All that Labour

All that labour.

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Those goods on display.

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Yummy stuff.

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Sometimes we don’t see all the work that goes into work.

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We negotiate a life.

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And a city emerges.

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It’s bigger than us.

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The labour of thinking.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

From Place to Place It Must Mean Something

Today, we look at the act of pushing.

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All that work, all day, must mean something.

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This is us.

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We sort things out.

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We go from place to place.

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From place to place it must mean something.

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The pull of desire.

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All that pushing…

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

Searching Waiting Thinking

It’s that existential condition, of always searching, waiting and thinking.

We can only have images of ourselves.

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The glimmer is often only a few steps away.

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Thanks for stopping by today.

 

 

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: 50mm Summicron Type II

Film: Ilford XP2

 

 

 

 

Loosening Up in Street Photography

I’m a bit of a maximizer (as opposed to a satisficer) when it comes to choosing/doing things.

I try to find out all there is to know before making a decision.

When it comes to execution, I try to go through the various steps in my mind in order to get everything right beforehand.

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Which is why zone focusing and street photography is such a re-creation for me.

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We’re working with a circumference of acceptability.

Is good enough good enough? There’s motion blur here which adds to the sense of movement.

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I was close enough, but it doesn’t mean I could see clearly.

And if we don’t always notice everything around us, why should we demand a photography that sees everything accurately and in sharp focus?

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On the other hand, how much loosening up can one do before one loses discipline?

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There’s a spectrum here, between trying to get everything clinically right and hence losing the moment and operating without some sort of discipline, as if one is holding a camera for the first time.

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Sometimes, good enough is good enough in street photography.

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Try to get everything right and one might lose the “street”.

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There’s that tendency to overthink and hence lose the art.

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On the other hand, one must possess discipline in order to lose it.

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So my job is to learn everything I can, and then forget all I have learnt.

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Imperfection is an art in itself.

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And so is perfection.

And perhaps art is about improvising and about knowing how to move back and forth between perfection and imperfection.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Summicron 50mm Type II

Film: Ilford XP 2

 

 

 

Street Market and Printing

Though all the images here are created with film cameras, they are of course scanned from negatives and ultimately, on display here are digitised images on a computer monitor.

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I’ve been experimenting with colours lately, having bought a dedicated pigment ink photo printer and various Ilford and Harman papers.

It really does make a difference whether the image is printed on glossy or on matte, etc. And of course, I am going to frame them up, now that I’ve finally gotten my hands on photo-safe tape.

Images like the one below work on both matte and gloss. On matte, there is a gritty look which fits in with the grungy seat-of-the-pants attitude of street photography.

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A colleague who used to paint commented that the matte print looks more like a painting than a photograph. He said there’s a Caravaggio framed-by-darkness quality to it.

On the other hand, the glossy print has what I think of as a “Nirvana in Carnegie Hall” effect… a refined “fine art” treatment to street photography.

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I suppose glossy is good for portraying drama in ordinary scenes.

And now that I’ve got all of these, I’m now thinking of what I should do next. Where is this taking me?

Direction 1: Teaching and Research

A fascination with photography (and film cameras, I must admit) is now changing the way I work. I find myself making connections between photography and creative writing, between the history of art and literary history. Is there a homology between creative writers and photographers?

What would a university course on the connections between photography and literature look like?

I am now thinking of creating a course that is practice-based, one that encourages students to go out and explore HK culture using literary and non-literary writing and photography, and getting them to think about what constitutes valuable cultural knowledge.

I’ll probably throw social media (such as a WordPress blog like this) into the mix, getting them to think about the use of social media for sharing one’s work. And what is meant by “sharing”? What, really, is being shared? And what is “work”?

Direction 2:

This has all to do with the situation of one’s work, I suppose. Digital images live in one’s hard disks or are displayed on sites like this. Now that I have the physical prints on hand, perhaps the next step is to work towards a gallery exhibition.

It’s a kind of curating, I suppose, setting up one’s work for viewing …

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What kind of logistics and various other considerations would this involve? There’s a learning curve ahead of me …

What is becoming clear to me now though, is that this blog is like a thinking-in-progress technology, a depository of raw ideas… much like a building under construction …

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Thanks for reading.