Shanghai Monochrome: On Finding Your Street in Street Photography

I was in Shanghai last week and so, quite naturally, I brought along 3 cameras.

Assuming the scans turn out fine, we’ll have quite a few posts on Shanghai.

A warm up shot while hiding behind a pole.

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Quite literally, this is street photography.

I walked up and down the same street for about an hour, happily snapping away.

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This is Huashan Road on a weekend mid-morning.

There’re lots of malls along this road.

I was told this is where Shanghai people do their shopping, whereas those malls at Nanjing Road are for clueless tourists.

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I suppose a shot like this is not too difficult.

While I was in his face, his attention was elsewhere.

It’s amazing how people (myself included) are generally unaware of other people.

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I was distracted (only) momentarily by the yummy international (check out the flags) street food… but resist I must.

After all, as a street photographer, I need to know myself.

I have yet to master Level Nine of Street Photography Kungfu, which involves taking photographs while munching on a chicken wing.

I hear that very few people attain this level in their lifetime.

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Shanghai people are known for their very cosmopolitan dress sense.

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People here are generally very stylish.

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Handbags do matter, as my wife tells me.

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There goes a happy couple.

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Another strolling couple.

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Teenagers out for a walk.

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A street vendor selling handmade miniature bicycles.

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I chatted with him for a bit – he says it takes 4 hours to make one, and they go for 40RMB, in case I’m interested.

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I assume they’re policemen – they always walk in pairs.

I’m right in front of them with my camera, and they seem quite used to having their photographs taken.

They’re actually quite friendly, as many people stop them to ask for directions.

The advice though, needs a bit of work. Once in a while, I hear them say “walk in that direction for a bit and ask someone there”.

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People at work – I’m quite proud of the composition here. The bodies are pointing to the centre, guiding the eyes to where the boss is.

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Ladies chatting.

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Scooters, motorbikes and bicycles are very popular modes of transport here.

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There’re special lanes for bikes and scooters.

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A scooter on the road.

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A scooter on the pavement.

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Scooters and bikes parked on the pavement, with an attendant.

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Interesting scooter handles. That’s a good hack.

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This person spotted me and stared for a bit.

Naturally, I responded with the street photographer’s standard operation procedure.

I fumbled with my camera, tried to look confused, and uttered a few choice words in a lesser-known Klingon dialect

All images here were taken with my relatively hard-to-find Minolta Af-C with an unbelievably accurate meter, loaded with the acclaimed chromogenic BW film, Ilford XP2 400.

They’re all from the same roll of film.

The light was good that day.

For collectors: a few images here are available at my Saatchi Art page as affordable open edition prints.

Thanks for coming by!

 

 

Purchasing Schemes

Again we choose.

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We decide.

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We look.

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Hmm…

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That one! Yes!

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This is the season.

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We’re in season.

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We stop to think.

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And buy wisely.

All images are taken with my stealthy Contax TVS II with Ferrania Solaris 400 film.

For collectors: some images here are available as open edition affordable prints at my Saatchi Art page.

Thanks for reading!

 

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.