Sorry for the sudden absence to those who follow the blog but I have been away on holiday to Saigon and KL over the past 11 days with three my friend’s . I did not have time to post or edit the images from my trip whilst away so the blog got left behind…
I found Saigon exciting and photographically, a gold mine. It took me about a day or two to get used to the amount of data and information Saigon has compared to Perth. But once I got acclimated, I started to shoot 😀
Word of warning about Saigon… There are lots of bikes… and I mean a hell of a lot! They weave in and out of traffic with ease, magically avoiding cars and each other.
I highly recommend getting on the back of one of the Grab or Uber bikes to get around. It cost less than a dollar to get around the City and it is way fun to do.
There is an internal rhythm of the City by the way traffic works in Saigon, it is quite a sight to see.
I could also feel an entrepreneurial spirit from the Vietnamese people. Lots of corner street food stalls, make shift start up joints and people selling small goods on the streets.
One of the things that really blew my mind was that I found no begger on the street. Everyone sold something or provided a service rather than ask for a handout. I could feel a sense of pride and work ethic embedded in the culture.
Being born and raised in the Philippines I couldn’t help but compare the two asian cultures. The Philippines doesn’t have the unity or drive to better one self which I have observed from the Vietnamese. The place is full of corruption, syndicates and crime. (although the Duterte seems to have slained most of the drug dealers) It is filthy and chaotic. I do plan to visit sometime in the end of the year to see family. Doubt the place has improved but photographically it is an interesting place to shoot.
Anyways, back to Vietnam. We mostly stayed in Saigon except for a bus trip to the Cu chi Tunnels where we learnt the brutal history of the Vietnam war. The Vietcong were an innovative bunch, brilliant engineers and creative/scary trap makers. Great to see the innovative mindset has been transferred into the creation of new types of Vietnamese food these days 🙂
If you haven’t visited Saigon, get yourself there! We were able to get return tickets for about $210 aud flying with air asia. Absolutely ridiculous. Already looking forward to doing it again next year but with less partying and more photographing.
Finally my justification or little blurb about the featured image. I chose the image as felt it evoked a dark undertone, which I see as a reference to the Vietnam War. Although the City I have visited is now bustling and full of life, historically there has been alot of death, destruction and displacement of the Saigonese when the American’s lost the war. Lots of people from Saigon who supported the allies fleed and ended up in America, Australia and other countries, most not being able to track or see the families they have left behind. Just a sad reminder no one really wins a war.
Pick for this week. As usual the close ones below. I could have interchange my number one pick with the guy with the binoculars. Shot abit of people on crutches and cast. Chose the shot above as I generally liked the composition, colour, lines and the way the man seems like he is about to fall.
On a sad unrelated note. My Ricoh GR broke 😦 Hopefully it is an easy inexpensive fix. The A6000 will have to do for this week.
Pick for this week above. Although I explored “insertion” as engaging and interacting with the subject and making their portrait, I did not like this approach as it wasn’t evident at first glance without the justification/spiel.
Alternatively, I went and searched for people in the process of inserting something. A straight to the point approach.
In the end, I went with inserting my self/shadow into the image. At least this way I was physically inserting my presence in the image, not just by the approach to create a portrait.
The image I chose for the week was the juxtaposition of the mannequin and lady’s arms to portray the insertion. I also like that my shadow is visible in this image.
I have been continuing my hunt for this week’s theme “Insertion”, which I have interpreted as my engagement of people in the street. I could not find Philip and his Christian friend from my previous post but proceeded with talking to two people who I found interesting. My goal was to talk to them about the particular characteristic which caught my attention and hopefully get a photo of it. The only thing is I didn’t get any of their names! Rookie mistake.
Met this guy in the morning on my way to work. I missed the bus as the bus driver parked way before the bus stop so I did not see him. Anyways, I ended up walking and came across this guy’s shirt. I started talking with him and asked where he bought it and if it was cool if could take his photo.
He explains he got it from 6foot4honda, a tshirt brand who specifically make apparel for bikers. I imagine they would get there fair share of cars being too close to them and this design certainly reminds drivers to keep distance. He vouched for its efficacy, telling me one driver gave him backed off and gave him space after reading his shirt.
I was walking around Elizabeth Quay and noticed a man’s tatoo on the back of his hand while he was rubbing his head. I’ve always wanted to take a portrait of hands to tell a story and thought this would be a great opportunity to ask. Before I asked I took the photo below, trying to tie in the double arch of the bridge and the two mates just hanging out.
My approach went something like this –
Me: I like your tattoo. Do you mind if I take a photo of your hands?
With a perplexed gaze, he replies.
Him: Yeah. Alright
Me: Is there a meaning or story behind this tatoo?
Him: Yeah , there is. I was pissed! (we use this term in Australia, means drunk)
He shows me his other right hand and states this one had meaning. It was a tattoo done by his best mate Karl who passed away.
I thanked them for allowing me to take a photo of his hands and sharing abit of his story. He lets me know next time it will cost me $30.00 for a photo and gifts me with a pose. I only wish it was a sharp image!
Not to be outdone his friend, strikes a final pose to send me of my way.
Did not have much time to shoot this week due to work. So the choices were few. But in the end, the photo selected happened towards the end of my photo hunt today!
An alternative image for this week. A pigeon smashing and trying to pretty much break the neck of this other white pigeon to steal its bread. Brutal. Who knew they could be so aggressive.
Straight to the point here. A nail of a pigeon.
From the initial post of the week. I was quite happy with this one as well. Minimal and obscure.
Busted – Fremantle
Just as I was going in the station, a scene which I initially wrote down as a potential concept was right in front of me. Sometimes the universe just gives you things 🙂 I took three frames of the scene and opted to choose the one shot from the back as shown on the featured image as it was cleaner and had a more minimalist story and aesthetic. I also like the gestures and expressions of the officers. The writing on the back of the guy’s black shirt is also a bonus.
But I could have really gone either way. Shooting different angles and compositions, adds a whole level of complexity and justifications when choosing. Initially I thought the composition from the side when looking at it through the ricoh’s lcd. However one’s you see it on the big screen, in lightroom, you see alot more detail.