New Mini Cooper launch event Shanghai
Mini Cooper has just unveiled its latest car design in China after a series of launches in London and Los Angeles. Rock band Gossip followed them around this world-wide tour, performing live shows on stage as ambassadors of the brand. During this Shanghai edition, me and fellow photographer Tim Franco were assigned to capture key moments of the event in a documentary style showcasing cars, musicians, crowd and architectural environment since the venue was carefully selected to be in a designer’s hotel made from a restored warehouse on the cool docks of Shanghai.
Shanghai has suffered a wave of heavy smog recently with regular pollution peaks reaching over 300 on the AQI, a level considered hazardous.
Over this time I have been covering few events and shooting corporate portraits in Shanghai’s city centre. Mainly inside high-rise buildings, I could catch a few images of this apocalyptic vision which is now so common in Chinese cities.
As winter is quickly approaching in China, the coal burning industry is intensifying across the country to provide heating for millions of homes. This phenomenon is largely responsible for many smog alerts, and the results are visually alarming.
Documentary gone wrong turned into hotel photography. I recently went on a self-funded trip to Yunnan where I was looking to start a personal research and short documentary about coffee production in the area. Unfortunately once I arrived in the Xishuangbanna region, where most of the coffee farming is done, I got trapped in terrible weather conditions as the remains of a tropical typhoon were still casting continuous rain showers over the hilly countryside.
So, after several days of waiting for the sun to shine again, I eventually got tired and decided to leave it at that for the time being. Looked up tickets online for another destination, changed my plan, and finally decided to head off to Lijiang up in the mountains.
Thanks to some good connections and a bit of right timing, I was able to get myself a private villa at the amazing Pullman Resort & Spa for a week, which is probably one of the nicest hotels of this kind in China. Fresh air, quiet mornings and beautiful autumn colors… it was a bliss staying there so here are a few previews.
Love the unexpected. Just a few days ago I am walking the quiet lanes of Shanghai, minding my own business, when suddenly a friend calls me and asks if I’m available for an urgent photo shoot. How urgent? I ask. Tomorrow. Ok, so what’s the story? We need to shoot a private jade collection for a high-end client, and she wants to shoot it on a black girl.
So here I am, at 7.00pm during Chinese National Holidays, looking for a black model in Shanghai, calling everyone I know, in a mild state of panic. Finally things work out for the best and we manage to gather a production team together in less than 3 hours. I meet the client at 1.00am in a rum bar, we get drunk, we agree on a budget. I get home very late.
Next day finally everyone makes it on time, we are at Shanghai’s Peninsula Hotel on the Bund and get the shoot going. All is working smoothly, I’m dead tired, the model is awesome, the client very happy. It’s like a miracle.
Sometimes the best things in life happen just like that, without notice, so quickly that afterwards you are left wondering if this really just happened.
Agency 5 years anniversary
Happy news! My first ever representation agency Noi Pictures are now celebrating their 5 years anniversary. They were the first people to trust me and give me a chance in the world of professional photography back in 2008, allowing me to quit my office job and become a full time member in their roaster of talented photographers.
Since then it has been a long way for me as well as for them, and we have all grown in many directions for the better. I am proud to be standing along today with all the amazing, talented and beautiful people who are now making the agency what it is, and forever thankful to them for all their continued efforts and support during all these years.
I wish you all the best Noi Pictures, you are who you are, and I hope to see you rock for many more years across Asia and beyond.
End of summer days
Well, here we are, finally back in my Shanghai photographer’s daily routine after a long, hot and busy summer. The month of July was pretty much just non-stop shootings including corporate stories, industrial sites, architecture projects and some events, all under Shanghai’s summer sweltering heat. August was a bit more chilled as I traveled to Bali where I shot a luxury resort amidst beautiful rice terraces in Ubud, and shared a very cool co-working space called Hubud. Then it was time to get back to China where I got busy moving to a new apartment, which is now a completed task after weeks of running around. All in all, I didn’t get much time to update the news on my website and now to be honest i don’t really know where to start.
Let’s just go with the Bali pictures I guess, as it was clearly the highlight of my summe. Chapung Sebali is a boutique resort made of eight privates villas surrounded by lush tropical gardens, all featuring high-end designer’s furniture and independent swimming pool. There is also an outdoor spa and a chef’s restaurant serving fresh locally grown foods. Needless to say, shooting this kind of place is the type of job that I wouldn’t mind doing more often.
Corporate Shooting - Behind the scene
Out-takes and behind the scene shots from a recent industrial assignment in Suzhou.
Subway tunnel drilling in Nanjing
At some point last May my agency sent me out to shoot one of the most exiting industrial assignment I’ve had the chance to come across until this day. I was commissioned to document the drilling of a tunnel in Nanjing, which will host a new metro line linking the two sides of the city across the Yangtze River.
Hong Kong urban studies in black and white
I first came to Hong Kong five years ago, in 2008, expecting to find a futuristic metropolis straight out of a fiction movie. My big surprise was to find a city that had probably been very modern at some point in the 70’s but that was now slowly decaying in the heat and humidity, with a delicious vintage feel to it. Since then I have been back several times and the unique architectural landscape of this amazing city continues to trigger my photographer’s curiosity each time. In the frame of a larger personal study about urbanism in Asia, I have been working on some on-going series about architecture and urban spaces around Hong Kong.
Below are some out-takes from my latest trip to the island.
Yishu 8 Art Gallery, Beijing
This month I went up to Beijing for 10 days, definitely a fascinating city which I come to love more and more each time I go. My first project there was a multi-task shooting in the amazing art gallery Yishu 8, based in the former Sino-French University, where I shot interior photos as well as PR portraits and a wine tasting for the brand Baron Edmond de Rothschield. The place is very evocative of a film setting, in the heart of a warm, vibrant, intellectual Beijing from another era.
Berluti - Luxury bootmaker in Shanghai
Shanghai continues to attract more and more luxury names onto its thriving market, where the French luxury shoemaker Berluti recently opened a flagship store in Pudong financial district. For this event, the brand invited some high-end craftsmen to display their antique techniques and savoir-faire to a few selected clients. I was assigned to photograph and document the skills presented with an artistic documentary approach, showcasing the raw textures and noble, confident gestures that have passed from one generation to the next.
Urbanisms in Hong Kong
Just a few urban studies from a recent short trip to Hong Kong, forever a fascinating city.
Fabric Samples for bespoke tailor
Shooting fabric is not as easy as it seems! I recently figured this out while producing some visuals for the Shanghai-based bespoke tailor Germain. The fact I was shooting using a Nikon D800 really helped a great deal with a massive 36.3MP resolution, allowing me to capture all the smallest details of such fine textures.