La Prairie | The Equation of Light

PART I: DECIPHERING COLOUR

The Science of Light, as defined by La Prairie, seeks to decipher the elements that impede skin's luminosity. Skin's colour spectrum comprises of natural pigments correlated with distinct skin layers. These pigments absorb light, in which white light becomes coloured light. Over time, these pigments increase, diminishing the natural glow of the complexion, leading to skin that appears older than it is—redness, dark spots, grey tones.

GREY: Dust and pollution accumulate on the skin's stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis, creating a superficial veil that fades the healthy light of youthful skin.

PART II: DECIPHERING REFLECTION

A new chapter in La Prairie's heritage of revolutionary scientific research has come to light. Two parts construct the equation: colour and reflection. To reach optimum luminosity, it is essential to decrypt these two elements.

Light reflects seamlessly off the surface of youthful skin. With age, the skin's texture grows uneven and lines develop. In parallel, the collagen loses density and structure within the skin. Skin's ability to reflect light is hindered and its natural luminosity is muted.

A symbol of eternity and audacious beauty, the Matterhorn mountain of the Alps is the icon of Switzerland—one that epitomises La Prairie. My composition echoes the dramatic peaks through aqueous reflection, evocative of a mirror containing the mountain's breathtaking allure.

PART III: DECODED

After years of research, La Prairie created the White Caviar Collection: Crème Extraordinaire + Illuminating Pearl Infusion.

The duo is enriched with Golden Caviar Extract, which firms skin, enhancing its light-reflecting ability. La Prairie's Exclusive Cellular Complex employs biotechnology to give new life and energy back to the very cells where beauty is born. The skincare targets essential cells and extracellular matrix components to lift and rejuvenate, leading to more youthful skin that is luminous and less grey. Together, they respond to the Equation of Light.

My creative direction for this triptych series was inspired by the ethereal textures of the Earth and the celestial radiance of the Moon. Hidden light is unlocked by the power of White Caviar.

Skin is illuminated from within.
The Equation of Light is decoded.
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Partnership with La Prairie

La Prairie x Koi 1
La Prairie x Koi 2
La Prairie x Koi 3

Montblanc Wish

Breathe the magic of all seven continents.

As the holidays draw near, I reflect upon my wish this year. It is my sense of wonder and adventure that have grown athirst. Enticed by the mystery and hidden wistfulness on this beautiful planet, I am inspired to create wherever I am. Embracing my passions of writing and travel with Montblanc, I wandered out into the woods with a backpack and notebook in meditation.

From the way the leaves turn a vibrant auburn in the depths of fall, to the way the trees sway to the whispering wind, casting mystifying shadows on the forest floor, to the way the rain graces rooftops, dancing to the beat of its own drum, allow yourself to immerse in the natural rhythm of life. Wherever you are—explore, dream, discover. There is magic right in front of you.

As an aspiring doctor, I am proud to create art in support of the Montblanc x (RED) mission to end AIDS. The pen unleashes the power of language and emotion through the written word—a symbol on change, capable of igniting ripples of movements around the world. The bold red pen is a vivid reminder that you have a voice.
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Partnership with Montblanc x (RED)

Montblanc x Koi
Montblanc Pen x Koi

NoMad New York

Nestled on the corner of 28th and Broadway, just north of Madison Square Park, is The NoMad. The hotel is housed in an old Beaux-Arts building that has been revived to its original grandeur by French architect and interior designer, Jacques Garcia, best known for his signature contemporary interiors of Paris hotels and restaurants.

The design of the hotel was inspired by the classic, timeless style of the Parisian flat of Garcia's youth and blends classic grand hotels of Europe with a distinct New York sensibility. Each wall is adorned with hand-selected, richly textured custom-designed furnishings and original artwork. The lofty ceilings throughout the hotel provide luxurious spaces to enjoy dining, socialising, and rest.

The hotel's elegant food and beverage menu was created by Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara. Inspired by Chef Humm's time spent throughout Switzerland, California, and New York City, the restaurant is rooted in the same traditions found at the critically acclaimed, Michelin three-star rated Eleven Madison Park. The menu is sophisticated, yet approachable, complemented by a wine program that celebrates the great wine-growing regions of the world and innovative, classically-focused cocktails.

