(Hidden Behind the Language Barrier…with Mine H from Taipei)
I chatted with Mine H a few times before we met, but always over text or web chat. His English seemed good, but when we met in person I realised that he really doesn’t speak English at all. Without the translation software that you don’t have face to face, communication was tough, but he seemed nice enough.
Mine was the only guy I ever shot who brought his own assistant. Does that make him a diva? Well, not really. He had a lot of clothes with him (he wanted to put his own style stamp all over our shoot, to an almost editorial fashion level) and his buddy was there to carry it, and his coffee. He also gave him someone to talk to, since neither Roman and I had the Mandarin knowledge to communicate anything. Fortunately, most of what there was to say could be communicated with body language: “look this way”, “move your body like this”, “walk over here”.
On the way back after the shoot, I did have a few things to explain and ask him though, such as to tell him when I would send his pics, and most crucially for me, about the story he would have to write for Elska. He nodded as if he understood, but I didn’t receive his story. I started making assumptions that actually he was a diva and he just couldn’t be bothered, but this was a misunderstanding hidden behind the language barrier.
Eventually we had a chat online, and with translation software at hand, I realised that Mine was an intelligent, sensitive and diligent chap. He prompty submitted his story, which was beautifully poetic (which incidentally made it very difficult to translate – thanks Zak Huong for your work there!). I’m ashamed to have stereotyped him and to have almost given up on him. Another lesson learned.
See more of Mine H and read his story (in Mandarin and English!) in Elska Magazine issue (05) Taipei