En Garde

Swordsman with katana by Bang NguyenSometimes I get to model with props I’m actually familiar with. Back in my college days I was a fencer (albeit not a very good one) both at my home university and abroad in New Zealand. My mother was an incredibly talented fencer trained under Ralph Faulkner (some of you might know him as the master who trained Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone how to fence). Alas a nasty injury kept her from ever fencing again. Even though that happened before I was born, swords still had a strong place in my household. All through childhood, I grew up around swords, with exposure to different kinds of fencing.

Fencing foil by Bang NguyenBack in 2005, I picked up my first epee in my school’s fencing club, then dabbled in foil and saber overseas. Then, in 2007, I was trained in SAFD (Society of American Fight Directors) stage combat with rapier, whip, and various props.  Alas, I gave up fencing due to it being one expensive hobby and a wish to return to my first love (and better skillset) – kung fu. There are times where I can be a paradox with the body of a dancer, the mind of a martial artist, and the heart of a fencer. Certainly makes workouts interesting!

Fencing foil by Bang NguyenAnd each man stands with his face in the light. Of his own drawn sword, ready to do what a hero can.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Swordsman by Bang Nguyen(And yes, I am aware that is not how a katana is properly held. But fashion is not known for it’s love of technique.)
Swordsman  with katana by Bang NguyenNever give a sword to a man who cannot dance.
– Confucius

Swordsman by Bang NguyenThere are only two forces in this world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.
– Napoleon Bonaparte

This was a test shoot with local Georgia photographer, Bang Nguyen, who’s gone on to become quite the professional fashion photographer (and now budding fashion film videographer). Rather than do just straight-up portraiture, we decided to add in a little edginess with expensive fashion (the black leather jacket alone was $1,000, though the brand name escapes me) and a sharpened katana. The real trick was trying to keep the look fashion and not costumer-y. There is still some debate whether or not I succeeded in doing that. But if nothing else, it was definitely a fun learning experience!

Photographer: Bang Nguyen
Hair/makeup: Veronica Hernandez-Zapata

Skirt: Forever 21
Leggings: Forever 21
Boots: Guess Maeve boots via Ebay
Katana: Borrowed from a friend

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