Chinese New Year 2014

Looking for something different from the Chinese New Year I photographed in the last couple of years, I headed to the community of strong Chinese presense – Box Hill.

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

It was a really hot day. Must have been tough for those who were performing or selling hot food on the street side. The mist-blow fan was quite popular for everyone, as it really cools down the heat you feel on your skin. Even this lady of the event security was enjoying the coolness.

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Chinese New Year 2014 - Box Hill

Back in the city, along the casino stood temporary food stands and Chinese gifts. I found my friend Bee swapping her colourful water colour with the charcoal, drawing scrolls of the horse themes.

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Chinese New Year 2014 - Bee's painting

Melbourne shows many of its faces, even on a single event like Chinese New Year there are so many ways to celebrate.

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Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Last weekend was the New Year on the Lunar Calendar. To bring about good fortune, Chinese Community put on their traditional acts of dragon walking through the towns and lions dancing in front of businesses, followed by thousands of fire crackers.

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Before all the noise, though, I was photographing my friend Bee, the talented portrait painter busking on Swanston street, who performed HungWei’s water painting art at NGV. Unfortunately HungWei was unavailable on these Chinese New Year events, so Bee picked up his hand-made paint brush and stepped up on his behalf. She has worked with him on various collaboration projects, so it was nothing new for her as well.

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

During the week leading up to the Chinese New Year, she also performed in the Federation Court, the space inside the entrance of NGV, at a Chinese New Year Celebration function organised by Australia China Business Council and China Chamber of Commerce in Australia. Here are a few shots I captured with permission by the event organiser and NGV.

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

I’d like to thank National Gallery of Victoria for their kind permission to photograph Bee and her performance in the Gallery. As my regular audience of this blog would know, NGV is one of my favourite art space in this city, and it was a pleasure to finally get to work with their blessing.

I’d also like to thank Australia China Business Council and China Chamber of Commerce in Australia, for allowing me to photograph Bee during the private function. I hope my suggestion on how to set up the podium backdrop helped the photos your event photographers made during speeches. As you noticed, I have quite a bit of experience in working with events, both as event organiser and as an event photographer. I look forward to working with you in a future function.

And finally, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the artist Bee and HungWei, for always allowing me to closely document your work. I am, as ever, inspired by what you guys can do with only a bucket full of water. I am really hoping to travel inter-continent now, in order to follow your work, while I also capture works of people in those countries, artists, farmers, traditional craftsman, mothers and grandmothers, and any ordinary people. That is where I am going with my photography. Just wait till I lined up a few assignments to get my trip started!

Lots on this week in Melbourne

Sorry for not updating the blog for a while. I’ve been busy doing this and that… As you would know if you are following my Facebook Page, there have been regular shoots going on, at the markets, on the street and sunset and sunrise as always. But just haven’t had time to properly publish them here, on my blog.

Now, before bringing you up to speed with what’s been happening in my photography world, I’d like to share with you what will be happening, in Melbourne, this week. I will be checking out some of them where I can, and others I recommend that you do. So here it goes…

1. Chinese New Year at NGV – Water Painting Art Performance by Bee

When: Wednesday 13 February 2013: 10am – 2pm
Where: National Gallery of Victoria International (St Kilda Road)

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

In place for HungWei the ‘Splash Baron’ who is unfortunately unavailable for the event, her friend Bee, who collaborated with HungWei on water painting work at various occasions, will be performing the water painting on the fore court of NGV International on St Kilda Road. This is the final of 3-day performance, so don’t miss it!

For more info:
Splash Baron: https://www.facebook.com/SplashBaron
Flying Bee’s Love Art Travel: https://www.facebook.com/loveartravel
Photos in my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.605284716154193.157041.175366942479308

 

2. Blenders Ln Artists Market

When: Wednesday nights 5pm – 10pm (only 3 more weeks to go!)
Where: 110 Franklin Street, Melbourne

Blender Ln Artists Market

Taking place on beautiful summer evenings, just around the corner from the night market at Queen Victoria Market is this laneway filled with artistic inspirations. Artists bring their craft and some produce their magic before your eyes. Live music moves you, all-naturale ginger ale cools you down and you may come home with bag full of one-and-only hand-made goodies!

Everyone kindly gives me permission to photograph their works, so I do have quite a few photos on my Facebook page. I might wrap them up and publish in this blog again, too. I’ll be back on your final night of the season in 2 weeks’ time. Looking forward to photographing your best works and your party dress. We’ll say good bye to summer in style, before going back to our workshop to start the creative process again!