The hotel's most coveted features are its signature claw-foot bathtubs, ARGAN soaps by La Bottega, city views, and a restaurant built in a sunlit glass-enclosed atrium. Other amenities include a nightly turndown service, a 24-hour gym and a bi-level library, plus an indoor/outdoor rooftop event space, and a stylish lounge with a 24-foot mahogany bar.

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thenomadhotel.com

NoMad Bed
NoMad Bath
Gucci Shoes
NoMad Books
NoMad Desk
NoMad Vines
NoMad Library
NoMad Dining

URBAN TALES | Urban Koi


I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jo-anne Quinlan of URBAN TALES—a platform where urban creatives from across the globe and all walks of life, share stories or glimpses into the philosophy behind their work. The website beautifully depicts that the city is a melting pot of cultures and ideas, a living artwork that breathes an air of new possibilities. In our conversation below, I delved a little deeper into the connections between my passions in medicine, photography, and writing—which intertwine harmoniously in my work. 


INTERVIEW

Jo-anne: You travel a great deal. Where do you live now?

Koi: I currently reside in New York, but the future is mysterious. Perhaps, I will call my next home: Mars. 

Jo-anne: You are a very talented photographer, but also art director, writer, and scientist. Can you tell us a little bit more about the relationship between these different fields?

Koi: Thank you—I am humbled and very much appreciate the kind words! Infinite enigmas in science waiting to be deciphered, so I just think of myself as a little student in this mysterious universe, perpetually wide-eyed and curious, as there is always something new to learn or a skill to cultivate. 

On the first impression, photography, writing, and science may appear to be completely unrelated fields that do not intermingle. However, these realms are colourful threads that weave together into a vivid web.

At the lab, I operate microscope imaging technology to chronicle hundreds of immunohistochemistry slides containing various tissues that I prepared, stained, and mounted. Under the microscope, cells can be seen fluorescing in beautiful hues of red, brown, green, and blue, depending on the specific reagent exposures and chemical reactions at the genetic or molecular level. These experiments are executed to investigate behaviours, relationships, and peculiarities between different types of cells. Currently, I study cancer with the aim to establish cancer genetic profiles, discover tumour markers for early detection analysis, and develop chemo-preventive or therapeutic treatments that target tumour-specific pathways, with the main goal: to ameliorate cancer. 

Experimental design shares characteristics of art directing as well—one must direct a team of scientists to conduct experiments or studies aimed at a proposed idea or objective. Science presentations, conference posters, and publications require art design and proficient writing in order to illustrate discoveries, showcase data, and convey hypotheses to the community.

Medicine is one of the most dynamic and complex fields. It begins with: a thirst to devise how and why, honest concern, and genuine compassion. The best physician interlaces scientific theory, empirical evidence, and the art of humanity. Every human is unique and requires individualised attention—not every condition must be treated in the same manner. Thus, eclectic creativity and artful critical thinking are essential to provide the best care for each person. Medicine is an art. 

Jo-anne: What does art mean to you?

Koi: Art is the language of the universe. It is a dynamic entity that manifests in copious forms. 

Jo-anne: When did you first get in touch with photography?

Koi: My passion for photography was born when I was four years old and I was playing with my parents’ old Ricoh and Konica cameras. I became mesmerised by the mechanisation of the camera and curiously dissected it, unmasking its anatomy. I discovered how light travelled through lenses, reflected off mirrors, and exposed part of the light-sensitive emulsion. Thus, I learned the elements of photography like aperture, shutter speed, and ASA (ISO) through the most classic way—film.

Jo-anne: There seems to be an underlying simplicity and calmness in your photographic work. Where does this very particular vision stem from?

Koi: New York City is frequently characterised as the ‘city that never sleeps’ and sometimes labelled as a centre of chaos. However, take a deep breath, ground yourself, and feel the rhythm of the city. The way the vines overturn a deserted brick building in Brooklyn; the way the fog lingers, gracing rooftops with a beguiling stillness; the way relentless sunlight slices through the scaffolding, casting obsidian shadows with cryptic riddles; and the way the car horns beep or footsteps pitter-patter on the cobblestone streets—there is beauty in the seemingly mundane.

Jo-anne: Food and medicine are recurring themes in your photographs. Can you tell us more about this aspect of your work?

Koi: I was four years old when I started baking and cooking on my own, as my parents were never present at home, and food became one of my first subjects in photography. I fancied experimenting in the kitchen while documenting each concoction throughout the years. As an aspiring surgeon/physician, I believe that what we ingest is a vital component of our health outcome, so I often make time to hand-make my meals and other fare from scratch.

