FD Photoessay: Urban abstracts in monochrome

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It’s been a little while since I posted any images from Kuala Lumpur; the truth is that I don’t actually shoot that much in my home city these days. Partially it’s because I feel I’ve really plumbed the depths of most parts of the city; partially it’s because I try to keep some potential in reserve for when I have to go out and review a camera – finding new material in a city in which you’ve shot close to 200,000 frames is actually quite tough.

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Photoessay: Signs of life: shadows and silhouettes in Prague

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And now for something a little different – what if I took the abstraction of man to the next logical step? The idea of a person, not the specific individual? What interests me is the way man interacts with his environment, leaves his mark, but is ultimately temporal; more so in modern society where the multitudes of us land up mostly being nameless, faceless and somewhat commoditized. What does generic man look like in native habitat? I’m sure it’s soulless, clinical and a little cold, but hey, I can’t help it if that’s the way I see the world sometimes.

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Photoessay: the clouds of Prague

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I have a theory as to why we as a species seem to be universally attracted to things like clouds, fireworks, water, trees and flowers; that will be the subject of a much longer philosophical elucidation soon, but in the meantime, consider what all of these objects have in common. For today, just enjoy the clouds and their endless variety. :)

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Photoessay: mono transport in Amsterdam

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The one thing that stuck with me was the very small number of cars – and of the cars you did see, most were quite ancient…I guess it must have something to do with the Dutch taxes. At any rate, there was certainly enough variety to keep things photographically interesting, even if the weather wasn’t that fantastic. It’s certainly hard not to feel that it’s both a very eco-friendly and healthy city… MT

Shot with a mixture of cameras – Hasselblad 501C with 80/2.8 on Fuji Acros; OM-D E-M5 and 14-42 X pancake; Ricoh GR.

These images were made during the October 2013 Making Outstanding Images Workshop in Amsterdam; I will be holding three more of these in Melbourne, Sydney and London later this year. Click here for more info, and to sign up.

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Photoessay: Amsterdam street colour

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Street photography is something I’ve always done solely for myself – there is no direct commercial application (though arguably some of the techniques probably apply to reportage). For me, it didn’t come about from following a popular trend or other external influence: I just wanted to capture the essence and feel of daily life in a place when I travelled; nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes we find a unique and fun moment or two; sometimes it’s a case of the locally familiar being unfamiliar to us – and therefore interesting. But above all, aesthetics and timing still matter. Enjoy! MT

These images were made during the October 2013 Making Outstanding Images Workshop in Amsterdam; I will be holding three more of these in Melbourne, Sydney and London later this year. Click here for more info, and to sign up.

This set was shot with a Ricoh GR, Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Panasonic 14-42/3.5-5.6 X pancake, and the Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH.

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Photoessay: The architectural details of Amsterdam

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Following one from part one – part two focuses on the little touches that add character to a building, and if done well, reflect a little of the society that created them. I like to think of them as stamps or quirks of individuality, and something which I consciously look for when I travel to places with a strong design culture.

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Photoessay: The magic forest

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Following on from yesterday’s article on travelling as a photographer – specifically the portion on serendipity – I thought it might be nice to show an example of that in today’s photoessay.

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Photoessay: Invisibility, revisited

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Towards the end of 2013, I put forward some thoughts on the idea of photographic invisibility. I now realize that we can actually get pretty darned close to this: the concept of hiding in plain sight comes to mind. If something is commonplace, then it no longer stands out. Big cameras and lenses used to; less so now simply because of the increasing proliferation of DSLRs. Even more than that, the cameraphone is so ubiquitous that we are effectively conditioned to ignore it. So, why not harness this invisibility?

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FD Photoessay: Prague monochromes, part II

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The second part of the monochrome photoessay from Prague was shot on film, with a Hasselblad 501C and my favourite B&W film – Fuji Acros 100. To be honest, given the tight quarters, I’d have preferred to have had something either a little wider or a little longer – preferably both – to give me some additional ability to add context, or compress (especially with buildings clinging to hills in the background). Nevertheless, we make do with what fits inside our camera bags – after making provisions for film, I didn’t have any space left for lenses!

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Photoessay: Prague monochromes, part I

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I actually shot very little black and white in Prague; a few hundred from the Ricoh GR, and a couple of rolls with the ‘Blad; of course they were all of varying subjects with a heavy architectural emphasis, but I did get some very satisfying street images out of my time there. Despite the very strong luminance contrast available – October at these latitudes means all-day shadows and intense sun with blue skies – I just found color to pack a little something extra in most situations. That said – this set would not have worked in color at all.

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