Yule tidings from the streets of Saigon

Merry Christmas from Saigon!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The Christmas spirit is here, even in the tropics. Soon I will be back in Norway, celebrating a white Christmas with friends and family and I thought it would be fitting to show how Christmas is celebrated without the access to snow.

The reindeer has arrived.

Cute snow couple.

Sparkling stars.

Snow cocktails.

Minimalistic decor.

Red ribbon.

Happy New Year!

Getting ready for 2011!

There is still a long way to go from London’s Christmas displays, however, the local malls and businesses are still trying. Some better than others. The images above all succeed in bringing Christmas atmosphere to their premises, however, some fail in execution.

Maintaining quality at all stages is needed. #Fail.

This one fails in terms of finishing. No matter what you put up for public display, do it properly and make sure it lasts for the intended duration. Having a “Hap New Year” is not a good way to send a greeting. Quality control needed, even with Christmas decorations.

Not my taste at all. Oversell. #Fail.

However, this one is even worse in my eyes. It is simply oversell. Hitachi, you do not inspire me to purchase any of your products because you don’t sell me the Christmas spirit. You sell me your vacuum cleaner that you spent a small fortune having photographed with models, but you have spent next to nothing on the actual Christmas display.

You make your brand look like a cheap skate and you become a visual spammer. I want to see Christmas. I want to see beautiful displays. I want to see people actually putting a bit of love and care into their displays without giving me a hard sell of their products. You failed in my eyes. Big time.

In addition, putting two giant silver balls between Santa’s legs is not such a great idea if you ask me.

Santa with silver balls.

This guy is showing off a Christmas ball while posing for his friends.

Christmas tradition. Have your photograph taken in front of various Christmas decorations.

If ball size matters, then they better head over to Caravelle Hotel. They got the biggest balls in town.

Christmas decoration outside Caravelle Hotel.

Enjoy the holidays!

Christmas stars in the sky!

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Blue elephants at Saigon Zoo

The Big Show at Saigon Zoo 2010

Yes, the images are from the morning after, but no alcohol induced elephant visions, only cardboard prints of the mascot for The Big Show.

The Big Show has been around for some time. I remember the first show I went to hosted at Pierre’s former restaurant at Thai Van Lung street. Back in the old days. Work was pinned up on dividers set up in the restaurant and the creative community mingled. It has moved around to various venues. Sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors, sometimes both.

The Big Show has gotten bigger over the years. Recently Sun Flower Media, my former employer, have been improving the show in some aspects.

Last year, the show was located at the cinema and sports complex at Nguyen Du, district 1. This year it was at the Saigon Zoo. Fitting place for elephants, even purple ones.

The opening evening draws the crowd and this year was no exception. I had not received any invite for the event, however, security staff handed out extras at the entrance, no worries, free for all. Great. We entered.

Sponsored booths at the entrance.

More corporate sponsors had been brought in, samples handed out freely, including snack to eat and liquid to drink.

Viewing the artworks.

Anyhow, the show must go on. For the first time, the works on display were actually unified in presentation style. All branded and printed out. It looked impressive compared to the previous events.

To view the work you needed to do a bit of walking as they were all displayed on long rows. At the end you had the big screen. Most people did not sit down, they chose to stand at the back. Sometimes it makes sense to hang at the back as you can make small talk without getting your ears blasted by the normally loud volume.

So far so good, or? What struck me was the feeling of fewer participants on display. They had a lot of work up. New work. International work. However, how many of the international campaigns make sense to the local audience if they do not know the culture that the campaign is targeting? I personally loved the ad for nose trimmers as they made used of the cable mayhem that you can see everyday in Vietnam. It is something that relates to here.

What I am trying to say is that sometimes it is not about how much we improve the current product if the product has lost its relevance.

According to Todd at Golden Digital (via David), it took only Vietnam 5 years to get up and going on the Internet. The young generation that is looking for inspiration, the very inspiration the Big Show used to provide, are finding that information easily online. They do not need to wait one year to see it on display.

They have probably bookmarked it several months ago and shared it on Facebook or Twitter or by email to friends. Internet is changing our ways of working and making certain elements and business models obsolete. It is the nature of evolution. Improve or die. Improving the packaging does not mean that the product itself is improved.

