02 December 2013
// cookies & eggs
White Chocolate Chip Cookies & Spanish Omelette with Bacon
Recipes via Andrea ; Photography by me
My close friends would never associate me with food, let alone cooking or being in the kitchen. I've always had a fear of fire and dangerous objects, and I'd been brought up to think that I may set the kitchen on fire instead if I ever attempted to cook. I managed to cook my first ever meal in Paris back in August (with P's supervision through Skype) and I'm just thankful I'm even alive. Am I that bad? I think my level of confidence says it all.
However a few months ago, I was inspired by P's culinary passion to pick up food photography and styling. He's such a talented chef especially with cooking meat dishes, but he's not particularly concerned about the aesthetics of his craft (yet). He's been extremely busy with college recently, so we haven't gotten round to creating anything. Being all excited and impatient, I decided to rope Drea in on my latest embarkment.
If you don't know, Drea is a closet housewife. She loves cooking for her loved ones and close friends (and that includes me yey) and does the ocasional baking too. Unlike P, she's more well-versed with Asian dishes but she has done such a great job making these don't you think?! I wouldn't say we make the best pair like Melody and Hosanna do (check out their amazing food photography and recipes if you haven't!), and maybe that's because we (particularly me) aren't so gifted in the kitchen.
Anyways here is our first attempt at cooking and styling for the camera. I honestly think it turned out pretty decent for a first. I know that I still have lots to improve on though. We've been going mad in cookware and provisional stores, and have spent quite a bit so far. We (I) must be crazy! Mid this month, we're going to come together to do a more elaborate set and I'm already looking forward to it!
Now that exams are over, this month's gonna get busy... sit tight, and happy December! :) xx
29 November 2013
// iphoneography: july 2013
The month of July through my iPhone - of adventures and Bangkok.
Older: June 2013
It is already the end of November and only now do I begin to write about the time I spent getting lost in another city - of my days under the sun, and nights bathed in colorful light. I'm spending today at a cafe sipping a sweet blend of chocolate and coffee (none of which I fancy too much), trying to recount July. Time has passed way quicker than I have imagined, and yesterdays begin to blur at its edges. At this point, I'm mentally kicking myself for taking far too long to write this post. So let me begin, raw and honest, on my escape. My July.
The month began with moody days from PMS and a desperate attempt at getting a grey stuffed bunny. A comfort toy for the bad days, I'd reasoned. And bad days they were, as I cried tears of childish want when the stores ran out of grey bunnies. By the third day, Drea and I found the bunny I had been crying so badly for. I quickly paid for Fluffy and clutched her soft body to my chest. Fluffy, I instinctively called her. And so for the next few days Fluffy followed me where ever I went, and she was my sunshine during my dark moments. My comfort, she truly was.
There is also a boy I've been seeing; I call him P. He was due to complete his conscription soon, and I surprised him with a celebratory dinner by the sea. We shared food over a hearty grilled platter, drinking wine and catching up on the day's events. And that was the beginning of better days in July. We were both looking forward to leave for Thailand in a few days - I for 21 days and he, 19.
The night before leaving, I stayed over at Drea's place and she sent me to the airport the next morning. We met P and our other friend Jz before getting breakfast at Starbucks. Soon, it was time to go. I exchanged hugs with Drea before leaving. We'd gotten so close like sisters in the past few months that this would be the longest time I'd be spending away from her. She was leaving for Tasmania soon too, and we would only be reunited in August. Nonetheless, I was ready for my adventure in Bangkok with the boys.
Some 2 hours later, we touched down in the land of smiles. I'd been to Bangkok several times before - when I was too young to remember anything, and every summer since I was 18 - but never quite ventured alone or with friends since my dad lives in Bangkok. This time, I had the adventurous and wanderlust sprit of my friends to accompany mine.
In our first week together, we walked the streets of Siam and Khaosan, and shopped at the weekend market. We would spent some hours in the day working out at the gym in the hotel, and then we would be in search for massage and food places before deciding on our night activities.
One afternoon, we made a trip to Wat Pho and explored the area before taking the Chao Phraya river cruise (a first for me!) around and then to Chinatown. I have never been to Chinatown before, and now I understand why my dad never brings me there. With P's trusty Lonely Planet guide, we managed to navigate through the ghost town past "Little India", to a flower market. It must be cheap to be a romantic here. Back in Singapore, wholesale roses would cost you a few bucks; yet a bunch of beautifully colored roses would cost you less than a dollar here at Pak Khlong Talat.
