Archive for July, 2010

27
Jul
10

A day of rest

He was sitting alone, surrounded by concrete sand and mud, reading a newspaper on top of a tiny table. Behind him was his home, a large blue storage container which served as temporary accommodations for workers on that construction site.

I greeted him good day. “No work today, sir?” I asked, motioning my camera for permission.

He smiled, his crow’s feet pressed together to form a startling handsome face. I was so struck, not just by his genial disposition but by how perfectly framed his face was by his beard and hair, colored evenly with grey, black and white.

For a moment, I knelt there, mesmerized by his features while he stared back, not so much at me but past my shoulder at something else. I repeated myself, asking if he was enjoying his day off.

Suddenly, a voice boomed out from the side. “Today’s Sunday! We’re not working. What are you doing here anyway?” A large and portly middle-aged man, in nothing but a pair of bright red briefs, was in mid stride to the container when he spotted me. Standing firm with his legs apart and hands on hips, he waited for an explanation while I tried very hard to look anywhere but his underwear.

I didn’t recall what I stammered in response, only the image of the smiling old man who quietly acknowledged my departure.

July 2010

Advertisements
22
Jul
10

Behind the Camera: 唐颖 Tang Ying on Street Photography

唐颖 (Tang Ying) is a Shanghai native and has studied in Japan and the US. Ying honed her street photography while working in San Francisco as a freelance cameraperson and video editor. She later studied photography at the New York Institute of Photography and the School of Photography of C.C.S.F. Her work has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine and she has worked for The New York Times, IHT and Shanghai TV Magazine. Her street photography is filled with stories that sparkle with action and wit, a reflection of a unique perspective and style.

Website: http://www.yingphotography.com/

SA: Tell us more about yourself and your work. How and when did you pick up the camera?

唐颖: 我是在四年前开始街道摄影的,那时我住在旧金山,没有很多的钱投资在摄影器材上,也没有能力到处去旅游,所以我的摄影对象是旧金山的街道,那里的人。我纪录我有兴趣的人和事。不同与其他的摄影,街道摄影不需要有很昂贵的器材,我现在还用同样的器材。用最基本的镜头。我认为照片一定要有故事性才会吸引人,所以我到现在没有更换我的装备还是用同样的镜头和照相机。 我认为街道摄影之所以让我如此着迷也是因为其故事性,人文性,还有无法揣摩的突发性。所以几乎所有的街道摄影者都必须花很多时间和耐心去挖掘所谓的”decisive moment”。

I started street photography four years ago when I was living in San Francisco. I did not have much money to invest in photography equipment, or do much travelling, so my subjects were San Francisco’s streets and its people. I documented people and things that interested me.

Unlike other forms of photography, you don’t need expensive equipment for street photography – I still use the same equipment and basic lenses. I believe that photos must have a narrative element to draw people so I have yet to change my set up. What fascinate me about street photography are the narrative and humanistic elements, and its sudden and unexpected nature. This is why street photographs have to spend a lot of time and have patience to capture that “decisive moment”.

Continue reading ‘Behind the Camera: 唐颖 Tang Ying on Street Photography’

19
Jul
10

And then the sun came out to play

This past weekend, the sun came out in its full glory, accompanied by clear blue skies and thin wisps of clouds.

For weeks, Shanghai endured a perpetual haze, gloomy skies and temperamental showers. “Plum rain” or 梅雨 (mei yu) – heavy precipitation and constant rain which occurs for several weeks at a stretch during early summer in the Yangtze River Delta – is more or less over.

But what this means also is that we’re now in the throes of a harsh summer. Today, the city is sweltering in 35 degree (95 Fahrenheit) heat, where mere breathing can cause a person to break out in sweat. And we all know it’s only going to get worse.

On the upside, the witching hours of the late afternoon, for a street photographer, are magical. Basking in the brilliance of an afternoon sun after weeks of gloom and rain, clear and stark shadows come out to play.

Everywhere you turn, everything you see, has so many possibilities that are ripe for the picking. You view the world in a third dimension where shadows speak a secret language that you only understand through your lens.

July 2010

15
Jul
10

Some published work of late and varia

Hello there! I want to share some exciting news with you about some new published work and updates for the blog.

Foreign Policy Magazine recently published my photo essay entitled “Bulldozed in Shanghai“.

Similar to Boston Globe’s Big Picture and New York Times’ Lens, FoPo’s photo essay covers a wide selection of photo documentaries on politics, the impact of war and conflict, the environment and the list goes on.

*Update: The FP photo essay has been republished over at Netease 网易, a Chinese-language news portal, which has generated over 250 comments ranging from criticism/support for China’s urban development policies to whether I fabricated,through Photoshop, the photo of Old vs New urban landscape.

– Koi Koi Koi featured a collection of my photography work.

The site is an awesome e-magazine covering visual arts, illustration and graphic design, animation, advertising, web design and photography. The write-up was done by Alex aka Jellyfish who also writes for NeochaEDGE in China, and we’ve exchanged many views on photography in China with great gusto.

You can view more of my published work here or amuse yourself over my interview with BBC Vietnam here.

Next week, we will have another Behind the Camera interview with a talented Shanghainese street photographer. So watch this space!

As always, I want to thank you for visiting. With so many great blogs/sites out there, I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

13
Jul
10

The steel nest

I’ve always wondered how much steel is required to hold up an entire building.

Tons, I imagine, snaking through concrete and plaster.

I watched a group of construction workers bend and weld apart long twines of rusted steel and pile them high into a massive truck, which came up to almost 2 stories high.

Interestingly enough, I discovered the core group of workers to be from Chonqing, as the demolition company was owned by a Chongqing family.

One young worker swaggered over to me, shirt wide open, and peered at my camera. I pointed to this picture of him and said, “You look like you’re building a bird’s nest.”

He responded with a blank look, and laughed, “Only a person who doesn’t do construction labor would say something like that.”

July 2010

08
Jul
10

Scooter 1-2-3

Faster and sturdier than an electric bicycle, casual and a small enough an engine that a license is merely a formality. Anyone can learn to drive a scooter or moped (电动车).

It’s relatively quiet, efficient and fast. And affordable. A friend recently bought a black and red one, low CC Chinese-brand scooter for RMB 2500 (USD 368). “Liberating and a ton of fun!” he exclaimed, before tossing his man-purse into the scooter’s seat compartment, and put-put-putting off into the night.

But the best thing about the scooter is that unlike a bicycle, you can carry not just one, but two or heck, even three extra passengers.

Whether you’re travelling alone, with a buddy or as a family, a scooter gives you enough plastic casing, leather seating and that much horse-power, to take you places.

June 2010

06
Jul
10

Because the Street Belonged to Her

She was jaywalking in the huge intersection under the light patter of a persistent drizzle.

The traffic warden yelled out to her to return to the curb as the red man flashed, escalating with a stern tweet of her whistle.  Everyone else stood sullenly by the side, wishing they could do the same.

Ignoring everyone else, she perservered towards the the middle of the street as large buses and shiny cars rumbled by and honked around her.

Suddenly, I was in an episode of Seinfeld, watching George Costanza playing Frogger on the street.

The light changed and the masses began shuffling across just as she got to the other side.

The lady saved herself all but 30 seconds. Probably well-worth in her mind.

July 2010




All rights reserved

Please do not use content from this website without the author's permission.

Archives

Twitter Updates

July 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031