Posted on March 3, 2022
This week I have said goodbye to my beloved M4/3 Olympus camera. This camera accompanied me on many adventures, but for the last 2 years it has received little attention, as I have been using my Sony A7. I am seeing the Olympus off by posting some of my favorite pics, and will be explaining a little about the stories behind each shot. This post looks at the photos I took in 2017, the year I purchased the camera.
The old alleyways of Shanghai are disappearing fast. This pic was captured in Hongzhen Lu, which was one of my favourite locations for street photography. When I arrived in China, the area was a busting with markets selling fresh fruit and veg. I left Shanghai three years after this photo was taken, and by then most of the streets had been demolished, or were used by squatters. Shanghai continues to bury itself and move forward in the name of progress. I cannot help but wish for what has been lost.
Noodles are the ultimate comfort food. This is a scene played on many of the corners of Old Shanghai. The kitchens are usually open and on the street, which creates the opportunity for steamy street food images. I don’t think that either of these gentlemen noticed me taking their photo, so the food (or conversation) must have been good. There are photographers who believe you should always ask before taking someones photo. However, a candid photo taken discretely, will always produce the most genuine ‘slice of life’ that is found on the street.
Thailand has always been a favourite holiday destination, and Bangkok provides heaps of opportunities for street and travel photography. Statues of Buddha are usually photographed in the serene environment of a temple. This Buddha was on the back of a pick up truck, and arrived outside Nana Plaza, a notorious red-light district in the heart of Bangkok. The two contrasting worlds came together for just a few minutes for workers in Nana Plaza to give their alms to Buddha.
Sticking with Bangkok, this portrait was taken in Khlong Toey slum. The scooter driver who dropped me off advised me to stay on the main street and to leave before dark. Heading straight down a side street bought me face to face with this heavily tattooed individual. This portrait is one of my personal favourites. At the time I assumed the tattoos were gang, or prison related. Now when I look at the photo, and the calm expression of this individual, I am led to wonder of the tattoos are cultural, or maybe a mix of both.
The area surrounding Bangalore’s central market is always good for street and travel photography. Meat hanging in the open air is a common sight, and is certainly cheaper than when you purchase it in the West! Nothing is wasted, and the lady on the left is preparing the hooves, which will be used in soup and stock.
This image was taken close to where I worked. I had been up since dawn and had not captured anything to be particularly proud of. The sun had risen and the light was getting harsh. I ducked into a small underground passageway, and stumbled upon this tiffen centre (a tiffen is a traditional tin, used to carry rice, dhal, and curry). Most food centres have a jug of water that customers help themselves to. The water is drunk without the lips making contact with the container. Strangely, I find the last or first shot of a photo shoot is often the best!
My next post will continue to feature pics taken with my Olympus, that were captured in 2018…
Take care, and keep clicking, Chris
Posted on November 1, 2018
It has been a busy week. G+ is being killed off and members of the SPC group are spreading like butter on a bonfire. Alternative sites are Flickr, 500px, Mewe, Facebook and Instagram. Well, I started on Flickr (again), and continue to post to Instagram, but really have not got into 500px at all. My current champion is MeWe, it is small and most certainly the underdog of social media. You can join the SPC group using the link below.
Posted on October 16, 2018
Well I failed to win yet another Lens Culture competition. The level of skill in these competitions is incredibly high so I am not too distraught. In the words of Chumbawamba, ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again’. As with everything, we live and we learn.
Here are the photos I entered. I will post the review below…
thank you for submitting your images to LensCulture, I have enjoyed looking at your pictures.
I find you series Burial Grounds of Bangalore a very interesting project and I am glad to read your dedication to the place, the people and the work that it takes to continue it.
Your first image is a good intro picture. Even from not reading the text I think the viewer can understand where they are going. The leading into this cemetery, here the story starts. i Iike the 3 men walking into the image and the scene and also the dark traffic coming towards them. The light in the background, leading the eye through the gates on to the path is also very nice. I have cropped the image, just ever so slightly, I was being distracted by the lines in the street. They do not add anything to the information and feeling of the image but my eye was drifting there so I think it works better this way.
The motion in the second image is really nice. You have worked well with the technique. The colours also bend very well together. The light is well done and I like that we can only ever so slightly make out the text and the picture on the gravestones. I am a bit confused by the caption though. i think if you wanted to speak about ghosts, the woman needs not to be in focus as she is, and maybe I would choose an image without someone there. I found it interesting the placement of her and the headstones and her rush through them. Maybe that is what you were thinking when mentioning the ghosts. But I think this image speaks of what you mentioned in the text of the people who have their everyday there.
The third image is works very well. I like the framing and the light. His face is slightly dark but what he is doing is well in focus and it tells the story well. The colours are subtle and beautiful. My eye is drawn to the bucket on the left hand side. And again I wish the mans face was a bit more lit up and then that could work as a nice balance. The posters in the background are also good, and here we have many good juxtapositions.
The picture of the two children is nice and the balance is well done. I like that they are both looking into your camera, they seem to trust you. I like that. The interaction becomes something different then. The light is nice and the tight framing works well.
In the 5th image you really caught what you spoke about in your text. And the caption says it all. Life goes on. Its well done and I like the look and action of the girl. She is just doing her thing, in her everyday. She is sweet. The clothing line is also nice and the way that the washing is hung fits the images well. The colours blend nicely and in a way it is comical the man that is dead but staring back at us. I know it should not be but somehow there is a lightness to the image that gives me this feeling.
