cait +tiff

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T / nitt witt ridge

Photo Credit: Tiffany Tsang

Each time someone asked me what my favourite thing on the Pacific Coast Highway was, I only had one answer. Nitt Witt Ridge.

Now remember.  I’m the kind of person who likes things that are more than a little off the beaten track.  Big weirdo, remember?  I also have a thing for created worlds.  People who live within their own minds, standards and stories, little soldiers carefully arranged gigantess Barbies (another fave is Marwencol).  You might know them as the crazy guy/lady who lives down the block and has ten thousand cats.  I might want you to tell me all about it and then ask you to introduce me to them.   

Which leads me to the subject of this piece.  Also known as the poor man’s Hearst Castle.  Created by a guy nicknamed Der Tinkerpaw who often opted not to bathe.  And canned or jarred everything he would eat.  Oh right, he was also the town of Cambria’s trash man.  So there. Now you have the 411.  But you have to see the place for yourself to understand why the state of California named it a Historical Landmark.

Arthur Harold Beal created Nitt Witt Ridge before ‘reclaimed’ was even a thing.  Every single structure, item, thing in the house was collected. From the trash, from the ocean, from the side of the road, for over fifty years starting from the Depression Era and well into the 1980s before Beal was carted away to assisted living when he was well into his 90s.   Of course, he escaped more than a few times to make it back to his kingdom of trash.  And in 2017, the place is as he left it. 

Naturally, I had to take photos.  The enormous property boasts glimpses into this peculiar mind.  It’s still standing, protected in its landmark status and cared for by eccentric, but less so, Michael and Stacy.  Parts of it ramble, and it remains a private property (see above), so tour guides are necessary.  The place is clearly in its winter, far from the golden era when ol’ Tinkerpaw would allegedly bring ladies in for private tours.  But you can get an idea of its grandeur and the sense that it would never ever be a completed project.

So if you’re chugging up the Pacific Coast Highway, you should stop here at precisely the moment that a tour is about to start.  It’s a piece of history, and a glimpse into an eccentric mind if that’s what you’re after.  And his throne too.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use. Cait+Tiff are not liable for a sudden desire to reclaim everything you find on the side of the road.

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T / deserter

As I type this, it is 49°C outside (that’s 120F!!!!).  I’m not joking. Check Accuweather.  I also woke up all ready for the day and everything I have on my to-do list at…4am.  I am sitting at my desk working through all of the things I’ve missed through the past 3 weeks, and I can’t get this one thing out of my head.  I miss the desert.  Yup.  I never knew it would happen.  Cait’s always been the tried and true desert babe.  Turns out I too have an affinity for wide open spaces, a ton of sand and a bunch of curiously shaped rocks. And cacti.  All the cacti.

Three weeks ago, Cait and I reunited with not just one, but two of our favourite creative, coffee loving gal pals that we made all because of this blog! Cait found us the perfect Airbnb just steps away from Joshua Tree National Park.  We were supposed to be all professional, get up at the wee hours and have a photo shoot.  But it turns out we just wanted to enjoy each other’s company instead.  Because with these lives, who knows when we’ll see each other next?  These are just some of the silly shots from those blissful couple of days in the sand. I’m just so freaking lucky to have these ladies in my life.

Also – desert fever is a real thing.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  Cait+Tiff are not liable for your dehydration and dry skin as a result of exposure to arid environments.

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T / all the pairings

Photo Credit: Tiffany Tsang

I’m listening to the Thomspon Twins as I write this.  You know the song, right?  The one you love to hate from that Adam Sandler movie?  It’s been in my ears all month.  The Psychedelic Furs too.  What can I say? I should have been a teenager in the 80s.

Over the past six weeks, I’ve had the chance to shoot couples. Three couples to be exact.  One newly engaged, another’s wedding, and a ten year anniversary.  Basically, all the best moments.  It was like a biweekly dose of all the oxytocin.  Because you can’t help but get dragged into all the warm feelings.   They should really bottle that and it would fly off the shelves.   I can’t believe these three wonderful sets of people invited me to shoot them at their most private and happy moments.  Can you imagine how awkward it is to shoot people making out?  I even told Corbett and Keiko that I felt like I was an intruder into their space.  It all felt so special in the most creepy way possible.  Cuz, you know – that’s apparently my style.

Patrick and Rose are newly engaged.  They American, but came together on a tiny, far off island in the South Pacific.  Not Fiji, not Micronesia.  Smaller.  A few years, countries and graduate degrees later, they’re killing it and there’s a ring on Rose’s finger.  So on a Sunday afternoon, I got them tipsy on G&Ts and captured all the most wonderful moments.  