To me, personally, by attending an event such as the Big Show, it doesn’t give me much anymore. Except the possibility to actually bump into interesting people. To me, it is more an networking opportunity than an actual learning experience. It didn’t used to be like that. 10 years ago with slow internet access and few book stores, information was highly prized. These days you order on Amazon.com and get it shipped. Some bookstores even will do that for you and deliver to your door these days. Internet has changed Vietnam and it is still changing rapidly. The recent BarCamp gathering is gaining serious traction and more IT companies are relocation to Vietnam.

For a design student, yes, it is interesting to see work on display, however, what you need as a student is not the finished product but a peak at the process. How you got to that idea is far more interesting to know than seeing the final product. What sparks your imagination? What gets you inspired? These are the important questions.

People in the creative industry are complaining how hard it is to find local creative talent and how they wish the local design education could improve. Well, to only see the final product, you feed the industry of copyist that will take what they see and, well, copy that. They will not understand the creative process. They will not be used to do research. They will not be used to do analysis. They will not innovate.

By showing end results only, you will not create the opportunity to learn from the process. In the past, having access to international work was an inspiration as there was very difficult to access that information otherwise, however, technology has made that information so accessible that the need is no longer there.

Next step on the evolution ladder is to understand more about the process and foster an environment that can be creative and innovative. We don’t need more technical jockeys, we need innovators.

One of the remaining strengths of The Big Show is that it highlights the creative industry in the media, but how about extending the current scope and try to look at other ways to bring better value. To evolve and improve.

Watching re-runs.

Walking at the show the day after was sobering. Still a few visitors to the show. Lots of families with kids that did not come for the show but for their weekly family trip to the Zoo. Saigon does not have many child friendly places and activities and the zoo is one of the most popular ones. The biggest crowd gatherer was not the work on display, but the artists drawing portraits for the public. The stage was empty. The screen showing re-runs of the reels. Staff sitting around waiting for the time to pass so they could wrap it all up.

Imagine the effort put into creating the event. The marketing material produced, the advertising of the event, the building of the stage and different booths. All the staff to make it happen. For mainly a one night stand. The opening of the show.

How about using the next day inviting the local agencies for short presentations? Make and publish a schedule. Get people to come and listen and see the work and hear about the process the day after. Get more out of the event than just an evening. BarCamp is successful for the presentations. People come to listen. To learn. There is a real interest here. Evolve and be part of the progress or wither as a dinosaur. The show will always go on.

Critics of BarCamp are saying it is too long between the events. They want it more often. The same I say about The Big Show. Once a year is not enough in the current state. Daily I can access international campaigns as they are published online. What I want is interaction. Human interaction.

As they say, find an itch and fix it. Best way to invent a new product or service. Well, Creative Mornings are about to see the light in Saigon. A monthly get together for creatives. Takes place in the mornings only. A healthy stimuli. Scheduled for launch in January. Stay tuned!

The show goes on.

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The bokeh experiment

View from Thu Thiem bridge of Ho Chi Minh City's District 1

Experimentation is vital. It is good. Sometimes it works the way we want. Sometimes not. Nevertheless, we did it. To do is success in itself.

The image seen above was taken from Thu Thiem bridge overlooking District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as most residents prefer.

It is a long exposure, camera on tripod, manual focus and open aperture. What differs is the details in the bokeh, revealing the numbers 1010.

It was an experiment. Shot on spec. The potential client did not like it. Some will consider that a fail. We call it a successful experiment. We went out to achieve a certain effect and returned with a capture containing that effect. Goal achieved. Simple as that.

We did this for us and if we could sell it along to others it would be an added bonus. The important fact is to go out and do what you set out to do. It is a good way to grow. To get out of the comfort zone. Need help to motivate? Make a New Year’s resolution now.

The effect above is relatively easy to achieve. First you decide on what you want to have projected. We wanted numbers. Number 1010. Our lens has a 77mm filter dimension. We created a 80mm template in illustrator.

80mm template. Typefaces used, from top to bottom: Gill Sans, Bauhaus and Snell Roundhand.

Decided on three different typefaces and two different options. Six masks. Printed out on a standard A4 paper, spray mounted on black cardboard. Then cut out the white lettering. Placed mask in front of the camera lens while shooting and voila, you have got you own customised bokeh.

