equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
01 Nov 14

Troon, from Knomo

My Canon 5D Mark II has been a faith­ful com­pan­ion for five years. It’s fol­lowed me on even the most mun­dane trips, as I wanted to be sure no expe­ri­ence was lost in the years where I found myself grow­ing beyond the fur­thest plans I’d made. However, it’s remained tucked away in the closet for the last while, as part of an effort to more mind­ful of each moment; moments that may be lost when I’m find­ing the right angle or wait­ing for the right scene.

As a result, the trusty LowePro Fastpack I used to take every­where — with space enough for a cam­era body, three lenses, and an assort­ment of odds and ends — no longer fit my lifestyle and needs. Fortunately, I was given a chance to try out Knomo’s Troon mes­sen­ger bag, and dis­cov­ered it’s the per­fect fit for my new journeys.

Knomo Troon messenger bag

 

Read the rest of this entry »

/
21 Mar 12

the other side

Lila’s been my inspi­ra­tion lately. Her pho­tos are of such rou­tine sub­jects, but every frame is more than that moment. There’s some­thing about them that exudes glam­our and inti­macy, as if her entire life was filled with cham­pagne and Channel.

I asked her what the­ory she fol­lows, what equip­ment she uses, expect­ing to learn some basic tech­nique I’ve some­how missed. Instead, she tells me she doesn’t do or use any­thing spe­cial. She doesn’t even know what she sets for expo­sure and tone, cause she always plays around and changes them for every photo she takes. A true Taoist when it comes to pho­tog­ra­phy, and a true pho­tog­ra­pher after my heart.

lila

best birth­day ever.”, “coolest guy on the block”, “he is the one”, “London, I love you”.

One of my favourite sub­jects is her perfectly-coifed, impeccably-dressed Norwegian boyfriend. Sometimes he’s just lying by the win­dow, and with his shirt off you can make out the fab­ric creases that have marked his back, reveal­ing that he’s recently turned over on the bed. It makes you won­der what’s hap­pened, or what’s about to hap­pen. These are the details she’s cho­sen to cap­ture. These things were impor­tant enough for her to pick up her cam­era. There’s such affec­tion under it all, and per­haps that’s why it’s so fas­ci­nat­ing to see how the girl looks at the guy.

It’s the same with Aurora’s old entries:

Rolf is sit­ting a few feet away from me on a Sunday night and we’re about to play Settlers Of Catan online together. He’ll wake me with a kiss in the morn­ing and we’ll drive to work together. I’m full of a tasty new sup­per that he intro­duced me to. We’ve just fucked on the floor.

Do I love him? Or do I love this? How big is the difference?

I’ve always won­dered what a per­son would say if she ever wrote about me the way Aurora wrote about him. To see a lover learn­ing and grow­ing, fig­ur­ing out their life and the world, and dis­cov­er­ing what part I play in all of that.

/
25 May 11

Humble & Brilliant

Jesse’s Dangerously’s lat­est knock­out album, Humble & Brilliant1, has been released as a dig­i­tal down­load only with no phys­i­cal media. However, you can also pur­chase a chap­book for those of us who enjoy the tac­tile feel­ing of liner notes, lyrics, and kick-ass illus­tra­tions. Included in the dig­i­tal down­load is this top­less pic­ture of Jesse I took to pro­mote the album.

Jesse Dangerously — shirtless

 

I have so many amaz­ing mem­o­ries of these songs, back before the album was released and I was doing backup ukulele parts for a few of his acoustic sets. That was when I was just start­ing to get into play­ing an instru­ment again, except this time it was in my adult­hood and it was for reals. He gave me a draft of the album last year when all the ideas were there but he had yet to decide on how some of them were going to be exe­cuted, so it’s very sat­is­fy­ing to hear how pol­ished and com­plete it is now.

There were a bunch of shots we did but didn’t end using, and they were all really fun to do.

Pictures more bril­liant than humble

  1. Proper pro­nun­ci­a­tion has the empha­sis on the last syl­la­ble of “Brilliant”. []
/
29 Dec 10

UK Detour: Day 15, Ullapool

When Mike asked me what my dream job is, I told him that I’d be a direc­tor. So he asked me to direct the next seg­ment of his doc­u­men­tary because I tend to have a good sense of the larger scope when it comes to sto­ry­telling, and that would let him focus on the cin­e­matog­ra­phy and the interview.