You must remember Jojo and Jerome and their gorgeous lives and space in Yangon, Myanmar, right?  Over a year after we met, they wanted me to photograph their wedding.  In Kep.  I couldn’t say no.  And I felt so incredibly honoured that they even asked me, the novice with no wedding experience, to capture this incredibly special moment.  I did it.  I was so relieved to have happy clients.  Their wedding weekend was so fun, special and gorgeous.  I learned so much about what I did right and what I could do better.  And I got to put a wedding on my portfolio.   

I respect and have the utmost admiration of Corbett and Keiko.  So when Corbett, who has the most discerning of tastes, asked me to photograph them to celebrate their 10 official years together, all the feelings happened.  I was mostly terrified.  Would I screw it up? Would the photos turn out too twee?  All of those anxieties turned out to be false.  I could have spent all afternoon with them.  More than 12 countries, three cats, two very successful businesses later, and countless mixtapes later, these guys have it great.  

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  Cait + Tiff are not liable for any sudden desire to snuggle.

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T / happy monday / le weekend

Photo Credit: Tiffany Tsang

The easy post to do would have been an easy share of this (because I’m at that age where my favourite band now reunites).  But instead I made this over my lunch break.  I had a busy weekend.  But a really great one.  Even if a big ol’ tropical storm got in the way of one of my four photoshoots.  I managed to squeeze in some video of intrepid and amazing Kate (and her tuk tuk!) as well as my friend Adilson and his capoeira partner Ricardo playing their instruments along the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.  Basically, I had a bunch of curious onlookers for both shoots.  Who be this barang lady driving a tuk tuk? And these ridiculously handsome gentlemen and their fancy fighty moves.  More photos this week. I’ve been shooting everyone.  It’s been a bloody mess.

A Weekend from Tiffany Tsang on Vimeo.

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T / apparently i make videos now

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures (and completely aspirational).

Somewhere in my mind, I decided that I should get into video.  I’d dabbled in it a couple of times, but it just seemed daunting.  Better let the pros take care of it.

Maybe it was because I was tired of the stop motion clips I was making.  Or maybe it was because I went total fangirl on Koheun and Justin’s gorgeous glimpses into their peripatetic life, while also living vicariously through this lady who gets all the fresh air.  And maybe somewhere along the way I met one of these guys and they said the magic words: “go for it.”  So I did.  I got a fancy (temporary!) traditional job that would help pay for all the gear.  And before I knew it, I got obsessed with wearing a GoPro while doing (almost) all the things.  I’m hoping to get better. I can’t wait to make things look brighter.  And sharper.  (The list of things that could be improved is neverending).  And I can’t wait to show you all the snapshots of these lives of Cait and I, of all the places we go.

Last Friday, my pal Adrienne suggested an impromptu drink in our neighbourhood’s new speakeasy.  I live in the [insert Williamsburg/Shoreditch/Kreuzberg/Noe Valley] of Phnom Penh.  Something is always opening.  It generally involves someone impossibly hip and in suspenders.  So I decided to start a brand spanking new series of all the wonderful local haunts.  Here’s my first stab at it (and you can see all the other mostly Crossfit-inspired stabs here).  I wouldn’t be doing any of this without all of your support.  So here’s to hoping that these videos only get better over the next year.

Tiff Does Happy Hour – Nissai Bar from Tiffany Tsang on Vimeo.

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T / ladies drawing brunch

ladies-drawing-brunch-headerSo last week, Rhiannon and I were chatting.  Specifically about how we both needed to draw more. And further, that we should draw together. And that we should invite other creative ladies in our lives to join us.  We wound up with two pros (Rhiannon and crazy talented visiting Nat) and a wonderful group of incredibly creative lady friends (including singers!).  Under the shade of the very hospitable Rambutan’s Phnom Penh Resort on a bright and cool Sunday in the city, we ordered tasty things, delicious leftover birthday cake was had, all pastels and coloured pencils came out.  And most importantly, we planned for future crafternoons. It was really the perfect thing.

ladies-drawing-brunch-tiff1ladies-drawing-brunch-tiff2I’m naturally easily distracted. Especially if I have a new toy with me.  So I was more than eager to shoot all the creating that was happening around me.

This afternoon was inspired by Leah Reena Goren’s new book, Ladies’ Drawing Night.  I’m a huge fan of her work.  Alongside fellow illustrators, Julia Rothman and Rachael ColeI love their push for this collaborative creativity.  We brought together a bunch of beautiful women, some of our dearest friends, some of whom had never met each other.  I was bursting with excitement watching new friendships form and hearing a desire for more events like these to happen. (Because I tend to be that creepy fly on the wall).  To be in this company of women?  Epic.

