In rural parts of China, it is typical for children to travel a long way or cross a rapid river to get to school.  This bamboo bridge school in Xiashi is beautiful and practical without being invasive of the local and natural aestheticity of the town.  It not only makes the school a much more attractive place for children to learn, it also brings people together by transforming into a public gathering space and bridging two separate parts of the village.  What's more, it's built with local and sustainable materials.  The project won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010

 This reminds me of the classroom setting I'd see in Chinese period films.

via Inhabitat (images by Li Xiaodong)

I had a one-on-one black and white printing lesson at Toronto Image Works with photographer Stephen Brookbank yesterday.  Since the TIW uses paper processors I didn't get to play with chemical.  Instead I learned how to operate the machine, how to adjust contrast and focus, and how ot analyze a photo and selectively adjust contrast, brightness, and color composition to make an image look better.  Stephen was very patient with me and all my questions and he recommended me some books and photographers that I should read about.  It's a fascinating experience especially since I have so much interest yet so little knowledge when it comes to film photography and I rarely print any photos in prints larger than 4x6.  I learned that when you work on a photo in a darkroom and take your time to try different exposure time or play with dodging and burning, you see a photograph differently.  Especially in these days when everyone take thousands of photos with the digital cameras and post them all on facebook, photography loses its purpose as a mean for story telling and the thought processes the came before a shutter is press is almost nonexistence. 

Every time I held a print in front of me it felt as if it was the first time I actually looked at the photo.  Instead of a flat photo, I began to notice depth, lighting, emotion.  I became more proud of each photo that I selected to print, even though they were just 2 out of an entire roll of 36 films.

Now I just want to pick up my camera do some shots.

I like antique and vintage. I'm not very good at finding real antique or valuable stuff from a pile of junk or at a yard sale, but I do love go to antique market and vintage shops and look through things. Ever since I was a teenager I've always loved to look through my mom's suitcases of her clothes from the 70s and 80s and try things on. We'd go through her photo albums and ooo and ahh at her plaid shirt and light brown leather boots and her huge plastic rim shades and bell bottom. We'd try on her old washed jeans and long skirts and marvel at her tiny waist (24"!). She was the most beautiful woman I've ever met and if you like my style I give her all the credit for it. For my 14th birthday she bought me an antique charm bracelet from the Western Market. It's my favorite piece of jewellery and it's something that I will pass on to my daughter if I have one.

I was so sad to part with her clothes and stuff when she passed away. We were short of time and My luggage had limited room. But now whenever I go vintage or non vintage shopping all I could think of are those clothing pieces that we threw away that would have been nice to have kept.

Most of these pieces I kept were either bought during one of those shopping trips with mom or from her when I was studying in Ottawa. I remember where exactly I bought these and the comments that she made. I even remember some of the occasions where I wore them. I might not be able to keep all the clothes I once own but having their pictures taken is almost as good as keeping them in a trunk in the storage room, no?

And below is the costume I wore one year in ballet recital.  My class was "the ladies".  The costume also comes with a long blue and white striped skirt, which was also made by our teacher and some parents. 

Black Swan is my most anticipated film of all the films at TIFF.  One of my favorite actress Natalie Portman dancing my favorite classical ballet piece directed by one of the best directors of our time.  Now I just need to book a time in Y's schedule so we can watch it before our vacation.

And the limited edition posters of Black Swan are just brilliant!

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