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 revealĀ 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. šŸ™‚

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!

 

 

Shanghai Digital Monochrome: Power Station of Art

We went to the Power Station of Art, and I happily brought my 600D with my nifty-fifty lens along do a a bit of indoors street photography.

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He’s either an artist or a priest…

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A photograph of a person taking a photograph… that’s the master trope of this post.

I am looking at people who are looking at art.

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Perhaps a case can be made that I am also making art of my own, out of art itself.

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This is art quoting art.

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Fabric mirroring fabric…

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Museum goers are also performing a kind of art…

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Someone doesn’t like Dickens… or perhaps this is a comment on China…

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Don’t ask me what it means…

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See for yourself.

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And have a dialogue.

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Hmm…

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Hmm…

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Hmm…

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The gift shop is tastefully done.

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The helicopter view of the gift shop.

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The real is a shadow … the pose is clear.

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Participatory art… we like to see ourselves in art.

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Is art real?

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Always read what it says…

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An owl of Minerva…

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So many texts and subtexts…

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The elephant in the room…

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Even the pipes look arty!

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Is this art?

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Can this be art?

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Better consult the catalogues…

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Is it in the book?

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We need to do some close reading.

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There’s a decorum here, for the sake of the decor…

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We need to find out more…

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Look some more…

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Pay close attention.

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Look up…

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Look down atĀ the screen.

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The answer is in theĀ smartphone.

Thanks for dropping by, and don’t forget to check out my Saatchi Art page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shanghai Digital

The images in my previous posts on Shanghai were made with film cameras.

I’ll go digital here, with a non-descript but able-bodied Canon 600D paired with that nifty-fifty (50mm, f 1.8 II) lens, which gives me an 80mm focal length with the 1.6x crop factor.

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80mm is a long reach for street photography, but it’s a good complement given the 35mm focal lengths of my Olympus XA2 and Minolta AFC, and the Summicron 50mm of my Leica M6.

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And 80mm means I’m far away enough for the shutter sound to be inaudible.

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The above were taken at a shopping mall in Shanghai known as Raffles City.

Fellow Singaporeans would recognize that name, because there’s a Raffles City in Singapore too.

The one in Shanghai is owned/developed by CapitaLand, the real estate company based in Singapore. I almost feel at home here, surrounded by many Singapore retail shops/brands.

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Let’s not forget there’s a Gini coefficient at work here too…

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A fellow tourist on an open-air double decker bus.

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Intriguing cables against historical architecture.

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Some more cables against building windows.

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People waiting for a bus.

The next seven images were taken by my ten-year-old son.

He wanted a go at street photography and I asked him to focus only on 2 things as an assignment of sorts. One, “try to fill the frame” and two, “make sure they’re doing something”.

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As you can see, my son is very talented – it’s in the genes… šŸ˜‰

He’ll inherit all my cameras one day… (he’s been asking about that Leica M6).

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Lots of potential here on a rainy day.

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This is street photography from a cab.

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Nice rainy red flare.

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Watch out!

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We survived and went to a museum.

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A very distinguished-looking man.

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I like the colors here.

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In front of a gigantic goldfish tank.

Thanks for dropping by, and don’t forget to check out my Saatchi Art page!