Monday, October 31, 2005
Gallup is one town that looks as if it is frozen in time, a must for international and domestic travelers to photograph.
Learned today that Gallup was named after a guy who was a paymaster, the person who paid the Chinese railroad workers for their hard labor building the railroad tracks that went west.
Here's the pics:
Not only will it help to sell your work, but it will also give you some focus.
I just reread my statement to see if it jives with what I'm doing on my trip, and I was encouraged that indeed it did (you'll need lots of ways to give yourself encouragement in this business as there is a lot of rejection when you go to pitch your work).
Oh, by the way, pitch is a publishing term that means you are trying to sell your idea or project to someone.
Pitch or statement, all should be well-written and free of typos. Here's my artist statement:
USA Neon Nostalgia
by Matthew Bamberg
In the vast expanse of the Western United States where land at one time stretched for miles undeveloped and connected by roads such as Route 66 that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, huge signs that blasted color during the day and flashed neon at night lured travelers to places of business from motels to bowling alleys. As the years progressed, the signage took on subtle changes seen during the day, a patina, if you will, that left them with streaks, dents, and peeling paint with exposed silver steel and other imperfections and tones and shades that both film and a camera's sensor turns into art.
At night, the signs transform into glittering attractions (if the lights have been maintained) flashing all or part of letters from multicolored text and images, another form of photographic art within a different context, patina dissappearing and imperfections erased.
It is within these photographs of this U.S.A.-based subject that reveals a comical and colorful history of the U.S.A. during a time of innovation, a time when anything was possible from man on the moon to services performed for citizens through automation and new machines.
At any rate, here I am in Gallup, New Mexico, ready to look for any left-over neon from bygone ages or new neon made to simulate a bygone age, thus supporting my statement.
Then, yes, today I will make it to the big city--Albuquerque.
Long live Route 66!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
The city to visit, though on Interstate 40 (which runs parallel to the old U.S. Route 66) is Holbrook, AZ, that's one city east of Winslow, AZ, a town that could be the set for the movie, "Day of the Dead." Holbrook is the town where you can sleep in a wigwam.
If you get this far in my blog, please take a look at the signs so far. Post a comment about the ones you like by ranking them creatively.
Tip: Rank your photographs creatively. Creative rankings is an educational term that means you list items from your most favorite to least favorite.
I'm off to Albuquerque. More pics will be posted this evening.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Packing my bags. Car's tuned up. New tires. Got a hybrid so filling up won't happen so often. I'm off on a budget trip to view, admire and photograph what's left of middle-of-the-last-century neon.
I'll be reporting here about what I find and posting pictures as I move along from Palm Springs to Amarillo and back.
My first stop will be Blythe to reshoot digitally some neon I have on file in film format (negatives). I want to shoot digitally for two reasons.
1. My new Canon Rebel XT (okay, it's not so new anymore) takes some super images without catching film grain that's so often the case during the daytime.
2. I've got some new top rate lenses that I hope will provide me with some interesting close-ups and dramatic wide-angles.
This is a great time of year to photograph in the Southwest as the sun is a bit lower in the sky (than in summer) and the weather is fine.
So off I go...Blythe or bust...
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I don't know how it happened. Some people wash their hands a couple of hundred times a day, a condition doctors have a name for (yes, I realize that is a serious condition that requires medical attention as I saw the Howard Hughes bio flick, “The Aviator”).
But there is no given name for a condition (albeit, a not a serious medical condition) for a person who takes pictures of signs. That’s what my life is coming to, a man who has taken to the colors and designs of signs.
I have close to 10,000 images of signs--half of them are original shots and the other half are in-progress files I’ve kept of their manipulation in Photoshop. Yes, some of the images are good and some are bad. Sorting through them is a project in itself. But I’m slogging through.
I’ve been doing these sign photographs for almost six years now so that the earlier film photos are becoming “antique” quickly as the signs have either been destroyed by hurricanes (yes, I photographed every vintage sign in Broward County) or, even more sadly, have been taken down and replaced with such edifices as post-modern parking structures (some of the old signs used to be so monumental they they’d take up oodles of land).
