Everyday Things

These are things I see on a daily basis.

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James Elkins: “When we are confronted with an unfamiliar object … we seek a body in it; we try to see something like ourselves…” (The Object Stares Back, p. 129)

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I see, therefore I am.

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This is my mind, even if it’s only for a while.

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Sometimes I feel like this.

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Mostly though, I’m like this.

 

This is a third companion piece, after Mundane Objects and  Common Things.

 

Camera: Canon Prima Twin S

Film: Fuji Superia Venus 800

The Management of Space in a Village

It goes without saying that space is at a premium in Hong Kong.

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This is true even in the more rural areas.

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Things need to stay organized.

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Nature needs to know its place.

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Heidegger: “Everywhere everything is ordered to stand by, to be immediately at hand, indeed to stand there just so that it may be on call for a further ordering. Whatever is ordered about in this way has its own standing. We call it the standing-reserve.”

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It’s all standing by.

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Nothing is to be wasted.

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It’s all about discipline.

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Places to go, and places you can’t go.

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All these structures are standing, even in our literal absence.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2

 

 

Living Within Ourselves

We’re all caught within our own worlds.

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Not quite looking even when we’re looking.

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It’s an accumulation of life.

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A kind of mobility.

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We pace ourselves.

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A universe in a phone.

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A map is not the same as the world.

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Still we look at the map.

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We can’t live outside ourselves.

Camera: Olympus XA3

Film: Kodak UltraMax 400

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Notes to Self

The past few posts have been about Occupy Central.

After all, we could only occupy what’s central to our hearts.

This post is a change of pace.

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I’ve talked about a few sights on the campus where I work in this post.

It’s a 20-minute walk down the hill from my office and it gives me time to think about what I’m doing and where I’m going in terms of my poetry, photography, research and teaching.

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We all need space to dwell and grow.

I’m grateful to be where I am, in an unpretentious and authentic space, in service of a community I feel committed to.

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Once in a while, you need to be empty in order to be filled.

So yes, I’ll need to fill up that container eventually (figuratively speaking).

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And find a sense of balance.

Sometimes, I take a 5-minute detour and I’ll see this on my way home.

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That red flower is beautiful, but it is beautiful not in itself, but in where it is.

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And 5 minutes later, I’ll see this.

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We swim in the pond in which we find ourselves.

And in every moment there is a painterly harmony to be sought.

This is what I’m looking for in my photographs and in my work in general, and what I’m looking for in myself.

 

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander 35mm F 1.4 Nokton Classic SC

Film: Fuji Natura 1600