Thoughts behind the Lost Soul video by lisa shin

I suppose it all started with a tank of liquid nitrogen, leftover from a Refinery 29 shoot. I was really longing to create some motion work that would be both beautiful and functional; so it made sense to bring together the eerie fog from the tank and the idea of cooling properties in skincare products, to create a mesmerizing series of images. With DP Derin and stylist Megumi, we were able to execute this project despite the few resources we had. It was undoubtedly a stripped down set, but it didn't matter, because the elements were so simple and beautiful on their own.

Beauty is both surface and deep. It speaks to our psyche about how we feel and who we are. It is our faces, our bodies, our skin. We are all formed in water and born to the cold air, out from the darkness and into the light. From birth, we are perceived to be so obviously pure on through to youth, and then puberty hits, and that purity somehow fades. It is the beginning of a process to accept (or judge) ourselves and others in the bodies given to us. There is so much latent power there, in that awkward wrestling. We get through it, sometimes it's hard and cold and sometimes sultry smooth. We get through and suddenly (it seems) aging is upon us, and we remember we are all human again. It is a beautiful journey, nonetheless, and never should there be an end in sight. As we change and evolve and embrace what we become in birth, in life, in old age and death - the fragile beauty of humanity forever remains. In whatever small way possible, I hope the Lost Soul Video can remind us of this.

 

Extreme Meticulousnous by lisa shin

It's a common saying nowadays that people are OCD when they obsess about details, though we know we are just talking about a strong desire to focus extremely intensely on making things perfectly perfect. It's a thing. And in our industry, I believe those who obsess most are often well-rewarded. It is definitely my cup of tea when something needs to be straightened and we line up the guide in Capture One to the object... Oh but wait, is the whole image straight? Is the table level? The camera?  It could go on and on. But is it ever too much? 

  • Like when it's nearing 1am and it's your 2nd shot (image below)
  • Or when you have to tweak everything else on the set now because you've moved that one thing.
  • Or when the overall vibe of the image suffers at the expense of that mathematically straight item?
  • Or your producer says you're going into OT.

Okokok, let's retouch it.

The birth of Smoke and Mirrors, find the series in the Observe gallery.

The birth of Smoke and Mirrors, find the series in the Observe gallery.

Smoke and Mirrors by lisa shin

Food stylist Eugene Jho adds one of many elements to our growing composition on the Smoke and Mirrors set.

Food stylist Eugene Jho adds one of many elements to our growing composition on the Smoke and Mirrors set.

When my camera was finally repaired, I was anxious to work on something ambitious. My next shoot was to be a test that would be just of that nature, and the endless options (à la Eugene)  gave us an organic creativity that was luxurious. The gif above is one of the images in process, where you can see a few of the vibrant elements being composed on set. Much of the day, while munching on Peeps and gummies, my mind echoed with images of food offerings to gods (or ghosts), chanting over mandalas, and at the very last hour, the birth of Smoke and Mirrors. Final images to come soon!

#womanneedshercamera by lisa shin

Sinar p3 front standard with wide angle bellows patiently awaits it's rear bearer, while in repair.

Sinar p3 front standard with wide angle bellows patiently awaits it's rear bearer, while in repair.

In this age of quality phone cameras, small mirrorless bodies and today's versatile SLRs, it has undoubtedly been tempting to abandon this cumbersome old lady, the view camera. Don't get me wrong--I do use those cameras, all of them, when it makes sense. But the Sinar (F1) was my very first "pro camera", and going from 35mm to 4x5 film was not for the convenience. Ever. Sure, the sexy knobs, standards, swings and tilts of the view camera seduced me into the ever trending Vintage-- but that was just the surface. The ability to displace the lens to get the perspective just so, or to simply get the blasted thing out of the way of the shot --when you need it, you just do and it feels good to have it.  Like a kid at the candy store, I continue to ogle at the vast array of camera advancements, but for now, I patiently await the return of this beloved classic from repair.

Refinery 29 Outtakes by lisa shin

Jen Beauschane styling thai soup. Chloe Daley decides on a background.

Jen Beauschane styling thai soup. Chloe Daley decides on a background.

Sometimes I dream about a whole book of outtakes from shoots. It's pretty common for me to take a shot without looking at the set, which inevitably ends up capturing a stylist's hand or the occasional bum in front of the camera. These outtakes are from a recent story I shot for Refinery 29, One Pot Meals. See the full story below and gifs on my SHARE gallery.