Jo-anne: What role do interior design and fashion play in your work and life?

Koi: The interior design of my studio is extremely minimal and monochromatic, punctuated with white brick and dark wood accents. The open space keeps my mind clear and focused. Regarding fashion, a large portion of my wardrobe is vintage military-inspired or NASA themed. My daily uniform typically consists of a button-down shirt with a bowtie and double-breasted coat or flight bomber with vintage patches, topped off with a wide-brimmed hat or an old-fashioned newsboy cap. 

Jo-anne: What photographic equipment do you usually travel with?

Koi: I generally travel extremely light, so my companion is usually just my DSLR with a couple of lenses—nothing too fancy. On slower adventures, I will also bring along my old film cameras and several rolls of film. The chief aspect of photography is one's unique composition and story, not one's apparatus. 

Jo-anne: What is one striking memory from one of your photography trips?

Koi: I have an intense affinity for astronomy—my secret love-affair, so photographing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Iceland for the first time is a breath-taking memory.

Jo-anne: What is New York like to work and live in as an urban creative?

Koi: New York is bursting with inspiration. Perhaps I am a bit odd, but I see life and soul in every nook and cranny. From the grit in the Metro to the weathering alleyways, I am endlessly inspired by the diverse history and I strive to unearth the hidden magic within the streets.


FINAL FIVE

Jo-anne: Best purchase ever? 

Koi: Jazz. I found her as a kitten abandoned in a box on the sidewalk and I instantly felt a special connection. I took her home with me and since then, we have become inseparable. When she stretches, her black and white hair pattern resembles piano keys, which is why I named her Jazz. Although she was technically not a 'purchase,' she is one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Jo-anne: Favourite book?

Koi: Since I am a bit of a bookworm, it is too difficult to select just one. The genres that I tend to gravitate towards are mysteries, science-fiction and non-fiction, or anything related to outer space. I am also enraptured by works that embody the tenuous nature of existence.

  • 1Q84 - Haruki Murakami

  • The Stranger - Albert Camus

  • The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

  • Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance - Dr. Atul Gawande

Jo-anne: Favourite dish?

Koi: Squid ink fettuccine with handmade pesto or tagliatelle dressed in fresh tomato sauce, olive oil, and chopped basil.

Jo-anne: Next trip?

Koi: Where I will travel next is not set in stone—I will allow the natural flow of life lead me.

Jo-anne: Insiders tip to New York?

Koi: Skip the super touristy attractions. Take a walk and seek out hidden gems—that is when you will truly experience New York.

UT Desk
UT Plane
UT NY
UT Bed

DIOR LOVE CHAIN

I would conquer mountains, sail the seven seas, traverse desert lands, and skyrocket across the galaxy. And you, what would you do for love? — Urban Koi

This short film was created for the Dior Parfums - #DiorLoveChain campaign, to raise awareness and support for WE Charity, an international movement that partners with communities to help lift themselves out of poverty. The operation will particularly support the work of WE Schools in Kenya, aimed at providing young women with an education.

Directed + filmed by Urban Koi.

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Partnership with Dior

 

B&O Harmonies

Bang & Olufsen introduced Harmonies, a new limited edition wireless speaker collection inspired by nature. The entire sound system was carefully designed to bring tranquility and balance into the home, crafted to sing together in blissful harmony.

The Beoplay M5 features an aluminium disc that answers to viscous-dampened movement to manage volume and connection controls. Three evenly-spaced tweeters, a front facing mid-range driver, and a powerful woofer projecting its power down towards a meticulously designed disperser, provide a uniform diffusion of the Bang & Olufsen Signature 360º Sound throughout the space. The beautiful green woven wool produced by Kvadrat, a renowned Danish textile manufacturer, was constructed to add warm texture and enhance acoustics.

The BeoSound 1 is a portable wireless speaker system, flexible to follow you to any room in your home or outside—the freedom of choice. It bears a built-in proximity sensor that detects your presence by calculating your distance, applying instantly, and automatically turning towards you, ready at your command. Its elegant design resembles a musical instrument to harmonise, not only in functionality but also in aesthetics—to create the perfect soundscape wherever the beauty of music takes you.