Rhiannon lead the session with timed drawing exercises surrounding a theme.  Your crazy uncle!  High heels!  Feet! The person sitting across from you! You have 3 minutes! Go!!  Check out what Rhiannon can do in that tiny speck of time.  Tiffany Tsang

Tiffany TsangWherever you are, I definitely recommend grabbing a bunch of your buddies, and spending a few hours letting your creative freak flag fly and discovering a side that doesn’t typically come out over just a glass of wine.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. Cait + Tiff are not liable for any pastel-related clothing stains.

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T / shooting emily

Tiffany TsangOh my word.  I cannot believe I got to shoot this beauty.

Taking photographs of professionals in the aesthetics industry is incredibly intimidating.  Because these cats know what they’re doing.  They know how to make people look good. So if you can’t get your light right, then you’re just ruining everything they’ve just worked on.  But the ladies who run the tools at Kate Korpi (you’ve heard us wax poetic about them before) put me at so much ease. Like when I was getting my first pouf.  Which is how I met Emily.

tiffany-tsang-emily-kate-korpiHailing from Arkansas, Emily first landed in Phnom Penh as one of Kate Korpi’s roving guest artists.  Uber talented hair stylists that they woo over to Phnom Penh to teach new cool things to KK’s students.  Then I guess Emily got bit by the Phnom Penh and Kate Korpi bug (the good bug, not the sucky belly kind) and wound up staying for a few months!

So in Emily’s last week  in the city, she asked me to take a couple of fun “senior shots” around the city.  And I basically cannonballed at the opportunity.  I made lists of everywhere I wanted to shoot this infectious red head in.  And over four hours and six locations, this gorgeous gal got all the shots.  We’re gonna miss this lady.  If you bump into her somewhere around the world, do get your hair did with her.  She might even introduce you to the poof.  Here are some of her shots 🙂

Wat shots are a must.

Wat shots are a must.


Coconuts are my new favourite prop.


I also like making my models hide in the foliage.


Thank you to whomever parked that Vespa in an incredibly strategic location.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  We are not liable for costs incurred for dying your hair red.


T / jen’s taste explosion

coffee-headerIt’s National Coffee Day!  So of course I had to share this little amazing thing that happened for my birthday.  I wanted to do something different this year.  An adult alternative to a bowling party.  Not a dinner at one of Phnom Penh’s fine but finite number of restos.  But definitely still food related.  So I invited a small group of friends who have the most discerning of palates and appreciations and asked our coffee Yoda if she could host a coffee cupping in her own personal laboratory of magic.

No. Not Michael Phelps.  Or what they have been doing all over Asia for centuries.

A proper coffee tasting is what a traditional cupping is. But what we got instead (after I told Jen to go nuts) was a taste explosion.  It was epic.  Some are still talking about a certain menage á trois that happened. Taste pairings? More like illicit taste orgies.  I’m serious.

Our coffee magician explains it all.

Our coffee magician explains it all.

Our coffee magician gathered us first to get our palates ready with a bunch of opinion generating tiny things. The bitterest of chocolates.  Three teas with the tiniest of differences.  The fun of bacon fused with chocolate and a mystery ingredient.  All the pink drinks.

All the palate cleansing instructions.

All the palate cleansing instructions.

All the flavour notes being taken.

Flavour notes being taken.

And then came the coffee.  There was a lot of slurping.  It’s an industry standard, you know.  Jen walked us through the entire brewing process. You could totally tell all the minds being blown, knowing that they’d been brewing their beans a little to hot, too long, or not enough.  Bitter, sour, sweet, extraction, pow.

coffee-tastingTiffany TsangTiffany TsangOh right, there was also birthday cake.  But that naked and so lovely espresso red velvet wasn’t what my pals are now trying to recreate at home.  Instead, Jen invited us to put the following in our mouths, at the same time: blue cheese, pineapple and her spherified cold brew coffee jelly.

And then we fought over the last pieces.  As if raised by wolves.  Because that was how good it was.

Tiffany TsangFuture taste explosions are being planned in Phnom Penh!  Keep an eye out on your social media because I hear a bunch of culinary collaborations are in the making!

Thank you Jen for the bestest way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon in Phnom Penh!  I can’t wait to see what you concoct next!!!

Footnote: While we all agreed that everything was delicious. There was something clearly missing: Cait.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for any mishaps with production of spherified cold brew coffee jelly.

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T / uniform, vol.1 (new series!)