The portrait of the grave digger is very intense. And beautiful. And also before I read the caption I had this feeling. The fact that he is a gravedigger does not add to it. Or rather it does but the picture is strong and powerful wether we know that or not. The look in his eyes is strong and intense as well. He sees us looking at him and it is almost so strong that we want to look away. The details in his face are beautiful and is it smoke that is ever so slightly coming out of his nose? Its great. The image is really strong and even though it is hard to look at it, due to him looking at us, I feel like I could look at this image for a long time.
The chicken is a great image. The look in its eyes is sad and from the blood on the mans hands we can guess what is about to happen. And also the flowers around its neck. I feel bad for the chicken. I feel connected in this image, thats a good thing. The framing works very well and the light too. The hand is great and so is the background. This is my favourite image of your submission. A very strong picture.
The last image is also very strong. The light from the fire on the mans face is great, so well done. And also on his walking stick. And his bare feet. We get curious what is going on and what he is holding in his hand. The framing is great and without the caption we don’t really understand what is going on but still drawn in. And then we read the caption and it just makes it all stronger. I like also that you stepped out of your comfort zone. And you did very well!
Have a look at the work by Tilby Vattard, I think you will like it.
You ask where to go next with your photography and I would suggest that you put together a strong portfolio and start showing your work at portfolio reviews to get more contact. Also since you wrote that you would like to get published and sell prints.
Thank you again for sharing your images with us. I wish you all the best with your work!
Maybe I will win the next one. However, some encouraging words and some valuable advice. Off to Varanasi tomorrow, so hopefully there will be some more photos on the way.
Take care and keep clicking,
Posted on May 7, 2018
I am now part of a collective. It is pretty underground at the moment. However we are seeking new members. To be honest, the aims and goals are coming together slowly, it is certainly not a ‘rush’ job. At present, the goal is to grow the group into a supportive network. If you take great Street photos and have some energy to put into a new idea, then please email me. At present we have only two spots available.
Posted on April 25, 2018
Yes, I realize I have to work on my titles, but putting a ‘v’ in anything to do with competing camera brands is in vogue at the moment. This week I have tried to return my new Sony Rx100iv. This camera was purchased in the UK and brought out to my home in India. Recently, while in Kolkata I thought I would try it as a super discreet camera for catching candid moments. Alas, the camera lasted a day, and the lens refused to retract back into the camera body.
Posted on February 13, 2018
This week I have spent two days looking at technology in the classroom. During this time there was a significant focus on Ipad use in schools. Many creatives, such as Trey Ratcliff are leaving Apple for PC alternatives. However, while Apple may be losing numbers in the creative industry, it would appear that they are securing a future in education. One of the ‘big ideas’ coming from these workshops is the way technology is positioning users as consumers, producers, and collaborators. As with so many situations where I find myself in a teaching and learning situation, I draw parallels with how my professional life links with photography.
Posted on November 6, 2017
For the last two Sundays, I have managed to be out the house close to 5 am to take pictures of Bangalore’s busy KR Market. Please don’t think of this as a definitive guide. KR market is listed as a ‘photographers dream,’ on Trip Advisor. However, it is turning out to be a challenge. Read More
Posted on October 2, 2017
For the second time in my Street Photography life I was hit by a passer-by. The photo below shows one situation where a pancake lens can be a lifesaver, and save you the pain of having a camera stuck from your face.
Pancake lenses are fantastic for low-profile photography. Yesterday I got my camera struck out of my hand by a passing guy on a motorbike. Fortunately, the camera was around my neck. However, my glasses went flying and ended up on the road. I would like to say I was cool calm and collected. I was not. The situation got a little heated and could have got a lot worse. A pancake lens plus a little bit of Zen may have avoided this situation.
A pancake lens is flat, not quite as flat as a pancake, but still sports a low profile. Pancake lenses are often of a fixed focal length, that means you can’t zoom. The laws of physics dictate these lenses have a wide-angle profile. If you read enough about photography and fixed focal length lenses you will soon hear that you, ‘zoom with your feet’. This is not entirely true, to get a close-up photo, you need to get close (duh), you cannot zoom in with a fixed lens. Here is the rub. A shot where you zoom in looks very different to a close-up taken with a wide-angle. A zoom compresses the aspects within the frame. The photo above was taken using a wide-angle lens, and this gives the characters enough space around them for the picture to work. Zooming in on this scene from further away would have made the photo a lot busier.
The above photo was taken using the very excellent Olympus 12-40mm 2.8 Pro. I love this lens, it creates sharp images and allows me to spend a little more time framing each picture. However, it is quite intrusive for tightly packed locations. The motorcyclist hit me when my eyes were pressed to the viewfinder with the lens extended, trying to capture photos of people passing on motorbikes. This created quite a target for anyone not wanting to have their picture taken. A pancake lens is much less obtrusive, and also a smaller target. Further to this, if I had been framing my photos using the screen, and not the viewfinder, I would have been much more aware of what was happening around me.
When returning to Bangalore’s markets, I will be packing my Olympus with the excellent Panasonic 46mm 1.7 pancake lens. Alternatively, I will take the very low-profile Ricoh Grii. As always, this experience has taught me something. Sometimes locations require a low profile; a pancake lens should help achieve this. Secondly, I need to think how I respond to aggression when taking photos. When we are involved in a physical incident, our fight or flight mechanism kicks in. On this occasion, I lost my cool, flipped my lid and ‘let off a little steam,’ and this altercation could have got a lot worse. Time to meditate and bring a little ‘Zen’ into my photography….
Keep clicking, Chris
Posted on September 24, 2017