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  • Writer's pictureMichael Leo

Being Pointed

Updated: Apr 5, 2019


This picture was taken back in April 2018. A few months prior to the shoot, I was inspired by an instagram account that captured a very emotional portraiture by having his model wearing a makeup that is wearing off. I was inspired to create an art that could make everyone who sees my work feels the emotion of the picture. My head was going left and right until I was scrolling through amazon, and on the recommendation section, it shows color powder. Everything clicks! I immediately bought it.

Afterwards, I asked my friend at school (who usually models for me) to free some time and create something new. I told her about my ideas and she gave me an okay at once without contemplating at all. I was surprised! Because if she was to be sprinkled with the color powder, it would be really awkward and shameful to walk in the public (I don’t have any personal transportation at that time.) I asked her once again few days before the shoot due to the reason I have said above. She told me as long as I took a great picture she would be more than okay to do it. I was pretty confident at my own skill at that time and thrilled to do a new kind of shoot; therefore, I decided to do it although it has a really high risk doing it.

On the day of shooting, we meet at isolated park at our school. We decided to do it at a remote place because we don’t want to get kicked out by the security and to reduce the awkward feelings if people were to walk by and looking at us. At the beginning of the shoot, things don’t really go well. We started with throwing the powder around her, and the wind was blowing to strong, or too much powder … it was a mess. I was pretty stressed, because shooting in motion has never been my forte. Since it was not going well, in the end I decided to put some powder at her face; however, I am not good with coloring someone’s face cause I have never done it. Therefore she told me that she would do it by herself and she went pretty extreme at the time. She put it in her hair, eyebrows, and cheeks … basically all over her face.

Things starting to go to the direction where I want it to be. I decided to stop throwing color powder and start doing the things that I do most of the times. Portraiture. I haven’t forgotten the main purpose of doing the shoot, and suddenly this pose just clicks in my head. I told her to point at the camera, with a pretty large aperture. Voilà! I got this shot and a couple shots in the gallery from that time, but this picture impressed myself the most from that day of shooting.

I feel like this picture hits my emotion the most because, throughout all of the time I spent living alone in the states, people would categorized me as Asian, well Chinese to be specific. Doesn’t matter where I am going … the city, the suburb, the school, the grocery store, and the restaurant … people would look me in the eyes, looking down on me, and judge me based on my appearance. To describe it even further, it sucks. I started to develop the habit of wearing earphone wherever and whenever I am going outside the house; so I can just not give a fuck to anything … well at least I feel that way. That’s why I said that this picture hits me the most because it described the feeling that I have been holding inside my chest ever since I arrived on New York.


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