Jose & Paulina, photo shoot inspired by Pearl Harbour

I love the movie Pearl Harbour. There are so many memorable scenes in the movie but the ones I love most are the scenes at the train station.

I’m not sure if you remember but there are actually 2 train scenes. Both visually beautiful. The first one is them meeting up again after being apart. And the second one is them almost saying good bye to one another. I say almost because she ‘misses’ him at the station. He see’s her but she walks away thinking she was too late.

There really aren’t that many romantic ways of saying good bye but the good old fashioned steam train does a pretty good job. I associate steam trains with the war. Men leaving home out of obligation and duty. Their wives and girlfriends never knowing if they would ever come back. It’s tragic. It situation could not be avoided. It’s not like someone in the relationship decided “it’s not you, it’s me”. The time they lived in dictated their destiny and lots of ‘first loves’ were lost forever on the platform.

When I imagine these relationships, I imagine both a youthfulness and maturity about them. A youthfulness because the relationship was not given the opportunity to stand the test of time. It was taken away too soon. And a sense of maturity because of the acceptance of what had to be. The separation was unavoidable. It’s just the way life was and they both had to deal with it in their own way.

The inspiration behind the shoot
For Jose & Paulina, I didn’t know why at the time but I really wanted the capture this essence. The essence of love taken away too soon. I wanted the capture the intimate moments one experiences when one says good bye. It’s almost like … I wanted to capture the last breath of this first love before it is lost forever on the platform. I guess if I’m really honest … this is how I want to remember my first love.

I want to remember my first love as a love that was lost due to external situations. Because failing with someone I believed I loved is a little too painful way to remember them. It somehow makes it easier to bear if I blame the ‘time we lived in’ … it makes both his and my actions more forgivable. And with that reasoning, I am able to “maturely” accept our fate.

For me this blog and this photo shoot is about honoring first loves and good byes. Although they are painful, they can also be beautiful. First loves are raw, honest, sensitive and hopeful. And good byes somehow keep the experience of first loves dramatically deep and meaningful. Sometimes without the good bye, we cannot see, accept or acknowledge real love when it sweeps us off our feet.

Sometimes the synchronicity of the inspiration cannot be explained
Three days prior to the shoot, I found out Paulina is due to move back to Mexico in December. There is a real, physical good bye taking place between them. External situations are dictating their relationship and I don’t think either are ready to say good bye (they are really beautiful together). I’m hoping with all my heart, their love has the opportunity to stand the test of time.

On that note, I’d love for you to experience these images in 2 ways. Firstly as an observer watching a movie. And secondly, as Jose or Paulina … and imagine how you would feel if you had to say good bye to the one you love. And if you can, send them some good vibes. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.




To truly appreciate the picture above, click on it and see it in full screen. The feel of the rain took my breath away the first time I saw it.

Photographer: Darren Wong
Art Director: Thao Dang
Location: Tenterden Town Station, Kent UK
Special thanks to the volunteers who keep the train station operating. Thank you for keeping such a beautiful station alive.

5 Responses to “Jose & Paulina, photo shoot inspired by Pearl Harbour”
  1. Carolyn Lowe says:

    Thao, this is absolutely breath-taking, amazing work!! Btw…I’m Gu’s friend from London…found your blog from his page. I don’t think we ever had the privilege of meeting whilst I was living in London (though I’ve heard so much about you!!!), but just wanted to say hello.

    I find one of the most challenging things in life is to fully express what you’re feeling in moments like these and I believe that you’ve captured it beautifully here in this post. My heart almost broke in a thousand pieces when I saw the pictures and read your commentary. thx for reminding us that we all have feelings!

    Here’s a photography blog that i came across of life lessons. I absolutely love it and I hope that it also inspires you as well!

    Carolyn 🙂

    • thaoski says:

      Thanks Carolyn. I am constantly in awe of who ends up reading my blog and your comment inspires me to keep exploring my creativity and keep expressing who I am. You have totally made my day. Thank you.

      • Carolyn Lowe says:

        I’m so glad that I made someone’s day! Can’t wait for more entries to come! Keep inspiring and be inspired 🙂

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] might remember Jose & Paulina from the shoot we did with the old steam train. What you don’t know is that we actually shot […]

  2. […] might remember Jose & Paulina from the shoot we did with the old steam train. What you don’t know is that we actually shot […]

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