Su m mer 2012
“In High Spirits” by Olaf Mueller
The RAW Magazine TEAM Joyce Yung Joyce founded Random Art Workshop in 2009 to expand upon her passion for photography, art and to build a community of like-minded individuals that can come together to share their creative insights. The past several years have seen her involve her career in professional photography and championing everyday arts. With an affinity for discovering new avenues to give the rest of Hong Kong their dose of the unexpected and imaginative, RAW Magazine is her brainchild. She finds inspiration in traveling, loves the water, and is particularly fond of all things spiral.
Derek Ting Co-founder of Random Art Workshop, Derek has always been an ardent supporter of the arts. He caught the acting bug while studying in New York and subsequently, his interests have led him into the art of acting and further producing for CNN and other well received short-films. With a Producer’s role for a feature film under his belt, Derek continues to tirelessly pursue his passions. He enjoys quick witted conversations and running. He hopes RAW will help others find their callings.
Matina Cheung Matina is RAW’s resident design and graphics wizard. Responsible for RAW Magazine’s innovative and distinct aesthetic identity, she celebrates her passion for design along with art mediums such as photography and sculpture. An upcoming visual artist, Matina’s art involves itself with the concept of intimacy and perception. She is also a yoga afficcionado with an intense love for aliens and gremlins.
Contributing Writers: Text Edited by Bev Cheng
Bev is an editor for a popular English magazine and spends her free time on the lookout for French pastries, creative hubs and undiscovered gems around the city she now calls home—Hong Kong.
Yoav Horesh is a photography professor at SCAD Hong Kong. He has exhibited his work in galleries throughout the world and with Amnesty International. Prior to joining SCAD, Horesh taught at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, The New England School of Photography, Queens College and Columbia University.
Gillian Chu Gillian Chu is a Hong Kong based Canadian lifestyle blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and secrets on the city that she calls home. Find out more at gillian-chu.blogspot.com
Aurora Van Kerckhove Aurora is the writing intern for RAW. Her interests and passions lay in music, art and writing.
Foreword My partner, Derek, and I started the concept of Random Art Workshop when we got past Hong Kongâ€™s hard candy shell of hustle and bustle. Many people come here to make their money and leave, but we wanted and still feel that Hong Kong deserves more permanence, especially in the field of art. We also felt that being an accountant, lawyer, and banker, etc. does not preclude you from being an artist, nor make you any less creative. We started RAW to plant a seed that would grow into a community where people could learn about art without the confines or limits that society places on us. RAW Magazine is a natural progression of this emerging community. In this 3rd issue, we explore how artists balance their creative headspace and time between their commercial and fine art work in photography and digital media. We bring to you three Studio Visit features providing different perspectives to the digital media space. This includes a commercial turned fine arts photographer, an independent film maker, and a photography bookstore and exhibition space.
Creative Director RANDOM ART WORKSHOP
Contents SPOTLIGHT 6
Our picks of notable and upcoming Hong Kong based artists who are exciting and inspirational in the world of visual arts.
20 FEATU RE: STUDIO VISIT
RAW visits Olaf Mueller, AO Photobook, and Supercapitalist to chat about their latest projects and inspirations.
ART SAVVY 44
We have Art Futures group and Yoav Horesh share their insight on art investment and photography.
We zoom in on what’s been going on around the globe art-wise, and share what caught our eye.
ART EXHIBITION FEATU RE 56 May is big month for art lovers. RAW gives
64 ART GIZMO
our view on Art HK 2012, Spoon Art Fair, and Daydreaming with...
Find out what’s on our tech-radars at RAW HQ.
ON THE STREETS 66 RAW visits Mr T.M. Lee, founder of Holga, at
69 OFF THE SHELVES
their Hung Hom factory.
Take a peek at what titles line the shelves of prominent movers and shakers in Hong Kong’s art scene.
We find talent through various social media channels.
RAW Magazine’s guest columnist Gillian Chu talks about art in everyday life.
OPEN HOUSE 78
With a theme for each issue, we invite you to take part and send in photos of your artwork.
Working with some of Hong Kong's most noted auteurs, Tim Wong discovered his love for photography working alongside mega stars such as Wong Kar wai. Tim’s career in film and videography began shortly after graduating with a film and video degree from the University of the Arts London. Upon his return to Hong Kong in 2003, he started working as a production assistant and script reader for Columbia Pictures Asia, MTV, and Shaw Brothers and apprenticed under the wing of renowned directors Wong Kar-wai and Fruit Chan. He got into photo-shooting in 2006 with TV commercials by Fruit Chan and later shooting film stills for Ann Hui ‘s award-winning movie The Way We Are, among other notable titles. His attention to detail, thoughtful manipulation of lighting, bold composition, together with his cinematic background have quickly won the trust of many well established individuals in the industry as well as agencies and brands. Above all, Tim loves to shoot people and admits that he picks up a camera for the things and people that capture his eye and that he finds interesting. To Tim, “Photography has the ability to be immediate—it allows you to communicate with the protagonists in a way no other media can; it allows you to cross boundaries when you create; it can potentially reach a huge crowd from very different backgrounds, hence [its] ability to be very influential.’ Tim finds inspiration in the world around him, particularly by people, music, paintings, colors and architecture. Never willing to conform, he’s always experimenting and pushing the traditional boundaries of photography. www.wongtim.com
Fanny Cheuk pushes the envelope with her sensual black and white nudes. Fanny Cheuk gets back to the basics as she delves into the secret carnal side of human instincts in her work. Born in Hong Kong during the 80s, Fanny explores different facets of the human body and social relations in an urban context through her photography. Her risqué images were exhibited at the Hong Kong Macau Sex Cultural Festival 2008 and have been featured in international publications, such as Carrie Leigh’s Nude Magazine (from the US), that same year. “Those pictures I took during the trip to London and Paris have been [my] driving force—photo taking has made me really pleased since then. I don’t know how to paint and photography is relatively easier for me. [Photos] can record everything in our lives, but it can also go way beyond reality. In terms of specific spots or objects, I love photographing old stuff, abandoned spots and various people that make me curious. My photographs can also be related to personal life”. www.fanny-cheuk.com
Swayed by the beauty of Asia, Peter Steinhauer has captured some of the continent's most breathtaking scenery and intimate portraits of its people. gered a life-long passion—he finally figured out what he wanted to do with his life, it was as simple as that. Throughout the years, Peter has learnt that aside from inherent talent and technical skill, great success comes from hard work and diligence. He reflects, “It certainly hasn’t been an easy process and I have worked incredibly hard at what I do. It is an everyday process of looking at light, subject matter and listening to what moves me.” Asia is his muse, as he has found himself compelled to capture its landscapes, seascapes, urban sprawls and portraits of locals that capture his eye. “Life moves me,” says Peter, whose artistic inspiration comes from a passion for music, classic Zhang Yimou films and19th century photography. He is also equally moved by people who don’t give up and who are able to tackle obstacles for the sake of accomplishing something great, as well as sports such as cycling, triathlon and being in nature. Though it may be tempting to capture every touching moment, Peter is selective in what he shoots. He’s not one to go out and shoot randomly, but will carefully plan out a project before going out to zoom-in on that specific subject matter. He is currently working on his “Cocoons” project, which is inspired by the large buildings under construction in Hong Kong and will be exhibited at Contemporary by Angela Li June 29-July 31. Peter is also completing a third photo book on Vietnam, with a prime focus on the breathtaking scenery from Halong Bay, his third book after previous photo books on Hong Kong and Bali.
