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A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
Sushi Grass in Paradise (A story)
written by Holly Lee
with photographs by Lee Ka-sing
(57) Seeking sanctuary in a one sentence poem
It has been almost a month since Mrs. Bento talked to her husband and friends in Hong Kong. Toronto has since slipped into voluntary lockdown mode. Covid-19 has extended its ghastly grip on the country of 37 million. Due to physical distancing, zero social gathering, shops closing Toronto looks like a lot other cities world-wide - deserted, basically paralyzed. The pain of financial difficulties, distant or near, looms large. Despite the rock-bottom situation of their B&B business, at such times Mrs. Bento is more than happy to have no guest at all. She has more time to herself, can spend more hours in her upstairs' "in-house" library. She would discover more books on photography, with an exception - she still cannot locate any book on Sebastião Salgado, the photographer whose huge book Genesis they raved about in their last FaceTime some weeks ago.
After that glimpse of the book at Hilly’s studio, this affordable version of Genesis has not been far from her mind. She went online to the Taschen bookstore and checked on the book. What she loved most besides the photographs, was the photographer’s description of the project. He named it as his “love letter to the planet”. What a proud and virtuous proclamation! What a romantic and invincible idea! Just as Mrs. Bento fell into a trance on the love letter to the planet, she was awakened by a phone call from Yoji, asking how she’s doing. Shortly after, another call from Bill. There was also an email coming from Stella, checking out if she’s okay. She pondered for a moment, what are we all in now? She let out a deep sigh, and decided to write something to her friends, all in one breath.
Have you read all your favourite books joined the marathon run the longest novel watched eighteen hours of Wagner couched in Ring Cycle decluttering your closet deep cleaning reorganizing your kitchen pantry tested and retrofitted your house lighting propagated a few more house plants have you gone on knitting more sweaters build more book stands worrying about syndrome of oversleeping was it you who said every friend I know is making sour dough bread I’m making a book of boot cats keeping a good schedule do Yoga take it as normal take it as a gift time cleanses eases pain from the slowest, longest healing 2020 in the year of virus taming.
"Sushi Grass in Paradise" is an on-going story. To read the full length version with previous chapters, please visit- https://oceanpounds.com/blogs/sushi-grass-in-paradise
Wingochrome and Holliblad
Written by Holly Lee
I’ve always wondered why Ka-sing had the name Wingo in his earlier years, that is from the seventies to the eighties. In my imagination, perhaps he likes freedom, he lets his wings go. When I asked him, he said perhaps it was the sound. Indeed he was a poet then.
In the earliest period of our studio, we had created a new identity for promotion, as camera and film, as Wingochrome and Holliblad. We used the image in directories, creating advertisements, promotional posters, company stationery and literature. All went well for some time, until we received a complaint letter from Mr. Kwok, the Operations Manager from Kodak.
We had used Kodachrome from ASA 25 to 64 dated back mid-seventies. Since Kodachrome used the K-14 process and needed to be sent to a certain lab in Australia for processing, we could only use it for non-urgent personal projects. For commercial assignments we would go for Ektachrome, or even Fujichrome, which required only two hours for local lab processing. We haven’t picked up reversal films since moving to Toronto. Years later, in between 2011 to 2013, I worked on a new project - the Shan Hai Jing series, I used Fujichrome Provia 120 roll film instead. Kodak ceased the production of all colour reversal films in 2013, but made a welcome return in 2018 with a new Ektachrome E100.
When I researched for Hasselblad’s history, I was intrigued by the line “Everyone who ever interacted with Erna and Victor Hasselblad was struck by how much the two belonged together”. Is it something reflecting Ka-sing and I? Is this a subconscious decision of branding ourselves as Wingochrome and Holliblad in those youthful days? Our first Hasselblad was a 500C/M, sold to us second-hand by Mr. So of J.H. Traschler. As the amount of fashion work increased, we bought a 500EL/M. While EL stands for electronic, M stands for motor. A new design with an electric motor integrated into the camera body, terribly helpful for shooting fashion which demands for a fast and upbeat tempo. Later, out of necessity, we had yet to buy a SWC/M (Super Wide). It has a 38mm Biogon fixed lens for the medium format. We used it to shoot architecture, interiors, and sometimes pictures during holiday trips.
Looking back, I’m glad that Mr. Kwok has now become part of our history. Hasselblad, on the other hand, had never complained. Erna and Victor would have approved our togetherness, like camera and film. And Wingo, facing his identity crisis again in the late eighties, decided to abandon his long-loved name, and reclaimed his Chinese identity as Lee Ka-sing. And me, remain to be that shrub with little red berries, longing for evergreen. Friends say when the Christmas season approaches, they'll think of me.
(Photo copy of the print ad published in creative service guide book, 1980)
(Photo copy of the letter on file, that we replied to Kodak)
WINGOCHROME & HOLLIBLAD, the studio publication
Published in 1979, for studio promotion purpose. Only two issues were released. Publication format: 17"x22.5" in one single sheet, printed on both side, offset printing process. Print-run: 500 copies each.
WINGOCHROME & HOLLIBLAD, issue number 1, April/ May 1979. (front page) Photograph by Lee Ka-sing
WINGOCHROME & HOLLIBLAD, issue number 1, April/ May 1979. (back page) Photograph by Holly Lee
WINGOCHROME & HOLLIBLAD, issue number 2, September/ October 1979. (front page) Photograph by Lee Ka-sing
WINGOCHROME & HOLLIBLAD, issue number 2, September/ October 1979. (back page) Photograph by Holly Lee
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
Published by Ocean and Pounds and archived at oceanpounds.com
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leekasing.com is a portal website for current and earlier works. Apart from exhibitions, Holly and Ka-sing use extensively web platforms to display photography and writing projects. Contact us for a detail list of links.
Holly and Ka-sing currently live in Toronto with their daughter Iris, and their cat Sukimoto.