It was a glorious spring day in Prague for our photoshoot, and thanks to Kent, who had previously been for a long circuitous ‘discovery walk’. Away from our hotel. A walk that lead finally up the hillside to the location we were now at, that of Belvedere, Queen Anne’s Summer Palace.
Planning the shoot, Kent worked out that we could easily hop on Prague’s #22 tram which virtually ran by the hotel to be taken very near to this destination, which was just what we did on this occasion. Unlike photographing at the Charles Bridge or the Prague astronomical clock; where if we were after some postcard worthy pictures, we really needed to be there right after dawn to beat the crowd. One of the beauties of the park and Queen Anne’s Summer Palace, which was equally stunning if not more so, was simply that it was actually minus the typical throng of Prague tourists.
Spring time at Queen Anne’s Summer Palace was very pleasant, new green growth was seen in the trees and the grass dotted with small wild flowers; the air was cool with light breezes. There’s an outdoor park below the palace and that’s where we started shooting. Looking around, hardly any tourists in sight; it seemed like we had discovered the best kept secret of Prague.
Yes there was plenty of space to photograph in for a change and Kent was now far away using his long lens on the camera, seeking to fill the frame with the drama of the location. He positioned me standing in front of a life-size bonsi in the field of green, and then we had the gorgeous Renaissance white palace as our backdrop. At this moment, all felt surreal to me, the thought of my crazy little project, which in a way brought us here, began to come alive again to me…
This journey had really started long ago as a nine-year-old girl in Yilan – a quiet town in the North East part of Taiwan. All I cared about was doing my location scouting after school. Yes at that age, I was already into my self portrait project – photographed on location always. With the help of my closest friends and neighbours; or whoever could lend me a helping hand with my father’s camera. My collection of pictures and photo albums just kept growing.
Back then, I didn’t realise that this was going to become a life long obsession. ‘Creating self portraits on location, that’s been my life goal?’ But who knew this habit would become larger than life, certainly not me!
It has always been such a serious commitment; basically I’ve never stopped doing photoshoots. Though this has not always been received well by people who knew about them, or had seen the pictures. The whole me, myself and lots of ‘I’ subject mater was considered way too vain, self-centred and narcissistic for many. Here’s an interesting point of view I often wonder about: ‘If my subject was only Holly the Pomeranian, or the flowers or Art Deco buildings, would they be received in a totally different manner?’ Of course they would.
‘Are they art?’ Well, from the look of my poses and the way fashion and accessories appear in them, they are more fashion portrait than fine art, so I’m no Cindy Sherman either!
Up until the fairly recent rise of self-made fashion bloggers, my self-styled portraits had almost no place to be seen in this world; well, except that I had the prints everywhere at home. Does that mean I was ahead of my time? I don’t know! Even fitting into the category of fashion or style blogger sounds odd to me too… Maybe I should put in this way to make myself more clearly understood: ‘I live through my escapism, and these pictures are the witness to it!’
Standing on the ground of this picturesque spot, between Kent, his camera and Queen Anne’s Summer Palace; suddenly I thought I might have just reached my top goal regarding keeping this life long project going. The thought made me very grateful and humble. I was content, fulfilled and satisfied. With a historic and regal location like this and a dream collaboration with my talented partner, fashion photographer Kent Johnson, whom I could count on delivering my ever important portraits.
I had nothing more to prove.
Outfit Of The Day
Polo Ralph Lauren knitted maxi dress
Paris street market scarf
custom made belt
Furla bandeau (x2)
Urban Soul ankle boots