“Catsy” Cat, Wokingham

“Catsy” Cat, Wokingham – October 2017

I found this graffiti cat outside the flat where I lived in Wokingham (Berkshire, UK). At the time, as you can see, I took a photo of it – but didn’t really think any more about it. But then I read this news story on the bbc website about this street artist – Catsy, who it turns out does his work in – Wokingham. Well at least now, the mystery is over!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-57284790

Carrying Glass, Shanghai

Carrying Glass, Jing’An, Shangahi – July 2019

One of the things I like about taking photos on the street, is showing people going about everyday life. Shanghai has a particularly vibrant street life, where you only have to stand still for a few moments before something unexpected happens.

Carrying Glass, Jing’An, Shangahi July 2019

As I remember it, I was visiting during a really hot spell, in the middle of the summer. As usual, I spent most of my time just wandering around the city, ducking into shopping malls whenever I felt I needed to cool down. On this occasion, I was in Jing’An, near the park, when these workmen walked past me, carrying their sheet of glass.

Boys in Blue, Bangkok

I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I would write about a couple of old photos. One of the magical things about being young, is how there always seems to be time to “fit things in”.

Waiting for the Train, Bangkok, October 2010

At the time, I was working in Ho Chi Minh City, but I found that if I left work very promptly and caught the first taxi I saw, I could squeeze in a weekend away somewhere – in this case – in Bangkok.

Posing on the Platform, Bangkok 2010

Anyway, as I remember it these two young men were Americans – and I think they were on their way to a party. So I asked them to give me a pose – which they did!

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.

Take My Picture, Athens

Take My Picture, Athens, Georgia, USA 2000

Most of the time, people don’t want you to take their picture – or would rather you didn’t- but sometimes they do.

As I remember it, I had gone to Athens to watch a Georgia Bulldogs football game (I think it was against Ole Miss) and when I took this picture, I was trying to sniff out some tickets. Anyway, I was wandering around downtown Athens (which looked very nice) when this guy shouted,”Hey! Take my picture!”. So I did. And I quite like it.

For the technically curious, I was using a Holga camera (a lo-fi camera) and Tri-X.

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.

Two Cigars, China

Two Cigars, Sanlitun, China 2011

I like pictures which pose questions- “Why did they throw away two almost unsmoked cigars?”. Perhaps they were getting into a car?

Background info – Sanlitun is a very smart part of Beijing, where there a lots of designer shops and a number of countries’ embassies are based. Every day, armies of gardeners groom the neighbourhood trees and bushes and everything looks unnaturally neat and tidy. You will note that the cigars are the only things in the ashtray!

What do you think?