Noise and Nuance

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Photography, poetry, and musings by Emily Ung.

#48 – Flower Moon

Nikon F90 + 28-70mm | Fujicolor C200 | @emilyyyung

Falling for you
Is like being mesmerised
By the flame of a burning candle
A light so bright
I can’t take my eyes off you
Like a moth to a flame
I am oxygen
And you draw me closer and closer
Again and again
An attraction so blinding
So passionate
So enticing
My hands hover over the fire until
I reach out to touch you
Even though I know
It will backfire
And it will burn
My arms are outstretched again
Attempting to hold on to you
An intangible, flickering flame
And on this wintry Spring night
You shine brighter
Than the majestic flower moon
And the Sun can’t see
The miracle she’s created
By bringing you to me 

with love, emily

#47 – Present

Nikon F90 + 28-70mm | Fujicolor Natura 1600 | @emilyyyung

It’s 1:20 in the morning, on the second day of the new year.
I’m sitting cross-legged and currently typing away at my desk.
I have a cup of (already cold) French earl grey, I’ve lit my lychee and peony candle, and Airling is playing in the background.

It’s been a great first day of the new year, and I’m so glad I can sit here at the end of the day, look back and feel happy + warm.

I usually attempt to write a reflection before the year comes to a close, but in true Emily fashion, I leave it till New Year’s Eve; it becomes too rushed and because I know I’ll take ages to finish writing, I never did get around to it for 2017. (I thought I would just take my time and look back at the year that was in the new year – so expect something a bit more reflective in the near-ish future.)

For the moment, I want to share with you a little bit of how I spent New Year’s Day.

I slept in the entire morning, eventually rolling myself out of bed and giving my body some sustenance.
I had intended on spending the rest of the afternoon tidying up my room. We were expecting family over for dinner, but they ended up arriving much earlier than I had anticipated.

As you may or may not already know, a large part of my family doesn’t reside in Sydney, and so I don’t get to see them very often. This holiday period, my uncles and aunties have all come with my cousins, and tonight they came over for dinner.

I had to run out to buy some juice, and so I took three of my cousins and my aunt out to drive to the shops. We ended up having to go to two different places because (surprise, surprise) the shops were closed at the first mall.

We made it back home and I spent some time playing cards with my cousins. Then more family arrived and I went to talk to my aunts. One aunt in particular who I’m closer to – who actually lives in Sydney but I don’t often see – hugged me and mentioned how she hadn’t seen me in a long time. We caught up and talked freely and made plans for next New Year’s Eve (heehee). Can you believe I haven’t been to the city to see the fireworks in person?! Ever?! After a total of 10 years living in Sydney?! At least, not that I can remember.

I’m the oldest grandchild on my father’s side, and there’s a decent age gap between my cousins and I – it’s a little hard to really be close to them and connect with them (if you get what I mean), especially when I hardly see them. I do make an effort though. At the same time, it’s always nice to see their cute faces and watch them shy away from me – in their eyes I’m probably more of an adult.

In saying that, because I am the age I am, I am much closer to my aunts, and I love that I can talk to them the way I do. It’s kind of like having older sisters that I never had, although there is definitely that generation barrier thing (?) that obviously exists – especially because we’re that kind of an Asian family.

Anyway, we enjoyed mum’s home cooked laksa for dinner and then had fruits + conversation/watched television. The topic of shopping and clothes came up when they were talking about plans for today. One thing led to another, and I ended up taking out bags of my old clothes for my younger cousins to sieve through and take anything that caught their eye! The three of them picked out a couple each and tried them on. It was nice to see them try on my old clothes and like the pieces – and I could help them adjust the clothes to see how they fit, and they would ask me about how to wear this or what to wear that with. I loved getting to do that with/for them.

Not long after, it was time for them to head back to my grandma’s and call it a night. We walked them out to the cars, and when I came back in and kind of looked back at my day, it brought a smile to my face.

Despite not seeing my family often, it always feels the same when we come together again. I ended off the day feeling warm and fuzzy and just really happy to see them. I’ve rambled on so much about the little details, recounting the events that unfolded, and now I’m a little lost for words to describe this feeling. I guess it’s like returning to an unfamiliar familiarity – if that makes any sense at all. Like a warm embrace you remember, one that is familiar and that you anticipate and imagine returning to, but until you’re actually in that embrace again, all you have to go off is the manifestation of your memory, and you won’t know for sure what it’s like until that moment comes. (Well, that was a little bit of a stretch. I haven’t written in ages so please forgive me)

It’s just been an amazing day spending quality time with family. I feel like I was able to just live in the moment, be present, and savour every second.

Can’t wait to see them more this week and also looking forward to my other aunty and her family coming in a few days!

I want to always remember this feeling.

Here’s to being present in life’s fleeting moments in the new year + always.

Wherever you are, be all there.

With love, Emily.

#46 – I Know You Know

Nikon F90 + 28-70mm | Fujicolour C200 | @emilyyyung

Hi, hello.

I’m currently in my usual space, trying to finish my final summer school assessment so that I can go to my favourite market tomorrow – but obviously failing desperately because now I’m here.

My heart is bursting with excitement knowing that after this last stretch, I’ll have a bit more time to work on other things + watch shows and movies + spend time with friends. Very, very excited.

But before I get there, I am bursting at the seams with thoughts – many, many thoughts. Thoughts that have consumed me for a while now; thoughts that I need to voice out. Thoughts that have riddled me with confusion; thoughts that I hope I can work through by writing poems.