Experimentation is fun. It is good. It is also good practice. “Designed by accident” from Johnson Banks is a worthwhile read and while you are at it:

“…Experimental design is a planned interference in the natural order of events by the researcher. He does something more than carefully observe what is occurring. This emphasis on experiment reflects the higher regard generally given to information so derived. There is good rationale for this. Much of the substantial gain in knowledge in all sciences has come from actively manipulating or interfering with the stream of events…”

“The Basics of  Experimental Design” by Sid Sytsma and hosted by R.M.Mottola

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Six degrees of separation

Ole from Fronterra and one of my friends and clients, once told me something that made a lasting impression. He would often get suggestions from his workers that other suppliers were cheaper to which he always retorted “But are they better?” To him, quality came first.

Another friend of mine, David, just posted a new blog post: “No accounting for taste” where he states “When an entire business rests on the image of a company it makes positively no sense to look cheap or low tech on the web. “

Enter Le Gillian, arriving from Switzerland as an image consultant. In her own words:

Le Gillian

“For me, the issue of appearance according to type and cause is more than what you see. Appearance and Beauty is an emotion that expresses itself through the skin, the personality and lifestyle. Beauty is the awakening of all the senses, sparkling harmony of heart, body and spirit. I wish for my clients the courage to type, to be positive change. Whether the subject is asked styling privately or in a professional context: who dresses cleverly fits the occasion, can only win. In my consulting work also incorporated my many years of professional experience and philosophy of life from Asia and Europe.”

I had the pleasure to meet Le Gillian in person after being introduced to her by Ole and invited her for a brief portrait session. This is the power of networking. To meet people. To meet interesting people.

Another friend lamented that he was not meeting enough interesting people lately.

Fortunately, life in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City for the political correct, is getting better. Mr 720, or Ben, is the motivator behind Saigon’s Tweetup events.

Mr 720, aka Ben.

They are gathering a bigger crowd for each session and at the latest event I bumped into another colleague of mine, Harvey.


We caught up on news and I checked with Harvey if he had time for a new project and he did. We went straight to the first production meeting of Hayden’s crew, the Northern Touch, for the 48 Hour Film project that took place for the first time in Vietnam.

At 48 Hour Film Project Vietnam's kick off. (Taken with my iPhone)

Harvey joined the team and later in the week it was kick off. 49 teams signed up and 48 hours of little sleep and lots of memorable moments and new friends.

Northern Touch team on location. (Taken with my iPhone)

Stay curious. I try to live by that. Video is a new field for photographers and also a discipline on its own. Film making is a bigger undertaking and by participating, I got a better understanding of the process. Learned a lot. It was worth it and I will do it again next year. Sign me up Hayden!

Events like these brings people out. Different events, different crowds. I’ve been a regular reader of Swiss-Miss’s blog and was intrigued by the Creative Mornings. I spoke with David and said it would be great if we could get something like that to happen here.

Well, all it takes is to have the idea and spread it amongst friends. David told George and George would like to sponsor the first year of monthly events. David has emailed Swiss Miss herself to see if we can fit underneath her umbrella. Hopefully she will get back to us.

Soon, we will all meet interesting people. Six degrees of separation.

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The colorful ones – Saigon brightens up

Colourful Saigon, street style.

Talking about Vietnamese fashion, the Ao Dai comes to mind, however, the real deal is something practical and often quite outstanding, in terms of colour that is. How come? Are bright colours the equivalent to the reflective safety vests?

Colourful Saigon, street style.

Walking the streets of Saigon you will not easily become the next Sartorialist as the most fashionable dressed people simply do not walk the streets, especially not under the sun. Tourists are seen walking, office workers during lunch time can sometimes be spotted and street vendors plying the streets. The rest, they travel around by motorbikes or cars, stopping outside their destinations, spending as little time walking the streets as they have to.

People literally park their motorbikes at shop entrances. Valet parking service is common at more fashionable shopping establishments. Walking is simply done in the morning, 5.30am at the park, if you are into public exercising.

Colourful Saigon, street style.

Colourful Saigon, street style.

Colourful Saigon, street style.

Colourful Saigon, street style.

Public eye and public space. People are not so shy in public, from squeezing zits or picking noses to men unzipping behind electrical poles, marking it doggy style, so when wearing your pajamas, nobody raises their eyebrows as it is old school style.

Pajamas old school style.

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same” Coco Chanel.

It sums up the final image, Mr Style, walking the street.

"Fashion fades, only style remains the same."

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The masked riders of Saigon’s streets.

