Welcome to the Year of the Monkey

 

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As a little boy, it was all about firecrackers, the dragon and the lion dance. That’s what got me excited about the Chinese New Year. I must have been about 12 years old when I joined one of many kung fu clubs in Chinatown. There I was among a dozen kids wearing our black satin kung fu pants and white t-shirt, marching along with the parade heading up East Pender Street. If only I had a camera then.

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February 8, 2016 marked the beginning of the Year of the Monkey, and the beginning of the Chinese or Lunar New Year, according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice and runs until the 15th day of the first calendar month.

The Monkey is the ninth of 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. The Monkey sign is considered to be clever, all-powerful and god-like. In earlier times, the official title of “marquis” in Chinese was pronounced “hou, which was similar to the pronunciation of “monkey” in Chinese. As a result, the monkey was given auspicious meaning.

Are you a Monkey?

People born in the Year of the Monkey are generally characterised as lively, quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous. They are also known for their strong will, drive to succeed, excellent memory, skillfulness, and passion. The Monkey years include 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2004.

Monkey Mates

Perfect matches for the Monkey are the Ox and Rabbit who have several similarities in personality and life. They can tolerate everything of each other, as long as they have enough space and freedom and have a strong sense of curiosity to get to know each other. Animals for the Monkey to avoid are the Tiger and Pig. With these animals, the Monkey will find it difficult to communicate with patience and respect.

Famous Monkeys

Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Celine Dion, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, Owen Wilson, Daniel Craig, Mick Jagger, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cuba Gooding Jr., Gisele Bundchen, Kim Cattrall, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez

Lucky Monkey Signs

  • Lucky numbers: 1, 7, 8
  • Lucky colours: white, gold, blue
  • Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
  • Lucky directions: north, northwest, west

Sources:

Travel China Guide | Infoplease.com | The Telegraph | China Highlights

 

Book your Christmas Family Photos with Invisionation today!

We had such fun last year, we thought we’d do it again.

Invisionation Photography is once again pleased to offer Christmas family photos. We are now booking sessions available most weekdays and some Saturday and Sundays until Christmas.

If you book now, and have your photos taken by December 20th, you will have prints before Christmas. To book your appointment today, please call 604 253 4568 or email me at vchan@invisionation.com.

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Vincent Chan in the Invisionation Photography Studio

Looking back at Remembrance Day 2015, still remembering

Remembrance Day has come and gone for another year, but it remains one of the most important days to me and holds a special place in my heart. It is important for everyone to remember throughout the year.

After concluding my stint in Ottawa in 2004, photographing for Veterans Affairs Canada, I thought of all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, especially those very few WWII Vets and even fewer WWI Vets. I listened to some of their stories—some that were never even shared with their own families. I’m sure they didn’t want to put the weight of their horrors onto their loved ones, but they all still needed to talk about it, to remember and to justify their actions however tragic they were.

In 2009, I decided to do a small photo project to say Thank You for your service by photographing a hand full of Chinese Canadian WWII Veterans from Chinatown Unit 280. Since then, I have been helping with their photography needs and always attend the Remembrance Day Ceremony each year.

This year was no different. Only about three of the original sixteen Veterans I had photographed are left, and only one or two were able to attend.

This year I introduced one of my favourite Veterans, Mr. George Chow, to a friend of mine who teaches at an elementary school. She was interested in Mr. Chow meeting her grade 6 & 7 classes, to share his story and answer a few questions. It was a memorable day, and the students loved him. They invited him back for their school’s Remembrance Day Ceremony and paid homage to George.

Here are some photos from both of those events.

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Here are a few images from the Vancouver Chinatown Remembrance Day Ceremony.

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Leading up to Remembrance Day, the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society held their 70th Gala this year, to commemorate the end of the Second World War.

WWII Veteran Mr. George Chow was the recipient of one of the highest honours, a surprisingly big kiss from Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) Hon. Romeo Dallaire during the Anniversary Gala dinner held in remembrance of the end of the Second World War.

Chinese Canadian Military Museum 70th Anniversary Gala

Over a dozen WWII veterans attended the sold-out event, honouring and remembering the fallen and those who have gone before them. The night featured a powerful and poignant address by Lt. Gen. Dallaire.

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Christina Marie Cichos

The making of a great photo: our giveaway winner talks about working with Invisionation Photography

And the winner is… Christina Marie Cichos!