Peter Steinhauer is a talented photographer now living and working in Asia since he first moved to the continent in 1993. His works, which range from black and white landscapes to portraiture taken from various countries across Asia, are widely exhibited in museums and private collections around the world. Photography came naturally to Peter, who first started snapping pictures for photography class in design school. The immediacy of the art form triggered his passion for photography. Compared to other mediums he had worked with, Peter was very surprised to see how fast he could see the final print after taking a photo and processing the film in a darkroom. The class trig-
Aqua Cocoon Cage
Four Green Cocoons
Acting coach Jeanne Hartman shares her journey from being a musical prodigy to finding her true calling: being an acting teacher. She shares her life story in her own words. I continued to perform back in New York City but was also searching for an acting teacher who really understood creating believable performances, that is until I found Barbara Loden. She was one of the famous Group Theatre members and in her private classes I found my real interest—creating believable characters. I think my interest in helping others to create those believable roles really was nurtured in her classes and also with my mentor, Lawrence Parke in Los Angeles. There were many other wonderful teachers, too, but I also experienced some bad teachers. So, when Larry Parke encouraged me to coach I wanted to make sure that the actors and performers have a safe place to work on their craft. I also wanted to make sure that actors learn how to prepare for rolesproperly. My students notice that I always take time to explain why an exercise is helping them. Students often come to me and ask why various teachers would have them do certain exercises [because] they never explained how it would help them. I think when you understand how you can apply [a lesson] you will remember to use it. So you see, for many people your journey takes you in many directions but if you keep opening the doors that appear in front of you, you will find your way. I am always searching for new ways to work the “acting muscles”. Adults are just like we were when we were children—if we do something the same way every time, we get bored; so I always want my actors, writers and directors to get new ways to create, each time they take my workshops.
I heard a speaker who oncesaid that just because you love something it does not always mean that is your purpose or your life’s work—I think my journey represents this. As a young girl, music was where I stood out. I could sing higher than anyone and when I went to college, I could sight read music much better than most singers. I excelled as a singer and that is where my journey took me. I studied and performed and after schooling, I was the youngest singer in Centre Lyrique Internationale with the Geneva Opera House in Switzerland. There, I studied and performed, but I think it was there that I began to understand that my real interest, my real focus was acting and the “how” and “why” of believable characters.
Olaf Muel ler
One of the first Hong Kong-based photographers who has successfully bridged commercial and fine art photography, Olaf established himself as a creative agency, a wedding photographer, commercial photographer, and is now fully immersed in fine art photography. RAW sits down with Olaf at his brand new Hollywood Road artist loft to understand his art, his journey, and his inspirations. Written by Joyce Yung Photography by Matina Cheung
RAW: How did you get into pho tography? OM: I studied real estate, but then went into the private segment with a real estate investment division but ended up doing all the marketing materials for the company because everyone knows that I’m creative. Wearing a suit and the office politics is not my thing, so I decided to quit my job and focus on wedding photography, with already a few jobs lined up. I was one of the first ones to do western style wedding photography in Hong Kong. What was a game changer for me was when I met this guy who does underwear. I did wedding photography for his friend and he really liked that style, and he wanted me to shoot his products in that same style (different from all the other product photos out there). This client became a very close client of mine, and we ended up doing really large scale productions for him. We even did an elaborate shoot in Miami. I built up the company to be a small boutique advertising company. We did the end-to-end production
including website design, mood board, concepts, design and the production of brochures—the whole nine yards. I was very successfully for two to three years and sold it to another design house because I wanted to just focus on my photography. I wanted to be an artist and focus on the creative. So I sold the company and setup OM Studio in 2007 and that’s the company I still hold today. What shifted after I started focusing on photography was that after the financial crash in 2008-2009, I decided to do a big charity project. I linked up and did a project for AIDS. The idea was to take black and white portraits of celebrities. The timing was just perfect and everyone wanted to do something good for society. Daniel Wu and Simon Yam were the first ones to sign up for it and it had a snowball effect—I ended up shooting 26 stars. It took one year to do this and in the end, we did a cocktail reception and a book. I invited a gallery, and the director actually bought the print of Daniel Wu—and that’s how it got started. They asked me to collaborate with them on the Dragon
Garden project to raise awareness and to raise funds to preserve and renovate that area. It was a real fine art project and involved Katy Tse. The collection did really well, to everyone’s surprise, and all the editions sold out. RAW: Can you tel l us more about the concept and the process to your latest col lection “Al l Under Heaven”? OM: My most recent series called “All Under Heaven” includes a lot of large bubbles. I took three to four months to perfect the giant bubbles and all of my friends thought that I was going mental. I wanted to create giant bubbles, like floating sea mammals in the air. Another painter that really inspires me is Dali, so it was kind of like his paintings—the melted kind of look. I like to create art that people like to hang on the wall. I wanted to create something simple, but people don’t like simple, so I need to translate it into something more complex. The pieces I create are very detailed with strong vibrant colors, lots of texture—and yet, are very harmonious in a way. I have lots of symmetry in my artwork because it’s very relaxing to the eye, yet I have asymmetrical movements so that it’s not too static.
Once I had the bubbles, I needed a great landscape. I have always wanted to shoot in Guilin. Dr. Sun Yat Sen once said [of the picturesque region], “It’s a place all under heaven”, which is how I titled the show. I like panoramic formats because it’s more cinematic and that’s how we see the world. I need a location that has the space and is absolutely timeless. We traveled with a team of 14 people with 500 kilos of cargo. The water in China is not the same in China, so I could not do the bubbles the same way as in Hong Kong. I had to shoot the bubbles in HK in my studio later, but it all came together very well. RAW: How was the exhibition received in Saigon? OM: I brought the “All Under Heaven” series to Saigon and had a solo exhibition where I created three new pieces for that exhibition. To my surprise, it was very well received. I was originally quite reluctant, knowing that Vietnamese people don’t really buy art yet, but people were completely overwhelmed by my photography. It literally sold out. That’s why I really want to focus on Vietnam right now. All the buyers want me to do something in Vietnam because they are very proud of their country.
RAW: What are some of the most memorable moments on set? OM: The picture I took of Daniel Wu in the forest was definitely memorable because I had to make him hike one hour into the forest and then made him change in the forest; I was worried about all the monkeys. It was a great shoot because everything went well and it was one of my first big local celebrity collaborations. The Dragon Garden with Kay Tse (謝安 琪) was absolutely iconic. This was my big game changer because it was my first real fine art project. Because I’ve worked with her already, it was easier to approach her. I designed her custom dresses, we suspended her in mid-air and we even had her stand in water—that was a very memorable shoot. She loved it so much that she actually purchased one of the artworks herself. And of course, it was very memorable shooting Sharon Stone as that was my first Hollywood experience—she has always been the iconic Hollywood star. I must admit that it does feel different; the charisma and the energy she portrayed was so intense that I was quite intimidated. Prestige magazine had us shooting with all of these animals (lions, elephants,
Balloon Dragon 23
zebras) and all of the models were afraid, but Sharon was quite a pro and handled all the animals with no problem. She was so confident and she just knew what she was doing—it was great to have someone like her pose in front of the lens.
hanging on their walls—it’s a great feeling and a privileged. RAW: What’s your favorite color? OM: Purplish-redish. Romantic, sexy and conveys luxury.
