Occupy Central: A Monochrome Meditation

All images were taken with one camera, one lens, on the same roll of film and on the same day.

 

This is a visual meditation on Occupy Central.

Once upon a time, Occupy Central was an idea. It was an event that was yet to come.

It then became an event.

It will be an event that is always already present, even if it ends today or at some point in the future.

 

At Admiralty.

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At Mong Kok.

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At Causeway Bay.

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Thanks for reading.

 

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f 1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

 

 

 

Winding Down?

There’s definitely a sense that things are winding down at two of the three Occupy sites.

There’re fewer tents now at Mong Kok.

I’m focusing more on the objects this time – how do you photograph tents and people that are not there?

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At Admiralty, the tents are still holding forth, and the art works are still looking robust.

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Causeway Bay is a bit quiet these days, though there’re still people who would pause to read the messages.

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Thanks for reading.

 

Camera: Canon 600D

Legacy Lens: Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Lydith 30mm f 3.5

Revisiting Occupy: Mong Kok, Admiralty and Causeway Bay

The sites are being cleared even as I’m typing this.

So, this is going to be memory soon.

Mong Kok:

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Admiralty:

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Causeway Bay:

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Camera: Contax TVS II

Film: Kodak Ultramax 400

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Shanghai: How to Appreciate High Contrast Monochrome

Yes, I’ve recently acquired a taste for high contrast monochrome.

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It is stark, clear, and in some ways, minimalist.

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Stripped of colours, our attention is drawn directly to the subjects.

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You could overexpose a bit to make a social statement about modernity – the face of the security guard is partially eclipsed, in contrast to the blown-out advertisement.

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There’s the dichotomy between an individual and a building, and the image draws attention to rectangular grids of the building and pavement, in contrast to the white polka dots echoed in the two round shapes on the building.

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The rectangular grids here are enhanced by the bus and the back of the shirt.

More grids, blocks and lines in the next few shots:

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The face is blurred out, again emphasizing the blocks, grids and lines.

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I’m about to reveal a useful street photography technique.

All these shots are done from a mobile elevated position.

I’ve set this up so I could do street photography on the move.

I spent $40 RMB setting this up, though the equipment involved, depending on the model, could easily cost more than $200 000 RMB.

I’m a very talent street photographer, you see.

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Can you guess what it is?

It’s really a fantastic piece of equipment for the street photographer, which has to be manned by another person.

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It’s called an open-air double-decker tour bus.

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$40 RMB is the price of an all day ticket on a route with 3-4 bus lines.

 

My ten-year-old son wants to have a go. The next eight images are by him.

I gave him 2 very important street photography tips:

1) Try not to place the subject at the center.

2) Don’t drop the camera or else.

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I’m responsible for the high contrast monochrome, of course.

But what can I say – he has good creative genes. 🙂

Okay, my turn.

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The above is the street photographer assistant I hired, taking a break from handling that fantastic piece of equipment for me.

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The youth of Shanghai, walking with a swagger.

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I like the facial expressions.

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Cool dudes.

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A blurry shot, something I learnt from Daido Moriyama…

Thanks for reading, and buy my prints!