Friday, 28 December 2018

The Fairy And Her Erhu


the fairy and her erhu by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

With the enthusiastic participation of Ms Feng Lee, a fellow photographer in Taipei, I produced a short audio slideshow entitled The Fairy And Her Erhu which combines the traditional Chinese fashion of the qi pao, a quintessential Chinese architectural background, a classical musical instrument and ancient Chinese poetry and stylized calligraphy.

The setting for the photo shoot which resulted in the slideshow was the beautiful Lin Ben Yuan Family Mansion and Garden (林本源園邸) in the Banqiao District, Taipei. It was a residence built by the Lin Ben Yuan Family, and is the country's most complete surviving example of traditional Chinese garden architecture. It can be traced back to 1847 when it was built for storing of rice crop whose location was more convenient for the increasingly wealthy Lin Ben Yuan family. A few years later, it became the family's main residence.

I also added a number of ancient Chinese poems to the photographs using a cursive Chinese font; some of these poems are attributed to Li Qingzhao, a writer and poet in the Song dynasty, considered as one of the greatest poets in Chinese history. 

The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument which can be used either in solo performances or with a larger orchestra. It can be traced to back to proto-Mongolic instruments introduced to China more than a thousand years ago. 

The audio slideshow is of two parts; one is of some of the many images made in a photo studio, complete with professional lighting (I even had a flash slave trigger rigged on my GFX50s), and the second part is of images made at the Lin Gardens; made under an afternoon cloudy sky and no artificial lighting.

Having little knowledge of studio lighting, I relied on the expert guidance of Tim Huang (studio owner) and Patrice Delmotte (a Taipei resident). However, I much prefer the comparative "looseness" of photographing under natural light, without reliance on directional artificial light...with authentic backgrounds et al.