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Partnership with Bang & Olufsen

Fern
Harmonies 1
Harmonies 3
Harmonies 2

MINI x Shanghai

Automotive, Living, Work, Fashion. On first glance, these sectors may seem detached or isolated from one another, however, together they are the core elements that build the foundation of urban life for the Creative Class. MINI has introduced a unique vision for a brighter city life, whilst keeping a small footprint. The MINI mission is to integrate design expertise with the spirit of experience—a radically new future of urban living.

Cityscapes characterised by density and scarcity are reconstructing inner-city spatial aptitudes into a modernised currency in the era of hyper-urbanisation. Growing urban populations, space utilisation, and demographic amalgamation are evoking a collision between the supply and demand of living space in the global metropolises. Innovative architectural concepts that "think outside of the box", and integrate space and time, have become a necessity, as the most relevant urban potentials lay the framework for a future focused on personal flexibility, experience, and inspiration—together.

The MINI Shanghai URBAN MATTERS EXHIBITION took place from October 27 to November 7, 2017. The event was a paramount catalyst to the MINI mission to curate, create, and reinvent solutions—connecting the past to the future for a brighter urban life. 

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Partnership with MINI


MINI x NYC

MINI LIVING has designed the URBAN CABIN, a micro-house that acts as a research space for revolutionising urban living. The aim of the project is to create a pragmatic space inspired by local surroundings and bring light to relevant architectural solutions for urban needs and local identities, whilst keeping a small footprint upon Earth. The URBAN CABIN in Brooklyn camouflages into the landscape and illustrates New York for the vibrant city that it is—a blend of cultural influences from around the world.  

The URBAN CABIN façade flaunts iridescent acrylic glass in bright colours that change with every movement—a reflection of the bursts of inspiration and diversity in New York. In contrast, the back door—disguised as a hammock nestled in the a beautiful vertical garden—opens to the air for rest and restoration, a breath of calm and tranquility. The culture of the project meshes a spiked, humorous façade with a soft brightly coloured upholstered nestlike seat on its interior. “It’s basically St. Mark’s Place in the 80s: a bit punk, a bit kawaii...and close to John Hejduk,” states Peter Zuspan (principal of Bureau V), detailing some of the cabin's design references.

There will be a sequence of events and activities involving the URBAN CABIN through October and November 2017. 

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Partnership with MINI


Water Journal 3º

From the moment my eyes fall upon its intricate texture and I inhale deeply, filling my lungs with the ambrosial redolence, I am carried away to another world and I fall gently into a field with tall grass, graceful flowers, and balletic leaves that dance with the wind. Lemongrass and verbena mingle blissfully with lavender, mint, and sage—a beguiling synthesis evocative of a summer grassland. Airy and inspiriting. — Urban Koi

This is an excerpt from a new piece that I wrote titled: Tea. It is published in Water Journal - Volume 3º, released in June 2017. I reveal an ancient legend and the unique history of tea, as well as the different classes of tea: white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh, tisanes, and matcha. I explore a soupçon of tea sciencethe health benefits and properties that make tea so special. 

Order Volume 3º on Water Journal.

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waterjournal.co


ONA Savannah

I recently had the pleasure of partaking in a profile with ONA, my favourite camera bag brand. I discuss a couple of my most loved books, music, and humble musings on life, while on a little film adventure with the Savannah, a spruce compact crossbody, perfect for those smaller film or mirrorless cameras—the newest member to my ONA collection. Take a gander, if you are keen. 

ONA bags have been at my side as my trusted travel companions for nearly five years now. ONA designs are not only elegant and pragmatic, but the breadth of the company's philosophy—the mission to foster community and empower creatives, is sincerely inspiring and deeply resonates with me. One collaboration with ONA that I am thankful for is the The Prince Street from two years ago. It has since ventured with me across the country from NY to LA to across the ocean to Europe and I look forward to creating many more incredible memories with ONA in the future.
 

In Swahili, the word ona (pronounced ō'na) means 'to feel,' 'to believe,' and 'to experience with the eyes.' This is the essence of photography and style. ONA Bags


THE STORYTELLING FUND

A few weeks ago, ONA launched See the World in a New Light, a new campaign aimed to showcase and bolster new voices. ONA will allocate $10 from every bag sold to their new Storytelling Fund, a new project to act as a support system to help cultivate the endeavours of photographers and independent artists. The Fund will partner with organisations like 100 Cameras and Women Photograph, who recently declared that their first three $2500 grants will be presented to budding female documentary photographers this coming summer. The Fund will further support several projects selected by the ONA community. When you support ONA, you help strengthen the creative community. For more information, please visit the ONA Blog

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onabags.com


Prospector Co.