Christina is a young soprano and a vocal instructor in Vancouver. I first met this young vocalist while I was commissioned to photograph the UBC choir, led by Mr. Graeme Langager, Director of Choral Activities. Christina blew me away with her powerhouse performance as she performed lead and was backed by an ensemble of a hundred voices. Our paths would soon cross again when Christina performed with The Phoenix Chamber Choir, and that was our last connection. Until recently, when her name was picked out of a hat as the winner of the Invisionation Photography Package Giveaway earlier this summer. As I had mentioned in my previous post, I get excited when I have a chance to photograph artists, and Christina is no exception.

Normally I would talk about the shoot and my techniques during the session, but I think I’ll let Christina talk about her experience. One of the Invisionation Photography team recently interviewed Christina about her experience, and here is what she had to say:

What was your reaction when you learned about winning our contest?
I was unbelievably excited to have won this contest! Such a great surprise since I normally never win contests, and as I’m starting to work on my career professionally, I was already thinking about getting new head shots done. Great timing.

What did you think about your experience, and seeing your photos for the first time?
I felt very beautiful, and it also felt like a wonderfully creative experience too. I really liked that Vincent included me in the creative process. At our first meeting, we sat down for a tea to just chat about my expectations and what concepts he had in mind, it was exciting. I felt that I had a real input in the creative process. Vincent is so incredibly knowledgeable and artistic; it’s fascinating to watch him think. It’s very clear he’s got a vision for various situations, and that made me very excited to work with him. I had fun trying different poses and outfits, and Vincent allowed me to just talk about anything I wanted. He played awesome background music during the shoot, which was really fun to groove along with. He’s also very easy-going and kind, which made it easy to relax in the studio.

Christina Marie Cichos

What was the highlight of the photo session for you?
This is such a hard question to answer, I don’t know if I can pick one favourite, but I can share a few.

Vincent had an idea for a prop, I would copy some of my Opa’s (Grandfather) old sheet music, a piece he’d really loved. I took the copy and distressed it, to make it look older, and then Vincent experimented with shots that focused on my eyes. I really enjoyed working on that prop. I was so glad that Vincent liked it enough to want to keep it as a memento from our shoot.

The day before the shoot, I was cleaning house with my family, when my father unearthed my Oma’s (Grandmother) old choir folder and their old church music. I brought it along to the shoot and ended up spreading the sheets on the floor for a few photos, and that resulted in one of my favourite photos from the shoot.

All in all, the shoot had this sort of wonderful family connection for me.

Christina Marie Cichos

Was there anything that surprised you about your experience?
There’s a lot that you don’t see that goes into the making of a great photo, I really enjoyed seeing that. I got a special behind-the-scenes look and realized the important things that are actually hiding outside of the frame to help in the creation of the photograph.

And to be directed into so many different poses, it definitely makes me appreciate all of the hard work that goes into creating a great portrait.

Christina Marie Cichos Invisionation Photography, Vincent L Chan at work in his Vancouver photography studio Invisionation Photography, Vincent L Chan at work in his Vancouver photography studio

Anything else you would like to add?
Another highlight for me was just how much fun I had. Vincent made it very easy to work towards our vision.

He is wonderful to work with, and takes such beautiful and interesting photographs. I’m planning on using these portraits for my various career and social media sites.

This was such a positive experience. I will recommend Invisionation Photography to others looking for a great photographic experience.

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Christina Marie Cichos

Songwriters Camp: a series about photographing other artists

I recently was a witness to the birth of new songs being created by a few of Canada’s most talented artists; and I had the privilege of being invited to photograph their process.
Sponsored annually by the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) #SACSongworks, this song writing camp brings together the very best in the industry for three days of intense collaboration. Facilitated by a local songwriter and producer, Troy Samson (Troysamson.com) of Madlucky Music, the camp took place at the internationally renowned, Armoury Studios in Vancouver.
 
Musicians, painters, dancers, singers, writers and, just about all artists, truly have a special place in my heart. I love photographing artists. They may or may not understand what I’m searching for in a photograph, but they don’t get in the way of my pursuit. When an artist allows me to photograph them, they often empathize with my creative process, and sometimes a dialogue is struck—sometimes with few words. That’s when the magic begins. 
This post is the beginning of a blog series for me on photographing artists, and this post captures a few images from my experience at the Songwriters Camp. I welcome dialogue with anyone wishing to know more about technique, the process or photography in general.

Capturing the Face of the Philippines

A few months ago, I was given an opportunity to visit the Philippines. My intention was to photograph the people without giving myself away. I would be like a street photographer capturing what unfolded before me. I believed at that time, that it would be less intrusive for the locals if I captured images from a distance, so I started off using a 50-140mm. Shooting from afar also gave me the advantage of observation without distraction to the subject. However, this wasn’t a style I was comfortable with.