RAW: What inspires you? OM: Traveling and just seeing stuff. If I just sit around here, then I’m not going to get anything. Hong Kong is my home and my base, but the second I went to Vietnam and saw something new then everything just went into motion. I get inspirations through daily life. I use to have a very big studio in Kowloon Bay when I used to be very commercial, but it was important to move into somewhere very vibrant, like here on Hollywood Road. If I want to get inspired, I get it around here all the time, but I can be secluded and hide here as well. RAW: What’s your next project? OM: I want to shoot in the Son Dong Cave in Vietnam—it’s the world’s largest cave. National Geographic actually did a big documentary on that cave. It is absolutely amazing! Just the scale, size, and depth of the location totally works with what I do. I need the space, something huge and grand, I also love the challenge. I’ll be shooting there in January and February 2013 because I need time to plan it and I’ll need a crew of 40-50 people. It’s a massive undertaking and I’ll need to find the funding as well. I can’t work with models this time, as there are specific risks involved—you have to be physically very fit and must have some climbing experience. We’ll need to live in the cave, so it’ll be very interesting to see what the crew will do—it’ll be very surreal. RAW: Is your career how you plan ned it out to be? OM: I always thought I would be a commercial photographer. The fine art thing that I did just kind of came about, I just progressed and it’s the best thing that could have happened. I think for a photographer that’s the next step, to have people appreciate your art and have it
RAW: Are you are morning person? OM: Yes, very much. I would wake up at four in the morning a few times a week and go work out for a few hours. It’s a routine that I set for myself. It feels so great because it’s so quiet in the morning. One of my side hobbies is to compete in triathlons, so I train a lot. I train three hours on the bike, and when I’m in that mode, I get quite creative. Exercising keeps my mind absolutely free and clean. I’m an extremist, so I need an extreme sport to push me. I have no in-betweens. That’s how I do my shoots as well, I need extreme settings. RAW: Since you’re a morning person, what’s your favorite breakfast? OM: I don’t get the breakfast I want here in Hong Kong. I like a good German breakfast with tons of cold cuts, cheeses and eggs; sitting around with loved ones friends and family and having a really long breakfast. It’s also a German thing to get up really early and go to the bakery to get really fresh bread and rolls. RAW: Any favorite camera lens? OM: Phase 1 camera has a 20mm lens, which is super amazing! I love the 80mm lens for medium format camera and that’s what I use the most. I like everything to be very big, high resolution, and detailed so I use a standard lens on panoramic head and shoot the scene in sections. I would never want to produce a photo with just one click, so I stitch them together. That also contributes to the final photo to be so surreal and detailed. www.olaf.hk
Floating Balloon Army
STUDIO VISIT - BEHIND THE SCENES
04 01 Actual setup of my Dragon Rose Artwork 02 Baccarat Magazine Cover Shoot with Crystal Huan at Nam Sang Wai 03 Camera Angle and Position for Floating Balloon Army
04 Cinematic night shoot at Hong Kong Land Exchange Square 05 Hanging of Pearl of Orient at Saigon Solo Exhibition
06 Installation shot of Solo Exhibition in Saigon - Floating Balloon Army 07 Installation shot of Solo Exhibition in Saigon 08 Installation shot of Solo Exhibition in Saigon, Chain Reaction 09 Posing next to my longest arwork Balloon Dragon 10 Set up for Floating Balloon Army at Dragon Garden (inspired by Terra Cotta Army)
11 Setting up a shot in Guilin 12 Signing of Kardia Dahlia artwork 13 Stage Set up for Clarity Artwork of Dragon Garden series with singer Kay Tse 27
STUDIO VISIT - BEHIND THE SCENES
Peter Asia One P
r Lau Photobook
Photography as an art form has transformed greatly throughout history. Once considered an exclusive form of technology used to capture portraits of aristocrats and the elite, nowadays anyone owning a camera can use it as a tool of artistic expression. With the transformation of film to digital photography, photography is becoming increasingly accessible to the public. Photo editing apps, like Instagram, make amateur pictures look professional even if it’s taken with an iPhone. These easy-to-use tools may make it seem like anyone can label themselves a “photographer”, but there is much more to a photograph than merely the aesthetics or techniques. Asia One is an exclusive printing house in Hong Kong that provides a full range of traditional offset and CTP printing services. The printing house also employs its own editorial, copywriting and translating teams to provide quality and efficient services to their customers. In this issue, RAW sits down with Peter Lau, the founder of Asia One, to learn more about the printing business, his collection of art books and his personal views on photography. Written by Aurora Van Kerckhove Photography by Joyce Yung
RAW: Where did you get the concept for AO Photobook centre? Asia One: We actually started this project two years ago in a shop inside Sim City, Mong Kok. The reason we picked that location is because I thought young people and 龍友 (photography fanatics) would be our customer base. But after 10 months, I closed it down and then moved the store to IFC. The market is definitely in Central because the purchasing power is much higher there and we are targeting the upper class. Our flagship store is in Chai Wan because we need more space to accommodate the large number of books. The shop in IFC is a little more commercial, but the books in the main shop [Chai Wan] are more artistic. Seventy percent of our collection is comprised of rare books from Hong Kong and Asia. The most important factor of a bookshop is the choice of stock, it’s like when the merchandiser picks out clothes for a fashion boutique store.
RAW: We noticed that you have some limited edition books in the bookshop. How do you acquire these books? AO: We sell trade books, limited edition books, rare books and even erotic art books from all over the world. I think we are the only place in Hong Kong or Asia that has a full section on erotic fine art. In countries like Japan, there are very strict regulations on this art form. We visit a few special photograph shops around the world and major book fairs, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, to acquire these books. As we are also in the publishing business, we get a lot of contacts in this field, too. RAW: Why do you focus on pho tography? AO: One of the reasons I pick photography as the main theme for the bookshop is because photography is easily accepted
by the general public. Everyone in Hong Kong is practicing photography, so the market is big. For example, in newsstands you often see photography magazines, but you hardly see art or sculpture magazines for sale. This art form is easier to understand and easier to practice by yourself compared to other art forms. RAW: How do you think photography (as a mediu m for creative expression) affects the way we live in Hong Kong? AO: Digital photography has changed the world—especially with the iPhone. Now, there are millions and millions of photos taken everyday. People take photos of just about anything these days and it’s becoming meaningless. In the past, we always think before we shoot, but nowadays we shoot everything! We are promoting DIY Photobook to solve this issue because it helps you to think after you shoot and at least turn it into a message or story. With DIY Photobook, we hope that people will put the photos and memories back into paper form. We also had a Hong Kong Photobook competition in May with a
panel of judges—the winner will be announced in October, just in time with the Hong Kong Photo Festival. RAW: What makes a good picture? AO: For a good picture, the most important thing isn’t the photographic skill or the beauty of the photo, but the message that the photograph is able to communicate to the viewer. If a photo doesn’t ‘talk’ to you, it is useless—it’s like sex without love. RAW: Why did you decided to have two sections to Asia One Photobook—the book store and the DIY department? AO: Being a printer of photography, I always had a passion to open my own bookshop. I don’t want to open a ‘supermarket’ bookshop like Page One, instead I want to create a nice book shop that evokes my interests and expertise. Opening a bookshop won’t make profit, so I had to think of something else that’s economically viable. Therefore, I created the DIY Photobook business. This is a
common concept in the US and Europe, but in Asia nobody is really pushing this DIY Photobook business yet. We are also planning to add a third element—AObranded accessories. We want to create a lifestyle shop that makes your visit worthwhile—a place where you can see an international collection of beautiful books, create your own books and find interesting accessories related to photography.
tangible. People are willing to pay a lot of money for wedding photos or an annual stock report or advertising, but when it comes to art prints, they think they can do it themselves so they don’t see the point of paying. It’s really frustrating and when it comes to the issue of edition and limited prints, you can easily print fine art photography. It’s a tough business because everybody thinks that they can do it themselves.
RAW: What are some of your favorite art books?
RAW: Are there any particu lar artists you hope to col laborate on an art book with?
AO: When it comes to art books, I collect photography books, but my other main passion is Chinese art, especially Chinese stamps. I also collect a lot of limited edition and rare photobooks, such as works by Martin Parr, Michael Woolf and Boris Becker. RAW: How is fine art photography received in Hong Kong? AO: Fine art photography is always the most difficult sector because of the market attitude in Asia. Asians always believe that for the same amount of money they can buy an oil painting or a sculpture, which are considered more real and
AO: We publish all kinds of books from illustration books, architecture, photography, restaurant guides, Chinese art to sculpture. The “Hong Kong Photographers” series is one of our major productions—it actually made us very famous in the local photography scene—and features famed photographers such as So Wing Keung, Yau Yat San Yan, Almond Chiu, Wong Wo Bik, Mak Fung, Chun Wai and Alfred Go. We are discussing potential publishing projects with the Hong Kong Photo Festival to publish works by Moriarma, which is his first Chinese photo book. We have another project on Hong Kong, Korean and
Chinese contemporary photographers; just one of a number of photo titles coming up this year. We publish about 10-15 titles a year and usually more than half of these are based on photography. RAW: What’s in store for Asia One? AO: We opened a new art space called AO Vertical, our exhibition in May focused on photography and coincided with the HK Art Fair. It’s the only vertical art space in Hong Kong and Asia, and you can walk up and down a flight of stairs to get from the 13th floor to the 3rd floor. The elevator is right next to the art space so if you get tired, you can just hop in and get to another floor. The first photo show featured works by Lau Heung Shing. This set of photos is quite controversial, because it is based on the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. We have also hired an art curator to help us organize at least two shows per month in the future. www.aophotobook.com www.aovertical.com
STUDIO VISIT - NEW ART SPACE
Asking a local Hong Konger to describe his cultural identity is often a sensitive topic—there are often mixed responses, such as labelling themselves with a general term like “Chinese”, or deliberately separating themselves from Mainland China by responding “Hong Kongese”. As the first featured photographer in the opening of AO Vertical (Asia One’s art gallery), Liu Heung Shing is a noted photographer who has been exposed to both Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese in equal parts. With a background in journalism, he has captured images across various countries and has been privy to key political events that have shook Mainland China over the past thirty years. RAW learns about China’s recent history through the lense of this prolific photographer.