As the heir of an aromatherapist, Kyle Hinton established Prospector Co. in Savannah, Georgia, in 2010. The unisex bath, body, and grooming commodities are constructed in care with sensitive skin in mind, formulated with no additives, artificial fragrances, and colouring. To ensure highest quality, each clean-scented elixir is blended in small portions with great attention to detail and encased by hand in classic apothecary-inspired bottles. I have been incorporating Prospector Co. into my daily routine for quite a few years now and I truly recommend their products for the individual keen on natural, less commercialised goods. Health and wellness begins with the ingredients we ingest, including ones we allow our skin to absorb on a daily basis. Presented here are a few personal favourites. 


COMPRESSED TOWEL TABLETS

These compressed cotton fibre tablets instantly decompress at the touch of water and expand into small facial towelettes for convenient personal care anywhere, anytime. They are brilliant for travel and in-flight relaxation when paired with your favourite soak and a few drops of essential oils. For a lovely touch, these little jars make a welcoming and refreshing gift for guests who have paid you a weekend visit. 

LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA CREAM
8 oz. Push Dispenser

This calming moisturising hand and body cream, infused with botanicals, was designed with pure relaxation in mind. Creamy, yet light and absorbent, it leaves the skin feeling hydrated, smooth, and replenished. The essential oil blend of lavender, rosemary, and cedarwood amalgamate into a scent of subtle broken flowers, overgrown gardens, and springtime freshness. 

ROSEMARY SAGE HAND WASH
16 oz. Push Dispenser

This gentle cleansing soap is a soothing fusion of herbal essential oils with a revitalising, garden-fresh scent. Eucalyptus and sage open the sinuses and breathe clean air into the kitchen or bath. Rosemary intermixed with tea tree offer anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and deodorising properties to the palms. Thyme, characteristic with its warm, spiced scent, bears additional disinfectant features as well.

SHAVING BRUSHES

Using only the highest quality materials and handcrafted detail, all of our brushes are manufactured in Germany, working with an 80-year-old, family-owned business. The superior performance and longevity gained from age-old techniques and modern engineering make for an heirloom-quality brush that “lifts” the shaving experience (Prospector Co.).

PURE BRISTLE SHAVING BRUSH 
Made in Germany

The Pure Bristle is a natural hair brush, a superb choice for wet shaving. Its anatomy includes a beechwood handle and economical boar hair, which gives a firmer, more rigid effect to the shave, that mellows beautifully with age. This makes for an exceptional entry brush for a new wet shaver. I have given this dapper brush as a gift to a comrade and he is quite pleased. 

ACACIA WOOD SHAVING BRUSH
Made in Germany, Vegan

The natural Acacia Wood brush, with its long-lasting durability and high resistance to water, is another excellent option. The bristle is made from a superior black fibre that exudes similar qualities of the badger hair. These fibres are long-lasting, tenacious, and produce a marvelous foaming lather—they prompt reliable softness even through the constant wet and dry periods of daily use. 

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Partnership with Prospector Co.


Water Journal 2º

I am truly humbled to share that my writing and photography have been published in Water Journal - Volume 2ºa quiet exploration of all things water, celebrating its undeniable beauty and complexity.

Published in London, it features beautiful, honest stories from incredibly talented and inspiring creatives around the world. It is a stunning work of art dedicated to the experience and cultural significance of water. I fell in utter love with the Journal since Volume 1º and there are no words that would do justice to encapsulate Water Journal.

From the ethereal images that send one on a journey afar to the graceful curation of intimate stories, heartfelt poetry, and elegant design, one must feel the publication in one's hands to truly grasp and appreciate the intricacy of Water Journal

I wrote a short memoir paired with my photography about my connection to water titled: Chasing Fog. It is an absolute honour to be a part of the publication.

Order Volume 2º on Water Journal

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waterjournal.co


Autumn Muses

As I peer through the rustic window back home in New York, I see leaves starting to change colour. The brisk zephyrs pass through trees with sombre sighs; the light is slowly growing melancholic and moody, signifying the beginning of my most favourite season—autumn. With ambient music playing in the background, I am sipping tea, deep in green with the essence of roasted rice, and musing upon my summer.

