Lasts, Osaka

Lasts, Osaka 2019

My favourite thing to do, if I go somewhere on holiday, is to spend time just wandering around. If you ever go to Osaka, chances are you will have a list of attractions you want to see (Osaka Castle, the Osaka Aquarium…), but I nearly always find that the journey there is more interesting than the attraction. The castle is quite fun though.

This picture of the lasts, is an example of something I saw on my way somewhere else.

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2008

Sorry, not really a photo, but I was trying to give the impression of a really busy place with people coming from all directions. And a bit of the contrasting old and new.

I miss walking in Ho Chi Minh City, it has a bustling buzz. People are always doing something and there is always something to see.

Except at Tet, when the busy streets suddenly clear and the road only carries people going to visit relatives.

Police, Bangkok

Police, Bangkok, Thailand 2010

I saw these guys as I got off the river bus in Bangkok. Judging by their boots, I think this must be their beat.

The canals are popular thoroughfares in Bangkok, with the river buses carrying thousands of commuters to work every day. A river bus journey is quite spectacular, with the noise of the engine and the speed of the bus itself.

Market, Bangkok

Market, Bangkok, Thailand 2010

This photo dates back to a session I did with Gavin Goff. We visited a number of markets and temples and Gavin got in there and approached people and interacted. I think this was the main thing I learned from him. Strange that this was just a grab shot then! Here, I was using another technique which he popularised, by panning with a fairly wide angle lens.

Bicycle, Vietnam

District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, 2008

Although the centre of Ho Chi Minh City has an increasingly modern skyline, this changes as you move away and it becomes increasingly low-rise and older fashioned. In the same way, although there are increasing numbers of cars and trucks, most vehicles are motorcycles and occasionally bicycles.

Although this feels like a recent picture to me, I know that it actually 12 years old, so it is historic rather than contemporary reportage. That said, I am pretty sure that I could find something like this if I were back in Vietnam today. But Vietnam is a constantly changing place, so I can’t be sure.

I was going though a sneak photography phase, where I shot largely from the hip, with out appearing to look at the screen. I don’t think the man on the tricycle is fooled.

Technical Details: I was using my Fuji FD30, which is quite a small camera – I think big cameras make you far more conspicuous. It fitted inside my palm so you could only really see the lens between my fingers. If I had covered the chrome with tape would that have made it less conspicuous? Maybe.

Greek Columns, Ho Chi Minh City

Greek Columns, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2009

Some cities are about bicycles, some are about cars and others are about motorcycles. Ho Chi Minh City is in this later group. You see whole families balanced on top of one machine, farmers carrying produce to market and sometimes Greek columns – probably for a Greek restaurant- carried on the back of a motorcycle .

There is was a book published on this theme “Bikes of Burden” (by Hans Kemp), but I think it spawned quite a few imitators.

Morris Men, Wokingham

Morris Men, Wokingham 2017

This is an example of a “found” photo, I was walking to the supermarket, when I came upon these men dancing outside my local pub. The UK can be like that – nearly everywhere is.

If I were to give this a little more time, I would like to bring the sky in a little more, since it was twilight and it would give a truer impression of what it was like.

Long Shadow, Shanghai

Shadow, West Nanjing Road, Shanghai November 2019

Although I have been there quite a few times, I always enjoy walking around Shanghai – there is always something to see.

The camera I was using was made in 1975 and as usual, I found myself wondering what the place I was visiting was like in 1975.

West Nanjing Road is probably the most famous street in Shanghai, running from by Jing An Temple all the way to the Bund. This particular part is being redeveloped as you can see in the photograph.

Open-air Medicine, Shanghai

Shanghai, August 2018

When I visit Shanghai, I tend to stay in the “local” neighbourhoods. The hotels are a bit more basic, but they are definitely cheaper and you can see the street life going on around you.

In this case people would have a consultation on the street, which is different to the “behind closed doors” approach we have where I’m from.

Technical Details. I took this picture on Fuji 400 colour negative film using a Nikon F2 with a 50mm lens. I really like how the colours have come out, the green of the table the black and chrome of the stethoscope.

Outside a Cafe, Ho Chi Minh City

Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City 2009

Vietnam is an extraordinary place, full of vibrant colour and drama. I used to love just wandering around and seeing what was going on. They have a strong craft tradition, with many things which we might buy off the peg, being made individually there.

I’m trying to remember where this place is – I think it is close to the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. It is another place I found by walking by. As you can see in the photo, the pavement is often a place for leaving a scooter or for peddlers to sell things, not so much a palce for walking.

One of the things I miss, being away for South East Asia, is the abundance of coconuts being sold on the street.