Corporate Cliches

We need to avoid doing the same thing and look out for or even create the next paradigm shift.

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We need to think about how we can add value to our work.

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It’s all about win-win.

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What’s our ROI on this?

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We need to think outside the box here.

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This is inevitable – it’s because of creative destruction.

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We need to synergize our mission and vision.

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Let’s pluck the low-hanging fruit for now and circle back to this discussion later.

Camera: Contax TVS II

Film: Kodak BW400CN

Mindful Platitudes with Street Photography

What is the next step on the journey?

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Where should one go?

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What is your work building up to?

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Is it all in vain?

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Am I willing to own my mess and work with it?

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Perhaps there’s a need to sit down in the midst of things and regroup.

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Illumination can only emerge where there is darkness.

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You’ll find your own way.

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Look for the good stuff.

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And wait until it all becomes meaningful.

Camera: Contax TVS II

Film: Kodak BW400CN

Street Photography at Central, Hong Kong

I was at Central with about an hour to kill before a lunch meeting.

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Coincidentally, of course, I had my Canon 600D with a 40mm / f 2.8 STM lens.

I really like the above, with its three partitions.

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I thought I’d try my hand at street photography from a distance.

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Street photography with an urban landscape component.

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I walked up and down the Central Escalators for a bit.

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I feel I have more time to think about the background.

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The background is the foreground.

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Another urban landscape-ish skyline shot.

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Lots of people are hard at work in the sun.

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That’s a really big camera.

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Working hard.

Thanks for reading!

Camera: Canon 600D

Lens: Canon 40mm F 2.8 STM

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

Street Photography and Human Presence

Must we have people in street photography?

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Or is the mere suggestion of human presence enough?

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I’ve grown to appreciate the poetry of things.

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So as to be on the lookout for stories to tell.

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There’s a poetics of space here.

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There’s a story of workmanship here waiting to be told.

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What sort of obstruction is being prohibited? Are the owners of those chairs obstructing access to the door prohibiting obstructions to the chairs? Isn’t the sign itself obstructing access to those chairs?

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Work, work, work.

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The labour of mobility.

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So that we know the weight of things.

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The signpost of a neighbourhood.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN

 

Work Ethic

Hong Kong people work very hard.

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You could attribute it to culture.

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Or you could attribute it to the nature of an economy that drives its people.

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We are our work.

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Work teaches us to be.

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To do otherwise is a privilege most can’t afford.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN

Singapore Local Culture

This is culture as lived experience:

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An ordinary life that is the subject of street photography.

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Every year I return to Singapore for a period and some things don’t change.

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The kacang puteh man is still there (there’s another photo of him in a post a year ago).

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I tried another shot and he spotted me.

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A cobbler.

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And another cobbler.

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I stopped to buy my son an ice cream.

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When doing street photography, bring along your child – you’ll look less conspicuous that way.

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See? This guy actually smiled at my son and I.

I look like I’m helping my son with a school project…

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My son dared me to take a picture of him up close – and I did.

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And he pointed to them and said it would make a nice photograph – so I obliged.

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He didn’t think the above would work – I think he’s right.

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And he said the cyclist was looking the wrong way … again he’s right.

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“Why did you take a picture of that building, daddy? Is that considered street photography?”

Good question.

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I thought the tie fluttering in the air might make this interesting.

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He was trying to tack something onto the wood paneling and looked somewhat frustrated – I caught that moment.

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That’s life – always under construction.

Thanks for reading.

Check out my open-edition prints at my Saatchi Art page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work, Work, Work

I am back in Hong Kong after a 3-week break in Singapore.

I’ve 7-8 rolls of film and probably about 50 usable images from a digital camera. Am looking through the lot now.

In the meantime, here’re a few images that sum up my mood at this moment, even as I’m catching up with work.

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The 2 images above were taken in the Tsim Sha Tsui area, while the rest below are scenes from Shamshuipo.

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I’m tempted to say that these images represent the “can do” spirit of Hong Kong which accounts for its economic success.

On the other hand, we need to remember the harshness of the Gini coefficient that is operating here.

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The above 2 images represent a personal triumph.

This is one of 2-3 stalls along Apliu Street that sells vintage film cameras.

It’s difficult to take their pictures with stealth because every time I walk by, the stall owners’ film-camera-detection senses are alerted and they would look up at me (or my camera).

I walked by for the third time that day and managed to finally do it.

Thanks for reading, and check out my prints!

Many Hong Kongs

These are images taken with the same camera (Minolta AF-C), with a single roll (Fuji Neopan 400CN), over a week or two.

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There’re just so many environments, and so many stories waiting to be told.

There’s the early riser.

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The joy of a youthful busker.

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The necessities of life: public laundry.

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There’s discipline and teamwork.

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Political consciousness.

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Work.

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And work.

(For collectors: open edition prints from this post are available here.)

The Work of Street Photography

I am reading Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew B. Crawford.

It’s a meditation on the value of manual work. I’m on page 79 at this point and it’s one of those books I’d like to read slowly, because there are so many wonderful insights that are conveyed in a very accessible manner which encourage me to stop and just think.

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Take this sentence for example:

If different human types are attracted to different kinds of work, the converse is also true: the work a man does forms him.

I am a literature geek, pure and simple. That says a lot about who I am already. Neat, simple and a bit obsessive.

So I have chosen the kind of work that suits my temperament.

The work then further deepens my temperament.

I am sure many of us could say the same thing.

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But I’m at a point where something else has come into play – my interest in street photography using quality compact film cameras.

Street photography relies on serendipity. It celebrates ordinary, everyday life, and it’s something to think about as to keep myself from going insane during banal moments (such as when I am at the back of a really long queue at a crowded supermarket checkout.)

And it introduces a kind of variety into my work I suppose. (The Chinese characters at this shop entrance means “anarchy”.)

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I was standing outside the shop composing with my Contax TVS and a passerby saw what I was doing.

“All these crazy shops,” he muttered to me, and walked on. It looks like a Japanese ramen place as far as I could figure.

So, yes, I suppose it’s a little bit different from my day job. Here, I’m standing at the entrance, aiming my camera, waiting deliberately for the right moment.

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What am I doing, and what am I looking for as a street photographer? I admit I live within myself too much.

Maybe part of the work of street photography has to do with getting away from myself.

Sometimes, it’s good not to be myself.

I look into the backs of trucks.

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I look at other people at work.

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I look at stuff.

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I am intrigued by the strangeness of other people.

I imagine myself wearing their clothes. Then, I imagine myself wearing their skin.

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And I look some more, and am sometimes not quite used to what I see.

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