Katya is a Russian model who used to stay at my apartment in Singapore for couple of months. She call me peanutman cause she saw me eating peanut all the time when she was in Singapore, she even gave me 10 packs of Shan Dong peanut the day she leaves! I was in Beijing for 5 days last November, first few days I hung around with my friend from Shanghai but they left earlier so I spent most of my time with Katya. I wanted to visit my other house mate from Beijing too but damn H1N1 she was sick! I couldn’t meet her at the end. But that means I had more time with Katya.
We wasn’t really that close when she was in Singapore but we kept in touch, through internet of cause. She visited Singapore 2 times last year when she was staying in Borocay Philipines. Somehow our friendship grow since then. I planned to do so many things in Beijing. I wanted to visit Fobbiden city again, I wanted to take more photo of the old street(and old people), I wanted to eat a lot of local dishes, I wanted to take a look at summer palace and of cause visit the birdnest and water cube, but….., sometime one should really travel alone.
You never get to anywhere when your so call travel partners aren’t same taste as you. I wasted so much time waiting for decision, sometime even as small as about eating Yunan or Hunan dish, or shall we cross the street from here or there? If I ever go again(I know I will) I will be going alone!
I may sound disappointed but in fact I’m still quite happy with this trip, simple reason, I never expect anything at the first place. I was shooting for my regular client in Shanghai, but since I didn’t have much job in Singapore so I decided to fly to Beijing just to visit a couple of friends and maybe do some tourist thing, but I’ll be happy just to see my friends. Also I’m an easy person, every small little thing I see on the street is enough to cheer me up, so when I saw the snow, well not snow but snowing,(real snow falling from sky to be exact) I was over the moon! This is big! I actually saw snow before In Xinjiang last year, but the snow was already there, it’s different. Then it’s Katya, I really enjoy her company. She never say no to where I suggested to go, only time she say no is when she has a job or castings, the only real touristy thing we did was visiting Temple Of Heaven. We got there at 430pm didn’t realized that it would be closed in 30min so it was very rush but I’m glad that we went anyway. It was really worth it. Only thing that annoyed me was the the Hong Kong ladies behind us when we went out, kept gossiping how skinny and tall Katya is, I said annoyed because they weren’t saying it like they were surprise or even sounds like a joke, she was actually sounded more like disgusted! What’s wrong with people these days? What’s there got to do with them how skinny other people are. I was patient, didn’t even turn around to stare at them like I usually do with similar occasion. That’s minor anyway. Most of our time were spent on shopping or dinning.
I was just happy to hang around with her, didn’t really need to do any tourist thing as I wanted to be anymore. It’s true that like some people say when you travel sometime it doesn’t matter where you are as long as you have a good friend around you. I’m a professional photographer but travel photography never been my cup of tea, if I do take photos they are just record of my travel, that’s all. But I did bring a camera, a Rollei 2.8F White Face, an expensive and rare antique camera that I borrowed from my friend Joe from Shanghai.(will talk about him in the near future) I wanted to use it badly!(for the wrong reason) But it was either too cold or I’m just a lazy photographer, I hate to carry camera!!!! Especially when I had to wear so thick!
I promised Katya that I would shoot her as a model, a test shoot to be exact, and I really want to use the camera for the sake of using it so everything just perfect, a model, a camera and the location….tada!! Hilton Wang Fu Jing(王府井)!! It must be the best hotel I ever stayed cause I had to pay myself. I’ve been staying in many different hotel for the last few years but most of them are for work and paid by client so I never really appreciate them. I am thankful for all the opportunities but it’s not the same when you have to pay yourself, just like when you cook yourself, no matter how bad you cook you will still enjoy the food. The main reason I stayed in Hilton is simple, I just want to pamper myself. Why work so hard anyway? The other reason of cause is Katya, it was simply too cold to shoot outdoor so shoot in my hotel room became so natural.
The photos are really bad technically, they were not focused, it was just too dark and my eyesight simply not as good as 10, or maybe even 5 years ago, without auto focus I’m simply crippled! And the lighting, all tungsten light, photos are all too yellow! But what a model!! Katya just rock!! She must be 1 of the best model I ever worked with, without professional makeup, or stylist etc only thing professional we had was just her and her body, and of cause me but I’m crippled in the way so she was almost on her own, but man oh man! The way she did with her body was simply amazing, I can’t explain it, it seems that every pose she did was just right, for me at least, if it didn’t look so in the photos that’s mostly my mistake. Every photo took me a long time to press the shutter, I was struggling really, sweating even and it was -3 degree outside.
All these photo were shot hand held at 1/4 or 1/8th seconds but amazingly none of them are blur due to slow speed but rather my focusing problem, really fantastic shutter, how they make a camera with shutter that with so little vibration 40-50 years ago? Better technology or just better heart and soul they put into making the camera? And the way the lens render, even out of focus they still look really nice in my opinion, a bit like painting. You don’t have to agree with me and it may sounds like excuse for my mistake but these photos are not as bad as I though. But seriously the most enjoyable thing isn’t even about the photo at the end, it was the time I spent taking these photos with Katya, and this is what many photographer forgot about, sometime the best thing in photography isn’t the end result but rather the process! Enjoy what ever you shoot my fellow photographer! But don’t use this as an excuse when you take a blur photo!!