Blenders Ln Artists Market: https://www.facebook.com/Blendermarket
Photos in my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.556161997733132.149822.175366942479308

 

3. Sidney Myer Free Concerts with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

When: Wednesday/Saturday 4pm open for 7pm start – wed 13, sat 16, wed 20, sat 22 February
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Sidney Myer Free Concerts

Melbourne as Arts Capital of the region at its best – Melbourne Symphony Orchestra puts on free public concerts, not just one, but FOUR CONCERTS, in the park. You can bring in your picnic blanket, wine, cheese, tomato and olive and chill out lying on the green stuff up the hill, or sit in the best front-row seat in the house and enjoy the acoustic of the natural sound of orchestra. Doors open early, so make your way and secure your spot.

Be careful – no breakable glassware allowed, so you cannot bring those nice wine glasses.
Plastic ones, please.

Ah… it sort of happens on the same evening at Blenders Ln…

For more info, check out the MSO website: http://www.mso.com.au/whats-on/2013/sidney-myer-free-concerts/

 

4. PEACE Exhibition: Opening Talk at Monash Gallery of Art

When: Saturday 16 February 2013: 2pm
Where: Monash Gallery of Art (860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill)

‘Degree South’ the Australian photographer co-op, or group of documentary photographers, will be presenting their works from assignments around the world, focusing on ‘what peace looks like’. Michael Coyne and Ben Bohane will take the podium to talk about their works. I’ve seen their works in some exhibitions and in their first book ‘WAR’ that I have in my bookshelf.

People who face the disasters have a sense of appreciation for peace, order, safety and health. Many documentary photographers in the past captured the world of love and peace, including the well known war photographer Robert Capa, whose best photography, in my personal preference, is among those when he pointed at children, ladies and family away from the bullets and bombs.

If you would like to tag along for this, please let me know. MGA is not the easiest gallery to reach if you are based near the city like me. I’ll be driving up for the talk, and come back in time for the concert at Sidney Myer Bowl in the evening.

For more details, check out MGA’s website: http://www.mga.org.au/exhibition/view/exhibition/117

CNY in Melbourne’s Chinatown

Today the city hosted a big Chinese New Year celebration. Melbourne is no exception among the city of immigrants in the world that it has a large population of Chinese origin. There is a block downtown that is Chinatown, although there are more genuine Chinese restaurants in areas such as BoxHill and Footscray where the people actually live, shop and eat. While I was in the city for the morning already, I walked across the CBD to Chinatown to check out the action.

Parents have their child up on their shoulder, tourists with cameras. A girl in red is excited she managed to touch the passing dragon – that will bring her and her family luck and prosperity for the year. I’d put a 85mm telefoto on my 7D and looked for the expression on people’s faces.

I turned into a laneway and noticed this gentleman waiting with the offering on a chair in front. We started to have a chat and I bent down low on the side of the entrance to position myself for the dance. Switching back to the zoom lens, I also was about to reach for my speedlite in bag when I realised that the battery for the flash was in the camera bag in the car. Oh well, so much for carrying a gear you can’t use! Fortunately, though, my camera has a built-in flash, and it is strong enough to do things in a close range! It was not the ideal set of gear for the kind of situation, but then again, when does a photographer ever have the perfect gear for the job? You always make do with what you’ve got, and know the gear well enough to make the best of it.

I looked up and down the narrow laneway and there was nobody else shooting at this close range. Everyone was at either end of the closed-off area. I guess they did not think they needed to move me out of there as I was waiting with the gentleman here. In another location later, though, they were more careful in ensuring everyone is at least 5 metres away from the fire crackers, and yet I still was showered with blown paper shells as I bent down low to photograph hundreds of fire crackers go off in seconds. Next time I think I’ll have the ear plugs ready 🙂

It was not a very hot day today, but it must be exhausting to jump around in front of every shop on the street like they do.

It is pretty funny to see people walking in and out of the local supermarket as if it was just another ordinary day while the Lion is dancing at its entrance, people circling it at 5 metre radius behind the crew’s bars. Still, once the fire crackers are set alight, there wasn’t any shopper taking chances in the danger zone!

Pieces of paper, dust, smoke and burnt gunpowder (if there is any such thing) in my eye and hair, and snowing over my equipment, I stepped away. Yep, seen enough for the year, and there is just way too much fire crackers, not so much for the noise that echos against concrete buildings around but the smoke it generates. Maybe next year I’ll check it out in Footscray or smaller chinese community somewhere. If you went to celebrate Chinese New Year, where did you go?