After writing a Table of Contents for a sign book I hope some kind publisher will pick up, I’ve sorted the signs into folders. Here's what I came up with:
Bet you thought about what images the letters strung together bring up in your mind.
Now I don’t want to be some fu fu artist here, but I believe what we name our files is…well… art. Take a look above…my mind has created strings of letters that create an image in your mind – an image that will form according to the experience that you have with the subject. (Okay, this stuff comes from the fact that for the last three years I’ve been drilling teachers as part of a part-time “day” job about various linguistics topics that come up in the everyday classroom).
Now for a sample of the images I had in mind to go with the topic:
Remember that art is everywhere...Don't forget to "smell" it (a play on don't forget to smell the roses).
Tip: If you have an enormous picture collection, figure out categories to separate them into so that when you come time to working on them you won’t be overwhelmed by their number.
Second Tip: Of course, you see here that the names appear random and I would suggest that you put them in alphabetical order (click on your desktop to get to the Finder, then click on View>Arrange By>Name on the top menu bar on a Mac).
Monday, October 24, 2005
After asking permission to photograph this kid in Myanmar, I stepped back and flipped my zoom lens out (so that it extends far out from the camera) to obtain maximum background blur. I used a 300 mm zoom to get the face painting that's so common in this part of the world in focus.
Just a quick tip here: Zoom in as much as possible then step back to frame a portrait of your subject before you shoot to create maximum background blur.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
At any rate, sorting through dozens of photographs that I clicked and dragged into a folder called "doors and windows" had me realizing that I'd snapped some colorful, sparkling shots of freshly refurbished window shutters in Singapore. After picking out the brightest photographs in Photoshop CS2's browser window, I found they all matched to make a set. Here they are:
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wear flowers in your hair.
I stayed at the Y this last weekend.
The Central Y.
Clean, comfortable, but very basic.
After I arrived, I went for a long walk and met an artist.
I tested the flash on my Kodak EasyShare 5 Mexapixel point-and-shoot. (The light blasted about 6 feet from where I was onto the Roxie sign.)
I saw a guy do a handstand (with his head on a Coke bottle).
I thought about an important question...
The next morning I got up and found joy.
Ahh, San Francisco, once my home sweet home. I miss it.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Take a look at the image above. Is it artful? Some would probably say yes, indeed. The added palm in the corner gives the image a source point from which the viewer looks at the swimming pool--a kind of peek-a-boo feeling. Capturing images for use in the real estate industry requires that the photographer be skillful in composing a picture. And having good equipment helps too.
If you're a realtor, architect, builder or just someone who likes to photograph Roman Columns, grill work or the steel and glass of man's greatest achievements you'll want to consider various options when digital camera shopping--options such as how much the lens zooms and how wide and tall the frame of the picture will be through the lens. The easiest way to do this at the camera store is to simply look through the lens, zooming both in and out to see how you'll be able to frame an image taken with that camera.
Digital Camera Choices for Realtor and Other Architectural Photographers
It used to be a realtor was judged by the car he/she drove--a good omen if he/she drives up in a Beamer (that's BMW) and taking clients around with flare and style.
Nowadays realtors also may be judged by the technical gadgetry they use in their work from palm pilots to personal Web sites.
Along with that gadgetry is some sort of digital camera with which he/she can produce photographs for the leaflets that perspective clients will grab under the for sale signs of homes all over the world.
There are new ways to market properties that will attract buyers in droves both by staging homes and creating images from the staging that real estate professionals have created.
Tech-savvy, wheeling-and-dealing realtors can consider buying the sub-thousand dollar model SLR (Single Lens Reflex, or camera where they can change the lenses) instead of the tiny boxes that contain upteen megapixels of fun, but many less options for indoor photography, the type of photography that is the lifeblood of the real estate business.
A Nikon D-70 or Canon Digital Rebel XT, both cameras costing a little over $800 have the options that realtors will need to take glamorous indoor photos with little effort. The sensor in the camera is bigger than in the point-and-shoot models (the little boxy cameras), so that you get more detail, an important factor in architectural photography.
