Decisions

So many to choose from!

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We follow our appetites.

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We make the effort.

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We are exasperated.

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We lose ourselves.

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Oh yes! A real decision!

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We have the luxury of time.

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We calculate.

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We choose again.

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All images here are from my trusty Minolta AF-C, loaded with Kodak Professional BW400CN film.

Some images from this post are available as affordable open edition prints at my Saatchi Art page for collectors.

Do drop by to have a look.

 

Shenzhen Shopping Monochrome

For the images here, I’ve done a B/W conversion from Fuji Venus 800 film loaded on Olympus XA2.

I’ve done a minimal bit of tweaking for some high contrast.

To my eyes, they look somewhat raw and harassed.

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Here’s another one of Luohu Commercial City, viewed  at a lower level.

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You could see this is a popular place for bargains.

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The above composition looks quirky – though it looks strangely apt.

This is how we see things – artlessly.

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I’m up close, and they’re too busy negotiating prices to notice.

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Why is it that yummy food is always unhealthy food?

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That’s the way we see things sometimes – blurred and hurried.

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You could see I lingered for a bit at this stall…

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Check out those food on the skewers …

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And yes, let’s not forget the man who winked at my wife…

Some images from this post are available here as affordable prints, in case you haven’t checked out my Saatchi Art page yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shenzhen Shopping

Shenzhen is fascinating, if you know how to navigate and where to go.

My wife and I decided to head over the Hong Kong border for a day trip, partly to buy some phone cases for a few friends.

So naturally, I brought along my stealthy Olympus XA2 loaded with Fuji Venus 800.

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This is Luohu Commercial City, a warren of shops you could get lost in. We normally go to the restaurant at the top floor.

Once in a while, there is a bit of mild harassment.

On a previous trip, someone followed us for a bit and kept saying “cheap DVDs, cheap DVDs, just follow me” and she got hauled off by 2 policemen.

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Some images are rather blurry because of the limitations (indoors, ISO 800 capability of the XA2, need for stealth in narrow places).

Yet it does drive home the furtive, unpredictable and artless aspect of street photography.

We took the subway – 2 stops to Laojie, a shopping district, where, if you know where you are going, you would find yet another warren of shops with even lower prices.

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We got our phone covers there for about RMB20 each.

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This guy took out a knife and started stabbing at his plastic phone screen cover.

He was trying to tell me it’s a scratch (and stab) proof cover that will really protect my phone’s screen.

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I was convinced. That’s my phone he’s working on.

It really is a labyrinth.

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Quick, quick, before I’m spotted.

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My wife did tell me to choose my photographic subjects wisely.

“Our kids still need a father,” she said.

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And, yay, food street!

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Street food!

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Yummy pig trotters!

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Yummy Taiwan-style sausages!

Green chilli with rolled bacon!

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Grilled spicy cuttlefish!

He dances as he cooks.

There’s a warning sign next to him saying he sells cuttlefish only and please do not be taken in by his charm …

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He winked at my wife!

How dare he.

For collectors: some images from this post are available here as open edition prints.

Waiting, Choosing, Eating

Every day, we do the same thing.

We wait.

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We’re waiting for something to happen.

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Or for someone to come along to give us the answer.

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We wait for that big transcendental Other, that Godot, to come along.

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We have a choice, we think.

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We choose.

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We consult.

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And hope for the best.

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And then we eat.

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And after all that, we’ll be merry.

For collectors: some images from this post are available as open edition prints.

 

Not Shopping at Tsim Sha Tsui

All images here are shot at Tsim Sha Tsui with the Contax TVS II loaded with Fuji Venus 800 film.

The Contax TVS series of film cameras are gorgeous, with titanium bodies, aperture priority and P modes.

There’s a 28-56 focal length zoom which is ideal for street photography.

For me, they are the more nimble younger siblings of the Contax T3.

Which explains why I went out the other day with the intention of not buying that Contaxt TVS II I had seen, complete with the databack.

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This person saw what I was about to do, and smiled.

Check out that SLR camera-thing his buddy behind him was carrying.

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Hong Kong people work really hard.

We keep saying that Hong Kong is a shopping paradise.

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Of course, we need people to service the economy.

There are shoppers just as there are delivery people.

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A salute to the people who keep things going.

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Sometimes they are invisible to the shoppers, often faceless and anonymous.

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We should make it a point to notice people more …

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To see the difference between glamour and real people.

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Otherwise, we’re nothing more than mannequins looking at other mannequins.

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For collectors: open edition prints from this post are not available here.

I suppose that’s my (ironic) gesture of commitment to the push and pull of capitalist logic…

 

Leica M6 Summicron Love

It’s been a while since I’ve given some love to my Leica M6.

The Minolta AF-C and Contax TVS point-and-shoot combo has pampered me.

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The auto-focus and auto-exposure modes do allow me to get into the flow of things, to the point where I’ve come to think of manual focusing and exposure as distractions to stealth and composition.

So I was worried that I’ve lost touch with the Leica M6 routine.

All images here are from Leica M6, 50mm Summicron Type II lens, on Fuji Superia 400.

A little warm up was needed.

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Testing testing. Got to be fast on the double-decker bus as the reflections are flitting past. Yes, I can rhyme pretty well.

A little practice on walls.

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No prizes for guessing where this is for HK film photography people: that film lab (Dot-Well Photo Workshop) across the road develops your film in 15 mins during non-rush hours, for the princely sum of HK$20.

The people working there exemplify the HK way of doing things – somehow they manage to be gruff, direct, and friendly at the same time. And all those film cameras piled up in there …

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And that building (Champagne Court at Kimberley Road) has a magnetic quality to it, given the vintage film camera shops.

I often go there with the intention of not buying a camera.

The prices could be a tad high, compared with the stalls at Shamshuipo.

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But it’s really apples vs oranges, since many of the Champagne Court shops cater to collectors who would then place the cameras in their cabinets, whereas the cameras stalls at Shamshuipo are more for users.

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Yes, I was spotted, so I did my silly-tourist-frowning-and-muttering-at-his-camera routine.

If they’re within earshot, I would mutter in my Klingon dialect.

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I’m happy I’m still able to capture images the way we look at other people in crowded urban landscapes. We see through glimpses.

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We glance at one another so as to be polite.

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We learn not to look too directly at people.

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For collectors: open edition prints from this post are available here.

Fuji Superia Venus 800

I usually do very little post-editing, leaving the quality of the film to sort itself out.

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But the colours can turn out to be so very different from one exposure to another.

All images here are done with my Contax TVS, with Fuji Superia Venus 800.

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The above looks so lomography-ish.

I suppose lomography is point-and-shoot film photography write large.

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Then you have this, which seems a bit warm.

And then this:

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Greens and blues are rather saturated, with a gritty look to them.

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I waited a bit for the green canvas to be spread out, and was spotted.

So I smiled and waved, trying very hard to look like a silly tourist befuddled by his camera.

Oh look – yummy lychees!

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And here, the colours are muted.

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I was hoping for a silhouette effect.

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And then I switched off my camera, turned it on again, and forgot to de-activate the auto-flash function.

The flash went off less than 2 metres from him. He looked at my camera, and didn’t react…

 

I figured he must be deep in thought, or was he looking at something else…

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For collectors: open edition prints from this post are available here.