One of Saigon's masked riders stopped for texting, actually a rare, but welcomed sight, as the majority multi-tasks while riding.

Motorbikes are plentiful in Saigon. Over 4 millions according to travelers websites, and in 2000 alone, 1.4 million units were produced locally and sold. According to a survey from 2008, 26 million vehicles are registered in Vietnam, 95% of them are motorbikes. Over 9000 new motorbike registrations daily.

An Arizona cowboy. Digital ID: 1610053. New York Public Library

The numbers are just numbers until you meet the herd. Unlike the masked riders of the Old Wild West, riders of the East have less space and more riders and faster means of transportations. The Old West could be lawless and preach the “survival for the fittest” mantra and it has more or less not changed here.

Bikes have to give way for bigger vehicles and bus drivers are regularly referred to as “Devils on wheels” and don’t even start talking about lorry drivers. With horns that blow you off the road if you are lucky or under the wheels when you are not.

Late 2007, the Vietnamese government made the second attempt at introducing mandatory helmets for all motorbike riders. The first attempt failed within the cities as people rather paid the fine than to “destroy their fashionable look” by wearing helmets. The second attempt was better, however, the law had to later be amended to include reference to how the strap should be secured as many simply put the helmet on when they noticed the traffic police. Others were riding with the strap too loose, and it is still common to see riders stop to pick up their helmets as they flew off their heads while riding at higher speed on the highway.

Despite getting people to wear helmets and the efforts to get them to wear them correctly, too many have opted for sub-standard helmets that you can pick up for around US$2 and upwards. 80% of helmets in circulation are reported to fail standards.

Some still refuse to wear them at all as seen below.

Still refusing to wear a helmet while riding a motorbike.

All hooded up. Hoods are always in fashion amongst bike riders, especially female, as hoods help them to cover up from the sun. Hoods with text/lettering on can be of endless amusement due to numerous spelling mistakes and/or subject matter. Ignorance can be bliss sometimes and the topic is worthy of its own blog post.

Hooding up.

Wearing a hood with English text.

Despite the hot climate, gloves are being used to shield the sun rays. Even boys can be seen riding with their wrists turned upwards to “minimize” their exposure and sometimes people ride with umbrellas as shield. Colourful socks worn in flip-flops are also part of the sun protection kit.

Layered head wear, colorful socks and hand gloves, all set to combat sun rays.

The habit of stopping, sometimes on the pavement in order to text or call, is picking up, especially if you have an expensive phone. Yes, the majority of riders are still using their phone while riding, however, others can easily ride up alongside and snatch the phone. Once you have had one or a few phones stolen, you start thinking security and for optimal security, you park on the pavement.

Optimal security stance, texting on pavement.

An unwritten rule it seems, the following rider combinations are commonly used. Single riders, self explanatory. Dual riders, the obvious options: two females or two males. Then, when you start mixing, you will notice, male rider and female passenger, more or less all the time. The most typical exception to spot in District 1, female rider and expat male passenger, either newly arrived or too scared to ride.

Following the unwritten rule, male motorbike rider with female passenger.

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Packed like sardines as accidents do happen

Traffic jam

The image above was captured on the road from Phu My Hung heading towards district 4. A motorbike carrying building bricks had slammed into a SUV and consequently fell on the road, breaking most of the bricks. Police at the scene filling in forms while the traffic jam is building up as the SUV was parked in the bike lane and the motorbike was dragged onto the pavement. One single accident and the cars piled up a few kilometers behind. Welcome to the fragility of Saigon’s road infrastructure.

Road accident

The man with the tie ran red light and tried to get in front of the oncoming traffic but got hit just before he made it. Accidents like these happens every day. Hit and run. Only when the bikes or the riders sustain considerable damage they will involve the traffic police. In this case, the business man got on his bike and drove off with a broken plastic cover and bruised ego. All done in less than two minutes.

Future investment, when parents fail.

As a parent myself, it both saddens me and angers me when I see parents taking children on motorbikes without helmets. In this case, the father is wearing the helmet while his son is not. Even at slow speed, a head impact can be lethal. I know that first hand. Bike riding on a racing bicycle at around 35-40 km an hour, my tires tripped me up on a cobblestoned road and I went head first hitting the road surface. A 1 cm imprint on the helmet from the stones, fractured neck, split lip and broken teeth. Was told by the doctor that stitched me up that the helmet was the only reason I was still alive. A good helmet is priceless.

