Photoessay: Neighbourhood

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On the basis of the adage that we tend to avoid or overlook the things closest to us…I undertook a rather narrow challenge: images visible from my building only, without leaving. I realise of late I’m falling into the trap of taking things for granted – you see them without really noticing, because you see them every day. (Creative use of teleconverters notwithstanding.) On one hand, the restriction to familiar subjects would be immensely constraining, but on the other – being able to see the same subjects under a very wide variety of light conditions, plus access to all of your hardware (no “I wish I brought X” syndrome) should balance things out. All in all – an interesting exercise, which I think I’d repeat in future if based in a single place for any length of time… MT

Shot with a variety of hardware, but mostly either a D3500 or Nikon Z7 and my custom JPEG profiles.

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Prints from this series are available on request here


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


  1. Larry Kincaid says:

    I have to add to this my experience with “fishermen.” I live near a lake where there’s always someone fishing, on the shore or in boats. I walk there with my camera always. Occasional blue herons are posing, but I digress. This is America. As soon as I see a baseball hat, which is almost always, I have no interest in photographing anyone fishing on the lake, with a possible exception of children.. When I’m near the Golden Gate bridge in SF, the fishermen are a delight if the tourists are missing. And there’s pelicans flying right into the images. But when I’m in Asia or Latin America, any fishing village or local fishermen are great to photograph, perhaps even if some are wearing baseball hats. I’m aware of my bias, but it won’t go away. I can easily imagine a tourist from Malaysia or Viet Nam walking around “my” lake taking pictures of all the quaint fishermen in baseball hats.

  2. You’re right Ming.
    People tend not to see their familiar surroundings. I live in a small French village with a population of approximately 1,200. (I say approximately because nobody remembers the last time they did an accurate count, and whether or not it included dogs).
    I walk on the cobblestones, past the flowers in front of the 16th century church and don’t see them anymore. When visitors come, they are thrilled by the things I take for granted.
    Like many people, I think, I’ve fallen into the habit of only doing any photography when away from home.
    It’s time to get out and about two or three times a week, at different times of day, and see where I live again.

  3. An excellent platform for excellent photos.

  4. Gosh – a lot of neighbourhood!

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