‘Elegance is not about being noticed, it’s about being remembered,’ articulates Giorgio Armani. And, the HP Spectre is an unforgettable one.

I never thought that I would fancy another laptop other than the one I owned for the past 4 years, but the Spectre provided me with a new perspective into my art, which allowed me to reinvent my creative vision.

This past summer, I aimed to nourish my adoration in travel to a foreign land far away from the metropolis as well as increase breadth in my travel work. Some were a bit surprised at my newest travel location, as it is the opposite from the hustle and bustle characteristic of the city that I gravitate towards. However, it is reminiscent of my work as a mere child, when my passions in photography blossomed, and I took special interest in capturing the beauty of a simple dandelion.

I typically do not bring my old laptop on travels because it is quite cumbersome, but the Spectre is so incredibly light, it was fitting to bring along with me everywhere I went. This laptop challenges the future of computers—the extreme thinness of the Spectre without the compromise of power is the feature that I found to be the most striking. As I admire the Spectre bathing in autumnal light on my windowsill, I can see just how unbelievably thin this laptop is.

Moreover, from the i7 Intel Core to the artisan craftsmanship with carbon fibre, aluminium, glass trackpad, and gorgeous keyboard—the attention to detail is stunning, making this gem elegant, yet solid.

Being an urban soul, as I have written in in my previous Journal entry, I predominantly captured the ephemeral, quiet moments in urban cities. But with my Spectre, I traversed the ocean to rural Iceland and my artistic expression has distinctly evolved, evident as my visual storytelling of my magical adventure slowly unravelled. My Spectre became the perfect summer companion and will continue to be in the future.

Escaping the city with my beloved Spectre was incredibly exhilarating—it was the highlight of my summer. My heart is full.

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Partnership with HP


Spectre in Iceland

Little 1.5m me and my 13cm platform boots hiked across a mysterious post-apocalyptic planet through endless kilometres of rocks and black sand, and stumbled upon a mysterious plane wreckage peeking through thick fog. I stood on top of a mountain amongst the clouds, breathless, revelling in its mystifying allure. I am finally here—the land of fire and ice, Iceland. 

Iceland is a magical place that I have dreamed of visiting ever since I was a child, thumbing through old issues of National Geographic. I diverged from my comfort and familiarity in urban cities and ventured to a more remote land that breathes magic and wonderment through the untouched beauty of nature—my most adventurous escapade yet. 

Admittedly, I have always been a city person. My upbringing is deeply rooted in Brooklyn and I am studying at Columbia University, which is adjacent to Harlem. I grew up living most of my life in New York City. But, spending more and more time with my Spectre, I was struck with a delightful spark of new inspiration, which led me to reinvent my creative catharsis. 

My creative work encompasses city life—from the forgotten ruins and remnants of old cities around the world contrasting with the architecture of the 21st century to food and still life moments present in urban settings. However, because the Spectre is extremely feather-light, versatile, and powerful with a long-lasting battery, it provided me with confidence to venture with it outside of Reykjavík, the capital and largest city in Iceland.

I felt that I was not bound to the city. My creativity deepened as I lost myself in more landscapes—mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls, to places that I have never been to before. I even had the pleasure of seeing Aurora Borealis dance in person, the stunning Northern Lights. The Spectre allowed me to edit in the mountains and visualise my work on site, breathing in the crisp air, overlooking the water. 

I have become more attached to the Spectre since my previous Journal entry, as it is expanding my creativity into landscapes and nature. I am reinventing my obsession. 

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Partnership with HP


New Obsession | HP Spectre

Although a bit camera-shy, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Perhaps you have been following my Twitter and saw little hints or seen me on the big screen in theatres across America as film pre-roll, but I am incredibly honoured to officially reveal that HP featured me in a cinematic short directed by the talented Tatia Pilieva, which documents bona fide reactions to the new Spectre. Weeks before filming, the production team was awfully mysterious and did not disclose any further details. I must say, it highly piqued my curiosity! Upon arrival at Siren Studios in Hollywood, I was quickly ushered through hair and makeup, and finally onto a full production set. Admittedly, I was quite hesitant at first as I have never been on a production set in Hollywood before, however, I was utterly impressed. 

