Photographing Work in Xian Show

It’s time for me to step out of my cave and get some more blog work done. Life of a photographer does not simply always consist of “roses” and nothing more. There is much more to it, like running around a lot and socialising a lot in between takes. And for me, it often requires traveling to foreign countries. Of course, all this can be great fun, but it can also be very exhausting. That’s why not that many photographers are active bloggers. Or at least, that’s what I believe.

It’s interesting that they keep sending me to China, to visit and review all this amazing stuff. Despite the recent flight “accident” in the airspace of Ukraine, people who travel continues to increase. The reason why I call it an accident is because it is far from being resolved yet, so I wouldn’t like to put too condemning names on it yet.

So, there I was in the not capital but something as important or even more important in the history of China than Beijing. Yes, you guesses right that this time it was turn for Xian to show itself what it was made of. My job, was to bring photographic art from the city that would then be used as promotional material in Europe and the States. And for some reason they keep on being actively crazy about the performing arts and nightlife scene in the city.

I went to see a show that takes you to the times of the Tang Dynasty in China. For those who don’t know their history, was an imperial dynasty located in Xian. Which also happened to be the biggest city in the world at that time. So you could say that it has pretty central and significant purpose in the history of the world.

The performance had it’s spirits shot up the roof, all with Chinese style grace and a melodic peace played by a live orchestra. In fact, this was rather refreshing after all the show life from Shanghai & Beijing! I let the pictures speak for themselves or for the lack of my own great words.

Tang Dynasty Show Tang Dynasty Show Tang Dynasty Show

Hope you enjoyed it!

–Joann Lowis

Building Taste in Photography

Building Taste

The world is endlessly full of things to take photographs of. If you have the skill, you can make any object you photograph interesting or an element of giving perspective to the world. This is why the challenge of being a good photographer is not just about learning to take good photographs, but to build taste.

Everyones been there.. when you started photographing, perhaps your home environment was a little challenging. You are already so used to your surroundings that it’s difficult to see things differently and catch interesting perspectives.

Then you travel to an exotic country, let’s say India. You cannot stop taking photographs, everything is interesting and gives perspective. Having already practised a lot in your home country, you are able to take professional shots.. and India just gives and gives.. without ever being tired.

You end up with a huge portfolio.. try to pic the interesting ones, show them to your friends. But there is too much to choose from.

Well, this is where it all starts. One starts to see what they like or not. And taste starts to build up and majure. So whats the best recipie for growing your taste.. whenever you take shots. Choose which one you like, you are only allowed to pick one. After this you start to learn about yourself and what is good or not. And you have to give up the idea that perspective is enough, in the end. :)

The Last Opera Dream in Beijing

Many forms of theatre make interesting targets for photography. But there is one that tops them all, at least for me personally. In Beijing Opera you can find the most broad variety of some of the most curious emotions and expressions there are. I believe that the combination of the non-sensitively conscious and  unconditioned  Chinese with deeply rooter historical Chinese theatre makes a setting for a lifetime.

My senses were overload especially when I got to see the performers offstage where you could see how their personalities had combined with the act. Smoking cigarettes and making faces with the proud status of an actor that long ago was not that fab. It’s all in synergy with the act on stage.

These people are eating their salads and mix their soy sauce properly with vinegar. Only a highly disciplined person with a strong character can make this their lives profession.

See some of the amazing shots. Catching the moments requires the photographer to play out the roles. For me it’s a blissful experience that teaches a lot about what a crazy and wonderful world we live in.

Opera in Beijing Opera in Beijing Opera in Beijing Opera in Beijing

Kids Are Beautiful

Kids 2

This post is dedicated to my interest in photographing children. It is very rewarding and challenging to be able to catch the innocent and joyful spirit of children on camera. Lately I’ve have some more attempts which have turned out very successful. Here are some examples!

Kids 1

The expressions on children are simply delightful. One needs to surpassed the limits of the camera and build a connection with the infant. One can only succeed if they have a non-verbal permission from the child.

Kids 3

Curiosity of children is never ending, using it as an advantage yields brilliant results.

Winds of Finnish Clothing Design

As of late, I’ve been inspired by Finnish design, especially when it comes to clothes. An increasingly popular trend around the world, however besides the bigger brands, most of the true gems are still hard to find. I happen to have some connections within the clothing industry so I get to see a lot of the stuff that just doesn’t surface, even thought they could be extremely successful abroad. On one side it’s a pity, on the other it invites many to an unknown and special fashion world. Perhaps it’s better the way it is.. but sooner or later some of these smaller Finnish brands will surface. When is up to winds of trends to decide but if one trend will have a big impact, it’s Japan!

Here are a few shots of my finds to get a sneak peak! If you are interested in less known Finnish clothing brands, please follow this page.

Finnish Design Finnish Design Finnish Design Finnish Design Finnish Design

A Glimpse of The Magnificent Shanghai Nightlife

I’m a big fan of Shanghai. It’s one of the most polished and fun cities in the whole of China. What’s best about the city is the nightlife, with so many venues to choose from that I just have to keep on visiting the city. With a never ending thirst however, I manage to get some great photos from the city.

The first times I went there I was mainly engaged in things like Chinese Opera, Kung Fu as well as Acrobatic shows. However lately I am more into concerts and other artistic venues such as ballet and dance. So I would say there is something for everyone, everything between traditional and modern. While the classics remain classics at the same time the modern performances are getting better and more popular. This was not the case back in the days..