For example, in order to take a good picture of an interior, the camera can be set to A-DEP mode (written the same way on the knob of the camera) before shooting away. The camera automatically focuses using multiple points within the frame of a picture so none of the picture will be blurred.
The lens the camera comes with (usually a telephoto 28-105 mm) will be adequate for a realtors needs when the camera is zoomed inward (to the range of about 28 mm, a value that is marked on the lens) to catch greatest area of living space at once inside a frame.
Keep in mind the following tips when shooting real estate for sale--
1. Get a shot that includes a wide space of something that's dramatic about the property. If your seller has invested in something expensive such as bamboo or travertine floors catch a big part of that in the frame. In the picture below a large part of the drama of a vaulted ceiling was caught within the frame. For teckies who use Photoshop, you'll be interested in knowing that it was shot with a wide angle lens (10 mm) and then straightened out in Photoshop first by selecting the image and then applying the transform tool and clicking and dragging the corners to eliminate lens curvature (Edit>Transform...) because there was some lens distortion in the original shot.
2. Keep each room in focus by framing shots so they include one room or one area of a room without any other extraneous furnishings or wall coverings that take away from that focus.
3. When filming reflective surfaces make sure your reflection is not in the picture.
4. If you're proud of the home's remodeled bathroom, include a shot that shows all surfaces extending from, say, a wallpapered wall, to a granite counter, to the solid wood cabinetry and down to the stone floor. Use a wide angle lens if possible (a lens with that can include all of the surfaces in one frame without you having to leave the room to catch it all).
5. Use a tripod (they're cheap some costing under $50 and others less if you buy used) without a flash in darker spaces (you can turn your flash off on most cameras with the button that shows a picture of a flash with a line through it). Your lens will stay open longer in all modes, capturing more natural light and resulting in a terrific picture without all the light blasts you get with flash.
6. If you have no tripod and are photographing inside and want to eliminate blur set your ISO speed above 400. To do this search through your menu options to locate ISO speeds in increments somewhat like this: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 etc... This will eliminate blur that comes from when you shake your camera while you shoot.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Not so for builder Marc Sanders who took his own photos before and, after I was asked to write an article for Homestore.com, had me take them after. The rest was history--not only did I get to photograph the coolest house in Palm Springs, I got paid for it and had an extremely successful article published on the Internet (that includes some of my photographs) that has been online now for almost 5 years.
Marc, however, was even more lucky as you'll read here:
http://www.mattbamberg.com/articles (Click on the Sinatra article.)
So here's a tip if you're a fledgling photographer (I was in the recent past) who wants to use is spankin new wide angle (18 mm is good) lens.
Tip: Let the realtors and builders in your area know that you can take a decent picture.
Back to the burn: When it came time to burn, I had some difficulty finding a procedure on the Web, so as always it was time for some trial-and-error work in CD burning. After some time I had some success with this method for my newly installed OS 10.4:
To create a Burn Folder--
1. Go to the Finder (you get to the Finder by clicking on any part of your desktop)
2. Click on File>New Burn Folder, then double click on it to open it.
3. Drag the folder or files you want to burn inside the burn folder.
4. You'll get a prompt (Insert a blank disk to begin)
5. Put your CD (a RW CD or DVD, that's Read/Write) into the drive. THIS IS THE TRICKY STEP--PUT YOUR CD INTO THE DRIVE ONLY AFTER YOU'VE CREATED A BURN FOLDER AND DRAGGED WHAT YOU WANT TO BURN INSIDE IT.
6. The burn button will activate as soon as you put the CD in. When it does click on it and the burning will start.
WARNING--If you do it wrong, you'll wreck your CD and you may damage your CD drive.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
After visiting the Singapore bird park, I can remember walking over the disinfectant mat of this meticulously spotless place. (I guess it has to be with all of the news about Avian flu in Asia). Spending countless hours photographing the enormous collection at the park in some of the most sultry weather on the planet, I found a pair of birds that communicated a relationship, one whose series of actions matched some of the feelings I go through with my mate.
