of her own, these are the photos she is likely to treasure. A snapshot in time of a beautiful baby girl, treasured and loved and who has beautiful eyes, just like her Mama.

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Baby Girl