Farewell Old Friend

Saying goodbye to my Olympus OM-D EM-5 M11 (2017)

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.

Girl on a Scooter/ Hongzan Lu

Shanghai

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.

Noodle Time

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.

Bangkok

Buddha

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.

Tattoo

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.

Bangalore

Butcher Shop

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.

Alleyway

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

Shanghai Street Photography Locations

My favourite locations…

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The Bund

The Bund (Closest Metro East Nanjing Lu)

Possibly the most iconic City View in the world and one I never became tired of. The best times for photography are sunrise and sunset. However, it becomes very crowded in the evening, so an early morning start may be best. TIP – the photo below was taken from the bar at Hotel Indigo. Get there are the start of happy hour, buy a drink and set up your tripod.

Yangshupu Road (Line 4)

Exit with the river behind you and turn right, then explore the lanes and alleys that open up on your left. Be quick, this area is rapidly being demolished. As construction moves in to new areas a whole micro culture develops that caters for, and comprises of immigrant workers. TIP – there are lots of cool abandoned areas to explore, but they are pretty unstable. Take care and wear good shoes.

Hongzhen Lu (Closest Metro, Linpin Lu, Line 4)

There is only really one block of this area remaining. The area that was regurlary frequented for prostitution now demolished, but there is one thriving lively community left. Generally, if you are respectful, people do not mind photographers.

Linping Lu (Line 4)

If you have been to Hongzhen Lu then you can walk around the area behind this station. If you walk all the way to Yangshupu Lu, mentioned earlier, you will have covered a lot of Old Shanghai.

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Nanjing Road (East, Line 2)

Forget Nanjing East, instead head up towards Peoples Square, heading through the alleys on the left hand side. Be suspicious of anyone too friendly here.

Longchang Apartments

A former British police barrack. Photography is frowned upon here, but if you show respect and are very discreet then nobody really minds.

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Longchang Apartments

 

Fuxing Lu (Xiaonanmen, Line 9)

Not too far from the tourist trail of Yu Garden lies this little gem. The builders were here when I last visited, so it is either being improved or torn down. Wonderful lanes and alleys to explore. A personal favourite!

Moganshan Road (Nearest Subway  Jiangning Road, Line 13 or Zhongtan Road Line 3/4)

Head here for Street Art in one of the few places graffiti is tolerated. TIP, the Jade Buddha Temple near-bye is well worth a look.

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Moganshan Lu

Pudong 

Pudong is a vast area and considered not ‘the real Shanghai’. However, there are many great locations. For the Skyscrapers and a slice of high life, stop at Lujaizui. Wuzhuo Avenue (Line 6) is another area that is undergoing modernisation, and there are some great tumbled down streets and alleys that can be explored. Luoshan Road is another area, that if you explore, will reveal some older housing alongside the river, revealing a very different viewpoint from the tourist river towns.

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Keep Clicking, Chris

 

 

Publishing a book using Blurb

Blurb Review

I am now a published author. Cue fireworks, dizzyingly high sales, early retirement and a stream of holidays in exotic places. Maybe. This is partly a review of Blurb, partly my thoughts on putting together a book and partly a blatant sales pitch.

Blurb allows you to create your own photo book. Creating a photo book is not new in itself, loads of companies do it. What makes ‘Blurb’ stand out is that you can publish your book and get an ISBN and everything. Cool. If you have read enough and already want to purchase a copy click on the link below.

http://www.blurb.com/b/7665137-street-photography-shanghai

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To use Blurb you have to download their software, it’s free so no worries there. It offers a variety of paper types, layouts, sizes and covers. It allows you to enter text and pictures. Technically it is not the easiest tool to use, but that means you have more options. I had no problem and am not the most able tech guru.

A Creative Challenge

The challenge I had was creative, not technical. My passion has led me to critically think about how to frame a picture, but how to frame four pictures on a page? That was something else. Once again I found myself looking for consistency, although I still opted for both colour and black and white shots. If you do try and publish a book (go for it) be prepared to re-edit photos to ensure the colour grading is consistent. The artistic challenge is to look at what photos go together and how they go together, to ask, ‘how will the viewer’s eyes move across the page?’.

On another note, delivery is swift and the print quality is excellent. While I suspect sales of this book will not lead to early retirement or being able to give up the day job, putting it together was a wonderful experience for a photographer. Give it a go (and buy the book!).

Have fun and keep clicking, Chris

 

 

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