Skip to main content

Focus Defocused

defocus-2(Leica D-Lux 5)

Supposing you are asked to do a photo showing the mood of a place or an area, how would you go about it?  For sure there are plenty of ways.  One can read lots of books and study theories to come up with an idea.  However, a volley of theoretical statements can sometimes be no more than garnishment to what practical illustrations can teach.  There is much truth in it for photography.

To answer the question, there is not much chance that a theory could inspire you to make shots of legs to represent your best.  Definitely not in the case of a commercial project like for a movie poster as what Evangelo Costadimas has done here.  I choose to be inspired by practical works.

Evangelo used to be an engineer and when he was laid off in his late 40s, he took his photography hobby to a new height to become his second career.  His works are widely seen in Hong Kong and overseas and his name is among the local artists noted in the University of Hong Kong's art archive.  One of the archived works of his, Yaumatei Red, reveals his probable penchant for shooting low.  He has actually done a project SafeDistance in which shots of legs are not rare.

I learned of this Yaumatei Red shot – in fact his shooting-low works -- some years ago.  This phto was done in Yaumatei where some streets have long been Hong Kong's de facto red light district and sighting of street hookers is common throughout the day.  Whatever sensual overtone the leggy attraction / detraction might have conjured up in the viewers, it aptly befits the villainous mood looming over the area at night.

I have since worked on some shots following his example.  Today's is one of those shots of mine and was done in Yaumatei too.  Instead of making it after nightfall like Yaumatei Red, I determined to do a bit variation and made it at daytime when there is a less sinful atmosphere to the neighbourhood.  While there are normal happenings like any other neighbourhood in the day, sex workers in a short skirt or tight shorts roaming the street punctuate the sense of normality and shove in an incompatible feel of tension.  Using a secondary subject handing out leaflets and another carrying a plastic grocery bag in the background, I hope to reproduce this same feeling with the leggy subjects occupying the foreground in an conspicuous way.  The final image was defocused in post processing to complement the effect.

There are lots to tell the uninitiated viewers in matters of composition whereas to experienced photographers the compositional contrast and balance and their use in the shot may be so obvious as to be too tedious to explain. In either case, I just leave it to the viewers for their own evaluation and interpretation. Hope you enjoy the shot. 


Popular posts from this blog

GXR: External Flash and Viewfinder

We are nearly the end of the GXR field report series.  I wish to talk about the external options for the GXR, namely, the flashgun and the viewfinder.The external flash named, well, GF-1 can do TTL flash on Ricoh cameras with the flash interface as illustrated below, which Ricoh called Type R.  It can also be used on  other Ricoh cameras which have no TTL-flash capability like the GX200.When the TTL-A LED is on after the flash has been mounted and turned on, it is ready to do TTL flash.A few presses on the lower rectangular power level select button will light up the last two LEDs on the far right, activating the manual flash output via adjustment on the GXR.The flashgun can turn upwards up to 90°for doing bounce flash but not sideways.  It can double as a wireless slave flash.  For that matter, it comes with a stand.  I have read through the instruction manual but can't find the clue as to whether in slave mode it will automatically distribute the flash output between the main/ t…

GXR M-mount Field Test: Voigtländer Nokton 35mm F1.2 ASPH II Lens

The M module may better be described as a far-flung cousin to rather than an immediate member of the GXR family. When look closer, you may see that the whole point of the M module is not about a new GXR-system module – fact is, the concept of lens-sensor combination is completely forsaken here. It is more about taking advantage of the wide choice of high quality M mount lenses.

In this post, we will look at the lens on loan to us: the Voigtländer Nokton 35mm F1.2 ASPH II.

Although Leica M-mount lenses are the best choice for optical performance, they are not just everyone’s option pricewise. With a lower price tag and great optical performance, Voigtländer lenses are sensible substitutes. Hong Kong’s sole dealer of Ricoh cameras, Laikok, is also the distributor of Voigtländer lenses (manufactured by Cosina of Japan) in Hong Kong. For information about the Voigtländer lenses available from Laikok, check this out.  You may also check out Cosina’s Voigtländer webpage.

With the Voigtländer …

Property Hegemony

(Ricoh GX200)

Property Hegemony is a hot issue in the city.  It refers to the near or actual cartel comprising the local tycoons in the property market.  A worthy read on the topic is a book titled Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong by Alice Poon, a former assistant to a local property tycoon, who wrote it after she migrated to Canada. The book won the Canadian Book Review Annual a few years ago. 
Property hegemony is not an illusionary thing.  Alice has given her readers lots of data to justify the debate.  For example, in 2010, the six richest local clans who are all property developers controlled 14.7% of the Hong Kong stock market value.  This gives a glimpse into the result of the fact that while from 1991 to 1994, 70% of Hong Kong’s private property were built by seven property developers, 55% out of this amount was developed by four of the seven developers.  Today, most major property sites are owned by the biggest three to four among them.
The adverse impacts are very stron…