This one has been a long time coming.  We are constantly surrounded by the most talented, smartest, wonderful women.  Seriously, Phnom Penh is a cool lady town.  And they’re stylish to boot, bringing pieces together from all the places they’re from, are currently, or have been.  I wanted to capture all of this on my camera and make it a monthly feature while I’m at it.  Every outfit is a winner, so let the uniform games begin!

WWWW---Julia-Header--4Julia’s one of the wonderful people we are so lucky to be friends with in Phnom Penh.  In reverse chronological order: she’s one of the bestest jewelry models, she shot the heck out of Cait’s first show (here, here, here, and here), she directs the bejeesus out of the communications department for a local organization that helps people in southeast Asia access clean water, and before her move to Asia, she was a producer for Canada’s national public broadcaster (our NPR to my American friends).  Also, she’s from Toronto.  Need I say more?

Uniform123I see Julia pretty much every work day morning in a week.  We’ll just have finished some crazy early workout, and I’ll emerge out of the locker room, as quickly as possible,  in whatever I decided was clean and borderline viable for the office, with my hair all over the place.  But Julia, a few minutes later, will saunter out in her typically super happy post-workout cheer looking absolutely perfect in what could only be described as the perfect uniform.  I couldn’t help but notice how put together she is, while still carrying some bright or fun element (check out that Khmer Creations necklace fashioned out of a spoon!), and always bicycle ready (which also means uber comfortable).  Each outfit always looks really light while also fitting her so well. Her pieces come from all over, some skinny fit pants from back home, tailored pieces from Phnom Penh, very cute flats and bags from Chatuchak Market, the list goes on.  So naturally, I had to shoot the heck out of her.  And that’s exactly what we did for a week this past month.


Thank you Julia for being our inaugural Uniform model!  Check back next month to see who I capture next!


PS: 8am light is amazing!


All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use.  Cait+Tiff are not liable for any minimalist fashion binges.


T / client love / penh lane and khmer creations

KC-HeaderWhen you’re first starting out, you’ve got to be infinitely grateful for the clients who come to you. And even more thankful for the ones who are patient enough to understand that you are still learning.  This is when I learned that white background product photography is one tough cookie.  There was definitely more than one attempt to produce this:


Angkor Necklace and Turning Leaf Bracelet by Khmer Creations available through Penh Lane.

Eventually you figure things out, and that relationship with your very patient client grows into something awesome.

So I wanted to give a shoutout today to a client who first came to me out of nowhere to me last year.  Khmer Creations Jewellery Studio was first founded by one, two and then three ladies.  Antonia and Jane, who are from Australia, joined forces with Samnang to create a social business that provides income generation for women in vulnerable communities in Cambodia, and has since grown to become an all-female, locally managed jewellery design and production studio that now exports its products to Europe, North America and Australia.  Women from low-income and vulnerable communities in the Phnom Penh area are provided with an income matched to the local living wages, as well as health insurance and a safe workplace.  Not only that, but they’re also educated and equipped with skills in financial literacy and personal development.  They’ve even got a savings and loan group going on inside Khmer Creations.  Some are single moms, and Khmer Creations even has a day-care to make sure that the cutest bubs are taken care of. Penh Lane came around shortly after as a trading company that not only works with Khmer Creations, but also four other Cambodian social businesses to design, wholesale and retail jewellery and other accessories to markets around the world.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been taking editorial shots for Penh Lane, featuring models of my choosing. I picked my lady lifting buddies from Crossfit Amatak because they are a joy to work out with.  Rebekah has an infectious smile even during the toughest of workouts, Julia is always amazing conversation in between the burpees and Lyda can lift a mighty mass and look fabulous at the same time.  I knew they’d look great in Khmer Creations’ goodies.


Upper: Angkor Earrings, Lower: DeVine Recycled Timber Necklace (left) and Cotton Bead Earrings (right). All by Khmer Creations.

I also got to shoot a couple of the gorgeous ladies that work at Khmer Creations Jewellery Studio.  Which was just so much fun and a big lesson in directing a shoot with my could-definitely-be-better Khmer language skills and with Samnang as my translator.

So I’m beyond thankful to Khmer Creations and Penh Lane for supporting me and my growing skills.  I can’t wait to work with you guys again!

Find Penh Lane and Khmer Creations products online and at local stockists!  If you’re in Phnom Penh, you can find the goodies at Lot369, Teahouse Asian Urban Hotel, the Watthan Artisans shop on Street 240 and at Aeon Mall!

A big huge thanks to Farm to Table for letting me run around your beautiful green space!

All photos by Tiffany Tsang for Khmer Creations. Please request permission to use. We are not liable for any accessories shopping binges.