Last Saturday we were very fortunate to go on a private photography walk with Franc Peret, a professional filmmaker and photographer based in Shanghai. These are just some of the outcomes of our street photography in the Former French Concession (near Tianzifang) and what we learned…
A common sight in China is people collecting and separating waste. After these women smiled at us (and probably wondered why the hell we want to take photos of trash), they carried on with getting the trash ready for transport. Can you see how the colour blue is reflected in all different aspects and materials in the photo?
Sometimes all is not what it seems and it becomes apparent how many opportunities there are in Shanghai to take photos with a vintage ‘science fiction movie’ effect.
We carried on walking over one of Shanghai’s many elevated pedestrian walkways and tried to capture the cyclists shadow silhouettes.
A new method of photography that I learned during this walk was ‘tracking’ in which you follow a cyclist not just with your camera but also with your body movement.
In Shanghai you can find many things that don’t match together or that look a bit odd. This is great for photography as it catches the eye, and in this case, reflects the sunlight.
Behind this photo is a little story. Franc suggested to take a photo of the Chinese ladies kneeling down to take photos of the pregnant cat taking a nap. When grandma and her son saw us do that, she said to her son in Chinese: ‘Go, kiddo, pretend to play with the cat so the foreigners can take photos of you’. He looked adorable playing with the cat, but the cat did not like it! In the end, the poor kid was confused whether he should keep on playing with the cat, risking his life to be our model, or give up and return to grandma.
Cherry blossoms? Plum blossoms? Who knows – I’ll never get the hang of that and I find them all equally beautiful! When you start taking photos in a more serious fashion, you quickly learn that it’s all about perspective. This beautiful blossoms in fact belonged to a little potted plant in a hidden little courtyard next to trash bins. With this one the trick is: if the surroundings aren’t great, better zoom in as much as possible to expose the subject’s details and light.
Despite the boom of the likes of Mobike and Ofo that are now littering the pavements, many people still use their old bicycles in Shanghai.
Hanging socks and underwear in the courtyard, in front of windows and literally anywhere outside… The Chinese way of life. After posting this photo on facebook, a friend of asked us what’s the point of taking a photo of socks. The answer is, it’s all about the light!
We ended our photography walk in this romantic little lane. This walk not only taught us about street photography tricks, but also reminded us of what we love about Shanghai: those hidden little details.