Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 13 Levels (Shuinandong Smelter)

 After several trips to the Jinguashi area, I finally got around to the 13 Levels. Two other photographers and I went to explore the ruins last Sunday. Jinguashi and Jiufen are full of artifacts and buildings from their mining era, but the Shuinandong Smelter (水湳洞精鍊廠), or 13 Levels (十三層), is one that cannot be missed; it stands on the side of the mountain overlooking the ocean looking like a dystopian fortress of sorts. Its tiered layout is the reason for the name, 13 Levels, even though there is apparently a total of 18 levels.

The 13 Levels was built for refining gold and copper ore during the Japanese Colonial Era.  It was also called the Mine Selection Plant as it was also used in the screening and selection process for high quality ores.  The various levels were for different filtration layers needed for sorting the precious metals from the normal rocks.

Abandoned warehouse
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:
Due to gold and copper deposits drying up, mining in this area was no longer economically feasible. Over time this area became popular for tourists. I've written about this in earlier posts on Jinguashi and Jiufen.

Due to the high toxicity of copper refining, Shuinandong Smelter also had one of the world's longest concrete pipeline ventilation systems to carry harmful gases over the mountains without harming the nearby inhabited areas and flora.

Blue steel pillar inside abandoned warehouse
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency:
The 13 Levels are a perfect monument to how prosperity can falter rapidly.

Abandoned building
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency:

To learn more about interesting places and sights to visit in Taiwan, check out my list of Places to see in Taiwan

Monday, December 2, 2013

Suggested Vendors... Make-up and Hair Stylists Aki and Naomi

This is my first in a series of posts I plan to do about vendors I personally recommend. I will be starting with some make-up and hair stylists.

Make-up artists and hairstylists are an essential part of a photo shoot. They give the subject being photographed more life and add dimension into the photo.

Aki in action, styling Corayne's hair
Aki Yang and Naomi Chou are the incredible hair and make-up team from Layer Hair & Make-up. We met while working on a short film together. 

The kind of make-up you need in a movie about real people is the same as what you would use in portraits of real people: A subtle make-up that people won't even notice is there (But would be very apparent if it were not). Layer did an excellent job of this. Working with the creative team attentively and applying their craft with the exact finesse needed for the desired results.

Hair Stylist Aki Yang
Aki studied at Tokyo University of the Arts and the at the Toni & Guy academy in Singapore.  He now has 14 years of experience in hair styling and has styled for commercials, branding, and calendar models. He is the general manager of Layer Hair & Make-up.
Make-up artist Naomi Chuo
Naomi has over six years experience in makeup.  She has worked as a make-up artist for fashion magazines, catalogs, and weddings.

I loved their work and can recommend them as being friendly, reliable, professional, and talented artists.

Aki Yang 楊曜齊: 髮型師經歷14 日本藝術大學美髮部修業完成 新加坡Toni&Guy結業擔任廣告.品牌.年曆專任髮型師 現任Layer Hair & Make 主理.

Naomi Chou 周盈妤: 彩妝師經歷6年,擔任多國品牌型錄及雜誌專欄專任彩妝師以及新娘祕書等.