Campaign of Golden Agers

 I was commissioned by the Ping An Insurance Group to direct and photograph a campaign on a high end development for the retired. Ping An is China’s biggest insurer and ranked 6th on the Forbes Global list. One of the highlights on this campaign was working with veteran models, and I had a male actor who was 78 years old. He flew in from Beijing to Shenzhen for the shoot. Many of them were professional actors in their younger years, and they started acting before I was born. Working with them was a privilege and such joy to see the visual assets come to fruition. 

These are some BTS from the shoot.

Thanks for looking through!

Stefen

Director/Photographer

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Corporate Shoot for Relx across China

I recently photographed an environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) report for Relx, a leader in the manufacturing of vaping products. The shoot took place in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing over multiple days in their factories, offices and retail spaces.

The variety of environments pose as a challenge. This is Relx’s first ESG report, and they wanted to ensure a consistency in the visuals. We provided a treatment, did a remote scout before heading down to their locations to photograph the environments.

They opted for a visual style that spoke to their own brand values – a company that is modern, young and authentic. We worked with real employees and senior executives, who offered us time and space to create this library of images.

It has been a great experience, working with such passionate and dedicated workforce.

Thank you for reading.

Stefen Chow

Beijing

MoMA names The Poverty Line top 10 books of 2021

We will like to share the news that MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York) has named The Poverty Line by Chow and Lin one of the top 10 photo books of 2021. It is an incredible and humbling honour. 

Opening the newsprint cover of The Poverty Line, by the Singaporean, Beijing-based duo Chow and Lin, feels reminiscent of unwrapping street food at a market. Inside are fruits, vegetables, protein, snacks, and grains, each representing the quantity of food that one could buy with a day’s worth of poverty-line wages. These photographs were made in 36 countries, with each food positioned over a page from that day’s local newspaper.
This typological project inherently invites transnational comparisons. The abundance of spinach that can be purchased in Norway accentuates the unaffordability of fresh vegetables in other nations, suggesting that some governments set their poverty line at an unlivable standard. In the US, the wealth gap is evidenced by a mound of dried pinto beans overlaying an article about vacation homes. And the impacts of imperialism on developing countries can be observed in Madagascar, where 75% of the population falls below the poverty line. There, a single fish consumes the day’s wages, and is presented atop a French newspaper, alluding to histories of colonization and revolt.The cumulative effect of viewing morsel after morsel of delicious food is hunger—a response that feels fitting for a book dedicated to making poverty palpable by expressing it literally, as sustenance, or lack thereof.
–Dana Ostrander, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography


About The Project

The Poverty Line uses the universal lens of food to examine the daily choices we would face living at the poverty line. Over a period of 10 years, from 2010 to 2020, the artists traveled 200,000 kilometers to create case studies of 36 countries and territories spanning six continents.
Each country’s figure uses the official poverty definition to derive a per-person, per-day rate. For middle- and high-income economies, the average low-income household food expenditure is taken into account, while for low-income economies, the entire daily income of a poor individual is used. According to the granted sum of money, food is bought in local marketplaces. Every food group is included: vegetables, fruits, starchy foods, protein, and snacks. Each product is photographed on a local newspaper from the day of the shoot. Dimensions and lighting are carefully determined, in order to express identical aesthetics over time and geographical breakdown. This typological method enables a singular interpretation of the picture, while relating details of each one to the rest of the corpus. The food items were selected on the basis of finding common products available in many of the economies covered in the project and highlight the globalization of food production and consumption. Individual portraits are taken of food using a dramatic spotlight effect to highlight the existence of everyday items in our lives. The work draws on the spirit of classical still-life paintings but approaches the topic with contemporary realism.Newspapers form the monotonous backdrops crowded with headlines screaming for attention. This reflects our incessant obsession with information, but in a format whose relevance is called into question with the rise of digital media. This seismic shift in information dissemination has impacted its accessibility in a connected and distracted civilization.The Poverty Line is a growing conversation that questions our understanding of poverty and inequality. Traversing cultures and economic systems, it confronts the viewer with objective, non-emotional observations of our own circumstance, framed against the fragile balance of social structures, growth, and divide in an entangled, globalized world. 

About the Artists

The crux of Chow and Lin’s practice lies in their methodology of statistical, mathematical and computational techniques to address global issues since 2009. Through a typological, photographic approach, Chow and Lin’s projects are driven by the discursive backgrounds in economics, public policy, media, and these are further augmented by enduring exchanges with specialists from those fields. Their works have been referenced by the World Bank and showcased at the Triennale di Milano; United Nations ESCAP, Bangkok; Lianzhou Foto; Les Nuits Photographiques, Paris; China Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum; Getxo Photo; Hermitage Museum, Saint-Petersberg; Myanm/art gallery, Yangon; Museum of Modern Art, Tbilisi and the National University of Singapore Museum. Their works are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, China Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Beijing, and Thessaloniki Museum of Photography. Chow and Lin are based in Beijing, China. 

