SUE WONG Celebrating Chinese New Year
Photography by Greg Autry
After shooting the Sue Wong Spring 2014 Collection, Jazz Babies, and receiving Plaudits for my images, I was invited to the Celebration of the Chinese New Year [The Year of the Horse] at Ms Wong's home The Cedars, in Los Feliz California. Driving up to LA from Orange County, I had decided that I would focus on more 'Candid' shots, or at least as candid and real as I could get. It also offered me a rare opportunity to slow down a bit, and to actually have conversations with folks. It's wonderful what a broad array of people Ms Wong invites to her soirées .
The Cedars is a beautiful manifestation of Sue Wong's personal taste. Like her clothing it attends to details of beauty wherever you look. I sensed a flow of energy through the home in beautiful warm colors, counter balanced with shades of cool color, and sprinkled throughout with sparkles and baubles to highlight details and important aspects of architecture and furnishings. Many who know me as a photographer now, don't know that I spent a big portion of my life as a General Contractor, building high-end custom homes (AutryCo) for celebrities, and for very wealthy individuals. I have an appreciation for the hard work and dedication this takes. At that time in my life it was my Art.
Each and every person has a gift. We are all Artists in our life. And as any artist will acknowledge, the biggest gift in life is simply the gift which enables the artist to practice their art, and to pursue their passion, without compromise. To struggle through the ups and down, and to grow. To create.
In another quote from Sue's Biography she says, " The biggest gift with regard to my work is that as an artist, I have been able to live and practice my art in absolute freedom--a freedom that every creative person could only dream of ." She says this, in appreciation garnered from humble beginnings in Communist China in destitute conditions. She also mentions her determination, her ambition, and her excellence in her craft, as reasons for her success. All these things bring memories of my Dad back to me. Off poverty that only the "Greatest Generation" can understand, and with little education, he too worked with determination and ambition to rise to success. He taught me about discipline, focus, and attention to detail. Which I now see and appreciate in Sue Wong's fashions, as well as her home.
In 2009, one of the most difficult times in my life turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was enabled, and chose a path that would allow me the great privilege of pursuing my passions and my art. Which I now share in my paintings, and my Photography. Sue Wong shares her passion for life in her artistic vision and creations of fashion that allow women to walk proudly and to express their own goddess within.
At tonight's Party I have the luxury of doing photographs and talking with people who come from so many backgrounds and who follow such varied and interesting paths.
The photographs in this article represent for me, casual [not posed studio] images of Real People from many walks in life. There are of course Actors and Models. As well as PR and Press folks. An Opera Singer, a Writer, a Basketball Player. Of course I'd find a Real Estate Agent, as well as performers in dance and a singer. I hope that the images themselves will tell a story for each and everyone. I lament [usually to myself] at each event on shots `I missed'. Tonight was no exception. The photos I took were all of the folks who were there to see and be seen. Those Partying, and networking. Some great shots I missed, were all the people working behind the scenes. Serving food and drinks. working behind the bar, and in the Kitchen as well. Those are shots I'd love to do, but alas, not for here. Not now. I do commend those folks as well. They are Artist developing skills and perfecting their crafts.
Sue Wong's Bio also talked of the harshness of life, the up and downs, and not giving up. All thing again reminding me of life's lessons I learned from my Dad, and also perhaps why I feel a kindred Spirit with what I read about Sue Wong. I'd love to sit down with Sue Wong. Not so much to Interview her, but to talk with her, about Art, in all aspects of life.
My gift in life now, is to Focus the Practice of My Art - painting, photography, and writing. And without compromise to share those gifts with others. I share with you my gift of creating photographic Art, and Thank Ms Sue Wong for her gracious Invitation to attend.