The end of the week drew close and it was time for the boys to carry on with their itinerary, to backpack into the wilderness of Northern Thailand on the bumpy roads of the Mae Hong Son Loop. I sent the boys to the bus terminal that morning, and made my way back to my dad's apartment with my luggage in tow. Honestly I was a little scared I wouldn't make it back alone, since a couple of taxi drivers didn't recognize the address where I was heading. Thankfully one finally did and I was on my way.
At home I was greeted by my dad and a little lion. His name is Bingo, a Pomeranian too spoiled for his own good. His morning cries were what annoyed me most when I was still asleep, yet when day comes the little fluffball would quietly sit on my lap while I work on my laptop. Dad left for Shanghai for a few days and I mostly stayed home with Bingo, or took quiet walks alone around Siam. I guess it's the most familiar area for me in Bangkok and maybe - just maybe - I like to stick to my comfort zone sometimes.
The boys came back to Bangkok ahead of schedule, and I received them at the bus terminal early one morning. We found ourselves visiting some more new places with what money we had left. But having spent over two weeks in Bangkok, we were starting to run out of ideas of what to do. And so we spent our remaining days watching three movies in the spacious theatres there, traveling for food, enjoying more massages and shopping at Platinum Mall. I've got to say though, you should watch the sun set at Pratunam from the overhead bridge if you're there. I could just stand there and watch the traffic go by as the sun goes down in the distance. It's an amazing sight.
During this trip, I also experienced the city's (or any other cities for that matter) night life for the first time. My friends Charlotte and Matthew visited Bangkok during the week that the boys left and we celebrated C's birthday at Route 66 at Royal City Avenue. It was a weeknight then, and so the music wasn't the best nor did we enjoy the crowd. I do however remember being my usual quirky self, subtly doing a goofy dance with the stranger next to me and then his friends saw what I was doing. We all laughed and smiled awkwardly at each other after... I'm putting it out here, it's no secret I'm an awkward person.
Other nights, the boys and I would visit go-go bars at Soi Cowboy and Nana (sorry dad, had to do it!). It's a messy place, yet it was such an eye opener. Those nights were the most fun - I was overzealous and the boys thought I was crazy. It's contradicting really, and as much as I enjoyed the nights, I was also saddened that women were still being objectified and that some (or maybe most) of them only do it because they need the money. You know they say that you travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us? This is exactly it. For all of us who have never been put in that position before, it's time to live our lives with so much more gratitude.
The boys returned to Singapore two days before I did, and I spent my last day with my dad. We had dinner by the river at Asiatique, and shopped a little before we went back to pack my luggage. There was a careless and funny incident with my shopping because only when I got back to Singapore did I realise I'd brought home two left shoes! Got to give a shout out to Perfect Combination though, for being incredibly patient and kind while I sent the shoes back to Bangkok (I got a pair of leather boots from them, which you will see when I publish photos from Paris).
My dad sent me to the airport the next day and we fell asleep as the cab drove in the rain for an hour. I was running late so we hurriedly checked in and walked to the departure gates. I hugged my dad goodbye as he nagged quickly about studying hard and not getting a boyfriend (haha). Then I was in. Honestly, flights alone are what I enjoy the most. Many wouldn't guess I'm introverted, but I love the solitude and feeling of independence when I travel alone. I'd usually request for a window seat, then I'd plug in my iPod and lose myself in the view for as long as I can, or scribble in my Moleskine.
The plane touched down and I broke out of my reverie. It was good to be back after being away for three weeks. At the immigration hall, I was shocked to see a crowd queueing to get through. I thought to myself that I was surely not going to make it out any time soon. But then it struck me that I was holding this biometric red passport that allowed me to beat the crowd, and what a blessing that was.
It was back to work (but to be able to do something I love, I wouldn't necessarily call it work) the next day, and I spent the afternoon shooting with the Fairebelle team to celebrate their 4th anniversary (yey!). For the remaining few days of July, I spent quiet days at home and afternoons catching up with my friends whom I've missed dearly.
It surely has been quite an eventful month but the promise of a more exciting month ahead was written on the upcoming days in my calendar. I was due back in school mid-August and nothing sounded better than making plans to fully enjoy the last days of my summer break. So, excitedly I say: Goodbye July, thank you for both the good and bad days.