I held my shutter down for a series of rapid-fire shots catching the avian action, action that tells somewhat of a love story.
1. If you see two animals together and want to tell a story of their interaction, set your camera to take a series of pictures, one after another. On a Canon Digital Rebel XSi you can take a series of pictures at once by pressing on the button on the body to the right of the lens (the same button that sets the automatic timer) until you see a stack of rectangles on your LCD screen.
2. For the best shot, zoom in from far away so that the background is blurred, giving your subjects focus and your shot depth.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
My first perceptions of Myanmar were that was fifty years behind the rest of the world. It was also very clean, lush, green, exotic, and completely different from any place I had ever been. On the way in I saw carts being pulled by horses and oxen, Chevorlet buses from the 50’s brightly painted and filled with smiling people, and gold plated Chedies, (Buddhist towers, with a bell shaped bottom, and gradated round spire topped with a gold crown incrusted with jewels and small bells which tickle in the wind. Along side these Chedi’s were Buddhist temples with gold leaf roofs. The lush city was surruonded by mostly low-rise buildings from the British colonial era. If you look at the city skyline all you see are millions of tree-tops, and gold Cheds sticking our from the middle of these trees.
The Burmese people were very pleasant and the service at every venue we visitied was impeccable. So incredible that by the end of our tour we longed for rude, inattentive, and bad service. We traveled to many temples, colonial buildings, and markets. We visited a village across the river. We crossed the river on a fifty-year-old steamer jammed with people. We, of course, traveled in first class, which consisted of the empty upper deck with child size pink plastic chairs. The village was clean and beautiful, but basic. There were lines of bamboo fences and teak frame houses on stilts. We visited the public school (a modern structure that our guide has said was built by the Japanese). During lunch the parents would bring their students hot food and eat with them. People need to pay to go to the public schools; if they can’t afford it they may attend Buddhist schools for free. All of the students seemed polite and well behaved, wearing green and white uniforms.
I learned to say the Hello Blessing, “Ming cala ba” and went chanting it though the village to everyone I met. Needless to say the people were delighted and replied in kind. Our guide told us the people we passed were amongst themselves chanting,
"Did you hear that? The foreigner said “Ming cala ba!” I had bought pencils, pens, and crayons for the kids to pass out in the villages as per the Min Myn's suggestion. They were delighted and we attracted quite an audience. At one café they were playing American dance tunes recorded in Myanmar language. I started dancing and pretty soon the whole café was smiling and dancing with me.
Next we traveled to a Buddhist temple and monastery. There was an inclined Statute off Buddha 87 feet high and as long as a football field. Our guide had been a monk a couple of times, so he was able to take us inside of the living quarters of the monks. There were 400 monks at this monastery. The compound was lush and green with teak wood bungalows all around it. We entered one bungalow; there was an altar in the entrance and then a big room where each monk got a space to sleep in. There were several monks there in their orange robes. We went to the back to the bungalow to meet the head monk. He was sitting on an old cast iron bed, in an orange robe with a big smile on his face. He was eighty-seven years old and had a calm, brightness, and sense of peace about him that id difficult to explain. He asked us where we from, said he was too old to travel, so we needed to be his eyes to the world, and then gave us a Buddhist blessing.
A note on monks-- all Buddhist are monks or nuns for a period of time when they are young, and many revisit to re-center themselves at various times of their lives. The Buddhism has a profound effect on these people and their culture. There is sense of peace, kindness, and conscious amongst this culture and it’s people despite the awful government. Next we visited another 1,000-year-old temple. When we arrived Matt was tired. We saw several old monks sleeping under temple entrance pagoda, so of course being pooped, I joined them. They were rather amused and accommodating. I then toured the temple with the guide; he explained the religion to me. We looked at his backward calendar and found out that I was born on Friday on the day last great Buddha, whom we call Siddhartha. We made and offering to Buddha by rubbing gold leaf on one of the statues of him, and ringing an 2,000 year bell three times to share the blessing with others.