Stefen Chow is a Malaysian-born, Singapore-raised visual artist. His work has been awarded by Tokyo Type Director’s Club, World Press Photo, National Geographic, and has worked with institutions including Smithsonian Magazine, GEO, Science, and Nature.

Huiyi Lin is an economist by training and is a market researcher. She has a background in economic policy formulation in Singapore, and currently conducts multi-industry market research in the APAC region. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences in economics and mathematics from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Business Administration from the Tsinghua University – MIT Sloan School International MBA Program.

https://www.moma.org/magazine/articles/633

Thank you for reading,

Stefen Chow

Chow and Lin

7th December 2021

Official Visuals for Sheraton Hotel, Marriott International

I am excited to have been commissioned by Marriott International to photograph the newly opened Sheraton Mianyang. It is the first fully transformed Sheraton hotel in Asia Pacific that brings to life Sheraton Hotels & Resorts new brand vision. The new worldwide transformation focuses on design and experience signatures that foster community, gathering, and productivity in all areas of the hotel. It is a truly beautiful hotel property in an equally beautiful city of Mianyang.

“Both Stefen and his team fosters a positive and collaborative culture when working with my team, and we are able to be transparent and productive when working through challenges. Admirable leadership of this efficient team.” 

– Winkie Wong, Senior Director, Premium Brands, Asia Pacific, Marriott International 

Some behind the scenes, including a billboard featuring my image at the Mianyang Airport.

Thank you for looking through!

More hospitality projects can be seen at https://www.stefenchow.com/Hospitality/Curated/thumbs

Stefen Chow

Beijing

19th October 2021

Fashion! Fashion! Fashion!

I recently had the chance to work with models and stylist on a personal project. I always wanted to depict fashion in an authentic, casual and elegant manner, mixed in with street scenes and scenery.

Having worked regularly with commissioned projects and advertising campaigns, it is good to step out every now and then to re-jig and recalibrate one’s sensibilities. I see it as essential to keep my passion and energy experimental and nimble.

We worked with themes of Chinese architecture, reflections, and graphic movements. Do enjoy the pictures.

Thanks for looking through! Even for personal projects, it does take a team to pull this off

Grateful to my team for doing this with me.

Stefen Chow

19th May 2021

Beijing/China

Campaign Shoot for Yili Milk, International Women’s Day

I had the pleasure of working with Yili Milk, a Chinese dairy group headquartered in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. They are currently the world’s most valuable dairy brand. In 2018, it is the world’s 3rd best-performing food brands, only behind Nestle and Coca-Cola.

According to Brand Finance Food & Drink 2018 report, dairy is one of the strongest performing sectors in the food industry, registering an average 13 percent brand value growth year on year versus 4 percent for the table as a whole. The Chinese market is the most dynamic in the world, set to overtake the United States as the largest market for dairy products by 2022.

The main campaign

We came up with a campaign for the International Women’s Day, to celebrate the role of women. We worked with local PR Company Haitang to come up with the creative concepts, layouts, production, post production and the design of the posters.

It was an intense weeklong preparation towards the shoot, and we worked with some very influential key opinion leaders (KOLs) on the styling and photography.

The campaign was a success, as the International Women’s Day campaign was launched simultaneously across 30 over Chinese cities. One of the online posters with the tagline generated 52 million views and counting.

With campaigns of this nature, it takes a team to do all the coordination and deliver the final product. Grateful for everyone’s passion and help to make this a beautiful reality.

Some behind the scenes on the project.

Production

Client: Yili Group

Creative Direction: Feng Studios and Haitang PR

PR Agency: Haitang PR

Production: Feng Studios

Producer: Stella Chen

Director and Photographer: Stefen Chow

Lighting Tech: Justin

Digi Tech: Shawn Koh

Make Up Artist:

Stylist:

Creative:

Post Production: Emma Liow

Illustrator: Alita

Poster Design: Lucia

Key Opinion Leaders: Viola Leung, Wang Nan Nan, Zhao Xiao Hui, Liu Lian, Lin Hai Yin

Thank you!

Stefen

In Beijing.

KHOS Qingyuan Campaign Video

Really excited to share this video campaign which I directed for KHOS Qingyuan, under the Rosewood Hotel Group.

KHOS Qingyuan is a total reimagining of the luxury resort experience for today’s urbanites to renew, recharge and reconnect with others through experiential activities rooted in nature. The hotel is surrounded by the pristine natural environment of the Qingxin Natural Hot Springs tourism district in Qingyuan City, also known as Guangzhou’s “back garden.” The hotel combines the holistic benefits of the region’s natural hot springs with breathtaking scenery. A unique selection of curated experiences ensures that guests can relax, indulge, reconnect with nature and make the most of an adventure unplugged.