This is here out of fear of being too out there, but still feeling compelled to put this out into the universe, somehow - a constant internal conflict if you ask me. I’ve posted a cropped version of this image over on Instagram with a relevant little caption if you’d like to take a peek. I also haven’t shared any poems here in a long while, so I hope you like this one x

I know you know

I wonder if you could feel my heart racing beneath the blanket
If you could feel my hands fumbling for proximity
If you could sense my anxious heart in limbo
If you could somehow tell that all I wanted to do
Was to be close to you
Even closer than we were last night
I wonder if you’d let me
I wonder if I could try

With love, Emily

#45 – Grace

Nikon F90 + 28-70mm | Kodak Portra 400

 

A familiar flutter
A wayward dance
A wilting rose
Does so with elegance

 

Hello. Hi!

I have neglected this little space on the interweb for a long while – almost 6 months to be (kind of) exact. So, I’ve decided to pop in to say hi. Hello! I hope you’re well, wherever you are on our beautiful Earth.

I’ve been alright, although, that’s like my default answer when anyone asks me how I am. It’s a vague kind of answer, but it’s mostly the truth. Time has, as always, flown past in a blur. There are days where I feel amazing, and days where everything seems to get on my nerves, so I guess “alright” is a pretty good average. Wouldn’t you agree?

When I was last here, I talked about my first solo exhibition Bloom, and I have finally gotten around to editing and uploading the photographs from opening night! (Only 6 months late, but it’s ok.)

Here are a few snippets:

You can click here to take a gander at the full album on Facebook! All images were kindly taken by my friend Brendan Manning.

I will also be putting up the full Bloom collection in the near future, along with an updated portfolio of work + a little revamp to the site! I’ve been saying that for ages now, but I will definitely get to that during my summer break! (I now have this in writing to hold me accountable.)

In other news, I am going to Brisbane next month! I am so incredibly excited to take a much-needed breather and go somewhere slightly foreign to unwind. Brisbane was the destination of choice because of Yayoi Kusama’s Life is the Heart of a Rainbow exhibition currently showing at QAGOMA. I first heard of the exhibition while it was in Singapore earlier this year, and I knew that if I had the chance to see it, I had to grab it. And the moment I laid eyes on the exhibition poster, it was a rather spontaneous decision, but I had to go! My tickets and accommodation are booked, so if you have any recommendations on what/where to eat, things to do and places to see, please leave me a comment on this post, email me or send me a direct message via Instagram!

I plan to take some time off the socials (do a short social media detox) while being away in Brisbane – very much like what I did when I went to Melbourne 2 years ago. Going about daily life, it’s hard to realise the sheer amount of time and energy that is spent online – it’s pretty scary to think about. I’m looking forward to unplugging; to wandering aimlessly with my camera in hand; to take life even slower than I usually do; to journal and read and write; to immerse myself in art; to relax, recharge and refuel; to plan personal projects; to spend some quality me time; and to hopefully dig deep for an intrinsic motivation that I desperately need to drive change in myself.  

But for the moment, it’s come to the pointy end of the semester and I have a mountain of projects to complete in the next 2 weeks (wish me luck!).

Before I go, I just wanted to leave you with a few videos that I’ve recently discovered (click here and here).
Cheyenne is just so honest + genuine + sincere with her presence online, and I’ve fallen in love with her work, her words and her sweet soul. The first video is a reading of her poem paired with video and text and it is so beautiful – I had it on repeat for a little while because it resonated with me so much. It made my heart ache a little, and made me feel tension yet at ease. The second video is just her sitting in front of the camera and talking through her thoughts – it’s a little lengthier but I’m sure that when you watch it, it’ll resonate with you, and she dishes some really wonderful nuggets of wisdom and encouragement in the second half of the video. If you need a little encouragement or pick-me-up, I hope these videos might help in some way as they have for me!

That’s all from me, for now.
You are a wonderful something – thank you for reading x

With love, Emily.

#44 – Bloom

Hello m’loves!

I’ve been away for a while (sorry!), but I hope life has been treating you well.

A lot has happened in the past few months – I went to Singapore + Malaysia for a month and a half, came back home to see Adele perform live, started a new course at a new university (restarting my university career from first year ugh) – and while study and work have kept me extremely busy, I was also frantically preparing for my first solo exhibition.

And it happened! I officially opened Bloom last Thursday, with an opening night where my friends had a first look at the collection.

I’m so incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity – to exhibit and share my work in the flesh, and know that there are people who enjoy and appreciate it. I hope for my work resonate with people – for it to inspire and stir.

A lot of time and effort has gone into making Bloom a reality – from lettering and working on posters, to getting photos printed and framed, and spending hours painting a mural – and it’s all paid off to see how everything has come together.

Bloom is an incredible and exciting milestone for me, and I still have so much to learn moving forward from my first solo exhibition.

I love every bit of Bloom – the collection is a culmination of personal experience, struggle and development, expressed through my love for analogue photography – and I would love to share this piece of me with you.

If you’re in Sydney and would like to see Bloom in person, the collection will be up until Friday 19 May 2017 at Cool Mac café (just a short walk from Milsons Point station)!

And here is the exhibition poster:

Please send/tag me in your photos (@emilyyyung on Instagram) if you make it down to see the exhibition – your support would mean the world to me, and I would love to know your thoughts! I’m also running a giveaway, which you’ll find the details to at the exhibition. The prize includes a print from #bloombyemilyung and a custom lettered piece, so get on it! #bloombyemilyunggiveaway

So that’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon with new photographs and hopefully a revamped site (finally)!

In the meantime, take care x

With love, Emily.