AO Vertical Art Space official opened on May 17, 2012. It is the first verticalart space in Hong Kong founded by the Asia Communications Group. The unique art space located in Chai Wan spans from 13th floor down to the third floor and look to bring a unique experience to art lovers. “AO Vertical” will bring in new exhibitions every few months.
RAW: Which historical period in China moved you the most? LHS: There are many memorable moments in China’s history—the death of Mao was absolutely the most seminal event in the history of Modern China and I covered the funeral in the beginning of my career. I have also shot photographs for other key political events, such as the democracy war in China and the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. Among all the events I’ve shot in various countries, I feel more personally connected to the photographs I shot in China.
RAW: What was your first brush with art?
LHS: When I was small, my father sent me to drawing classes on the weekends and after two years, I found that I was a rubbish artist. However, some sense of composition stayed and I changed to photography as a form of artistic expression.
LHS: Despite the change in the developments of the camera, the essence of taking pictures has not changed. With digital technology, photography today seems like the easiest thing to do but at the same time, photography still remains the most difficult thing to do. It is not only about capturing the moment, but it is important to have an endearing photograph. If people stay a few seconds to look at your photograph and it evokes an emotional response in them, that means you have achieved the purpose.
RAW: Do you have an example?
RAW: Is the aim of your each photo to evoke an emotional response? LHS: I took a picture of a pair of Chinese lovers during the democracy war. They were sitting very far apart, but their legs were touching. That photograph is very gentle, but it’s a subtle hint of connection—personally, socially and culturally, this is the furthest they can go. This is an example of cultural symbolism and the way you articulate it in a photograph. Nowadays, people in Beijing have kissing contests and display their intimacies in public. If you put the two pictures together, you see the significant change in China’s history.
LHS: It depends on the photographs. Sometimes when you select an image, it is so powerful when it stands alone. However, that does not mean that I would put a book of strong images together; I’m also interested in how i can use photographs to tell a larger story. In that context, you need strong images but also good images to add additional information to a larger narrative. Creating a visual narrative of Modern China is not easy—many people have attempted it before but they’re not emotionally, culturally or linguistically linked to what they’re doing. I’m inviting the audience to go on this journey with me.
STUDIO VISIT - NEW ART SPACE
RAW: How do you feel about moving from fil m to digital photography?
k Ting apitalist
An actuary turned actor, Derek Ting had the guts to push himself out of his comfort zone five years ago when he created what is now known as “Supercapitalist”, a Hong Kong based financial thriller with an all-star cast. Shot in New York, Hong Kong, and Macau with a modest budget, the story revolves around an unconventional New York hedge fund trader who gets posted in Hong Kong for an assignment that swirls out of his control. Through this interview, Derek clues us in on how he transformed an idea into reality, and also shares his secret hideaways around Hong Kong.
Written by Gillian Chu Photography by Joyce Yung
RAW: What made you decide to produce a movie? DT: The thought did take a while to grow on me. I had a pretty standard upbringing—I grew up in the suburbs near New York and studied actuarial science at Cornell. Working as an IT Manager in New York during 9/11 got me redefining my priorities, so I decided to pursue my college dreams and went off to become an actor. Initially I began producing martial arts films, which was way harder than I would have ever imagined. But everything has its reasons and through that experience I gained a better grasp of film editing and even found myself rubbing shoulders with other filmmakers in the city. I never lived in Hong Kong before and I was totally intrigued by how the expats and the wealthy families here lived—I would say that this curiosity formed the blueprint of Supercapitalist. I worked with CNN as a producer here for several years, where I fine-tuned my writing skills as well as gained my local media connections.
A year before the global financial crisis caught on, I was inspired by Matt Damon, who as an actor wrote “Good Will Hunting”, and I began writing the script for Supercapitalist. I would say that each step I took basically led to another. If I never began pursuing my dreams as an actor, I would never be where I am now. If there is one take home message from this interview, it would be to follow your heart and turn your dreams into a reality. RAW: How much of the script reflects the reality of the financial profession? DT: I hang out with bankers a lot so I got to know their interests and lifestyles pretty well. I visited hedge funds back in New York and enlisted Young Cho, a college friend who also happens to be an ex-Citibank trader, to help construct an accurate financial plot that is complicated enough so that even bankers would have a hard time following the twists and turns. After all, it is those who work in the financial industry who is usually most interested in watching financial thrillers,
so I can’t have a dead simple plot that everyone with a teeny bit of financial knowledge can see right through. There were lots of bankers who happily read my script and gave loads of constructive comments as to what was feasible and what was just down right silly. I did a lot of reading on my own, including books like the Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys who raided the Asian Markets for Millions, Hedge Hunters: Hedge Fund Masters on the Rewards, the Risk, and the Reckoning, as well as Hedgehogging. I don’t believe that you have to be in the industry to be able to write about the industry—everyone is capable of doing anything as long as they put their minds to it. RAW: So is the banking industry as dirty as they say? DT: The news and mass media don’t always do the bankers justice. Honestly, the stuff they [bankers] do is necessary for the society, and if any recent graduates want to join the banking industry,
it should be because they are genuinely interested and passionate about the work, rather than simply for the money or the lifestyle. They must realize that, as a banker, their every action will have serious consequences. My favourite type of movie is actually super hero movies rather than financial ones like “Wallstreet: Money Never Sleeps”. I reckon that having lots of money is like possessing super hero powers—you have to use it with good intentions, because with great power comes great responsibility. RAW: What is it like working with big blockbuster names? Any juicy behind-the-scenes you wou ld like to share? DT: It was certainly very exciting to work with celebrated actors from Hong Kong and America like Linus Roache, Michael Park, Richard Ng, and Kenneth Tsang. It honestly surprised me how, though they are globally renowned, they are still willing to read their roles and are genuinely down to earth people who are just really passionate about acting. We also had Darren E Scott, Eugene Kang, and Viet-
namese star Kathy Uyen on our team. I must say that our whole cast just came as if by godsend. Usually filmmakers would think of who they want and who they can get first before everything else, but in our case it was more about finding the right person who fits the characters in our script. Almost everyone we have in our cast are friends of friends whom we just met and after a few casual chats, we decided they fit the bill. Unfortunately I don’t have much behindthe-scenes gossip to share because I always was in control of the set and dealing with nitty gritty issues—I reckon that I had less fun than everybody else! Working with acting coach Jeanne Hartman helped me with a lot of things ahead of our filming schedule, especially on interpreting the darker side of Connor Lee (Supercapitalist’s leading character) who is totally unlike me. I am more like Connor before his transformation, a bit innocent and not too attached to the luxuries in life, so acting that part out is practically like being myself. After his arrival in Hong Kong, however, required a significant amount of work. Being Asian,
acting for me is almost like studying for a test—I work very, very hard to capture what we wanted. RAW: Where do you see yourself going next? DT: We are super excited to see Supercapitalist landing an American distribution deal and due to be released in cinemas around the country this summer, so we will be busy touring the States. Afterwards, the movie will hold its premiere in Hong Kong and other Asian countries in the coming fall, so watch out for that! The reason I wrote the script and produced it from start to finish is because I wanted a chance to act. I went through the risk of producing a movie because I desperately sought out an opportunity to act with well-respected actors, to learn from their experience and grow as an actor. Life for me is about taking the right risks and seeing the results exceed my expectations. After the Supercapitalist tour ends, I will continue to pursue my career in acting and look for my next big break.