If you want to see what China is up to, and how far it has gotten. I recommend visiting the beautiful Chinese city of Shanghai. For your nightly needs, I recommend the Shanghai Nightlife Guide: over here.

Once again, I hope you enjoy my yield.. and looking forward to more trips!

Show Shanghai Acrobatic

One of my favorite Acrobatic Shows in Shanghai. The first times I visited the city, I couldn’t get enough from beautiful and elegant Chinese acrobatics.

Show Shanghai Ballet

This ballet show at the Shanghai Grand Theatre left me with a truly long lasting impression of how the Chinese can make something extremely beautiful.

I love the piano.. and nowadays Shanghai has many even famous and bigger artists visit the city. This classical concert is one of my favorites.

I love the piano.. and nowadays Shanghai has many even famous and bigger artists visit the city. This classical concert is one of my favorites.

Dinner is an important part of any nightlife. My guide showed me to this "Kung Fu" themed restaurant and we have a lot of fun.

Dinner is an important part of any nightlife. My guide showed me to this “Kung Fu” themed restaurant and we have a lot of fun.

Show Shanghai Opera

Just like anywhere in China, Shanghai is a good place to catch on Chinese Opera. Even Peking Opera is being acted out in the city.

Chinese Nature Landscapes

I’m happy to delight everyone with a few amazing shots of wide, beautiful landscapes from my travels in China. China is full of beautiful nature, actually most of it is! Just it’s not that known. Also to travel in the countryside is not that easy if you don’t speak Chinese. I’ve had the pleasure of my Chinese friend to accompany me on my travels.

Enjoy!

These crazy guys were not afraid of heights. They were just hanging about, enjoying the view and singing!

These crazy guys were not afraid of heights. They were just hanging about, enjoying the view and singing!

Another picture from where the guys were. The world looks big from here.

Another picture from where the guys were. The world looks big from here.

Despite the problems with pollution, there are plenty of clear beautiful skies left such as this one.

Despite the problems with pollution, there are plenty of clear beautiful skies left such as this one.

Rocks and hills make a beautiful formation in the Chinese landscape.

Rocks and hills make a beautiful formation in the Chinese landscape.

 

Opera & Acrobatics: Anything Possible With Swimwear

Bikini Opera

Some news I noticed that some serious brouhaha has been stirred up over the Peking Opera bikini pictures. I found the pictures very though provoking as a neutral participant in the issue. As a photographer of an objective view you have no limits to creating amazing works of art. A dogmatic view will proclaim such art as abusive in cases where art is taken out of that original context. My  view is that using provoking material in photographic art is of great benefit to the society in provoking discussion and shutting the mouths of the real abusers.

More on this issue from the source: (edit: we’ve been notified that the site moved to a new address)

From the Chaoyang Theatre I got this idea to dress acrobatic performance with swim suits. I though the result is rather pleasant and no controversy this time! :)

Bikini Acrobatic

Acrobatics Swimwear

Winter Photography, Playing it Safe

Landscape Photography can be challenging during the winter freeze. By using the right equipment you can overcome those difficulties which is greatly rewarded by beautiful winter landscapes.

Usually even a digital camera can endure very harsh cold, even though often the instruction manual states something like 0 degrees. This is an extra measure by camera manufacturers so that they are not responsible for the camera being in extreme conditions. Common sense is needed and it will be just fine. The minor downside is that the LCD screen can slow down a bit.

A bigger downside however is that the battery lifetime is reduced significantly, therefore it is advised to keep the battery separate in a warm place, like your inside pocket for example when not in use. Prepare a lot of battery power for longer shoots outdoors.

When you take the objective outside form the warm, the rapid change in temperature collects moisture inside the lens. Once the camera has properly cooled down the moisture disappears. This can take anywhere between 10minutes to an hour. You can take the camera outdoors beforehand to make sure it has properly adjusted to the cold. This also helps the camera to adjust in snowing conditions so that the snow flakes don’t immediately melt once they hit the camera.

Never breath towards the camera since this will create fog. Or if you want to clear your camera from the snow for example blowing it would melt the snow, making it wet. Moisture is the worst enemy of a camera and therefore the most dangerous time is when you bring it back to the warm. The trick for this is to remove the memory card and place the camera inside the camera bag but leave it outside for a gradual change in temperature.

Hope this helps to keep winter photography fun & safe! -Joann

The other incredible acrobatic show I captured

On my travels in Beijing I also saw this incredible show piece and was busy snapping photos which I will share with you. Acrobatics are usually just about showing skills, but this one was more in the blood and sweat category. They do two shows every single day (excluding the Chinese new year I presume) and flawlessly. Who can put up with that kind of a work, it’s mind boggling to see that.

I especially loved the lion act, where four guys dressed in two lion suits run around the stage on top of a ball and do jumps on top of a balancing board. I mean that just has to be seen to be understood.. the show is not too fancy with props and all, just pure skill. Which is simply wicked. “They” say it’s the best show in Beijing and I think it must be in level with the rest of the best for sure.

Chaoyang Theatre: http://www.chaoyangacrobaticshow.com is in 36 E. 3rd Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing. Easy to find just go to Hujialou metro station and it’s there.

My favorite bits from the show:

Imagine short guys shooting arrows out of their ass while flying in midair. Difficult to image? Well you got close anyway:)

This is the lion act. No idea how they can stay on top of that ball.

You can see how out of breath they are after the stunt!

There are so many girls on that bicycle that it’s impossible to count how many.

Other than having to be extremely muscular to do that, you gotta be handsome and have incredible balancing skills obviously. :)

Yours,
Joann