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Arriving in Vietnam and facing the traffic

Facing the traffic.

Most people, when asked, would answer that the traffic mayhem that you experience on a daily basis leaves an impression, for better or worse. In the central business district, foreign pedestrians can be observed breaking out in panic and sprinting in hordes across the zebra crossings. Not for the faint hearted indeed.

There are a few simple rules to obey and you will live to cross the street and tell the tale.

First of all, do not panic and run. Make sure the oncoming riders are seeing you before moving forwards and when moving, move slowly and steadily and soon you will be on the other side in one piece.

I have got the height to be easily spotted, but for others, especially children, waving hands or umbrellas help too. I have seen blind beggars cross the street slowly by blowing a whistle every few seconds by themselves.

To sum up:

  • Make sure you are noticed.
  • Progress slowly.
  • Keep eyes on traffic at all times.
  • Move steadily and in a predictable route.

The motorbike riders will see you and avoid you. Sudden movements increases the chances of an accident.

Man crossing the street.

I went to one of Saigon’s bus stations and found a street side cafe, front row view to the mayhem as the buses arrived faster than the planes at Heathrow airport. Ordered a “ca phe sua da”, my favourite coffee, I find second to none when you get the right blend.

Back to the chaos. Patience and timing. Motorbikes are passing by and you will sometimes only get one shot at it before the moment has gone. Below is the result of a morning spent at front row view, bus station.

Woman with child talking on mobile phone.

Family about to cross the street.

Student crossing the road.

Woman just arrived to the city.

Carefully crossing the road, always watch the oncoming traffic.

Dad and son waiting.

Young boy watching.

Stretching after a long trip.

Family crossing.

Modern versus traditional clothes style.

Arriving in the city.

Roadside grooming. The real reason why motorbikes got mirrors.

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The streets of Saigon. What to see and what to expect. The street vendors.

The cyclo driver.

I spent two days watching people and capturing the some of Saigon flavours as I left my normal gear behind and went back to basic. One camera and one lens. First out of a small series of blog posts: The street vendors. Above, about to be extinct from the roads, unless in an organised group for tourists sightseeing the town, the cyclo driver.

The sunglass seller.

The sunglass seller. Will also carry lighters and other accessories.

The lottery ticket seller.

The lottery ticket seller. Daily draws and multiple providers. It is a big cash cow for the issuing authority as the chances of actually winning are slim, however, there are stories of people striking it rich.

VietNamNet Bridge – A poverty-stricken 97-year-old man won a lottery jackpot of more than US$400,000 during Tet, sparking an outbreak of chaos in his neighborhood as local residents mobbed his home asking a piece of the windfall.

The toy seller.

The magazine and newspaper seller.

The portable food stall seller.

The various nuts seller.

The mobile fruit seller.

The pushcart food seller.

The refreshment seller.

The coffee and tea stall. Liquids on an electricity box with warning display attached.

The parking attendant.

The parking attendant. 5,000 VND to park your car if you are lucky to find a spot. Until now, there is no dedicated parking centre in Ho Chi Minh City and more cars are registered and entering the road every day.

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Chasing lightning as it rolls over Ho Chi Minh City.

Lightning over Saigon.

The rain season is definitely here and this evening was spectacular with the lightning frequency. Almost as strobo flashes going off on the dance floor and the crowd lose itself in the music of (insert your favourite dj here). Playing Chemical Brothers while editing images was almost like being back in London’s clubs with the rolling thunder outside.

Had to shut down all workstations as a safety precaution as the thunderstorm passed overhead. Time to get the camera out and up on a tripod. Headed up for the rooftop, realised the drains had been neglected as we suddenly had a mini pool outside the door. Not even two minutes later, drains open, water gone and I am soaked. Time to chase the lightning.

The image above is the capture of the evening. The others below are variations of the storm. All images taken within half an hour.

Thunderstorm over Saigon.

Thunderstorm over Saigon.

Thunderstorm over Saigon.

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“What were the skies like when you were young?”