RAW: If you cou ld on ly go to one restaurant for the rest of your life, which one wou ld it be? DT: Yellow Door Kitchen in Central. Much like Supercapitalist, at first glance this restaurant is rather modest and people don’t usually have high expectations, but after their first taste, they find themselves pleasantly surprised. RAW: What’s your ideal day in Hong Kong? DT: I would be jogging on Bowen Road. It is there that I work most efficiently and it’s the place where I get most of my thinking done, especially during my evening runs. I highly recommend it to anyone with a writer’s block! www.facebook.com/supercapitalist www.supercapitalist.net
STUDIO VISIT - DAY IN THE LIFE OF ...
09:00 Start the day with some exercise
00 00 14:00
10:00 Catching up on emails 12:00 Recharge during lunch. Having a favorite lemon ice tea(no sugar) 14:00 Aerial videography with Helishots.hk 16:00 Interview with Brian Burrell of AnnieWho TV 17:00 Taking a cupcake break 18:00 Supercap team meeting 20:00 Dinner at favorite tea house 22:00 Taking a break to buy an exercise ball 43
STUDIO VISIT - DAY IN THE LIFE OF ...
Art Futures Group Hot on the heels of Art HK, art investment is the talk of the town in Hong Kong these days and everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject. With an insatiable appetite on investment, Hong Kong is a hotbed for the latest trends in making a fortune overnight. But is art investment stable and can it provide the returns that some brokers promise? How much do you really know about the pieces you invest in? In RAW, we will get tips from a variety of different voices in the cityâ€”hopefully youâ€™ll find something that fits. In this issue, Jonathan Macey of Art Futures Group offers some general tips on investing in contemporary Chinese art.
RAW: How is the art investment scene in Hong Kong? JM: The art investment scene is becoming very big and it has a long way to go. If you look back at the 18 months we’ve been in business, we’ve seen a huge amount of interest in auction halls and galleries. Nowadays, our company is the talk of the town. With great galleries moving into Hong Kong, more and more people are becoming interested in art. Chinese contemporary art is a new product and it’s a new trend for the Chinese to buy art. The clients are also knowledgeable about it, as they’ve been in certain courses and they can read and understand what’s going on in this field.
RAW: Are there specific types of works that are popu lar in the market at the moment? JM: We specialize in mid-career contemporary Chinese art, mostly oil paintings. RAW: How do buyers usual ly select art?
RAW: What advice wou ld you give to someone who wants to get into this market?
JM: There are two sides: emotional buyers and non-emotional buyers. If you look at it purely from a business point of view, the track record is key to purchasing art.
JM: -Always buy the best that you can afford: you’ve probably heard the word ‘quality’ many times—if you buy quality, it should always end up being a good investment. -Do your research and do your due diligence: when considering an artist, google the artist as much as you can and do your own homework. -Make sure that you are buying art for the right reasons: if you’re buying for your home and want to put it on your wall, consider the size of the artwork as Hong Kong homes are small. If it’s for investment, focus on the track records of the artist.
RAW: Do clients main ly take your advice? JM: Previously, people were very skeptical of the market over the last five years, but now it’s becoming very fashionable to purchase art. RAW: How shou ld people evaluate a ‘good’ investment? JM: You can’t let your emotions take over—consider auction output, gallery invitations and how much the artist has sold for in the past. RAW: How do you evaluate the artists who are new to the scene and don’t have such prominent track records? JM: We have an artist called Lin Chunhai, he has hardly any auction output, but his work is fine and remarkable. He has won major awards over the years, but his auction output is very little, which means that we are holding his work rather than ‘spinning’ the work.
artfuturesgroup.com Written by Aurora Van Kerckhove Photography by Joyce Yung
Art For Al l Is art in Hong Kong limited to the privileged few? Yoav Horesh, professor of photography at SCAD Hong Kong shares how he and his students are taking a bold step in creating artworks that are accessible to the masses.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated and wealthy places on earth; it is also one of the most extreme examples of the differences between rich and poor, permanent and transitional, local and foreign, traditional and modern. Taking all of these elements into account, one would expect Hong Kong to be an amazingly fertile and wonderful place for a flourishing local art and culture scene. In recent years, Hong Kong has witnessed huge advancements and increased investment in more art and design establishments, spaces, projects and ideas. Examples include the evergrowing HK Art Fair last month, the opening of new exhibition spaces by established global galleries such as Gagosian and White Cube in Central, the expansion of art and design in higher education, and the growing publicly funded art spaces and projects. But what about the majority of the Hong Kong population? The majority, that for many different reasons, do not have access to or interest in visiting galleries, museums or art fairs? Isn’t art for everyone? Do we, as artists, educators and art lovers believe that art should touch people, regardless of their social status, education or involvement in the arts? One of the most popular, misconceived and confusing terms used in art schools as well as creative and critical magazines is the concept of the “art world.” By defining a separate “world” of art, we embrace the idea that art is separated from the world we live in and that only a few can access and experience this “magical world”. During the spring term of this academic year at SCAD HK, I initiated and led a course for undergraduate and graduate pho46
tography students, titled The Visiting Artist. The idea behind the course was to foster projects and collaborations between local artists and my students to benefit all participants as well as the public. This idea is not new, in my eight years of teaching university-level students at several institutions; I have created workshops, panel discussions, lectures and collaborative exhibitions with mystudents several times, as have my colleagues and peers.
I am relatively new to Hong Kong. It has been only two years since I moved here from New York to start the photography department at SCAD with Aishman. I am honored to be part of the growing photography, art and design scene in Hong Kong. I plan on continuing to support, create and push for more collaborations and exhibitions for the people of Hong Kong. all-yen.com yoavhoresh.com yoavhoresh.com/JCCAC/index.html Written and photo courtesy of Yoav Horesh, Professor of Photography at SCAD Hong Kong
To my great satisfaction, this collaborative effort succeeded in a very unexpected way—it touched many people beyond just the participating students and artists involved. At the beginning of the course, my students and I formed a collaborative art group called All-Yen. The name came from the first initials of the members in the group and is also a hybrid of English and Cantonese meaning “all human”. It celebrates my students and Hong Kong’s diverse cultures and backgrounds. In its short life, All-Yen has worked with two local photographers (Jonathan van Smit and William Furniss) on personal projects directly related to Hong Kong’s urban landscape and people. We also worked with Young Kim (aka “Suitman”) who curated the exhibit “Public Fair No.1” at K11 art mall in Tsim Sha Tsui from May 17 to July 8. For this project, we teamed up with artist Cody Hudson and created seventeen large-scale photo-based collages that were placed in advertising-like display cases throughout the mall’s multiple floors. This project was extremely fruitful for its creators and the public. The media also responded very well to the works and its placement. In the few visits we have made to the mall since the opening, we have witnessed dozens of people stopping their regular strolls through the mall, being photographed next to the work, texting friends about it, and looking closely at the wall-tags for more information. Within a week of hanging the exhibition, the All-Yen website and Facebook page was visited by hundreds of people from more than 20 countries worldwide. We have been interviewed for cultural magazines and blogs about the collaboration and we were mentioned in a few other places—all without doing any traditional promotion at all. We simply created successful works of art and placed them in an accessible venue. Does this mean that there is a hunger in Hong Kong for more experimental, public and accessible art? During the same week as the HK Art Fair, Steve Aishman and myself (both professors of photography at SCAD HK) opened a mutual photography exhibition at the JCCAC in Shek Kip Mei titled “Not Quite Art” and “Where We Stand.” Many [people] visited the exhibition on a daily basis, [especially visitors] from the two large and important Kowloon neighborhoods: Sham Shui Po and Shek Kip Mei. The exhibition was done a bit off the grid of the art fair, but still received a substantial amount of visitors who enjoy art, even if it was not hung on the Hong Kong side.