Older: June 2013
14 November 2013
// threepurs lookbook i
Model: Veena McCoole
Photographer: Amanda Wong
Equipment: 5DMII + 85mm f/1.2L
Flickr: threepurs lookbook i
I remember when the Ler sisters contacted me way back in April to work with them on their first lookbook. Things cropped up and we ended up postponing the shoot all the way till June when we were all pumped to get started. You'd think: finally, after two months! But no, just when we reached the location, it started pouring. We tried to shoot some place else, but it didn't fit the concept that we'd discussed and planned in depth earlier. Then I left for Bangkok for almost the entire month of July, and then to Bali in the beginning of August. Just before I was to go abroad again mid-August, we finally agreed on a date that fit all our schedules. I was beginning to think we may not even shoot after all, but I'm so glad that we did after a good 4 months of waiting!
On that day, we were blessed with a cloudy day and a soft glow from the sun, and as usual, working with the ever-gorgeous Veena was an absolute breeze. I'm so happy with the end product of this shoot, especially since it's been a while that I've been feeling creatively stagnant. I know I need to push myself even harder and not be comfortable/complacent with the way I've been shooting and trust me, I'm trying!
Have a look at Threepurs' website if you haven't by the way. Completely loving their unique homepage!
So an update on my personal life/thoughts: Exams are coming up the end of this month and I've been way too busy in school trying to chase my aces (which - hi daddy, I know you're reading this closely - I don't know if I can). I have lots of photos sitting in my hard disk waiting for me to edit. Thankfully my paid backlog has been cleared but I'm dying to share the photos I took in Paris, July/August/September/October's iPhone snaps (has it been that long?!), some food photos, tests and even photos from my travels in 2012. Oh no... queen of procrastination, if you may. Definitely hoping to catch up on most of them before the year ends.
Until then, thanks for reading! :) x
18 October 2013
// all would envy lookbook i
Model: Andrea Chong
Wardrobe: All Would Envy
Photographer: Amanda Wong
Equipment: 5DMII + 85mm f/1.2L
Flickr: all would envy lookbook i
After returning from Bangkok and Andrea from Tasmania in early August, we both headed abroad again, this time to collaborate with All Would Envy, The Tinsel Rack and Lollyrouge on their August lookbooks in Bali, Indonesia. This post will feature my shoot for the exclusive Dreachong x All Would Envy collection around the very beautiful villa we had the privilege to stay in for the night at Mahagiri Villas Sanur.
We experienced the most beautiful sunrise by the beach the next morning and everyone knows how much I love my golden light so I was clicking away non-stop! We also forged a wonderful sisterhood with Charlotte from All Would Envy (AWE) during this trip and now we're kinda inseparable, haha. ;) I'm still in love with this set today, and I attribute our success to the great chemistry Drea & I share and how we constantly push ourselves to achieve more. We always try to bring new ideas to the table for my photography, her blog and the clients that we work with together. It's been such a great journey and joy. For those who do look out for the photos I take on her blog, sadly you will not see them much anymore and I'll explain why briefly below!
Although I haven't publicly announced this yet, most of my clients and friends would have known by now that I have recently stopped shooting for the blogshop industry to explore other genres of photography. I'll be honest; it has been stifling my creativity and I feel like I could risk losing my passion if I were to continue and suffer a burn out in the end. I could continue with how important I think it is for artists to learn to say no and to take actions that would be healthier for them but I'll leave that for next time.
I'm deeply thankful to everyone who has ever given me the opportunity to work with them in my two years (has it been that long?!) in the industry. Having said that, I will be opening up limited slots in December but may not continue again in the new year. You are still welcome to send in enquiries (email@example.com) though! :)
With all the free time I have now, I have been focusing my energy on university work and my relationships with my (very awesome) boyfriend, family and friends. It has made me much happier and healthier emotionally. Despite that, I'm going through a state I can't express - like being stuck in limbo - before I find my direction in photography again. I've recently tried my hands at conceptual self portraiture as well as food styling and photography and I must say I love the feeling of being challenged.
I'll post photos of the food-stuff I took on the blog soon, but before that, I know I have been lagging behind on my iphoneography diaries. It takes me a couple of days to curate a month's worth of iPhone photos with the text and handwritten notes but I promise to get down to July's after my workload in school has lessened!
Ok, enough text for this post. I'll see you guys in the next! xx