profiles

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.

 

A Yummy Plain Vanilla Housewarming

This past weekend I was delighted to attend the Housewarming of Plain Vanilla Bakery in Tiong Bahru. The event was cosy, warm and laid back just like Vanessa Kenchington herself who owns this charming bakery.

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Going back in time, many of you know that I photographed Vanessa for a Hello Honey shoot and this is how I met her. She is one busy lady so we only had a small window of time in which to do the shoot. I admit that I do feel nervous at times turning up to a complete stranger’s home to photograph them. Who wouldn’t be right? There are so many things at play when I shoot. I have to consider the light, the location, small details and most importantly the subject.

So there I was climbing the stairs to Vanessa’s home (noisily hoisting up my camera bag behind me) wondering about my subject. Was she in the mood to be photographed, how had her day been going, and so on and so forth. Well, my fears were happily flung out the window (or the second floor balcony) when she opened the door and this complete stranger greeted me so warmly.

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Vanessa showed me around her beautiful apartment and we got talking – really talking about life, love, work and doing something you are passionate about. Vanessa is a trained lawyer and left a career in law behind to pursue her dreams of offering people the simple things in life by way of Plain Vanilla Bakery.  It was such a refreshing and open conversation and she spoke from the heart.

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I photographed her while we chatted and time flew! Before I knew it my hour was up as the hard working Vanessa had to make an emergency cupcake delivery.

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I saw her again this past weekend at the official housewarming of Plain Vanilla. It was aptly named a housewarming as there were children running around, homemade lemonade, big communal tables and a true feeling of community.

Each person was made to feel welcome and I could see how Vanessa’s hard work had translated into this beautiful space. The cupcakes on offer at the bakery are delicious and homely with a price that lets you enjoy the simple things in life without a care – the way it should be!

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I know how hard this amazing lady has worked and as you can see from my photos she has done it all while still being true to herself  and keeping a beautiful smile on her face. Hard work pays off and Vanessa’s laid back personality and friendliness comes across in Plain Vanilla Bakery as a whole. I had a blast.

The sky is missing!

The unexpected haze in Singapore due to the burning of land in Sumatra has caused the sky to go missing! I can’t see very much at the moment so it has put a damper on all the outdoor  photography that was planned.

I’m keeping a watery eye on the haze outside but will be re-scheduling some shoots for health reasons.  Health warnings suggest that all people should stay inside because of the air quality.

Thinking of everyone and hoping for some rain! I miss blue skies.

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

All Kinds of Happy

Smart Happy

Smart Happy

 

People have different facial expressions when expressing happiness. Sometimes you are just plain happy, sometimes overjoyed and then there is the simply delighted kind of happy.

If you think about someone close to you I bet you can, very specifically, identify different versions of this fabulous emotion. They may be calm and quiet when reading the Sunday paper or deliriously happy because they landed the job and / or slam-dunked a basketball for the first time.

During this shoot I wanted to show all kinds of happy. This lovely lady was full of energy with a very warm persona. She was delightful, joyous, cheeky, fun, quirky, smart and outgoing.

Her images were created so she can use different shots across all forms of social media. Sometimes you need to show you are just plain happy and then there are other times you want to show you are overjoyed. It depends on your platform.

I wish I had a picture of myself after this shoot because then you would have been able to see my ‘delighted’ face. I was so happy to have met and photographed this fabulous girl.

Eat your heart out social media, this girl has got all your platforms covered.

Cheeky Happy

Cheeky Happy

Just Happy

Just Happy

All Kinds of Happy

All Kinds of Happy