BCPA Outing to Naumkeag 2018.7.28

Reporter: Emile Bellott

Photographer: Weibo Zhang

30 members of BCPA got up very early on Saturday morning to drive 120 miles to Naumkeag Estate in Stockbridge MA. Our journey through fog and swirling mountain mist turned our minds away from the 21st century city life – to a simpler, more genteel time in old China. Everyone arrived on or before the appointed time and waited a few minutes for the gate to officially open for the day.

Photographer: Emile Bellott

Naumkeag Estate was built in 1885 as the summer home of the wealthy New York lawyer and diplomat, Joseph Hodges Choate. The 44 room mansion and property are typical of the luxurious “gilded age” residences of the day.

One unique feature of Naumkeag is the walled Chinese garden, patterned after traditional Chinese gardens, going back several millenia. In the 19th century such Chinoiserie were popular amongst the wealthier classes in Europe and America, due to their novelty and exotic provenance. Naumkeag’s walled garden is one of the finest examples in New England and features a masonery wall; a moon gate; lattice work window and wooden gate. The gardens and patio are arranged in a traditional Chinese style, featuring oriental plants, rocks, statuary dragons, waterworks, tile and sand. On the east ( upper ) side there is a temple structure, raised several steps above the patio. The main floor of the temple affords a panoramic view of the valley beyond the wall. The south wall features a 2-meter circular “Moon Gate” skillfully constructed of brick work.

On arrival in the parking lot, our group unloaded a large quantity of photographic equipment, props and other supplies for the morning photo shoot activities. In the ensuing photographic frenzy, the overall scene appeared, at times, to mimic the photographer’s gallery of a White House Press Conference. Cameras and photographers were lined up – at times 3 and 4 deep – to catch every tantalizing pose.

Photographer: Cary Chu

Photographer: Cary Chu

Photographer: Emile Bellott

Through the morning, various members changed, chameleon-like, between alternating roles — photographer or model. Thanks to the thoughtful organizers, tents were provided to facilitate quick changing of costumes. And the members obliged by bringing a large array of typical and traditional Chinese clothing and fashion attire.

Aside from the clothing, the most popular props were: swords and martial arts accessories; flowers; cigarettes; umbrellas; bicycle; pipa; and fan. In terms of architecture, the most frequent were temple; moon gate; lattice window; entrance portico; and wall.

The photographic composition and output of the group comprised 4 broad categories: kung-fu acting and sword-play; posed glamor shots; idyllic motifs; and photojournalism. All of these were enhanced by the plentiful array of Chinese-style architectural elements in all corners of the garden.

The first scenario is martial arts. This themes acted out traditional roles from Chinese literature of the ages, including Kung fu; Taichi; sword battles; fierce swordsmen and a warrior princess .

Photographer: Daryl Luk

Photographer: Kai Dan

Photographer: Daryl Luk

Photographer: Lei Tian

Photographer: Yun Xia

Photographer: Le Min

Photographer: Kai Dan

Photographer: Kai Dan

Photographer: Daryl Luk

Photographer: Daryl Luk

Senario 2: posed glamor shots. The glamor shots featured both men and women posing with the key architectural features. All of the cameras captured several of these scenes; re-enacted by the majority of the models.

Photographer: Daryl Luk

Photographer: Hui Liu

Photographer: Lin Tong

Photographer: Kathy Lee

Photographer: Lin Tong

Photographer: Cary Chu

The third scenario is idyllic motifs.

Photographer: Feng Chai

Photographer: Daryl Luk

Photographer: Feng Chai

Photographer: Daryl Luk

Photographer: Lin Tong

Photographer: Dongxu Shan

Photographer: Lin Tong

Photographer: Weibo Zhang

Photographer: Weibo Zhang

Photographer: Weibo Zhang

Photographer: Weibo Zhang

Photographer: Yun Xia

Photographer: Feng Chai

The fourth scenario is photojournalism.
Photographer: Dongxu Shan

Photographer: Emile Bellott

Photographer: Kai Dan

Photographer: Weibo Zhang

Photographer: Kai Dan

By the end of the morning, when we packed up to leave, the group had taken an estimated 15,000 shots. The best of these were posted to WeChat, as if by magic; and new posts continued into the following week. Post-processing spanned the spectrum from color to monochrome — and all of magnificent quality.

We ended a perfect day with a hearty lunch at a Chinese restaurant nearby. We all took the time to introduce and to reflect on the beautiful events, just completed. And we’re all to be congratulated for our excellent work and friendly spirit.

Photographer: Cary Chu

Photographer: Cary Chu

Photographer: Dongxu Shan

BCPA team Report by Emile Bellott

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