Where we Stand (Canberra, Australia)
Where we Stand (Seville, Spain)
As a former art director in the TV and motion graphics industry, Charlie has collaborated on a wide range of projects. The highlights of his versatile career thus far have included stage visuals for Shakira’s world tour to Pepsi commercials, and also visuals for The Super Bowl halftime show for rock legend, The Who. In recent years, Charlie has turned back to his initial passion: being a photographer and live action director. Through his striking art works, he hopes that each piece will evoke emotions that will resonate long after viewing his art.
Charlie Wan is a New York-based director and photographer whose aim is to capture beauty, so it comes as no surprise that he would wind up a photographer for the fashion industry.
Is there a difference in the photography scene between Asia and the US? The main difference is the attitude. The US scene is always trying to push for breaking new ground especially in
New York City—the mecca of fashion photography. There’s a mutual respect among peers. It’s competitive in a “Let’s do this better together” kind of way, as if we are all doing the final art projects in college—the energy, the drive, the community. I am speaking about New York though because LA and Chicago have a totally different vibe. Americans have a lot of original ideas—everything they do sets an example to other continents. In Asia— let’s say Hong Kong—I noticed that the creative projects like to replicate their references. Many times I was in client meetings in Asia, and clients or agencies would request a copy of the style of their visual references. Clients always like to see if others are successful first, before following their footsteps. Unfortunately, that hinders the creative license of any given photographer. But this is my experience with Hong Kong, all cities in Asia are so vastly different. Beijing,
Shanghai, Tokyo and Singapore are all quite mind blowing, so it’s hard to completely generalize the comparison between America and Asia—the regions are just too big and there are too many different ways to do things. Who do you hope photograph in your future projects? There are many models that I would love to work with, such as Coco Rocha, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Lindsey Wixon, Freja, Lara and so on…but no one can trump Marion Cotillard. I have to do a double take every time I see her in photos. She just transcends feminine sensuality like no one else. How does photography and fil m differ as means of creative expression? Visually they appear identical, but they are two different mediums in
terms of creative expression. Photography captures a frame to encapsulate the mood and story, as a picture is worth a thousand words after all. Film is 24 frames per second (or more if we get into the technical side of video formats), which requires a lot of different skills to tell a story, such as storyboarding, directing, editing, sound and music—all of these elements go hand-in-hand to tell a story. Film is a more powerful medium emotionally, as it makes you laugh or cry. I still find it so amazing when a TV commercial can affect your emotions in a short time. For example, when you are eating snacks on your couch and a director can suddenly bring you to tears within 30 seconds (well, 27 seconds when you take out the logo). In comparison, photography may not have such power to evoke such strong emotions.
on the future of photography trends? Due to the availability of DSLR or high resolution video camera, it’s almost a must to be able to do both still photography and videos for clients. Most of the time, a director could be a strong photographer, but a photographer might not be a good director. We see a lot of visual eye candy out there, but I highly encourage photographers to learn better storytelling techniques. We don’t need to see another video of a pretty girl walking up and down an alley aimlessly. www.charliewan.com Written by Joyce Yung Photo courtesy of Charlie Wan
What are your predictions Whispy Willow
Addison’s Fall 2012 collections
Addison’s Fall 2012 collections
provocative nudes, but more than just naked bodies, he also exposes what lies behind the carnal passion between two lovers—the secret love that they share. According to Hang, being young is like having the flu: it leaves us with a certain sensitivity, anxiety, awkwardness and sense of shame with which we fight against for the rest of our lives.
Ren Hang 任航 Beijing-based EDGE Creative Collective photographer Ren Hang continues to build on his sexually-charged images in his latest photography exhibition. His photos showcase
Hang’s Shanghai colleague, Ka Xiaoxi presents “Light Room”, a new book showcasing 17 analog film Chinese photographers curated by shanghaibased EDGE Creative Collective photographers. We catch up with Xiaoxi to get a glimpse at the art world across the border. Why did you choose this art form to express your creativity?
The feeling came naturally, I never had to force myself to use a camera to express myself—it’s just like [how] life never informs me of what will happen tomorrow. Are there specific locations or objects you love to photograph? There is a specific location, but in terms of objects, I love to shoot parts of the human body. What is your next project? For photography, I am never a person who plans ahead. I also love the thrill I get from shooting unexpected things. renhang.tumblr.com www.flickr.com/photos/ren-hang Written by Joyce Yung Photo courtesy of Ren Hang
We recap the art events, along with the movers and shakers that made May so inspiring. May was a pivotal month for galleries in the city with the annual Art Fair taking the city by storm for its 5th installment. Art HK 2012 was bigger and better than ever with a record number of international participants, since being bought out by Art Basel last year. Apart from the Art Fair, which eclipsed many of the city’s other art offerings, there was also the Spoon Art Fair at the Grand Hyatt and Asia’s first installment of Daydreaming with…James Lavelle, co-curated by local artist Simon Birch. Written and photographed by Joyce Yung
AR T EX HIB FE I T AT ION UR ES
ART HK 2012 Set over the course of one memorable weekend, Art HK was held again at the convention centre, where 266 galleries participated from over 38 countries. Bought out by Art Basel, the worldâ€™s largest art festival organizer in the world, Art HK is the only art fair which features equal Asian and Western artists. This year, Art HK invited Yuko Hasegawa, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, to curate the Art HK Projects section. The Projects section involves artists producing 10 large-scale installation projects placed throughout the Art Fair. Set out to explore how people meet art and how people consider art these installation pieces, enabled visitors to not only experience works on a wall, but also interact with threedimensional objects in public spaces. Set out to explore how people interact and consider art in communal spaces, these installations enabled visitors to consider art beyond the walls of a gallery space. While painting remained the main focus of many exhibiting galleries, it was encouraging to see more photography, mixed media, and installations, as well as sculptures on display. Aside from the exhibitions, art enthusiasts got the chance to hear from industry experts through the latest series of Back Room Conversations presented by Asia Art Archive. www.hongkongartfair.com
ART EXHIBITION FEATU RES
ART EXHIBITION FEATU RES
SPOON ART FAIR For its inaugural launch, Spoon Art Fair aimed to promote young, emerging and talented artists. The host of this fair, KS Art Company, also the organizers of the annual Asia Hotel Art Fair (AHAF). Meant to complement the Art Fair, Spoon Art Fair introduces art to a budget collector with art objects in the My First Collection for as little as $20. A quirky, open approach to collecting art at all budgets, this is an offbeat festival that makes buying art, actually fun. www.spoonartfair.com
DAYDREAMING with... The Hong Kong Edition Hong Kong hosts the first Asia installment of Daydreaming with...James Lavelle, the London show that explored the marriage of art and music and achieved world-wide acclaim in 2010. Bringing that same energy and flair overseas, the Hong Kong edition is a groundbreaking multi-media exhibition of over 30 local and international award-winning artists make its Asian debut at ArtisTree last month. Curated by local installation artist James Lavelle and painter Simon Birch, the exhibition was presented by Birch’s Future Industries—an innovative Hong Kongbased art organization responsible for “Hope and Glory”, a multi-media show that includes video, sculpture, painting and performance and celebrates art forms. RAW speaks to James and Simon about their latest project in Hong Kong. www.daydreamingwith.com www.thefutureindustries.com
RAW: What inspired you to start the ‘Daydreaming with’ series?
brought to the table and to have my vision supported in Asia
JL: I saw it as a great opportunity to bring together music and the arts, to be able to collaborate with like-minded people and join the dots and break down barriers
RAW: Who inspires you most?
RAW: What’s the difference between the Hong Kong show and your previous exhibitions?
James Lavelle James Lavelle is a renaissance man of sorts. A world-renowned producer, label owner, DJ, Music Maker and all round music eccentric, James started his Mo’Wax label at the age of 18. Around the same time, he started the “That’s How It Is night” with Gilles Peterson, which went on to become one of London’s longest running nightclub events.