The Mandalay Zoo
By far my favorite day was the day we went to the zoo. I love third world zoos because they don’t protect stupid people. You can get really close to the animals and if you are stupid enough to mess with them, you get bit, that's it lock-stock-and-barrel. By the elephants we met a young Buddhist monk about 8 years old. He was from Mandalay and visiting one of the monasteries in Rangoon. I shared the bananas I had bought to feed the elephants with him. He was delighted, and gave us an infectious smile from ear to ear. We became instant friends, and there was this strange, strong connection and camaraderie between him the three of us, my guide, my traveling companion and me. He took us on a tour of the zoo. He knew the zoo very well, because he spent every day there while he was visiting Yangon. This young man was very, very old. It was a very magical and opened hearted experience spending the afternoon with him. We parted with a strong sense of connection and friends. We also really liked our guide and the feeling was mutual. We went about the city singing his favorite Shirley Bassey songs.
Next we flew to Bagan on an old propjet. Bagan is a World Heritage Historical site because it of temples, and Chedies. There are four thousand left of the original 13,000 buildings ranging in age from 800 to 2 thousand years old. The Bagan area is drier than Yangon and has rich red soil. As we flew in you could see this temples and Chedies from the air. We stayed in a beautiful resort named Sakura on the river near by. We had a teak wood bungalow and there were 37 acres if lush and colorful gardens. They had an Olympic style infinity pool. While swimming in it you felt like you were in the river. The food at the resort, as everywhere in Myanmar, was excellent. They grow everything fresh with only natural fertilizers. They are excellent cooks and food is an important part of their culture. We toured the temples, by car, horse drawn carriage, bicycle, and foot for two days. Matt took hundreds of picture. Thank god his camera is digital and he bought his computer to unload the images onto. The Chedies and temples are very magical and exotic, I felt like I was on the set of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. I met our guide’s 87-year-old grandmother at one of the temples we visited. She just happened to be visiting. She was a treat, stunningly beautiful with a brilliant twinkle in her pale grey eyes. Our guide explained she did what ever she wanted to, and would often take off on foot or jump the local village bus to visit around the village.
Next we flew to the famous city of Mandalay. We visited the royal palace, temples. and parks. Two experiences stood out, at the top of Mandalay Hill a monk quietly told me that their government had killed thousands of citizens and asked if he could help. It was strange being in this closed off militaristic place. You really didn’t feel or notice the military or government presence as a tourist. There we very few military people around, they didn’t carry guns, were polite, and friendly. They also seemed relaxed, rarely standing at attention, often smoking, and sleeping. We attended a wonderful traditional Marionette show. The marionette master was 75 years old and a delight. We bought several hand made Marionettes, so I needed to throw out clothes to carry them.
We traveled to a wonderful, ornately craved teak wood monastery about an hour ride outside of Mandalay. It was over 800 hundred years old and still being used. School was in session and they allowed us to take pictures. It was fascinating to see all of the young Buddhist monks in orange robes reading and writing in this old building. The countryside was beautiful, lush, green, and filled with exotic temples, palaces, and Chedies.
After Mandalay we flew to Inle Lake in the Shan state. It is 3,000 feet above sea level, so the weather is temperate. We took an hour car drive and then a 30-minute boat ride on a long, narrow wooden boat, through the reeds, and across the lake to our resort. Matt was beginning to have his “where the hell have you brought this time feeling”, finally we arrived through a canal to our resort. We were greeted on a wooden dock with a welcome guava and green tea drink, and porters for our luggage. Welcome to Fantasy Island. We proceeded along a long dock, surrounded by lotus flowers, butterflies and other plants. We came to the resort; it was otherworldly, beautiful, elegant, and peaceful. Acres of gardens, teak wood bungalows, first class food, and a spa. AH! Lake Inle is surrounded by high green mountains, which are too steep to build on. The only buildings are gold leafed Chedies and temples. People have built several villages in the lake by sinking pilings into the bottom of the lake and building fairly large and elaborate houses on top of them. They have made floating gardens out of bamboo platforms covered with dirt and fertilized with the plants they had drudged up from the canals in the marshes. First we visited and old teak wood monastery, named the “Jumping Cat Monastery”. The monastery was built on stilts in the middle of the lake so we arrived there by boat. At the monastery there were many cats that had been trained to jump through hoops, as demonstrated by the monk residing there. There were also six large Buddha’s made of gold and marble sitting on different altars. Next we visited a silk weaving village, which was also in the middle of the lake. They hand made silk cloth starting from the silkworm cocoon, to spinning it, dying it, and weaving. They did very refined and detailed work. It is interesting in Myanmar that most people’s clothes are made of cotton and silk because these are the only cloths the made there. Matt chased butterflies and Ming cala ba’ed his way through the village, much to the locals’ amusement and delight. At night a monk would chant over a loud speaker to the whole village. It was beautiful, however unfortunately he had a bad cold and would occasionally gag and cough in the microphone!
