Archive for August, 2007


Photos of Carrie with Mooncakes

In celebration of the upcoming Autumn festival here are a few shots of Carrie with mooncakes.


Photos of Carrie modeling Cupping and Scrapping for Discover Taipei

This was a very intense photo shoot. It was held at the Taipei City hospital-Linsen Branch and administered by Dr. Tzu-Ying Lai. Carrie is a wonderful model and friend. It is amazing how radiant she looks throughout this uncomfortable experience.


This weekend I have to…….

Edit the cupping and scrapping photos for Discover Taipei.  Actually, I have to do that tonight….Plan out the five undergraduate course syllabi for the courses I will be teaching this semester at the University.  This is due on Monday.  Today I went to Caves Books and bought six books which should help……Figure out which courses I will be taking this fall for my PhD.  This is a difficult process as there is no academic adviser at my university and almost everything is in Chinese.  Yes, this process is due on Monday as I need to provide the University with my office hours….Plan our trip to Cambodia.  The flights are full and I damn well need an Autumn Vacation.  Wish me luck!   


What Makes a Good Model

Yes models do have to be beautiful but for photographers a model’s beauty must be more than skin deep. A good model must have certain qualities that will help create and promote stunning images.

A recent photo of Anna who is a very good model. She worked really hard to help capture this shot.

1. A model must want to be photographed. This seems obvious. But not everyone really enjoys this process. Photographers should look to work with models that enjoy the photographic experience and want to participate in creative photography shoots.

2. A model must want to be published. Again this is another quality that seems obvious, but some models can be very controlling when it comes to their image. Recently I had a falling out with a model who insulted my photography and claimed that this blog was not good enough to feature her image. Again, look to choose a model who wants to have their image on display.

3. A model must have a good attitude and be receptive to the photographic process. This is another essential. It can take a lot of hard work to capture the right image and it makes a big difference if you work with someone who is creative and wants to experiment to get the right shot. The final result will be much better and their experience can be a great collaboration. On the flip side. A bad model can treat you like the hired help and have an ego bigger than the Himalayas.

4. A model must be professional and respect you as a professional. In the creative industries there are a lot of actors, writers, artists, photographers, and models. Basically you are lucky if you are working and should be respectful to anyone who is helping you through that process. I am very thankful towards my editor Kym for giving me such wonderful assignments at Discover Taipei and towards anyone else who has helped my photography succeed. Models in turn should treat photographers with the same respect.

5. Always use a model release form. This is to protect yourself. A model may agree to be photographed and published but then go back on their word the next day. Use a model release form to clarify that the images are for publication and that you have the right to display them on your blog.

6. The best models are friends. Most photographers have a few friends that are models that they photograph over the years. This summer I can’t thank my friend Carrie enough for coming through for me at Discover Taipei. Moreover, it is a wonderful feeling to look at images of a friends that you have grown and matured with through undergrad, weddings, and into adulthood. I can’t help but think of my friend Rachelle as I write this.

7. The best models enjoy the final product. They thank you for capturing a beautiful portrait and want to go through the process again. To me this what portraiture is. To capture someone’s face, essence, personality, and soul. Ultimately a good model appreciates and understands your art.


Facebook and Copyright

Over the past week I have been placing many of my photos from Phoenix Alternative on Facebook. Phoenix Alternative is a high school in Laval, Quebec where I taught for two years and helped organize the yearbook.

My classroom in Phoenix where I used to teach from 2004-2006. I implemented a mural painting program at the school and studied its impact for my M.A. research at McGill University.

For several weeks now I have been getting in touch with former students and I thought to upload the yearbook photos onto Facebook to share the memories. The student response has been tremendous and I have received many special messages and words of affection. Phoenix has been warming my heart indeed!

However, a member of staff that I used to work with has been less warm or affectionate. Today I noticed that a former colleague from Phoenix had taken one of my pictures of her on Facebook, downloaded it, and uploaded it again as her Facebook profile picture without my consent. To make matters worse she had added me to her restricted privacy settings so that I could not even see the many photos that I had tagged her in. To me this was a slap in the face and I promptly removed her as a friend.

People need to be aware of the ethics of copyright on Facebook and the internet. Just because a friend has taken a good picture of you it does not mean that you have the right to download it and use it for your own purpose. That is stealing.

Photography is hard work. It requires skill and care. Moreover good camera equipment is expensive. Nothing irritates me more that when someone uses my photography without my consent or without giving photo credit.

Most photographers are happy to share their work provided they are given photo credit. Giving a photographer photo credit is a sign of respect for their work and talent. It is a small thing to do but it means a lot. Moreover, it is the correct ethical action so please remember to credit the work of your friends and colleagues.


非茶不可 Restaurant Photos for Discover Taipei


Sizzling in the Sun

The sun is extremely powerful here in Taiwan. Today the temperature is 34 degrees and it takes a bit of getting used to. Like the Canadian winter the Taiwan summer requires care and caution. Dress appropriately and make practical decisions suiting of the climate.

Palm trees in Phuket

Many of you know that I am very sensitive to the sun. The sun a source of constant ire with me. My white skin is extremely susceptible to sunburn and I have to be very careful not to get burnt. In addition, my father has had skin cancer so I have to really watch it. This is hard when living in a country that is so close to the equator. However, so far I have yet to be burned in Taiwan. My forearms are very tanned though and I really want to see a dermatologist to asses any new moles.

A photo taken by Range while on our honeymoon in Mexico, 2005
Here is some advice and a bit of background on my life as a redhead in the sun:
The worst sunburn that I ever received was on my honeymoon in Mexico in 2005. While I am very careful the Mexican sun was too much for me. Within three hours of arriving I had the worst sunburn of my entire life. As usual, I had covered my body in sunscreen. However, I had thrown caution to the wind and jumped into my new bikini and into the ocean for a beach side swim. Big mistake! The water washed off my ‘waterproof’ sunscreen and I ended up getting severely burnt. Worse, because I was in a bikini I got burnt on strange parts of my body, like the top of my abdomen. At the end of the day my feet were so burnt I could not wear sandals, my shoulders were so red it hurt to lie down, and I spent the rest of my vacation in the shade!

In the shade at the Grand Palladium Riviera Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Which brings me back to one of the best ways to not get a sunburn: simply avoiding the sun. This summer I have not been that fashionable with my long tunics, long skirts, and wide brimmed hats. But bare shoulders and bare arms mean more sun exposure, which can be painful. In addition, I never go anywhere without my umbrella and always make a point of walking on the shady side of the street.

Sunscreen. Clinique City Block is still my favorite. Cheap sunscreen gets cheap results and I only buy the good stuff. However, there is another side of sunscreen that most people don’t really understand. It only works to a certain extent. You can easily wear or sweat it off so it must constantly be re-applied. Often co-workers will see me washing my face and arms and think I am being vain. That is not the case. I am merely reapplying my sunscreen. Most people don’t get this process. However it is necessary. In Taipei I reapply my sunscreen before leaving work and before going back out in the sun.

Wearing one of my tunics in Thailand
Finally, a good dermatologist is necessary. In Montreal I saw a good dermatologist who told me how to take care of my skin and protect my appearance. He would also check my moles to make sure they were ok and even offer suggestions on which foods I should eat to protect my skin. Dermatologists can give the best advice. From what skin products to use to what you can do to make your skin glow. Does anyone know of a good dermatologist in Taipei?

Jo’s tweets

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