The new Spectre is a stunner. There's thin and there's thinner—the Spectre is 10.4mm in thickness and weighs only 2.45lbs. As a travel photographer, I am obsessed with the smart Artisan craftsmanship and revolutionary feather-weight design without the sacrifice of power or battery life. The Spectre is the first HP laptop to integrate a hybrid battery with four polymer battery cells allocated throughout the device in order to maximise battery capacity, which enables me to work longer on a single charge no matter where I am in the world. As a scientist, I am immensely keen with HP's unique method to cooling. The laptop is so remarkably thin that it requires special progressive hyperbaric cooling technology that actively draws cool air in and directs it over the processor, rather than simply venting it out. 

The Spectre is the ultimate sensorial masterpiece as well—Bang & Olufsen audio (my favourite) and a full HD IPS display with exceptional sound clarity and crisp visuals guarantee that I never miss a detail, whether I am editing on the plane, watching a film, or conducting experiments at the lab, deep into data analysis. I will be taking my Spectre on my next adventure and I am excited to share my experience with you.

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Partnership with HP


Skincare Favourites

Although I rarely use makeup, I am quite keen on skincare. Presented here are a few favourite moisturising products from the STELL that I employ on a daily basis and carry with me on my travels.


MULTI-USE OIL - NO. 2

This oil is a blend of forget-me-not, peach blossom, and mandarin green tea enriched with apricot, sweet almond oils, and Vitamin D, accented with beautifully preserved flowers. I use this oil to keep my bleached hair healthy and just one drop instantly restores moisture in my driest skin. 

SOUL SUNDAY BOUGIE LITE FACIAL OIL + RICE WATER

The facial oil was created from red raspberry seed and contains high levels of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which replenish and soften skin. Squalane, a plant-based emollient, very similar to skin's natural lipids that decrease with age, helps create a balance of moisture and a light, protective barrier. Essential oils of geranium flower and sandalwood promote skin clarity and balance. The refreshing rice water was carefully combined with brightening Vitamin C, Bulgarian rose, and soothing cucumber; I typically use the rice water after I shower or to freshen up mid-day. 

BYREDO BLANCHE HAND CREAM

This is my favourite hand cream of all time. It travels with me everywhere I go, whether it is in my uni backpack or camera bag. It is deeply moisturising without a greasy residue. Top notes: aldehyde, pink pepper, white rose. Heart notes: neroli, peony, violet. Base notes: blonde woods, musk, sandalwood. 

GROWN ALCHEMIST SWEET ALMOND + SAGE HAND CREAM

This is another one of my essentials, which bears a unique hydrating and potent formula that consists of tyrosinase inhibitors from the rumex plant, phyto-peptides, sweet almond oil, Vitamins A, B1, B2, and B6, which visibly reduces sun damage pigmentation and redensifies thinning skin. As a scientist, I took great delight in this detail. 

GROWN ALCHEMIST CAMELIA + GERANIUM BLOSSOM HYDRA-REPAIR DAY CREAM

This is a non-greasy, nourishing facial moisturiser that contains camellia and rosehip essence with aloe vera and jojoba oil. I adore its scent and I use this cream on my face daily. It doubles as a rich body cream, and as you know already, I am highly pragmatic and love multi-functional products.

L:A BRUKET NO. 102 BERGAMOT + PATCHOULI HAND CREAM

This was my first product from the Norwegian natural skincare company based in Varberg, a coastal spa town in Sweden well-known for it's 200 year old traditions of bathing in saltwater and seaweed, and I was not disappointed. The essential oils in the cream have astringent, cleansing properties, and a slight antiseptic effect, which helps treat extremely dry skin. Meadowfoam is astringent, nourishing, and rich in Omega-6 and 9 fatty acids. Comfrey is also astringent, moisturising, and known to heal small scratches and sunburn as well.

AĒSOP REVERENCE AROMATIQUE HAND BALM

This balm contains bergamot rind, vetiver root, petitgrain botanicals, and skin-softening emollients that deliver rich hydration to the hands and cuticles. It is enhanced with skin-softening Potassium Lactate and Lactic Acid for sustained hydration. Its scent is a bit strong for me, so I typically use this balm for my feet and it works wonderfully.

