Making-of video for “The High Cost of Living”

12 11 2008

Here’s the “Making-of” video for my feature film “The High Cost of Living”. It was edited by Grace Xiao. Includes interviews with the Executive Producer (Tony Chow), the Script Writer (Jeremy Chia) & myself. 🙂


The Family of Nan Goldin

10 11 2008

The 1st photographer that has touched me with her photographs is Nan Goldin.


Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin is an American photographer and I got to know her work quite by chance actually. It was in 1996, I was still in university and had gone for a study exchange program in Canada in the University of Waterloo, near Toronto. I recall reading an article in a magazine about her exhibition “”Nan Goldin: I’ll Be Your Mirror” at the Whitney Museum in New York. I was intrigued by the description of her work and when I was San Francisco, quite by chance again I saw the photograph book of the exhibition and quickly bought it.

It is hard to describe the feelings her work generates in you. Nan Goldin began taking photographs in Boston of the city’s gay and transsexual communities; the post-punk, new-wave music scene, along with the city’s Bowery district’s hard-drug subculture of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Instead of photographing from the outside, the difference of her work is that she is actually one of the people in this community. She is one of them and her photographs are about the people around her.


When I first saw her photographs, they were beautiful but more importantly, very honest and truthful. She photographs her friends, her lovers (she is bi-sexual) as well as her life. She calls them her Family. These photos shows herself and her friends in the fullness of their youth, their happiness and beauty.


But as the years progress, the photographs shows the setting on of despair, when drug use becomes from occasional party drug to addiction, and abusive turns of her relationships. As the AIDS crisis burgeons in the 1980s, her friends, so full of life before, are one by one wilted and taken away by the virus.


Through her photographs, Nan Goldin is sharing her life with me; by showing without restraint both the collective memory as well as the unfettered personal space of her life. Her photographs makes me understand that love transcends gender. In the end, I feel I know her friends like David Armstong, Cookie Mueller, Siobhan, and many others, and mourns those that are taken away.


I am very much influenced by her work. In my feature “The High Cost of Living”, when defining the tension and complexity of the relationships of the different characters, I referenced her photographs for the feel and intensity of the feelings I wanted. Also when it was time to score the film, I asked the music composer to look at her photographs instead, to get a mood I wanted for the film. Below are videos I found of Nan Goldin talking about her work: