Sunday, 20 June 2021
Tuesday, 1 June 2021
Having noticed Unique David Starson in Washington Square Park, I approached him with my iPhone, on which there was one of my earlier photographs of a skateboarder, and asked whether he'd be interested in posing against a tree a few feet away. He was amenable to the idea, grabbed his board and posed. A skateboarder and an aspiring model, he told me he often dropped by the park with his friends.
I used ON1 Photo Raw 2020 to replace the tree trunk that I had him stand against with a black opaque black background, and try to duplicate the setting of an indoor studio.
Whenever and wherever I traveled, it has always been my regret not to have a lightweight backdrop support system (such as this one) coupled with a black muslin backdrop (such as this one) to quickly set up and photograph whoever I came across. It could also be very useful in Washington Square Park with the many interesting individuals that seem to congregate there.
Monday, 17 May 2021
A 2009 report found that the skateboarding market is worth an estimated $4.8 billion in annual revenue, with 11.08 million active skateboarders in the world. In 2016, it was announced that skateboarding will be represented at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, for both male and female teams.
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Monday, 14 December 2020
|Photo © Emile Bocian | Courtesy of The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA).|
The Museum of Chinese in America and The Center for Jewish History have just published a joint online exhibition featuring the photographs of Emile Bocian. These images document New York’s Chinese American community from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s.During his years as a photojournalist in Chinatown, Bocian amassed an archive of approximately 120,000 photos and negatives, largely featuring the places and faces of his adopted neighborhood; which is the largest Museum of Chinese in America's photograph collection.
It's particularly interesting to me as I gifted about 40 high resolution monochromatic photographs to MOCA earlier this year. The photographs were made during my weekly walks in Chinatown during the earlier days of the COVID19 pandemic, when its streets were largely empty and devoid of their usual energetic bustle. I expect these photographs -whether they are exhibited in public or not- will serve as a historic record of Chinatown for generations to come.
Sunday, 6 December 2020
With international travel at a standstill for most of 2020 due to the pandemic, it's the first time that my "Best Of The Year" do not include -or are all of- photographs made on trips to foreign lands, but are of street photographs in New York City and of a fashion storytelling audio slideshow, also in NYC. These are not necessarily the best photographically or aesthetically, but are those which retrospectively resonated the most with me.
The first photograph (they are not in any preferential or chronological sequence) that I chose for the list is that of the hand of a protestor holding a sign demanding for a change in America. It was made on June 6 at a demonstration in Washington Square Park triggered by the murder of George Floyd by policemen two weeks earlier in Minneapolis. Due to Covid19, I was extremely concerned while attending the protests despite face masks/coverings being mostly prevalent. However, it was to witness history being made by courageous people hungry for a societal change.
The next photograph was made on Bayard Street; in Manhattan's Chinatown on April 15...the peak of New York's lockdown. A depressing sight especially knowing that Bayard Street is normally abuzz with shoppers, tourists and workers. A lone elderly man, probably on a trip to buy essentials despite most stores were shuttered, was seen shuffling slowly in front of the popular grocery/meat store.
Following the protests calling for Black Lives Matter and other grievances in various boroughs of New York City between May 30 and June 2, 2020, substantial looting and break-ins from criminal gangs were seen in the shopping districts of the city. As a consequence, unsightly wooden boards were erected to protect stores and boutiques from further damage. Some of Manhattan's SoHo streets witnessed a flurry of activity from artists and others aiming to use these boards as canvases for their art and messages.
It was emotionally invigorating to see the colorful artwork which brought life back to the shopping canyons of SoHo. I spent a pleasant few hours on June 7 walking along its cobblestone streets, photographing the artists, non-artists and random volunteers who contributed to the beautifying project.
It was not until mid-summer that I started to see almost back to normal signs in Chinatown. I had recently added a 50mm lens to my GFX50R gear, and started to experiment photographing in panoramic format known as 65:24 or X-Pan. I had to explore the outer reaches of Manhattan's Chinatown for panos as its main streets such as Mott et al were too congested with vehicles to get the scenes I sought.
In Mid-May, signs of life were returning to Manhattan's Chinatown with shoppers scurrying about to buy their daily shopping...some were wearing gloves, masks and face-shields, and not even stopping to catch up on gossip as they delighted in doing a few months earlier. On Mott Street, I was struck by a long line of Chinese residents -mostly elderly, but a few younger- waiting for the distribution of free food by a small restaurant. The effort was funded by individual donations, and publicized by concerned politicians such as Yuh-Line Niou (NYS Assemby Member).
As many other photographers have done while spending most of their days indoors, I experimented with still life photography. Flowers from a neighborhood florist (or Trader Joe's) became my models -either fresh or dried- set against a large sheet of black card stock, and with diffuse light from a window.
The only project that provided the identical adrenaline I usually experience on my travel was a photo session with Lise Liu in Manhattan's Chinatown, and which allowed me to produce the audio slideshow "Looking For Mei Wu".
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