A1: process and potential photos

An explanation of the location of the shoot is here. The objective was to explore the different types of people in Patpong Night Market, Bangkok by approaching strangers and asking for their permission to make a photograph.

It was relatively  straightforward to approach people in a crowded market – the lack of space already created a sense of intimacy and necessity to communicate that would have not been felt if one needed to approach a stranger on the opposite side of the street, for example. The uncertainty was whether or not the potential subject would be able to speak English (my language ability is limited to English and poor French). In retrospect, it would have been a good idea to learn a few words in Thai to explain what I was doing, or at least say ‘please can I take your photo’. As usual, I found that a great deal can be communicated with a confident and friendly approach, the few words of English that most people understand (eg hello, please, thank you), and a good deal of pointing and signing. The Thai handshake (a prayer-like gesture) was always well-received.

Equipment for the shoot was a Fuji X-T1 and Fujinon xf 35mm f1.4 lens (approx 50mm ff equivalent). The combination is compact and does not intimidate people when pointed at them. The shots were all made with aperture open to around f/2 to allow as much as the low-light in as possible and blur the backgrounds (inspired by August Sander’s approach that focused on the subjects, not the backgrounds). A number of the shots were manually focused as the low light conditions sometimes offered insufficient contrast for autofocus to operate effectively.

Below are thumbnails of the potential shots (click to view full size), from which I’ve made the final selects. The captions briefly describe the types – information gathered when communicating with the individuals. I deliberately chose not to ask for names as this can be viewed as intrusive in what is essentially a police-state.

Click to view as slide show with large images

These 21 images needed to be narrowed down to a selection of five for the assignment. I posted them through a Facebook link to the OCA level 1 student group asking for votes of favourites in a Flickr album. Only a little feedback was received but my impression was that selections were of the photos that happened to have the best image quality and photogenic subjects. My final selects are included in the post for tutor assessment.

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