JL: This is bigger, includes new works, and involves local artists
RAW: How did you initial ly get involved in this project? SB: I was invited to participate in the first Daydreaming exhibition held at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in London a year ago. James Lavelle, the organizer, and I are old friends. I suggested we bring the project to Asia and expand on it. We talked and developed the idea further and after overcoming considerable practical challenges, we finally managed to find a way. RAW: How did you curate this exhibition? SB: We approached artists here in Asia in the same way James had brought in
JL: To do a new show in London and more in Asia, also America and Europe
JL: As always, these things are an emotional journey. It’s been great to be exposed to the artists he [Simon] has
RAW: This is your second exhibition at ArtisTree, did you use the space differently? SB: Well, it’s a big space to fill but we have 30 artists so to be honest, we were running out of space! “Hope and Glory” was just me running riot and the pieces were parts of a specific puzzle, so that show was one piece of art essentially split into its various elements. Daydreaming is very different as each part is by a different artist and needs its own consideration alone as well as how it relates to other pieces. It’s a very different experience but one that has been thoroughly enjoyable. RAW: What is the source of your inspiration? SB: I kind of absorb everything and it all spills out into my work. I’m inspired by pretty much everything that comes my way. I’m a human filter for so much information that is regurgitated and output into creative work. Relationships, drama, love, nature, speed, travel, film, adventure—it’s hard to block-out the triggers for my work. 63
RAW: What are your project? SB: I’m working on a new wave of paintings. I’ve been up to Beijing meeting and working with some of the leading contemporary artists there and I’ve found that incredibly motivating. So I’m focused on further developing my concept with these new relationships in mind. I’m also, with Future Industries, developing a permanent exhibition space. A large, non -commercial, exhibition space—an antidote to the more commercial art activity in our city. Of course there are certain elements getting in the way, having to work with a small budget amongst other things, but that won’t stop me, I’ll find a way.
ART EXHIBITION FEATU RES
Installation artist and painter Simon Birch has been residing in Hong Kong for the past 15 years. Though he’s better known for his paintings, in recent years he has ventured into mixed-media installation projects containing film, paintings, sculpture and performance housed in specifically configured spaces.
RAW: What are your future plans for Daydreaming with...?
RAW: How’s col laborating with Simon Birch?
artists from the UK—through personal relationships. All the artists are previous collaborators and friends; they’re all like-minded, though the work is wildly different. We invited established, contemporary Chinese artists, young and upcoming Japanese performance artists, international film makers, fashion designers, graffiti artists... It’s a really eclectic bunch. Simon Birch
JL: People, the environment I’m in, my daughter, friends, other art, life, death, sex, drugs, religion, marketing, heaven, hell, struggle, revenge, etc.
A few months after the release of 5D Mark iii, we at RAW find out whether it’s really living up to the hype. The Mark iii has some great updated features over the Mark ii, though for over $12,000, it may do more damage to the wallet. The increased range of ISO to 25,600 is incredible, with very good and stable quality. This adds so much more range to low light photo taking and creates more opportunities to take natural lighting photography, where you’ll have to add an external flash. The hurdle is being able to autofocus at such a low light and low contrast setting. The autofocus zones and selection are a bit hard to get use to at first, but once you figure out the use of the Q button and the fact that you have to look through the viewfinder to see the selected zones, it isn’t so bad. You can actually get good precision by choosing your specific focus zone and focus point. Other enhancements include a dual memory holder that allows
you to overflow your card or do a same time back up. The best bit is that you can have a silent mode on the trigger, allowing a bit more stealth when photo taking. The high speed, continuous shooting is also great for better capturing the sequence of motionâ€”this is definitely a great upgrade for the serious hobbyists and professional photographers.
HOLGA special interview Reinvention has been the driving force behind T.M. Lee’s career. Lee has been at the forefront of the technological development of the modern day camera working with electronics, flash—and finally in the development of the Holga plastic, toy camera. Growing up, Lee didn’t have access to photo taking, as photography was limited to the rich. In those days, even family portraits were big productions—a special event when everyone would don their best outfits and pose in a studio. Although consumer cameras became more readily available in the 60s, they remained expensive. With Holga, Lee was at the forefront of a new trend of user-friendly, affordable cameras. He wanted everyone—not only the privileged—to be able to capture all of life’s most precious moments. Sparked by a recent revival of film cameras and the touch and feel of retro photos, there’s a new following of Holga fans who are now embracing Lee’s vision.
RAW: How did you start Holga? There’s a long history to this, I started working with Yashica as a production manager and got to see how they manufactured their cameras in their factory in Japan—this is how I started in this industry. In the 1970s, I started Universal Electronics Industries, which mainly produced flash units. It’s one of the earliest companies to commercially produce electronic flashes. They were designed in Japan and we learnt from Japanese production. We started to design our own flashes, and very luckily, the second generation flash design received the best design award in
HK. The first 10 years were spent producing flashes and we were doing very well, however sales started to suffer as cameras started to have built-in flashes. Konica was one of the earliest ones to get into it.
Then the idea of Holga was born in 1982 because I wanted to make a plastic frame camera to suit the needs of the lower
RAW: What are some of the major chal lenges over the years? For quite a few years the sales volume was flat. Then in the late 1980s, the LOMO brand, which was started by a group
of photographers, started to do exhibitions with Lomography—these helped promote plastic toy cameras and created more awareness as well as demand. David Burnett took photos with a Holga camera of Al Gore during the elections and received awards for his photos—this brought a lot more awareness for the Holga brand. With more demand, people also voiced their wishes to have different colors and looks to Holga, so we adapted and thought up some new designs. In the 2000s we designed the 135 format to look like the 120 model in order to keep in line with the look and feel of what made Holga popular.
As the market trend of photo taking changes, digital photography is getting more popular and people are also using their smart phones more and more for daily photo taking. Film is also harder to find and harder to develop, so we felt the need to once again adapt our products to meet the needs of the digital photography age. We came up with the iPhone Turret [a simple contraption that attaches to an iPhone and has multiple color filters to put over the lens of the phone’s camera function) and also the Holga lens for digital camera. In fact, the iPhone Turret was so successful and popular that there are quite a few knock-offs in China, which kind of helps market the product but unfortunately, also takes away from
sales because of the much lower pricing. RAW: What is “Holga Inspire”? Started in 2009, “Holga Inspire” is a program that we started after a book written in the US that brings together various photographers using Holga cameras. It was started as a platform to connect people and bring various Holga-related concepts, as well as photography to the general public. www.holgainspire.com Written and photographed by Joyce Yung
ON THE STREET
UE also continued to produce studio lighting for professional photographers. We considered making cameras as well, but competing in the same digital camera arena is just not our strength and there’s a lot of investment needed to manufacture a camera with various lenses that go with it.
cost camera market. It was designed to provide a low cost camera for the mainland Chinese market, along with other products that adapted to the changing needs of the market as the demand for external flashes reduced. We started with the 120 format but we also produced the 135 format because it’s even more efficient with 36 films in one roll. Most consumers preferred to go for the 135 format camera.
ON THE STREET
Ovolo Hotel opening Ovolo group opens its second hotel in Hong Kong. The group has serviced apartments operating in Hong Kong, but is now looking to expand into hotels which are sleek, modern and affordable to meet the demand of visitors to Hong Kong. The concept is to create a fussfree environment, making it easier and simpler for travelers.
KplusK Designs brings a minimalistic, chic look to this new urban hotel. Each floor is decorated with photography by local artist, Simone Boon, which is part of the group’s focus on promoting local artists and integrating their art works into the changing collections at the hotel.
For $1,200 or $1,500 per night, travelers will get free WiFi access, outlets and international adapters—but what sets this hotel above others is its complimentary mini bar, breakfast, happy hour drinks and snacks. For anyone looking for all the comforts of home whilst traveling, Ovolo also provides a cozy lounge for guests to mix and mingle. There’s also a chance to meet someone at the gym and even in laundry room, services which are also inclusive.
286 Queen’s Road Central, Central 2165-1000
Design is an integral part of Ovolo’s hotel branding. Inspired by Japanese aesthetics,
Written by Joyce Yung Photo courtesy of Ovolo
Looking for a boost of
Let these creative professionals point you to the right direction!
