Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tricycles, Food and Street Scenes

I have decided in the short time I have been here in Shanghai that I will start a few personal projects for myself. I've read that having personal projects can be good for the photographers soul as it keeps your eyes open and helps bring your senses alive (or in my case bring them back to life!).

The personal projects I have decided to take up are:

Tricycles
These seem to be the main form of transportation for everything from live animals to rubbish to people and, from what I've seen so far, are not subject to any weight, height or width restrictions.

Now I know that many of you are thinking that this has all done before, but being unique is not always the point of personal projects. I chose this because having such old (and somewhat dangerous) modes of transport contrasts so sharply with such a modern and clean city as Shanghai. It provides an excellent juxtaposition, reminding me that Shanghai was built by the sweat and tears of such amazing people.



Food
When your rated an XXL or above, as I am, food is always somewhere in the list of New Year's resolutions. Living in China makes including food into a personal project an obvious, almost a compulsory, choice. Food here is a way of life, and there are are very few places I have visited where almost everything, and any part, is used for cooking.

For the most part the dishes here in China are quite simply amazing, and depending on the recipient, the amazing could be either positive or negative. From Pig's ears to chicken heads to terrapin soup to starfish to duck's tongue to cow's intestines, everything is widely available and cooked in a variety of ways.

I have a strange feeling that this may be one of my most photographed personal projects :-)

Street Scenes
Since moving here three months ago I have walked around town more than in the whole 6 years I was in the Philippines. This is mostly due to the colder weather and the infrastructure which supports walking around on the street without risking your life (except for crossing the road here, which is worth a whole story by itself!).

There is so much going on in the streets and on nearly every road ventured you will bump into something or something that gets you reaching for your camera. The reason for this project are similar to the tricycle project, i.e. people and contrasts.

People also seem to like being photographed and are often willing to pose in a position while you press the button. Sometimes you are asked to send them the photograph and I've been happy to do so, whenever practical.

And of course Family - this is more a personal addiction rather than a project. I love taking photos of my family and so far they have not threatened to throw the cameras out of the window – although I think that's it may have been close on a few occasions!

and finally, if I can fit it in, I'd like to do some Strobist photography at the graffiti walls in Moganshan Road. There is something very addictive about Graffiti and Strobist Photography, putting them together seems to be a lethal combination for overkill or excellent images – only time will tell which path I take.

If you know of anywhere in Shanghai (or other places in China) that you think are great places to capture images please let me know, either in the comments below or my emailing me.

For now, stay well, keep shooting and keep dancing as if no one is watching.