The Agents is the latest personal concept photo project that I’ve put together. It’s in a similar vein to Taipei Noir that was conceived and photographed in early 2012, but with a more complete theme to it. Whereas Taipei Noir was a series of loosely connected scenes without a concise beginning or end, leaving it up to the viewer’s imagination, The Agents aims for more of a narrative, with a definite conclusion by the end. Briefly, the story begins with a hacker passing a disk to a partner, only for the hacker to then be killed for it. Enter the agents, two police detectives who must track down the partner before it’s too late. The photograph above is taken from the climax of the story as the police confront the killer.
The idea for The Agents floated around for awhile before coming together. It had been sitting on the backburner as the story and concept were developed, before being shot in a single day with the 5 actors. It was a very bare bones production, with just myself working sans assistant, and the talent in front of the camera. We used the Yang San Lang Memorial Art Museum in Taipei for the early scenes, a nearby pedestrian underpass and police station for the middle section, and the soon-to-be demolished Huaguang community for the final scenes. Jesse Slingerland played the hacker who gets killed, Amanda Castillo his partner who receives the disk and gets captured, Harvey Lu is the killer, and Marco Grishaber and Sharine Chen are the agents. The full story unfolds below.
There are a couple more of these type concept shoots in the planning stages that are in need of some talent. If you’re an actor or model and want to get involved let me know.
Street photography is not my main forte but it can be a lot of fun, especially if it’s incorporated into the daily routine. As I go about my day, moving to appointments, running errands or just heading out to eat, I’ll carry a small camera with me and photograph anything of interest along the way. For a long time I did most of that with the camera on my Samsung smart phone but over the past month or so I’ve been taking a Fuji X-20 along with me and pulling it out from time to time. It’s quite a different way to photograph compared to the way I use my workhorse camera but that’s half the fun. Here’s a small selection of images shot on it over the past few weeks and converted into black and white.]]>
Moving into another month and diving into the archives for the calendar photograph. Over the past month, most of the images I’ve shot are either embargoed until publication or are more of a documentary nature that is not so fitting for a calendar. Hence a raid on the archives. This image dates from 2005 from a trip to Sun Moon Lake, a popular mountain tourist site in the middle of Taiwan. It was fairly quiet when I was there however these days it’s a favorite spot for mainland Chinese tour groups and is packed every day of the week.
As always, the links above will take you to the downloads.]]>
For the past week here in Taipei, student protesters have been occupying the Legislative Yuan in protest over a cross-strait trade service agreement with China, and what they claim is the undemocratic passage of the pact through Taiwan’s parliament. The protest has generally been peaceful with student organizers repeatedly urging their followers to remain non-violent. Things did take a turn for the worse on Sunday night as a group of students stormed and briefly occupied the nearby Executive Yuan. Riot police using batons and water cannon cleared them out before dawn on Monday and the situation returned to calm. There have been numerous news reports in both the local and international media so if you’re interested in learning more I’d suggest you seek them out. I’m just here to present a selection of the photographs I’ve shot over the past few days when I’ve been covering the events. Feel free to comment on the photos but keep them about the image – political comments will be deleted.
The World Wildlife Fund’s Pandas on Tour by French artist Paulo Grangeon is on display at Chinag Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei. 1600 papier mâché pandas plus 200 Formosan black bears are meant to highlight the need to protect endangered species. They first staged this installation in 2008, and the Taipei edition marks its first appearance in Asia. They’re on display until the end of March so if you’re in the area, get down and take a look. It’s for a very worthy cause and they are very cute. If you have kids, make sure to find the time to take them. Everybody loves pandas but especially the little ones if the reaction of those children I saw there was anything to go by.
Since the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan, the campaign for an end to nuclear power in Taiwan has picked up. With three operating nuclear plants and a fourth close to completion, it is an issue that affects everybody, especially as two of the existing plants and the under-construction plant lie a relatively short distance from Greater Taipei, home to some 8 million people. Add frequent earthquakes and typhoons into the mix and people get worried. There’s even been some recent calls by foreign political and strategic observers that Taiwan should develop a nuclear deterrent to counter the rise of China, although thankfully there’s no political support in Taiwan for that option. So with the third anniversary of the Japan disaster approaching, activists and citizen groups took to the streets in a series of marches around Taiwan to voice their opposition to nuclear power. Despite rain and cold, wintery weather, tens of thousands hit the streets in Taipei, along with smaller marches in other cities. I was on hand to photograph the beginning of the event but as I have been fighting the flu didn’t stay out too long in the wet conditions.
These photographs posted here are not strictly journalistic. I have applied a slight colour edit to them. There’s a good discussion in the current (April 2014) issue of PDN magazine on the larger issue of manipulation in news photography. The toning on these photos here is just for this, my personal blog. If you’re interested in the full, unedited set that I sent off to the news wires, you can see them here in my Light Rocket gallery. There are about twice as many images there, and they are all unprocessed, straight out of the camera.
Calendar time once again, and this month’s edition is a photograph taken at dawn at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It was actually shot through a window, which offers a unique set of challenges, not least reflections from the glass. In my eBook Travel Photography Essentials I give some pointers on how to go about photographing in such a situation so if you haven’t got a copy yet, what are you waiting for?
As usual the links to grab the calendar are below.
That’s all for now. It’s the Peace Memorial holiday weekend here so I’m going to head out and enjoy the good weather while it lasts.]]>
The latest edition of the Lonely Planet Taiwan has just been published, and for the third or fourth time a number of images from my travel photography of Taiwan library have been included. It’s always nice to see your work in print, particularly when it’s as respected and loved a publication as the Lonely Planet travel guides. All together they ended up licensing 6 photographs from me. It was a little different this time though. Previously they sourced the photography directly from their own image library. A number of years ago one of the photo editors there had approached me about collaboration which is how things got started. In 2012 though, they rolled the Lonely Planet Images section into a deal with Getty Images, and so now photographs are sourced from the Lonely Planet collection on Getty. Not quite as hands on as before but it does open up the collection to more buyers. Anyway, here are a couple more of my images that were used. If you want to see the rest, grab yourself a copy of Lonely Planet Taiwan
Travel Photography Essentials is an eBook designed to get you up and running with travel photography. From beginner level right through to enthusiast this 98 page book was created in response to many requests for such a resource. Within the pages are sections covering basic settings, composition and techniques as well as advice regarding pre-departure preparations. The bulk of the eBook though is taken up with subject oriented advice. Covering a range of common travel photography scenarios including people, landscapes and nature, festivals, city life and more. Rounding things out is a look at image management including basic workflow, monitor calibration and what to do if you think your photographs are good enough to sell.
Travel Photography Essentials eBook is priced at only US$15.
As a launch special, from now until February 28 2014, if you use the code travel33 you can get US$5 off the purchase price of Travel Photography Essentials.
Travel Photography Essentials eBook is priced at only US$15.
As a launch special, from now until February 28 2014, if you use the code travel33 you can get US$5 off the purchase price of Travel Photography Essentials.]]>
In all the years of posting monthly calendars I think this may be the first time that I’ve been a little late with one. With Chinese lunar new year falling on the last day of January and the accompanying family events for that, combined with deadlines for some work, and photographing the various lunar new year festivities, I just plain forgot to post it. So better late than never. Another from Australia, this one a sunset from King’s Beach in Caloundra. Grab it at the following links.
In other news I have an eBook coming out this month and there are some opportunities for affiliate positions for anyone interested in helping publicize it. You’ll get the chance to make some decent commissions on sales, as well as an advance review copy. Spaces in the affiliate program are limited though so let me know if you’re interested and I’ll do my best to fit you in.]]>