Our roles over­lapped more often than not since this was his cre­ative vision, but that only meant we made a great team. I could bounce an idea off him, and he’d imme­di­ately under­stand what I was talk­ing about. And if he saw a tech­nique I could do bet­ter, he’d tell me how to work dif­fer­ently and I’d under­stand with­out need­ing an explanation.

It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to get a glimpse into some­one else’s pho­to­graphic process. I’d love to include more in this video because there were a lot of bril­liant, touch­ing, inti­mate moments dur­ing the inter­view, but it’s Mike’s project and it wouldn’t be right to reveal the con­cept to the world before he did.

When the shoot­ing was done for the day, some­thing which took sev­eral hours and left us thor­oughly exhausted, we took the night off for food and more photography.

Cockburns haggis

Cockburns hag­gis with clap­shot (pota­toes mashed with swede turnips and chives) and onion gravy. I couldn’t pos­si­bly resist order­ing hag­gis while in Scotland. It has a taste sim­i­lar to ground beef, only with a much richer taste. Eating this gave me the meat sweats.

moon

We rented Canon’s EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS lens to film parts of the doc­u­men­tary, which meant we could also get some nice moon shots too at such a focal length. This lens is so big, the case has wheels.

100% crop.

fireworks

I wanted to see if I could get a few shots of a tiny vil­lage across the water, and it turns out they hap­pened to be set­ting off fire­works at that exact moment. I didn’t even real­ize this until I looked back on the pho­tos on my dis­play. It was much too dark to see with the naked eye, and only showed up when I left the shut­ter open for 25 seconds.

Europe 2010 travel diaries

/
25 Oct 10

a change of seasons

We’re doing this a lit­tle dif­fer­ently tonight.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (ver­sion 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the lat­est ver­sion here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I decided that I don’t spend enough time in my liv­ing room. I’m always at the com­puter in the cor­ner of the bed­room. It’s my crawl­space, my cozy nook, thanks to the dark­ness and a decent set of speak­ers. Then I go to sleep on the couch in the liv­ing room.

But I used to spend nights writ­ing in this liv­ing room. Usually on the ground with my back to a patch of wall between the win­dow (open, of course) and the back door. Or with a mug of tea at the din­ing table. Nights full of warmth, and emo­tion, and clar­ity. I miss that. Back when I could still write about love. Back when I had love to write about.

Violet

But I’m here now in my blan­kets with my lap­top. On the TV is The Brown Bunny in all it’s grainy old-school glory, and Vincent Gallo, that sexy moth­er­fucker. I wish I could be as cocky. The sec­ond time through the movie you real­ize that all the girls are named after flowers.

kiss

Sunday night feels like it’s been alter­nat­ing between snow and rain all week­end. As per tra­di­tion, I’m see­ing how long I can go with­out turn­ing on the fur­nace before it gets too cold. I’ve never minded the chill; it only makes blan­kets and hood­ies all the more com­fort­able. My cat tends to be a lot more cud­dlier too, and aggres­sive even, in where she plants her­self next to me.

I’ve been wait­ing for the snow to come. Even with the has­sle and the mess and the bit­ing cold, it’s still worth it to wake up to a white world.

bodies

 

I’ve been drawn to pho­tog­ra­phy again. With video, an impor­tant moment can be eas­ily lost, but with pho­tog­ra­phy the viewer has no choice but to con­front the sin­gle frame pre­sented to them. There’s also some­thing about a lack of con­text. A pho­to­graph is more con­ducive to let­ting an audi­ence won­der what has hap­pened to lead up to the image, and what hap­pened after.

The prob­lem is that I don’t have any­thing to pho­to­graph any­more. I feel so unin­spired. I never go out. Sometimes I won­der if I’m get­ting more and more anti-social. I work from home for four days a week now. Every time I think I should pick up the phone and call some­one to catch up, I never do.

I’m start­ing to feel less and less guilty about it. I can’t tell if I’m get­ting com­fort­able, or just lazy.

/
02 Sep 10

peacock

A few snaps of Jeff and Darren from a quick shoot last night. I never real­ized how much I need my new 70–200mm lens after get­ting a full-frame cam­era; 70mm is much too short, even in my small stu­dio room.

It’s strange to see so much nat­ural vignetting. I’m not sure if it’s the lens or the way the light falls off when spread across the back­ground from one direction.

Jeff in hat

 

Read the rest of this entry »

/
30 Apr 10

sunshine on road trips

The three of us, plus boy.

Like old times — camp­ing, week­ends at the farm, study­ing in the comp sci lounge — with a twist.

One of us is expect­ing, one of us just bought a house, and one of us has been think­ing about kids of his own some day.

