Liminal: A Summer In Between

Liminal: A Summer In Between I’d like to share with everyone my completed photo journal series Liminal: A Summer In Between from 2010.

I’ve only just now put the complete works on my web site. If was from a challenging and confronting period in the wake of the all consuming GFC of 2008. I’d left my base in Shanghai for San Francisco, and then faced having to relocate back to Shanghai a year later, as a freelancer, at the same time as taking on board the welfare of my fiancee (now wife) and my kids schooling in San Francisco. Straddling Europe, the US, Australia and Asia. It seemed life and career were in limbo. Thankfully life’s moved on, as has my career. Looking back on the journal, it’s a reminder of that troubled passage. Still, that’s life, deal with it as it comes at you, and I’m grateful for having lived through it.

A couple samples here …

And please take a look at the full series – click on either of the images here, or go to:

Liminal: A Summer In Between







Shanghai, City in Search of a Soul

Just want to share with you a feature story I photographed in this month’s issue of The Australian Financial Review Magazine titled Shanghai: City in Search of a Soul.

Written by Lisa Murray, it tells the story of a city that has undergone rapid transformation and reinvention, with a vast dichotomy of inhabitants, yet, regardless of its new found wealth in many ways it’s still unsure of its direction. As Lisa writes, “Shanghai has aspirations to become the cultural capital of Asia but it’s yet to develop the arts and cultural software to match its mega-metropolis hardware”

Unfortunately, asides from buying a copy at the news store, the article is only available online to subscribers, but I attach a couple sample images here, and please visit my web site for a broader selection of photos on the feature.

Shanghai - educated, urbane twenty somethings.

Shanghai - luxury brands and bling

Shanghai - rural workers and unskilled workers keep the city alive

Forbes Asia cover shoot

I’ve just returned to Perth from a busy 6 weeks in China. After the typical intense heat and sweat of summer in the Middle Kingdom, this September and October in Shanghai were unusually mild. While there I completed filming on my short film Pop and had opportunity to shoot in remote Ningxia province for an upcoming feature in Australian Financial Review Magazine (more about that in an upcoming blog post), fly to Beijing to shoot a portrait for Boss magazine and travel to Nanjing for Forbes Asia magazine. This later commission was a cover shoot for the special edition Chinese Richest issue, I was there to shoot Zhang Jindong, Chairman of retail giant Suning, and one of China’s richest men, who is now venturing into online sales. We went to his new headquarters in an industrial park on the outskirts of Nanjing, and had use of his 17th floor office – yes, his office is the entire floor – to conduct the shoot. I chose to utilise the corridors and open spaces, capitalising on a backdrop of washed-out curtain walling for a simplistic, contemporary and uncluttered image. Following our allotted 30 minutes, we joined him for a supreme Chinese banquet lunch (no sea cucumber thankfully) on the upper floor, the top floor. After packing up our gear, we had time to get a tea at Starbuck’s in the lobby (thank God for Starbuck’s, they even have English Breakfast Tea) before heading back to Shanghai on the express tran later in the afternoon.

Next instalment I’ll talk a little about Pop. Here are a couple images from the Forbes Asia shoot.

On The Road

I’ve been on the road for the last while, hence not so good on updates with the blog. Before leaving Shanghai I had a week long shoot with German photovoltaic solar magazine Photon. Too much post production work involved with that – demanding client – the following week. Then to Beijing to cover a feature on Giorgio Armani – what a hoot. Lots of bling around that one, and backstage to his big event was a blast.

I had a couple days off walking my elder sister and her partner John through the streets of BJ before flying to Dalian on another shoot. World’s away from the events of Armani, here I visited the ship building docks of Cosco to document the engine installation on a ship being converted to an oil platform for a corporate client. I was like a kid in a jungle-gym playground, clambering up stairs, ladders, funnels to get the best views. Fun. I was getting used to early starts taxiing to airports by now, flying to Qingdao the following day to do a shoot on the port facilities for another magazine. I had time enough to have a look around the district built by the Germans in the early 20th century –  some fine architecture.

Mid week I was back to Shanghai, where the weather had transformed from before I’d left into unrivalled humidity. Here’s a photo of myself w sister Suzette and John in BJ.

Black & White

I had to chance to photograph in black & white -the first time for a long while. Albeit in digital b&w but the ‘feel’ and approach to the portrait was quite different from doing colour. I used to shoot mostly b&w up until about 2005 when I dismantled by darkroom and relocated to Shanghai from Australia. Those were the days … all day sessions under the infra-red, breathing in the chemicals, radio on, … mmmm. Only taking breaks for tea, lunch and a beer along the way.

American author and screenwriter Kirk Kjeldsen needed a portrait for the back-cover of his new novel, and the HK publisher (so as not to clash with any color cover design) had requested b&w. We went into a few laneways in the French Concession, a similar environment to that used in his novel, and shot near dusk. A couple samples from the shoot here …


It needed more than a brave heart to beat the English in the recent rekindling of the  Prentice-Skottowe Cup , Shanghai’s erstwhile ( from 1908 thru to 1941) annual soccer battle between Scotland & England. The Scots can at least salvage something from the game and boast that they were up 3-1 at halftime. Unfortunately their kilts ran out of legs to a generally younger, faster Brit team who came home strongly to finish 5-3. It all looked fun from the sidelines where I shot a feature for HKs SCMP The Post magazine (published 29 April ’12). The Scots were working on beating the Brits during the ‘3rd half’ – at the post match drinking shenanigans – before I took off.

In the past couple weeks I’ve shoot another portrait for Forbes Asia, shoot for Australia’s Real Business magazine, directed TV footage of Ireland’s National Food Board launch in Shanghai for screening on their national broadcaster RTE, and signed on for a weeks shoot with Europe’s leading solar technology magazine Photon.

And here are a few pix from the SCMP assignment …

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Going Dutch

In the past couple weeks since returning from Seoul I’ve been busy with work – print sales (from my Shanghai Noir series), corporate portraits, magazine portraits (Forbes Asia) and a fun reportage shoot for HK’s South China Morning Post magazine on the re instigation (after a hiatus of 71 years) of the annual football grudge match between teams of England & Scotland, the Prentice-Skottowe Cup 2012. It’s not often you get an opportunity to do reportage for magazines these days, so I relished the chance. I’ll post some of these pix later.

All worked out well, each shoot has it’s positives and produced results. I also got to continue my Shanghai ‘Burbs project, at night following the conclusion of the football game, out in the far flung suburbs on northern Pudong. While out there I took chance to get some night shots of construction sites … the ‘burbs, folks, they just keep getting bigger.

I include a portrait from the shoot with international economist Harald Benink for the Van Lanschot Bank magazine in The Netherlands.

Harald Benink, for Van Lanschot Bank magazine