As I was shooting, I became aware of others watching me and I realized how receptive the locals were to being photographed. I began to understand that being photographed was not an ordinary everyday occurrence for them, especially in the rural parts of the country. So I decided to forgo my zoom lens and opted for the 35mm1.4 lens. This lens brought me physically closer to the subject and allowed for a more intimate photography experience between us. The smaller unobtrusive camera also helped as people were not so threatened. My camera of choice was the Fuji XT-1. As my shooting continued, I realized that I was reverting back to my portrait style of photography also.

Communication with the locals was not always easy, although English is regarded as an official language of the Philippines. This issue was remedied by my guide who briefly explained what my intentions were. All this being said, sometimes words were not even needed, the simple smile, a gesture with my camera in their general direction, or a nod or a flick of the eyebrows was good enough to grant me permission to photograph them. I was even approached by unintentional willing subjects that simply wanted to let me know they were ready for their closeup, though they would never have a chance to ever see their own image, they were ready to let me know they had existed.

As my portraits progressed, I began to notice something about the face of the Philippines. Through monsoons, floods, hurricanes and God knows what other natural, economic and political disasters faced by the Filipinos, they still manage to hold a glimmer of hope in their eyes, a spark that says, ‘I’m still here’, and a quiet resilience that so many mistaken as sorrow.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the trip.

 

 

Photography Package Giveaway ($350 value) Winner!

After drawing from all the entries of my first social media giveaway, we have a winner to announce!

First, I would like to thank everyone who visited my new Facebook page and website, and thank you to those who have shared with your friends. If you missed the photography package giveaway details, you can read about it in my previous post.

Now, without further ado, I am pleased to announce the winner of my photography package giveaway, valued at $350, is Christina Marie Cichos! Please contact me (before August 10, 2015) to claim your prize. I look forward to meeting you.

To everyone else, be sure to continue following me for future promotions and photography opportunities. If you want to ensure you don’t miss an update, you can subscribe to my seasonal newsletter, Behind the Lens.

Thanks for reading,

Vincent

Victoria Pride

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It’s Sunday July 5th, and all four crosswalks at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Broad Street have been painted in colours of the rainbow. Victoria’s City hall has raised the rainbow flag and not unlike the rest of Canada, Victoria celebrates its Pride Week.

My goal on this day was to capture the vibrant colours of the crosswalks as participants passed by in their equally colourful costumes. The reception to my photography was more than just friendly, it was lovingly welcomed. My perspective was from up high, looking downward not only at the people, but also to capture them against the backdrop of the brightly coloured crosswalks.

Again, I used my Fuji XT-1 on a monopod, which gave me a point of view that no one else had.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the afternoon.

 

A Friendly Photography Package Giveaway ($350 value)!

In celebration of my new website, I’ve decided to giveaway one session of Professional Photography Services by Invisionation Photography to one lucky friend or future friend! Valued at $350, the winner will have a full hour photo session with me, and the winner can choose between having a portrait or family photography session.

Here are two samples of my work with portraits and family photography, and you could be next. If you want to see more, please view my Faces and Family portfolios.

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People are the heart of our business and the source of our inspiration, and we take the time to get to know our clients, who often become our friends in the process. We want to dedicate this giveaway to our community of friends and future friends. As such, the rules to enter this giveaway are very simple, all you have to do is like Invisionation Photography on Facebook.

We would love for you to enjoy the updates we’ll share there. Please go ahead and like us for a chance to win this photography package giveaway. And if you are already following Invisionation on Facebook, thank you, you will automatically be entered in the giveaway. You can earn another entry by sharing our page, or commenting on our posts during the giveaway.

If you want to follow Invisionation beyond Facebook, you are invited you to check out our Twitter (@vincentlchan), Instagram (@vincentlchan), and LinkedIn pages too.

The giveaway draw is now officially open, and the winner will be announced on July 9, 2015. I will announce the winner here on my blog and on my social media pages.

Here are a few more giveaway details to note: this prize is only valid for residents living in the greater Vancouver area of B.C. This promotion has no cash value and may not be redeemed for cash or exchanged for other services or products, and may not be used in conjunction with any other prizes offered by Invisionation Photography. This prize must be redeemed no later than October, 29 2015.

Thank you for stopping by,

Vincent
Chief Invisionary
Invisionation Photography