Nicole Wakely Fou nder of TREE
is currently reading:
Managing Director of Skirmish Fil ms is currently reading:
“Don Quixote” by Cervantes. I can relate to the tale of Knight Errant. It reminds me of my own delusions and how I fight windmills everyday. It’s funny, heartbreaking and it is quite a revelation to me how many movies are based on this fabulous book. “Religion for Atheists” by Alain de Botton. I’ve been reading a lot of books about atheism by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens so I thought I’d give the other side a chance. It’s easy to forget that religion and secularism can share common ground.
“You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. Hay has the most inspiring life experience. She shares firsthand information about metaphysical healing, including how she cured herself after being diagnosed with cancer. Her message rings more and more true for me: that life is really very simple, and that what we give out, what we get back. “Eaarth” by Bill McKibben. In his latest book “Eaarth”, Bill McKibben explains that the warnings about global warming mostly went unheeded, and that fundamental change is “our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.” Like him, I am a grudging optimist, and believe that we can and will willfully transform and take heed (from Bill) on how to live more lightly, carefully and gracefully. www.tree.com.hk
Fou nder of Paral lel Lab is currently reading: “Coin Lockers Babies” by Murakami Ryu I am reading every day in public transports. [This book is] perhaps one of those books which also accompany Japanese people during their everyday. If this is the case, this book has certainly stimulated the shift in their society that appeared during the famous economic bubble. [In the novel,]the two modern heroes are looking for their [inner] self within the contemporary urban jungle. [The book’s] vision interests me because it questions the relationship between humans and their physical context. When all the organic links are broken, the mental doesn’t have any outlet anymore and then start the final run for auto destruction. But don’t worry, Hong Kong still has enough of back lanes to survive before asphyxia! www.parallellab.com
OFF THE SHELVES
“Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre” by Keith Johnstone. He was the founder of Theatresports, of which I was a member in LA. It’s full of insight on creativity and living in the moment on stage as well as in life too.
“Raising Boys” by Steve Biddulph. After having two boys, thank God for “Raising Boys”! This bible is always by my bed side, which gives me space to breathe and understand that boys are different from girls, and that everything is fine. So many of my comedy mum moments have now become light bulb moments.
Darius Kuzmickas Originally from Lithuania, photographer Darius Kuzmickas currently lives in Portland, OR. He often shoots with medium & large format pinhole film cameras. The Pinhole Camera (or the camera obscura) is a heavily intuitive process concerned more with creating a mood than delivering an image wrapped in the trappings of reality. Simple in theory, the process, predating modern photography, is quite tricky. What isnâ€™t left to luck is owed to plenty of practice, precision, and experimentation. www.flickr.com/photos/37521080@N04 kudaphoto.com
Samantha West Samantha West is an Amazon born into the concrete jungle of New York City on New Year’s Day, 1983. She is inspired by the curious combination of vintage nudes, birds, Fred Astaire movies, bus rides, mermaids (and their long mermaid hair), horses, and barefoot cooking. She has been published across Europe, Asia, and North America. Publications include Vision Magazine, NEO2, Vanity Fair Germany, Maker Magazine, Bust Magazine, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Maker Magazine, Dossier, Jalouse Magazine, The New York Times, New York Arts Magazine, Soundvenue Magazine, and Lamono Magazine, amongst others. Selected clients include Forever 21, Osklen, Jaunt NY, Bess NYC, Yestadt Millinery, Nerve.com, Sub Pop Records, Rounder Records, Touch and Go Records, Sony, and New Amsterdam Records. Samantha’s work has been featured in “Nerve: The First Ten Years”, published by Chronicle Books, and holds a place in the permanent collection of WYNC’s Jerome L, Greene Space in New York City. She is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. www.flickr.com/photos/westholme www.samanthawest.net
Aileen Frog Aileen Frog studied in Hong Kong Art School, majoring in photography. Though she mainly shoots digitally, her passion lies with film camera, especially with medium format and Polaroid cameras. She always carries her camera around as inspiration can strike in the most unexpected time and place. Her photos are mostly drawing from the details during the daily life. Everything looks dreamy through her eyes and gives off a very serene and calm feeling. Photography is part of her life and she wants to see and feel the world through the camera. www.flickr.com/photos/frogfrogworld
Is Photography Art? Written by Gil lian Chu When we talk about art, what comes to mind tends to be the more traditional art forms, like painting and sketching, ceramics and sculpting. But, is photography really considered as a form of art? Cameras were first invented to faithfully record the facts. In the Victorian time, cameras became popular for family portraits, with everybody putting on their best clothes and most serious face. Photography skills were focused on developing techniques in the dark room, rather than the photo shooting. With the invention of the digital camera, shooting style is more important. With the easy-to-use format of digital cameras, it’s much easier to take artistic photos since you can instantaneously preview a shot on site. Nowadays, almost everyone is equipped with a DSLR or snapping away happily with their trusty ol’ iPhones. Because photography has become so incredibly accessible, how do artists differentiate themselves from the masses taking countless photos of every minute detail of their lives? Many photographers choose to put a creative twist to wellknown images. By replicating renowned artworks, they input their own vision or put a modern spin, which ultimately makes the work more relatable and sheds light on a common image. Gérard Rancinan’s “The Last Supper” sees the iconic scene recreated with plus size models, thus changing the role and theme of the original piece to comment on changing body images. In another example, Chow Chun-fai replicates Michelangelo’s piece, but adds an Eastern element by illustrating the story of the Water Margins, to exhibit his Chinese take on a Western classic.
Snow White and the Seven Paternity Tests, Mark Velasquez
With Photoshop it has become downright easy to manipulate photos. But beyond simple touch-ups, artists are using this ingenious tool to create imaginary landscapes. Artist Yang Yong-liang mixes cranes and electricity poles in what looks like traditional Chinese painting from afar. This unorthodox juxtaposition of urban life and nature criticizes China’s rapid urbanization and disruption of the environment. Photoshop can also be used to conjure an atmosphere that would otherwise not Phantom Landscape, Yang Yongexist with just a regular shot. liang For example, Constance and Eric’s evocative shots would be perceived as pornographic without manipulating the image and creating a blurry effect. The manipulation renders the image more sensual, rather than outright explicit.
All Under Heaven, Olaf Mueller
Photography is also essential to capturing fleeting moments, such as in the photography of Olaf Mueller. By taking photos of Guilin’s natural scenery and overlaying huge bubbles (shots he had taken elsewhere), the landscape is distorted, creating a composition that is at once dreamy and surreal—evocative of the artist’s vision of the world around him.
Photographers—like other artists—are a mixed bunch. While some strictly focus on commercial projects and others on more free-spirited artistic projects—both sides of the coin require deft technical expertise and an intuitive eye for detail. The rapid pace, artistic manipulation and excitement of photography is making it one of the most interesting art mediums today.
Peacefu l ness We want our readers to get involved in the creative process! With a theme for each issue, we invite you to take part and send in photos of your artwork! For the upcoming issue, we would love to see
you define â€œComfortâ€? by expressing yourself in photography, painting, sculpture or any medium. Just send us a photo of how you encapsulate the theme. Selected submissions will be published in our next issue. The selected artwork to be published will receive a gift by Sleep Naked (premium towel set and bath mat).
Email us your submission to: email@example.com
A still moment before sunset on Lake Huron, Ontario Artist: Alexandra Moore, helloalexandra.com
‘Sundays in Stanley’. Stanley town offers a peaceful sanctuary away from Hong Kong’s crowded city streets. Artist: Mikey Smyth, www.flickr.com/photos/mikeysmyth
â€œAnd we found peaceâ€? Sometimes the simplest things can bring the greatest happiness. Artist: Jesemy Wang, dokidokitoki.deviantart.com
“Calm Seas” A relaxing afternoon at Cyberport Artist: Lilian Ho, www.delinquente.org
The calming sight and scent of a bouquet of fresh flowers in my apartment brings me peace after a day spent in the crowds and chaos of Hong Kong. Artist: Laura Knudsen, firstname.lastname@example.org
â€œSerenity in Seven Hundred Square Feetâ€? colored pencil and graphite on paper, 11 X 17 inches
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