Rain clouds over Saigon

They went on forever

And they — when I

We lived in Arizona

And the skies always had little fluffy clouds

And they were long and clear

And there were lots of stars, at night

And when it rained it would all turn

It — they were beautiful

The most beautiful skies as a matter of fact

The sunsets were purple and red

And yellow and on fire

And the clouds would catch the colors everywhere

That’s — it’s neat

Because I used to look at them all the time

When I was little

You don’t see that

Layering different sounds on top of each other

Layering different sounds on top of each other

Little fluffy clouds

Little fluffy clouds and

Little fluffy clouds and

Little fluffy clouds and

You don’t see that

You might still see them in the desert

The most beautiful skies as a matter of fact

Purple and red

Purple and red and yellow and on fire

The Orb

One of my favourite songs and fitting in the sense that rains bring beautiful clouds, maybe not fluffy, but with texture. I had set aside the day for personal exploration, however, I got a last minute booking for the morning. By the time the morning session ended, lunchtime arrived and afterwards I set out for the road. Heavy, dark rain clouds was over the city. Option one, cancel and go back in again, option two, make the most of it. I always prefer to make the most of it, you never know what you can get.

Saigon skyline in the afternoon

I went around the city, took the new road to Phu My bridge and captured the skyline. The close up is a nice silhouette and when you pull back you see the heavy clouds, complete contrast and change of mood. From 200mm to 70mm does that.

Saigon skyline with rain clouds in the afternoon.

Onwards I went and by the time I reached the ferris wheel in Phu My Hung, the clouds had caught up with me and the rain came. Time for a coffee and watch the clouds go by.

Ferris wheel in Phu My Hung.

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The streets of Saigon

Walkabouts. I miss living in London as Saigon does not appreciate pedestrians in the same manner. I walked a lot more before. These days, a regular gym routine is needed to stay in shape.

However, there are few moments of bliss to be enjoyed on the streets of Saigon and Tet is one of them. The streets are deserted and at noontime there are even less movement as people enjoy their lunch and being Tet, their games.

Despite the reduced number of motorbikes, people still manage to have bike accidents.The statistics are shocking.

Motorbike accident

Abandoned motorbike on the road

Ask any ex-pat living here for more than a few years, and they all have their traffic tales from hell to tell. I once was told about a friend of a friend that went down only to be run over by the bike that came behind. He was wearing a helmet and survived as the wheel went over his head.

At least he was wearing a helmet and had it secured. There is a reason why the traffic police asked for better clarification in the laws regarding wearing a helmet and to specifically add the part of securing the strap. To see adults riding their bikes at full speed, suddenly slamming their brakes after going over a small bump as their helmet is now rolling on the street behind them, turning their bikes and going the wrong way only to place the helmet back on again without securing it.

What kind of logic is this? Probably the same that is applied at night when motorbikes are coming at full speed down unlit alleyways without their headlights on. I am being told they are saving the light bulb as their main reason. I changed my lightbulb once or twice in 7 years on my bike and that cost me less than 10.000 Vietnamese Dong each time (1 US$=18.500 VND). A life can be really cheap these days.

No entry road sign

No entry road sign in front of a wooden wall.

Back to the walkabout. Light at noontime is often avoided by photographers as it is too harsh, but sometimes it can create interesting opportunities. It is refreshing to walk around, only camera and lens, no other light modifiers and work with what you got. It is all out there, the only difference is how you see it. Different photographer, different vision. That’s what I love about photography, part technique and craft, part the way you see, the art of composition. As they say, know the rules and when to break them.

The text and numbers on the image below belongs to various concrete suppliers. This is how they advertise themselves around the city. Almost any wall will have one or more of these tags. They must employ a team of taggers as every new rise will have them plastered on within a week.

Wall with lettering

Wall tagged by local concrete providers.

Another common sign that you can easily spot around is the mobile petrol station, see image below.

Mobile petrol station

A mobile petrol station.

The second version have a bit of Josef Muller-Brockmann influence.

Mobile petrol station alternate version

Mobile petrol station alternate version.

Another street sign is this repair shop. The stack of tires signals the presence of a repair station/garage. Functional design.

Motorbike repair station

Stacked tires indicate a motorbike repair shop.

A walk like this was much needed break from the routine. I have a charity project running with the same principle, only camera and lens, work with what you got. Maybe I bring a reflector. It is good to go back to basic, you often end up being more creative when on a shoe string budget so to speak.

I think of it as duality and balance. With my work I do commercial (advertising) and editorial work. I go from corporate boardrooms to restaurants photographing food. I will be in studio doing products and still life to be on location photographing models. I am blessed to be able to have variety in my assignments and that variety I truly enjoy.

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