The Enwrapture Team Man... I'm the coolest...

This classy photo was taken as we wrapped up the 'Enwrapture' project shot by Dan Lim. 
We hung a massive 20ft flag in the studio, photographed 6 athletes over 4 days and Dan ended up with a killer series that he donated to support Canadian Athletes. I am so incredibly honored that I got to be a part of it. 
I started assisting Dan when I needed an internship for school. At first I decided to contact him because I was a big fan of his photography but later learned that not only is he an amazing photographer, but also an outstanding teacher. I've learned a million things.
I think most importantly, this guy's taught me to stick to my guns and be true to my style but to always keep an open mind. To master what I love instead of trying to be a generalized people pleaser because you'll inevitably be the best at what you're passionate about and no one has any right to tell you that your style is wrong. This was some of the best advice I had ever gotten in terms of photography and it's been a major motivator since. 

While we were working away, Dan had a film crew document the entire experience and include some interviews of the athletes and Dan himself explaining what the project really means. 

Click here to check out full series on Dan's website: http://www.danlimphoto.com/enwrapture

Who am I?

Who Am I?I face my fears and you face my face as I talk a little about Plastic Canon

Turning my fears into a reality, I briefly talk in front of a camera about the inner workings of Plastic Canon and where I find most of my inspiration. 

Do or Die

The struggles were real. The end product was a realization. Never have I ever been so malnourished and stressed out it my life.  
This not so graceful image of my final portfolio book perfectly describes my two years at Humber College. I'd like to say that with a lot of love and dedication, this beautifully polished book was born. But in all reality, this book was born in a hellish storm of tears, panic, wicked anxiety and 12 hour days fueled only by a constant flow of coffee and pizza grease.
Let me explain. 
We were told rather early on in the program that this was to be the fruit of our labor. The very product we would show off to the world as if we were Rafiki holding Simba in a beam of glorious sunlight. I don't discredit what they said. When this book was done, I really did run around with it held over my head. 
Moving on, included in this book was to be a specific number of products, portraits, photos shot on location and 4 "other marketable images" (whatever that meant.) By the end of it I had 20 photos. That's 20 different shoots, each requiring scheduling, studio time, shooting, editing and test printing. Not to mention that while we slaved away over this book, we also had to prepare wall ready gallery images and focus on the remaining 15+ photo and video assignments thrown at us seemingly just for fun. Did I mention we only had 15 weeks? Some of us tried to maintain some semblance of a personal life, most of us gave up signified by the grease in our hair and the bags under our eyes. (See below)
Gallery Promo All in all, this book is my pride and joy. Holding it feels like some kind of magic where my work suddenly truly exists in the real world instead of just on screen. Now that it's all over and the wave has passed, all I can think is:
We fucking did it. It's real. It's all very real. 

Reverie 2015My table at the 2015 Humber Creative Photography Gallery.

Youth Day Gallery

YD TO GalleryYD TO GalleryYouth Day Gallery- Dundas Square This was a pretty incredible experience.Yours truly was accepted into an arts show that was meant to showcase different varieties of artwork like photography, fine art, dance, music and fashion, all specifically created by young and emerging artists. 
This gallery ran for an entire day out in the middle of Yonge & Dundas Square, Downtown Toronto. They even closed down the roads so that people could roam free. This was my first gallery experience outside of any kind of school support and the process of getting prints done and mounting them in a presentable way was definitely more stressful than I had anticipated. 
Despite all of that, it was amazing because my artwork got some good exposure and I received some amazing support from my friends and family :)

Join the Dark Side

Come to the Dark Side Hey, I know that person! 
In recent times I had the honor of being interviewed by a Humber journalist to talk about my photography. I'm sure that most of you would agree that it isn't easy to talk about yourself or to actually explain the methods to your madness. Most of the time you just do what you do simply because you like it. At least that's the case for me. It's so strange to read someone's perception of you and even stranger to actually read someones response to your work. Aaron asked me things like how I got into photography, what inspires me the most, what my thought process is like and even what my parents think of what I do (I'm pretty sure they're thrilled when I bring home artwork full of skulls and corsets instead of what used to be unicorns and potato shaped people).
In this article I'm said to be a 'Dark Photographer' *insert cookie joke* which I think absolutely suits, I just never thought to give myself a real title. I always just did what I did because it was either; A: Fun, or B: Pretty/exciting/awesome/lended itself to fog. The dark side really is more fun. JOIN ME. 

Check out the entire article here: http://humberlife.com/humberlife/the-dark-side-of-photography-with-vicky-kao/

Egyptian Summer

Egyptian SummerDripping with golden goodness I absolutely love it when people approach me with insane ideas for photos. Dosh was no exception. The purpose behind this shoot was for the promotion of his upcoming EP release, "Egyptian Summer" and the first thing he told me was that he wanted to be gold and thats exactly what we did. 
With the help of my good friend Matt, we painted Dosh's head, torso and arms gold. Obviously though that wasn't enough. Dosh not only wanted to be painted gold but he wanted to be dripping with it. So, we ended up making a foul cup of goop made of tempera paint, body paint, glitter and water and we dumped it all over his face and chest. He was basically blind during the entire process.
I think in the end, getting paint in the eyes and terrorizing students while walking back and forth to the bathroom was well worth it!