We traveled back to Rangoon for a night and flew to Bangkok. We both glad to see a newspaper and have Internet again. Myanmar is very rich country in terms of natural resources, foods gold, oil, gems, and teak wood. Unfortunately the government is anti technology, so they don’t have the ability to take advantage of these resources.
The people we by far the best part of Myanmar. Despite living under a despotic government
They are genuinely open hearted, kind, generous, and quick to smile. There is a Buddhist proverb that explains, “from the mud grows the lotus”. Perhaps this is the case with these people.
TIP: When on a journey far, far away, invest in a zoom lens for your digital photography, a telephoto that is at least 300 mm so you can photo the rainbows and hippos that work the frame (buy work, I mean having the main subject of the picture take up a sizable amount of the frame). The new Digital Canon Rebel XT (350D in Europe) comes with a detachable lens, which you can take off and replace with a compatable zoom lens from a film camera. Great for capturing Myanmar's art and culture.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Matthew (I prefer Matt, however the editors of Wiley went with Matthew for my book "Digital Art Photography for Dummies") here, working to put some proofs together for Fabian So, a nice gentleman I met while I was traveling through Singapore.
Before I begin I want to offer a TIP: Do everything you can do to help your photography find a name for itself (that is make it stand out from the thousands who want publication of their photographs, gallery shows and all the rest of the so called glitz of an artist's life).
Before I picked up a camera, I learned how to write. I knew when I wanted to become a writer that the writing would need some help, that is, I felt that my writing alone would have a better chance of selling if it had some images that went along with it. I read that in some writing rag about six years ago when I started all of this publication business.
Viola! My formula began to work when Mona D. from a local alternative paper in Palm Springs, CA. picked up a story called "Confessions of a Picker" that I offered her via a phone call in 1999. She came over to my mid-century modern condo and took pictures of all the 50s and 60s stuff I had bought on the cheap for resale. I watched her as she stood up on chair snapping pictures of everything from ceramic poodles to radioactive orange McCoy pottery to minimalist patio furniture. The article was about a picker (that's someone who hunts valuable stuff at garage sales and flea markets and turns it over to antique stores and consignment shops for resale) and she made it the cover story of the paper.
In the article I describe myself as a being an expermental type of guy (who can't cook) blasting Melmac dishes in the microwave when I decided to cook with the old brightly-colored, plastic relics that look like dolls should eat from them.
But more important than that, I went out and bought a Canon film camera and started taking picture of the radio dials, mid-century signage and just about anything else that was a "blast of the past" so to speak.
I moved from picking (oh, okay, that was a part-time thing, I have a Masters in Creative Arts from San Francisco State and have been a school teacher for 14 years) to taking pictures of signage.
The signs began to sell like hot cakes when instead of supplying the consignment store with stuff I "picked," I happily made them framed prints of signs.
So a couple of stores and galleries later (M Modern Gallery sells my work www.mmoderngallery.com as well as Room Service and the Neon Musuem in Los Angeles and Palm Springs Consignment in Palm Springs) I find myself wanting more sales.
So, on my photos move on to Fabian So, the curator of the Photographer's Gallery in Singapore, another place I just visited in Asia (and a very spiffy place at that).
