Photoessay: a slight dystopia

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This set of images is one that’s once again benefitted from some significant curation: at the time of capture, I didn’t quite see the common thread that must have been running through my subconscious. There is, however, a definitely dystopian undertone in all of the images: it’s almost as though the aliens are about to arrive, have arrived, and then zombified the population. Timing matters: I seems to have caught some rather unflattering decisive moments. I’d like to think unintentionally, but static woman in the stream of people was very much a deliberate curation choice. Or maybe it’s not zombification so much as choose your own adventure: you see whatever you wish to project, and isn’t that where the fun lies in interpreting an image? MT

Shot on a Panasonic GX85, 42.5/1.7 and 35-100/4-5.6 and processed with Photoshop Workflow III.

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. Love that first shot. I don’t even have to see the movie to know how it turns out.

  2. In the bottom right of each image there is link with this text “//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js”.
    Clicking the link will show some Javascript. Probably not intended or?

  3. 35-100/4-5.6? Wow. Impressed.

    • It’s a much better lens than price and specs suggest. Also, designing a moderate ratio, relatively slow, relatively normal-FL lens to cover a small sensor isn’t that difficult these days with computerised optical calculation and ray tracing… 🙂

  4. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    J’adore ces photos ! Merci, Vincent – je ne savais pas qu’on pouvait répondre en français ! 🙂

    Yes, Ming – the theme hangs together very well – first there are the two gentlemen seeing the spacecraft arrive – then the chap in the fish market who has spotted the aliens and is ringing the police to alert them – bustling to get to the airport , then a plane for some lucky ones to leave before the danger increases – office workers gazing down from their windows – city workers bustling to make it to their homes and look after their loved ones – and finally, a lost soul who is completely unaware of what has been happening.

    I love the shots taken through a window – focus is often rather tricky, doing that, and it’s one area where I much prefer MF to AF. Not a hard decision – most of my lenses aren’t AF anyway.

    Something that impressed me in the way you have curated the images is the way you have moved from from a scene with a lot of people, to several with only a few, to a couple of scenes with large empty areas, then moved gently back to the two really busy scenes, and then one that sits well as a finale. All too often other people post an assorted jumble of images, with no regard to the flow. Have another pat on the back, for curation of the images ! 🙂

    • Merci aussi a Google Translate et cinq ans de…um…not paying attention dans le classroom Français a mon école! 😛

      In all seriousness, glad you appreciated the curation and the flow it suggests – I had something slightly different in mind, but not by much. Almost all of the photoessays I post are that kind of exercise for me: practice for sequential storytelling and a sort of blind test to see if I managed to translate the intent clearly enough…

  5. Ming
    Not sure what to say; I had a bit of a negative reaction to the introduction with the words “dystopian”, “unflattering”, “whatever you wish to project” and “fun” ; they raised red flags for what I do not like about some of the more aggressive forms street photography. I am not saying that I think your photos reflect that attitude in any way though.

    There can always be something like neutral blank or misinterpreted expressions with candid photo and some judgment needs to be suspended or only positive interpretations allowed until there is evidence to the contrary, IMHO. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resting_bitch_face .

    I personally found the natural and neutral expressions somewhat of a relief in the “current fake it till you are an influencer’’ hyper positive projection of the current online visual onslaught. Besides, zombies can’t walk in straight or orderly lines, everyone knows that. 😉
    I will be interested to see how everyone else comments, Regards Noel

    • I can only shoot what I can see. And we would be foolish to deny that photography is introspective for both audience and photographer: we capture what we think we saw or recognised, you see what you what you are biased to see. So, lots of potential for misinterpretation or alternative realities all round…

  6. #1: “Yep, those are aliens alright.”

    Pretty great image quality out of that GX85 as well.

    (Also, I’m a bit jealous that you are so close to Japan)

    • Everything looks good at web size 😉

      Japan has become a work destination on a fairly regular basis, which I think takes some of the appeal away for me…

  7. Ces photos sont d’une netteté !
    Bravo !!!

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