Friday, 26 September 2014

30,000 Feet In The Air | Thoughts

Ms Hiền Trang in Hoi An street. Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
At just over 8000 miles, the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to New York is one of the longest direct flights, and it gave me ample opportunity to use my jet-lag addled brain to toss over ideas about The People of Tay Bac Photo Expedition-Workshop.

In between in-flight movies and meals...and possibly over the polar cap, I concluded that one of the most enjoyable segments of the photo expedition (for me) was the so-called "fashion" photo shoots that either happened serendipitously or by design in Hoi An and in Ha Noi.

I enjoyed these so much that I am seriously giving thought to dedicate a few days during in a forthcoming trip to Vietnam to such "fashion" shoots....fusing travel photography to ethnic fashion photography. The style can be posed...with static portraits, or can be pseudo environmental-street portraits such as the one above.

Ms Hiền Trang in Hoi An doorway. Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
It's a totally different change of pace. It takes a combination of various skills...some of which I have, and others that I still don't...but that are more or less easy to acquire. To really do a professional job, I'd need the support of models, local photographers (many such photographers are available in Da Nang, Hoi An and Ha Noi), as well as make-up artists....and finding a handful of attractive local dresses.

In Hoi An, I was fortunate to have had the generous support of the adorable Hiền Trang, and of professional photographer Minh Nhat Nguyen. I also stumbled on Mai Đoàn, who could provide the make-up support if required.

Scouting for attractive backdrops is not difficult in Hoi An. The little town is replete with those, including the interiors of the Chinese Assembly halls. Many stores have ancient fronts that offer superb backgrounds, along with mustard yellow textured walls for which the town is famous for.

Ms Hiền Trang in Fujian Assembly Hall. Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
If these thoughts come to fruition, I'd have to acquire the proper accessories such as reflectors and strobes, which I haven't used much before. However, these accessories would have to be minimal so as not to require photography permits, and to avoid red tape.

We scheduled a photo shoot with Hiền Trang at the Fujian Assembly Hall. This landmark was built around 1690 for the Chinese ethnic group from Fujian to socialise, but later it was transformed into a temple dedicated to the Fujian deity named Thien Hau, the goddess of the sea.

Source: Heritage (Vietnam Airlines Flight Magazine) 

The inspiration for Hiền Trang's photograph at the Fujian Assembly Hall was from images featured in Vietnam Airlines Flight Magazine. One of our group members, Maria Dikeos, spotted the resemblance in the setting, and suggested we held a photo shoot in that particular corner.

Another project to plan for, and to look forward to during 2015.

And yes. All these photographs were made with the new Fuji X-T1, and a Zeiss 12mm f2.8