In my brainstorming with the client and creatives, we agreed on a concept of using art, models and architecture to convey the brand’s ethos. There is lots to ideate from that vision, and KHOS Qingyuan offers the opportunity to create a series of films that shows its unique identity and cut above the noise.

We started the concept development with the client months before, and when we finally cumulate towards the shoot, it was a multi day production with a tireless and passionate crew.

It has been an immense pleasure to work with a truly passionate and talented client and production team.

I also photographed the still campaign for KHOS Qingyuan. You can see the still campaign here.

Client: KHOS Qingyuan

Creative Direction: Rosewood Hotel Group

Production: Feng Studios

Producer: Shawn Koh

Assistant Producer: Stella Chen

Director: Stefen Chow

Director of Photography: Qiu Jia Ning

Lighting Tech: Ah Zeng

Editor: Xu Wei

Modeling Agency: MNG Asian

Female Models: Bai Bing, Wei Jie

Male Model: Sonng

Child Model: Xie Jia Hao

Thank you!

Stefen

In Beijing.

A New Start to 2021, a Director Reel.

Happy New Year! 2020 was indeed the strangest year, filled with challenges, upheavals and separation from family. Unprecedented seems like an overused word in our vocabulary. 
My family and I have been well, and there were some months that were incredibly busy, some months where I was just staring out of the window. I am fortunate to have worked on some interesting projects, and 2020 is the year where I pivot everything to be done in China due to travel restrictions. Many of my projects last year had some remote element – my clients, creative directors would be somewhere in the USA, Europe and Asia, while the production would be conducted in various cities across China. I can say that I am now well versed in communicating and handling PPMs across time zones, having on the spot meetings through a screen with creatives and decision makers in different timezones while production is underway. Film also became a bigger component of my work last year, and I still do lots of still shoot campaigns. 

I urge you to have a look at my latest Director’s Reel. Clients include: KHOS Hotels, Nike, Nestle, Jordan, Coach, Gore-Tex, Rosewood, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Net-a-Porter.Agencies include: AKQA, BBDO, Publicis, IDW Studios and Rosewood. 

My website is also completely refreshed for 2021. 
Stefen Chow Director Reel

Thanks!

Stefen

2021

Remote Advertising Campaign for Danone

I recently shot a campaign for European conglomerate Danone, and this was done with remote supervision from creative agency BETC and clients from France. The shoot was conducted in Suzhou, China, and we had multiple conference calls during pre production and on location production in order to arrive at the final result.

I have since done multiple remote shooting projects, and while it took some getting used to, I realise some of these operations and procedures will remain even after the pandemic is over. 

This is the final result. After weeks of preproduction, shooting on the ground and post production communications.

The Final Result!
Some BTS on the shoot.

We had Covid-19 measures, including making sure our Chinese location pandemic apps indicated we were in the green zone and being healthy.

We did the shoot while my clients and creative agency was sitting by their computers in France. I communicated with them via a video conferencing app and they were able to see the output direct from my camera. This was hooked up through a tethered cable and viewed on Capture One.

Me and my gaffer, Zen.

Advertising is always a process, and I enjoy the journey of discussion and tinkering from concept to result.

From concept sketch to finalised result.

In the end, advertising campaigns are always a team effort. If you want to do something, at least have fun doing it. Grateful to the clients, advertising agency and my team on the ground to make it work. Till the next one!

Credits

Client: Danone

Agency: BETC Paris

Production: Eagle Media

Producer: Mia

First Assistant : Taylor

DIT and Retoucher: Emma Liao

Equipment Rentals: YY Rentals

Gaffer: Zen

More at http://www.stefenchow.com

Advertising Campaign for Zhende Medical

I recently photographed an advertising campaign for Zhende, a Chinese company specializing in medical supplies including facemasks. Shot two months ago, and the campaign was just released.

The concept of the campaign is how anyone can be a non professional medical personnel at home, be it a mother, a younger or older partner. I love the thoughtfulness of the campaign, as I am too a partner, a parent at home. I find the campaign very relatable.

This shoot had massive logistics, involving close to 100 people on set, with multiple locations shot in a 4 storey mansion in Shanghai over one long shoot day. This was shot concurrently alongside a TVC production.

I worked with professional actors, and their acting credits are longer than my cv, including the boy in the ad. He has acted in a few movies, and he’s just 8 years old. This is also the first time I used the 100 megapixel medium format Fuji GFX100. What a beautiful camera.

These are some additional photographs shot for their social campaigns, utilising the same models in similar settings.

Credits

  • Client: Zhende
  • Creative
  • Agency: Oglivy Shanghai
  • Production: Gree Productions
  • Photographer/Director: Stefen Chow
  • Some of the Equipment Used: Fuji GFX100, Broncolor, Apple Computers, Capture One Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Tethered Tools

More can be seen at www.stefenchow.com

#fuji #gfx100 #broncolor #captureone

Thank you!

Stefen

Beijing

4th August 2020