Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones

I’d always been a fan of this duo’s work and every season their ongoing collaborations with couture designer iris van herpen were always something to look forward to.

when I was still a fine art student in Chelsea college, there was an event one night in the V&A with many famous photographers talking about their work. The talks were occurring simultaneously so you could only pick one photographer’s talk. Paolo Roversi, Tim Walker or Warren and Nick. Tough choice, ay? I can respect Tim Walker and he’s obviously a legend in the industry but I was never a huge fan of his whimsical, fey style, despite owning a couple of his books.

It was a tough choice – roversi or du preez and thornton jones. in the end I took the road less travelled by, went to listen to the illustrious duo and that made all the difference.

Although rather secretive about their technical technique they were very forthcoming about their creative path and how they approach working and what their goals were. I really found listening to them incredibly inspiring and I dreamt of creating work like theirs one day.

by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai

ephemera

That’s what I’m calling my project.

I used to be really interested in light painting. I still am but I haven’t pursued it in a long time. I actually hate that term light painting and if you search that term you get a lot of aesthetically unpleasant images that are nothing like what I want to create. I haven’t come up with a better term yet so I’m just calling my project ‘ephemera’.

Recently I’m researching to start shooting again. I’ve been trying to figure out tools – torches, fiber optics, colors and some sort of system to put it all together. I’m not really a boy scout when it comes to assembling or making things so it will have to be a really simple system.

I’ll post some of my experiments in my next post.

by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai

She’s Posing for Consumer Products Now and Then

Ahhhh you gotta love Kraftwerk. I was watching a documentary about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre called “The Defiant Ones” about their experience coming up in the music industry to becoming eventual billionaires with Beats by Dr. Dre. Some of Dr Dre’s old crew were talking about the early days in the studio and I forget exactly who it was that said that at the dawn of rap and hip hop Kraftwerk were a massive influence on them! I was flabbergasted!

So i relistened to some old kraftwerk and was blown away by ‘The Model’. Sure it’s a product of its era but it still holds up well today. A wonderful mish mash of Teutonic sensibility with a wholehearted embrace of a technology that was totally raw at the time. When you marry this potent mix to the group’s functional grasp of the language you get a really heady mixture. It shouldn’t be good but it just works!

After downloading their greatest hits though and trudging through most of it, i’m not so sure about the rest of their oeuvre. Some of it has aged like milk.

by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai

That’s Entertainment

A police car and a screaming siren
A pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete
A baby wailing and stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking

That’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots
An electric train and a ripped up phone booth
Paint splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

I tell ya that’s entertainment, that’s entertainment

Watched The Gentlemen movie directed by Guy Ritchie. Enjoyable yarn. Heard this over the end credits and was struck by Paul Weller’s poetry. Classic song.

by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai

Disneyland for Christmas!!!!

went to disney with the wife and kids a few days after christmas. naively thought that it not being a national holiday in China that it would be quiet. how wrong was that?

Just cause it’s not a holiday in China doesn’t mean it’s not a holiday everywhere else. Apparently Japan and Korea have big holidays for christmas and every other person behind us in the queues were Japanese or Korean.

Don’t get me wrong we had a good time but queueing for an hour for a ride is no-one’s idea of fun.

also note to self: get there early to get your fast passes!!! if you arrive after 10am the daily quota for fast passes is likely to be used up and you miss out on skipping those lovely queues.

by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai

Brandon Li’s Youtube Channel

I can’t recommend Brandon Li’s Channel enough. I’m starting to shoot more and more video and he’s been a source of inspiration not only for camera technique but also for editing and everything from how to pace your videos, the most intuitive use of transitions, how to shoot people and analyses of what kinds of music to use in your videos. Check out his film seoul_wave which was the first piece of his work that i watched. super talented and always enjoyable.

If you’re an emerging filmmaker or even vaguely interested in creative videos it’ll be worth your time.

by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai

my year of rest and relaxation

it’s a bit of a cliché but sometimes there are books that really resonate with you, where you are in life, reflect exactly how you’re feeling – your current malaise.  i picked this book up knowing absolutely nothing about it i honestly just liked the cover and took it home, sneak reading it when the brats were comatose.  it chronicles the travails of a worn out new yorker and her attempts to sleep away a life of cares which she has born and yet must bear.  well not a life exactly but one year.  she uses various cocktails of pharmaceutical grade sleepers to wipe out the bullshit.

the tone is fairly emotionless, matter of fact, even though the underlying subject matter is anything but.  self loathing, dead parents, ennui, disgust for contemporary so – called life…

she works in an art gallery and skewers nicely the emptiness of it all. also murders contemporary materialism.  a breath of fucking fresh air… go and read it if you can. ok there’s a lot of dead parents and funerals and drugs in it but don’t be dismayed by the subject matter. it’s really a breezy read…

by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai

listen to me marlon

Just watched this fascinating documentary about Marlon Brando that used extensively audio recordings of him. Really enlightening watch and it catalogued in detail his personal dramas, his struggles, his thought processes as an artist and you can keenly feel how much of a philosopher he was. Really an amazing individual.

Most fascinating for me were his struggles with film as a medium of conveying deep personal truths and how he felt massively disillusioned with the form dismissing it as mostly trivial. I personally disagree with him and think that the ability to entertain can be quite profound. life can beat you down, it can be depressing, it can be a shitstorm even as we struggle through the crap to do something even a little bit satisfying and the mundanity of trying to earn a living and all the other shit. and to make something that enlightens (even in a relatively simple way), that inspires or even just makes one person smile or feel better, is not a trivial thing. to make something even slightly beautiful, maybe even a little poetic that connects with other people and makes them forget themselves is transcendent…by Hugh O'Malley, Beauty Photographer and Videographer based in Shanghai