Check Dosh's music at: https://www.soundcloud.com/tastidosh

Cobana Coral

Cobana CoralWe're not afraid to make a mess This shoot was partially for a school assignment and partially just because I love torturing my friends for the sake of art. 
The assignment given was to find something in the world that was the exact same colour as a provided paint swatch. We had to pick the swatch out of a hat and just deal with it. I say that bitterly because I got this excruciatingly bright pink. Not exactly my favourite colour... 
Knowing full well that I don't own anything pink, nor did I want to buy anything pink, I decided to concoct it. The goop dangling off her fingers is a mixture of corn starch, water and lots of food colouring resulting in a gooey substance known as "Oobleck". The dust in the background (and all over my camera) is also Oobleck, just dried up and pulverized. 
The reason I said "torture" in the beginning was because we shot this sometime in November in my garage. The oobleck was freezing cold and I slathered her in it. If that wasn't bad enough, I also threw fist fulls of powder at her head.

All of my love and appreciation goes out to my endearing best friend/model: Becca. Can't wait until our next shoot ;) 

You Jelly?

You Jelly?My fur-real friends. Here we have a the "before and after" of my beloved jelly fish self portrait. From what was (I regret to admit) a "selfie" of my cool hair at the time, has now turned into a cool photo that no longer leaves my face as the main focus (mission accomplished). I don't particularly like using my own mug for photos, mostly because I feel incredibly out of place being in front of the camera. I will, however,  use my face as either a last resort, or as an alternative to finding a model for a single shot. 

Pretending to be serious here for a minute: The editing was mostly colour, and getting those jelly fish to behave. They're all original photos from when I went to the Chicago and Toronto aquariums. I never delete my photos because.. 

Who knows? Maybe those tourist photos and mug shots will come in handy. 

Human Canvas

Human CanvasBody painting on the lovely- Malik This is was from a shoot I did where both the model and I were totally inspired by the art of body painting. Me being obsessed with the visuals of the human skeleton couldn't resist designing the painting from the organics of his skeleton. The stripes and shapes outline the shoulder blades, vertebrae in the neck, spine, ribs and general hip area. Although the photos above don't show it, I also took the time to paint his chest, arms and hands. 
The entire process took about 3 hours with the added 2 hours of shooting. 2 hours + 3 hours= a loooong shoot (though still not my longest).
Although this was a long process, it didn't feel like it at all. Art in general has always been incredibly therapeutic for me be it with painting, sketching, editing, shooting, or listening to music etc etc. I guess you could say I've found my "happy place".

Lesson Learned: Your happy place is where you get to freely do what you love... and where people voluntarily take their shirts off for you. 


Too Much Fog?

Question: How much fog, is too much fog?

Answer: YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH FOG! My fog machine is one of the most precious pieces in my arsenal.

True Colours

Kira A really fun shoot that was a collaborative effort for musician, Kira Longeuay with graphic designer, Joe Pelow. Both are incredibly talented and creative people! 
With this shoot, the idea behind the album was "True Colours" and I immediately got excited.  I often like to draw out my more conceptual shoots which helps plan out the look, colour, makeup, and cropping. What I think is really cool is comparing the sketch with the finished photo because sometimes, they'll look just like one another, and other times, they'll be totally different. This is an example of the latter. 

Lesson Learned: Drawing out your ideas can help make the shoot more efficient because you already know what you want and you're team knows exactly what you're looking for.


Savage This is probably one of my most beloved photos. I'm so proud of the outcome, I'm proud of my model, I'm proud of the concept, and I'm proud of the editing.

This photo in particular  was a happy accident and the best part is, it was all done in one shot. There was no cheating in this one! But what I think really really brought it to life (apart from the incredible modelling of my good friend Samantha) is the colour editing. Colour is a key thing to a photo. It can bring drama, mood, character and a real umph (thats a technical word).

After editing this photo, I really fell in love with bright dramatic colours. What's funny too, is that this photo is predominantly what became Plastic Canon's branding colour. That wasn't even intentional. I just found that after I stepped back and looked at my portfolio, this one recurring aqua colour kept popping up! It's a subconscious thing that I add to my photos and it's a big part of what's become my photographic style.

Lesson Learned: Don't just imagine the lighting, imagine the colour as well.  


Beccastein This was an amazing and spontaneous photo shoot with my best friend Becca. Although the finished product (on the left) looks incredibly glamourous, in reality, we were laughing and listening to music and just hanging out. I think that having some kind of chemistry with the model is incredibly important, and often a hard thing to learn. When I first started out I definitely noticed that I was being way too shy and I couldn't communicate my ideas well with the model and that often led to awkward poses or a photo that didn't have that expression I was looking for- which was my fault.
This photo here totally depicts how I really like my shoots to run. I like to have fun and I like to make sure that my model is relaxed and having a good time as well. Once you get over your fear or talking and interacting with different people, I promise, you're shoots will be more enjoyable and you'll have better photos because of it! 

Lesson learned: Love your model, and they'll love you back. 

Are you Pin Up Enough?

Are you Pin Up Enough?Behind the scenes at MAZ Images Studio

This shoot happened through a workshop I went to when I had a camera in my hands for about.... Six months. 
I didn't really know what I was doing, and honestly, I think the model knew it. Luckily for me, she was professional enough to rock it anyway. None the less, it was a pretty intimidating shoot for me to go to. I was about 18 years old and the 3 other photographers had to be 30+ years old with 20+ years of experience on me. They all had these camera set ups worth thousands of dollars, and I had my little Plastic Canon (Canon Rebel T3) with my kit lens. In the end though, I'm really happy with the results and four years later I'm still proud to have these in my portfolio.. Even though I shot in Jpeg... 

Lesson learned: Never be intimidated by other photographers who are older, richer and more experienced. What matters is how you work, how you see, and what you can do with whatever camera you've got (even if it's a plastic canon ;))