Hong Kong Photoset: Street Shots

I’ve been interested in street photography for quite a while now, and especially influenced by the ideas discussed – often with brutal honesty – in image critique threads at the Hardcore Street Photography forum. Although my other posts about the Hong Kong trip have been intended more as useful guidance for other people planning their own trips than as “photography” posts per se, this one is just a collection of street shots I took on that trip. I’m happiest with the 3rd and the 9th shots because I think they best capture the kind of style I’m trying to develop in my photography (as opposed to more obvious shots like the 5th or 7th), but I would love to know your views on the photos, especially if your preferences are quite different from my own.

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Street Photography Shyness

Strange: walking around Singapore with the digital camera, I see things I want to photograph, but feel shy about doing so, whereas I’d snap away without a second thought in London. I tried to pinpoint the source of this reticence, and kept hearing this little voice going “don’t look at me like that, I’m not a tourist, God forbid that I should be mistaken for a foreigner in my own country…”

I suppose this makes some sort of sense. In London I take it for granted that people see me as a foreigner, so walking around acting like a tourist changes nothing. The thing that puzzles me is that this Singapore shyness is extremely uncharacteristic – usually, if people are looking at me, the temptation is to mess further with their heads.

The sillliest thing of all, of course, is that this is what’s most likely to happen: Michelle plucks up courage, takes photo. Starts stewing in the juices of cultural discomfort, “aretheylookingatme? arepeoplelooking? what can I do to subtly show I’m not a foreigner but just someone walking around taking photos, DAMMIT, is that so strange?”. Average Singaporean walking by on the street gives her a casual glance, and forgets her the next nanosecond. His next thought is “Eh, where to makan tonight ah?” (Singlish translation: makan = eat, eh and ah = exclamations we add on beginnings and endings of sentences, just…because.)

This all means I should stop being silly and unMichellian.