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thestell.com


UK Highlights

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” — Gustave Flaubert


LA x Gallery

I reckon it has been a while since my last post, but if you are familiar with university, autumn and winter seasons are quite involved, naturally dense with disquisitions, presentations, exams, and more specifically for me, conducting research at the laboratory—channelling my inner mad scientist! Nevertheless, even offline, I continue to compose and record floating thoughts on my old typewriter or in my leather-bound notebooks.

I was deeply humbled to have my photography work displayed on my own wall in the Eye for an Eye exhibit, hosted by Hands Down, alongside the masterpieces of National Geographic, Time, Getty Images, and numerous other brilliant contributors from around the globe. It was incredibly inspiring. It was my first time in LA and the first time I had my work framed 20x30” in a gallery. It was a true honour.

Besides flying across the country for the exhibit, I took the chance to explore LA a bit. Presented here are a few favourite memories cherished with my better half. I shall return to experience more of the city in the future.


Griffith Observatory: a facility resting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood Griffith Park. It showcases a spectacular a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory contains a stellar view of the Hollywood sign, and an extensive array of space and science-related displays. Since the observatory opened in 1935, admission has been free, in accordance with Griffith's will.

Stahl House (Case Study House #22): a modernist-styled house designed by architect Pierre Koenig in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, California. Photographic and anecdotal evidence suggests that the architect's client, Buck Stahl, may have provided an inspiration for the overall structure. In 2013 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in 1959 as part of the Case Study Houses program, the house is considered an iconic representation of modern architecture in Los Angeles during the twentieth century. It was made famous by a Julius Shulman photograph displaying two women leisurely sitting in a corner of the house with an eventide panoramic view of the city through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The house has been featured in numerous fashion shoots, films, and advertising campaigns.


ONA x 100cameras

It was time for a new camera bag—I gave my old one a great deal of love and wore it down. Naturally, I perused ONA, and The Prince Street captured my attention forthwith. Slim, pragmatic, and spruce with a touch of vintage—matte black waxed canvas, detailed with full grain Italian leather and solid brass hardware. It comfortably houses an 11-inch laptop or tablet, camera, two lenses, and small personal items. It embodies style and functionality; being a light traveller and one who embraces living minimally, the carry-all suits my personality well.

Those who know me well are quite familiar with my passion in supporting children's education. It is not only design and practicality that distinguishes this ONA bag from others. Profits from this camera bag support 100cameras, which is a New York City-based organisation that empowers children through photography by giving those living in marginalised communities the tools to artfully communicate and express. Their unique stories are transformed into sellable products that directly fund medical supplies, educational resources, and lifeline necessities. "100cameras envisions a world where kids are empowered to share their stories and create impact."

The 100cameras custom photojournalism curriculum coaches on personal development coupled with fundamental photography skills. The organisation strongly aspires to consolidate artistic education and community development seamlessly, enlightening students to realise that they possess the skills and power to transform the world around them. The mission is impressive thus far, and their students are pleased to directly serve their communities via creative expression and storytelling.

Each project melds into a global network of 100cameras staff, supporters, and volunteers. Proceeds and contributions are much greater than monetary—100cameras' youth have learned the power of their perspective, and by sharing their work, they have honed their abilities to positively impact right from their own homes. And that is the goal: to empower young individuals to realise they have a voice—that they can initiate tangible change and continue the cycle by sharing their stories to the world, one community at a time, no matter their background or circumstance.

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100cameras.org


Revelations I

It always seems impossible until it is done. — Nelson Mandela

Find the thing in you that is different, that's as sharp as a diamond and jagged as a razor. Hone that, because that's the thing with which you'll cut the world. — Clayton Cubitt

Facing the unknown is daunting. It's so much easier to let things be, even when you know you shouldn't. When you feel that resistance—that almost overpowering, bone-crushing force—you have to push back...that is when you really find yourself and figure out where you're supposed to go. — Alison Sudol

...your only real responsibility as an artist is to get lost in and follow your obsessions as far as they go, because anything besides that is copying someone else or doing something that's not true to yourself. — Sam Beam

I'm not currently satisfied because that would mean I'm not hungry, and you have to be hungry to make interesting work. — Alison Sudol

As photographers, we always want to travel and go to exotic places...but sometimes there is so much magic happening right in front of you. — Andre Wagner

What I'm doing is not a sprint: it's a marathon. I'd rather focus on what's meant to be, what's organic and real. — Clayton Cubitt

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you. — Maya Angelou