Jeff with Ryan

One of Trolley’s shots.

/
02 Apr 10

Graveyard of Aphids

Thumbnail: Flowering cabbage

At some point, the flow­er­ing cab­bage plant Heather G gave me started to shed. The top leaves remained sup­ple and fresh, while the bot­tom leaves would dry up and fall off. I couldn’t fig­ure out why. I liked the look any­way, to see this plant grow­ing out of the decay it cast around itself, so I didn’t worry too much.

I wasn’t used to hav­ing a plant that was so alive. It had a pun­gent smell, and I noticed a few insects on it here and there. I thought the insects were a good thing, cause that meant the plant was healthy enough to sup­port other life.

Read the rest of this entry »

/
22 Mar 10

Aaron and Ryan: Portrait Test

Thumbnail: Aaron and Ryan portrait

Thumbnail: Aaron and Ryan portrait

Aaron came over with Ryan for break­fast one morn­ing, and it gave me a chance to use them as mod­els to try some of the tech­niques I learned from Sid when I was in New Hampshire. I still had to do some work in Photoshop to keep the mid­point where I wanted, but it was still quite min­i­mal com­pared to my work with colour lately. This type of por­trai­ture is very dif­fer­ent from what I nor­mally do, where instead of using an out-of-focus back­ground to make the sub­ject stand out, I’m using the con­trast of light.

I turned on Chicken Run to keep Ryan occu­pied while we ate, and Aaron kept get­ting dis­tracted by it as much as he did. For a moment, I couldn’t tell if it was the son who took after the father, or vice versa.

/
20 Mar 10

The Last 24 Hours

Have been really good.

Read the rest of this entry »

/
10 Mar 10

It's a girl

Thumbnail: Holding belly

I took these of Navid and Jess a lit­tle while back.

Thumbnail: Together

More recently, Navid called to let me know the child­birth went well, and now he has another adorable lit­tle half-Persian girl.

Thumbnail: Hands on

Rose is old enough to walk on her own now and give me kisses before she leaves.

/
27 Jan 10

Art for Haiti

Thumbnail: Art relief

There’s a fundraiser for Haitian earth­quake sur­vivors at the Cube Gallery hap­pen­ing in two weeks. An auc­tion will be held after the view­ing, and any money raised from the auc­tion will go to the Red Cross. I’ve donated one of my favourite pho­tos, the very first print of “Carrot Feet” (to which I hold much sen­ti­men­tal attach­ment), to the cause. I’m also going to per­son­ally extend this to all other prints from my Fruit and Body series, so if you pur­chase a print between now and the auc­tion, I’ll put 100% of the sale price towards the fundraiser.

If you have art­work you’d like to donate, please con­tact me and I’ll get you in touch with the appro­pri­ate peo­ple. When peo­ple can walk away with amaz­ing art­work while help­ing those in need, it’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion. I’ll be attend­ing to meet the other artists and hope­fully pick some­thing up for myself if any art­work speaks to me.

From the Cube Gallery web­site:

Haitian Disaster Art Fundraiser

In light of the dis­as­ter that has befallen the peo­ple of Haiti, Cube Gallery and AfrikArt Konnection, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Paul Dewar, MP are call­ing Canadian artists to rally together to assist in the efforts under­way to make the lives of Haitian sur­vivors better.

Event Date: February 9, 2010
Event Time: 6 pm view­ing; 8 pm auc­tion
Location: Cube Gallery, 7 Hamilton Ave. N.

Artwork view­ing: begins at 6pm
Fundraising Auction: 8pm

There will be a recep­tion, music, light foods and enter­tain­ment at Cube Gallery on Hamilton Ave. The event is hosted by Oni the Haitian Sensation.

/
27 Jan 10

Protected: Ounce

This con­tent is pass­word pro­tected. To view it please enter your pass­word below:

/
09 Jan 10

Sisters

Makeup

Sisters dancing

Sisters singing

Read the rest of this entry »

/
17 Dec 09

More Couple Photography

Kissing in the grass

Thumbnail: By railing
Thumbnail: Butt grab
Thumbnail: Face to face
Thumbnail: Couple in leaves
Thumbnail: Looking back

Cradling

Thumbnail: Embrace
Thumbnail: Girl eyes
Thumbnail: Guy body
Thumbnail: Guy fetal
Thumbnail: Posing

Girl with legs crossed

It’s SO great to work with a cou­ple who appre­ci­ates art…enough to be will­ing to get naked for it.

/