Hong Kong Lucida

A Thinking Street Photography Blog

Shanghai Monochrome: Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus

Why It Does Not Have to be in Focus: Modern Photography Explained is the title of a book by Jackie Higgins.

To me, it’s a study on artlessness in modern art photography.

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Why photographs do not have to be in focus is akin to why it is that modern poetry does not rhyme.

Ditto why it is that modern musical compositions play with dissonance.

The big word “modernism” comes into play here, with its suspicion of “correctness” as espoused by traditional aesthetics.

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I could go on and on (an occupational hazard for a university professor) but I’ll restrain myself and say simply that we’ve learnt not to trust a person who is too poised, too eloquent, too ready with his or her words.

We’ve learnt not to trust that person who is too artful.

That perhaps there’s something reassuring about imperfections, acknowledging that sometimes, not getting it right is also part of the human condition.

So we look to artlessness and we stop policing ourselves about right vs wrong in aesthetics.

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After all, we often don’t have time to stop and look.

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Everything is done in haste.

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To depict the modern condition, art has to be the modern condition.

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The artist has to learn not to take himself/herself (or art) too seriously.

Art can’t be served on a plate.

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Street photography is about stopping time and making the ephemeral make sense.

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It’s about that grimace we’d rather not see in ourselves, that we’d rather suppress and not let others see.

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Though if the day is good, we allow ourselves a little grin – that’s humanity too.

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We could be lighthearted on a lighthearted day.

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Or stand by and watch life pass us by, and smile.

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It doesn’t have to be in focus, and it doesn’t have to be upright as well…

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We look again.

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We don’t always get it right.

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Life goes on in a blur.

If you like this post, you’ll like my portfolio.

Have a good day!

 

 

 

 

 

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9 comments on “Shanghai Monochrome: Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus

  1. Rajiv
    July 25, 2014

    Good one.. I must buy this book

  2. simplycomplex
    July 25, 2014

    Amazing pictures, and great topic to post about. Modern is slowly filtering out some of the nuances of art by making it so perfect. Why balance the unbalanced?

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • eddietay
      July 25, 2014

      Yup! That I think is the essence of being ‘ street’.

  3. Museum Fatigue
    July 29, 2014

    A very enjoyable post, thanks!

  4. johnaustinpierce
    August 1, 2014

    Reblogged this on Another Nomadic Disciple and commented:
    This is a great photo essay that reflects the ever-changing spirit of Shanghai. I appreciate the rawness of the photos because it reflects the true nature of how Shanghai is constantly “graying” the borders. Just as soon as you have a handle on the city, it changes.

    • eddietay
      August 1, 2014

      Yes indeed! Shanghai is fascinating in that way.

  5. Lidia de Leon
    August 20, 2014

    Beautifully presented…

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