Olympus Fashion Week in New York to The Kampong in Coconut Grove

Posted by Lia Chang

From the photographer's pit at OLYMPUS Fashion Week in New York to The Kampong in Coconut Grove, I am on a shooting spree. After taping a new episode as Nurse Lia on the daytime soap opera One LIfe to Live, I'm flying south on February 19th for a reception of my new photographic collection SERENITY IN PARADISE, portraits and botanical landscapes from my travels in Kaua'i. Italy and China.

I just wrapped up an intense week of shooting OLYMPUS Fashion Week in the tents at Bryant Park in New York where American designers showcased their Fall 2004 Collections.

Covering the shows this season was an amazing experience with Olympus as the new title sponsor for Fashion Week.

Photographers were treated like VIP's with a luncheon at Bryant Park Grill and a special lounge with work stations for internet access or to rest in-between shows. Our survival kits included a hat, a scarf, a flashlight, a Balance protein bar and a tin of Altoids while chaffeured SUV's transported us to shows held offsite.

Warm Krispy Kremes, granola bars, and bottles of Evian were waiting for me at 8:30am on a day when I shot five shows back-to-back, wrap sandwiches were served when I finished my fifth show, and hors d'oeuvres with wine and beer helped carry my fellow shooters through the evening shows.

But by far, the best bonus were the loaner cameras and the technical support Olympus provided during Fashion Week.

The images I created while shooting with the E-1, Olympus' all-digital single lens reflex camera and lens system, and the digital Stylus 400 in the field were first rate.

Covering many more shows while working in a digital format, I found the E-1 a dream to handle, thanks to the technical expertise of Rich Pelowski, Todd Tieman, Dino Thomas, Zaahir Muhammed and Bob Aloisio from Olympus who were tending to the needs of all the pro shooters.

In the photographer's lounge, Todd and Clint Hoagland guided me through transferring my images from memory cards and burning my files to CD. Parting with the cameras at week's end was bittersweet.

I play Nurse Lia, an ER nurse on the daytime soap opera One Life to Live . This winter has been especially brutal with temperatures below freezing and I long to bask in the warmth of the tropics.

As luck would have it, after taping a new episode midweek, I head south on February 19th to Coconut Grove in Florida to attend a reception for my new photographic collection SERENITY IN PARADISE: Portraits and botanical landscapes from my travels in Kaua'i, Italy and China at The Kampong , one of the five gardens of the National Tropical Botanical Garden .

If you are in Coconut Grove, FL on February 19th, join me at The Kampong from 6pm-8:30pm. My slide presentation will follow the reception.

Call (305) 442-7169 for directions to The Kampong which is located at 4013 Douglas Road in Coconut Grove, FL.

About the Kampong
The Kampong is located on Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove. In the early 1900s, noted plant explorer David Fairchild searched the world for plants of economic and aesthetic value to cultivate in the United States. He and his wife Marian (daughter of Alexander Graham Bell) took up residence amid some of his collections, borrowing the Malaysian word kampong for his home in a garden.

Catherine Hauberg Sweeney, who traveled extensively in Indonesia and Malaysia, purchased The Kampong from the Fairchilds in the 1960s. She later gifted the property to the National Tropical Botanical Garden to continue in the tradition of promoting work in horticulture and providing a valuable germplasm resource. I will spend several days at The Kampong photographing the fascinating array of flowering trees and tropical fruit.

Check back to Lias Focus for my in-depth features on glass sculptor and painter Arlan Huang and photographer Michael Yamashita, plus part two of my grand adventure in Beijing.

Stayed tuned to AsianConnections for my exclusive interviews with legendary makeup artist Shu Uemura, fashion designers Yeohlee, Zang Toi and Amanda Wakeley and my OLYMPUS Fall 2004 Fashion Week diary.

Yeohlee talks about her book, Yeohlee: Work , which surveys her designs spanning the past 20 years and features essays by critics and curators of the fashion, art and design worlds including Valerie Steele, director of the museum at FIT ; MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, Lynn Yaeger, fashion writer for the Village Voice , and from the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art , curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton.

Zang Toi previews his new Spring line and British based Amanda Wakeley shares her exquisite couture bridal collection. In from Tokyo, Shu Uemura gives a rare "makeup artist performance" and muses on the definition of Asian Beauty. Until next time...