Fabian has sent me a contract for a Christmas-time show in his gallery. Having a Dummies title under my belt helped to sell my work (you need all the help you can get to get into any gallery as most won't even talk to you unless you have a proven track record of making money with your art work).
Today I just sent him the templates of my signage pictures. He'll pick 20, frame them for me (I have to pay for that) and sell them (hopefully) at the show. Above, you'll find one of the templates that I made using Photoshop CS 2's new automate command (File>Automate>Contact Sheet II).
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Question: Where are the most cranes erecting new highrises? Answer: Probably Shanghai. Dozens of new towers soar into the air, reflecting the sun by day and luminating on their own at night. As the U.S.A. finds it difficult to break with the status quo (where I live in Palm Springs, CA, the downtown is stagnant with vacant store fronts), it finds itself mired in an attempt to change the Middle East instead of making life better for the middle and lower classes.
Sure, I have opinions as an artist as I have to, the art has to start somewhere and that's the point I make in my book, "Digital Art Photography for Dummies"--that you have to know every facet of your life from birth onward so your art corresponds to your interests (including your politics) to make it the best it can possibly be (you also have to be able to listen to critics).
So, my point? Well as China roars by buiding inside their cities (and not exburbs like those massive sprawling towns miles outside of town in the U.S.A.), so must we build inside our cities. We must evaluate everything we do from our use of oil (driving 40 miles to and from work does not make sense anymore) to the selection of our leaders.
And, as the Roaring Tiger moves toward building its Shanghai as a first world city, two things come to mind from my viewpoint as an artistic digital photographer.
1. The U.S.A. has to find ways to keep not only keep up its infrastructure (Shanghai has a budding subway system and a network of well-kept up highways at the same time as many are still riding bicycles) not only in an effort to maintain, but also keeping in mind moving all people safely without burning all of the world's oil.
2. Artists have golden opportunities now to express social and political ills as well as capturing pieces of the past that are disappearing at lightening speed under more and more world governance.
Here's two photos of the new and old Shanghai. If you go there snap as many images as you can as the old is almost gone.
TIP: Shoot from the heart and not your head, take photos of the opinions that strike your gut no matter how conservative, liberal or in-between they may be. Take, for example, the two images of old and new Shanghai shown here. As a photographer I would pair these together to possibly make the point to the viewer that the old way of life is disappearing in Shanghai, having him/her think of both the negative and positive consequences of this current change.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Navigating the streets of Shanghai can be daunting as one steps over pipes, bamboo, not to mention people big, little, old and young, swarms of them taking to the streets in every concievable manner on bike, motor bike, motorcycle, cab (thousands of them) and private car (the latest must-have in China). As the Chinese clear the early and middle part of the last century from their landscape, it's a remarkable metamorphasis to steel and glass as far up as a camera's eyes can see.
Matthew Bamberg, here, author of "Digital Art Photography for Dummies" to be published by Wiley and due out in December. More about that later. Back to Shanghai.
As I sit here in the Osaka airport in Japan, I finally write, putting my lens-playing hands away for awhile (I snapped thousands of art photos on a massive trip to Southeast Asia).
Shanghai lingers, a lazy haze, in my mind. The city's endless smog and honks, noisy and noxious, along with my camera clicks, lead the way to the silver of steel and cables of bridges in dozens of photographs, and the gold of the old that's still left in the French Concession, an area of Mao memorobila and namesakes of Shanghai's last great era the Deco age of the 30s and 40s all have been snapped up too.
Shanghai bustles and bulges with cranes and noise fixing itself up for the rest of the coming century with knock-your-socks architecture that proves that China may be living up to it's nickname--"The Roaring Tiger."
But best of all in this great world-class city is the offbeat which I'm always ready to capture in a heart beat.
Guess it's time for a TIP: Setting your camera by turning the knob to the running man will shoot a series of photographs quickly at fast shutter speeds (so your photos won't be prone to blur) so you can capture a few shots at a time of the never-ending moves and, of course, the freaky sites that can be seen on the street. Catch the dog above with the orange ears. Yes, it is real, alive and living in Shanghai!