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Shanghai Street Scenes

shanghai street photography

Images shot with with F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 and processed with Vintage Film presets

I remember a day I spent at the Shanghai 1933 Slaughterhouse.

From the pictures I’d seen of the place beforehand, I was looking forward to going.

In truth, it was a touch disappointing.

Too many shiny new shops and businesses for me to be able to feel the bleakness of the place I’d been hoping for.

Nevertheless, just walking between the subway station and the slaughterhouse I was lucky enough to find some very nice morning light for some street photography in an interesting old area of Shanghai.

It’s these photos, taken with the vintage F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 on my Sony NEX, that I’m showing you now.

For the header shot, the whitewashed wall caught my eye and made me think of waiting for someone to walk by and capture them mid-step and mid-picture.

You know, like the cliche.

When nobody came, I had to improvise and borrow a bicycle from outside a noodle shop just out of shot.

I returned it after.

The chair on the pavement really stood out to me, and was well lit as you can see by its shadow.

I suppose you could call the picture Street Furniture if you wanted to give it a name.

I’m not sure why it was there.

Especially considering it’s chained to an anchor in the pavement.

I can only guess someone just really likes sitting in that spot and doesn’t want his chair to be stolen.

Again, the light got me here.

I was trying to get a decent shot of the laundry drying on the traditional Shanghai street environment when the lady came strolling past.

She never looked at the camera, which seemed deliberate, but did handily pause there for a second before carrying on away past me.

The light. It really was a great winter morning for photography.

Winter in Asia is better than summer for candid shots as people actually like to sit with their faces in the sun. During the hot months, they’ll avoid it as much as possible, meaning they’re never in good light for photographs.

This fella was sitting at his front door, trimming his beard with a pair of scissors.

Of course.

Why not?

I like the shadows cast by the tree, the symmetry provided by the trees and the red posts, and also the matching colours.

The final shot was taken later in the day at the subway station. I wasn’t planning on taking any photographs there but still had my camera over my shoulder.

Turning round as I was reaching the top of the escalator, I noticed the advert on the wall, quickly got the lens cap off and focused.

In truth, I kind of missed.

I wanted the sign to be sharp but ended up focussing on the people below it.

I did consider discarding it because of this… but I think the intended message is still there.


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Shanghai Street Scenes features five shots I took during one day in Shanghai. Being a December morning, the winter sun provided a very nice light for the shots, and the people who were keen to place themselves in it for the warmth made worthy subjects. If you want to hear a little photo critique instead of the usual travel-type posts, come see the images I got from that Shanghai morning and get the story of why I shot them.


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