Before The Shoot
Today was the craziest, most insane and most awesome day of them all! Today was the day that the “Epic Shoot With Von Wong” was held!
It was a huge fashion shoot with 5 models, 3 hair/makeup artists a fashion stylist and probably around 10 other photographers, some of who I had met the day before at the conference.
We woke up pretty early, got all our gear ready and headed out to Matt and Fiona’s place which is where everyone was meeting up and all the preparation for the shoot was happening.
When we got to Matt’s, a few of the models were getting their hair and makeup done, but I didn’t even have time to go and say “Hi” to them! Before I could do anything, Aster from Creative Cargo, who was our fashion stylist for this shoot called Ben and I into a room where she showed us all the outfits she had managed to acquire for the shoot! They were all amazing! I couldn’t wait to see what they looked like on the models!
After that, we went outside and Ben started to teach some of the other photographers who came along how to set up his gear! It was fun to watch them try and get it right!
When that was done, we decided to head off to the Brickworks to scout the place out before the models got there!
Epic Shoot With Von Wong
We arrived at the location for our shoot, which was at the old, abandoned Box Hill Brickworks and had to sneak our way in. I’m not sure if we were legally allowed in there, but we decided to go in anyway!
It was a huge place. It was half broken down, but still had a bunch of the machinery there! It was a great industrial look for the shoot! The only thing that wasn’t tickling mine or Ben’s taste was all the graffiti there! There was so much of it, and not the good kind!
Once the models started arriving, Ben started his photo shoots with them! The first models there were Natalie and Genevieve. Most of us sat back and watched, while others helped Ben out as assistants! It was a really awesome experience watching Ben shoot! Once he has had a quick glimpse of the location he is shooting in, he knows exactly what he wants. It’s quite mind boggling how quickly he figures things out!
Shortly after Ben finished shooting Genevieve and Natalie, the rest of the models arrived along with the rest of the crew and photographers, and Ben got straight to work shooting the whole group of models.
I think Ben finished shooting at around 2pm and I can tell you first hand that he got some amazing shots! There were even some amazing shots that I saw later on after we got back to where we were staying that didn’t make it into his final set of edited images!
You can check out his set of final images in his blog
After Ben finished, all the photographers got to do their own photo shoots with the models. By this time I was so beyond exhausted and in so much pain that all I could do was sit down and rest.
At one stage, Frankie Fung from Chocolate Cookie came up to me and offered to go and get me something to eat. I tried to persuade him that I was alright, but he knew I was struggling and I had no choice but to let him get me something!
While he was out getting some food for me I forced my body to get up and do a very short shoot with Natalie and thankfully I did because I got a wonderful portfolio worthy shot out of it which I am really proud of!
Natalie is a wonderful model to work with and I really hope that we can do a lot more shoots when I move to Melbourne!
After shooting with Natalie, I rested more and then eventually got the energy to get back up and do anther shoot, this time with Genevieve. We decided to venture up the half destroyed stairs to the top floor of the brickworks and I can honestly say that they were the hardest stairs that I have ever climbed! I can barely walk stairs as it is. They put me in loads of pain, even after walking only 5 or 6. How I ever got up those 30 or so stars in the condition I was in I will never know! But I did and I am really proud of myself for pushing past the pain and getting up there!
Half way up the stairs, Frankie had come back with my food, so after I made it up the stairs I rested for a while and ate my lunch. I really needed that energy that it gave me!
After eating I started shooting with Genevieve. It was a fun little shoot and Gen is wonderful!
After The Shoot
Not long after that we all got together for a group shot and then we headed back to Matt and Fiona’s for a little while, then a bunch of us went to an Indian restaurant near Matt’s house for dinner!
Here is a shot that was taken of Veronica, Ben and I outside the restaurant!
When dinner was finished we all parted ways. I can’t remember any more of the night because I was so unwell. All in all it was one of the best days I have ever had!
I made so many new friends, got some amazing shots and learned even more from Ben!
Here are some behind the scenes shots to close out the story on this wonderful day! You can click on one photo and scroll through for all the photos in this blog plus a whole heap more!
Today was originally going to be my final day with Ben, Sam and Silvia. Little did I know there would be more fun to be had the next day, the final day!
The morning was quite a relaxing one. We all slept in a little more than we did on every other day of the trip and at around 11 o’clock we went and started filming more interview footage for the behind the scenes video. It was a pretty hilarious interview. Not because of the content or what we were saying, but because we were sitting right next to train tracks and trains kept coming past and interrupting what we were saying! In the end I think there were about 10 takes of each question!
While we were doing that, Dad and Bianca arrived to pick me up and take me home. But instead, much to my bodies dislike, I decided to stay for the final day that Ben was in Australia.
Before Dad and Bianca left we went to a random, cheap pizza place on Chapel Street for lunch. For the price we paid, which I think was $4 for each pizza, it was really nice! I will go back there one day if I am in need of some cheap but decent pizza!
While we were there, Alamby (of DigitalRevTV fame) met up with us to hang out for the day. After we had all finished eating Dad and Bianca left us and they drove home to Albury while I stayed in Melbourne with Ben, Sam and Silvia.
During the day, the 5 of us, along with Francine, who was another photographer at the photo shoot with us the day before, walked around Chapel Street, spent some time at St Kilda Beach, went to Francine’s house for a little bit and then met up with everyone we met in Kyabram to have some dinner!
After dinner we all went back to our accommodation and slept the night away!
We woke at around 6am, packed our bags and got ready straight away, then we drove out to the airport to say goodbye to Ben. Sam and Silvia were staying in Australia for a bit longer, so it was only Ben that was leaving.
We weren’t able to stop for long, so it was a quicker goodbye than I hoped it would be, I honestly didn’t want Ben to leave. I had so much fun and really didn’t want the fun to end!
Before he left, he gave me this unicorn plushie.
I may have all my Pokemon plushies at home, some of which I have received from good friends, but honestly, this unicorn plushie is the one that means the most to me. Ben got it for me while at the rodeo after Dad, Bianca, Silvia and I had left. It is a physical reminder of the most amazing week of my life. Thank you for getting it for me Ben!
We hugged, said goodbye and then Ben left. It was a tough moment for me. The toughest moment that I have had in many years.
After that, Sam, Silvia and I went and got some breakfast and then they took me to the train station and then I came home.
The best and most surreal week of my life had ended.
It took me a long while to process that.
Here is the behind the scenes video of the entire adventure! Remember to go and check out Ben’s work if you haven’t already and subscribe to his YouTube channel for all of his future videos!
I really want to thank Ben for all that he has done for me. He is honestly the most kind and generous person I have ever met. I don’t know of anyone else who would travel as far as he did just to spend time with, mentor and take a random chronically ill fan on an adventure of a lifetime like me.
I would also like to thank my wonderful sister Bianca for organising this whole surprise! Not many sisters would do what you did for me Bianca. I honestly can’t thank you enough for what you have done!
Some other people I would like to thank are the rest of my family for keeping the secret, Mum for letting Ben stay with us for the first few nights, Dad for driving us almost everywhere throughout the whole trip, Sam and Silvia for being so wonderful and kind and helping out wherever possible, including filming the behind the scenes video, all the photographers, models and other creatives that I met during the trip, Think Tank, Smugmug and Cotton Carrier! You are all wonderful!
Ben, you were once just my favorite photographer and idol, but I am now proud to call you a friend. Thank you for being you. I will be forever grateful for all that you have done for me and I just hope that one day I can make you proud. You have inspired me to keep shooting and keep improving my skills. I will become the best photographer I can be. That is a promise!
Thank you so incredibly much for everything!