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Alone, the Surrealist wanders in the streets without destination but with a pre-determind alertness for the unexpected detail that will release a marvellous and irrestible reality just below the banal surface of ordinary experience.” – Peter Galassi

Surrealism’s great gift to sensibility was to make melancholy cheerful.” – Susan Sontag

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A few recent surreal-realist Kodachromes from a few melancholy wanderings.

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007: Pride London 2018

 

One more year one more Pride. This year’s took place in an uncharacteristically hot July in the backdrop of the football “coming home”, or so I gather from my friends…

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T H R E E . L I O N S ?

There is a joke about a pride of lions somewhere… 

Photographyically speaking, it was an event of the colours that assault the senses (and lenses); taste the rainbow they say, which in my case must’ve been the moment when a bubble literally popped in my face.. A spectacular metaphor for a subject which I’m uniquely overqualified for. (More on that in my upcoming PhD thesis on bubbles which I’m in the finishing stages of writing.)

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À . C I R C U S

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W H A T . F O O T B A L L ?

The clash with the world cup this year was an interesting one. You’d think pride and football aren’t natural venn diagram intersections, but I’m pleasantly surprised at the positive feverish. Quite refreshing.

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This year I took only a 50mm prime with me and nothing else. A continuation of my 50mm adventures documented on my Flickr under #TheGreat50mmProject. This was interesting to say the least.. I mean, you try manually focus a drag queen mid-spin to Lady Gaga – I almost feel like I’m dancing by proxy.. But, despite my masochistically photographic ways, I had more fun than I expected in framing the shots with more care than last year’s “auto-shoot-it-all-mode”. The end result was that I had a dozen of keepers with a total of about 150 shots. (As a reference, my friend who was shooting film shot 7 rolls.) Not too bad for a days work.

Until next time…

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Some out-takes: 

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005: May day

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S T E R E O | Pelham st., LDN

Pelham street is quite close to where I work (South Kensington) and so after pub on Friday, I took a walk to Sloan square and  shot a few frames. Having quite liked the “Post no bills” sign in New York, I was drawn to this one. A few of the other shots from this sign with a single person looked a bit lonely even though the minimalist in me was quite content, so I ended up merging 2 consecutive frames in this version 2. Interesting how the interpretation now changes in my head, whereas a solitary figure is certainly more abstract, version 2 is trying to visualise a post-pint double vision in a dystopian world of plan B’s… (or not :)

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D A Y . I N . T H E . L I F E #13916| China town, San Francisco

Interestingly, this bright and neutral Californian colour scheme does not translate well to gritty London.. at all. It seems that grittiness does not like to be poked with overtly colourful cheer, similar to real life I suppose.

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P I N O C C H I O | Charing X, LDN

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bonus snaps

004: Retro Futurism

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This week brought about a curious lens that I’ve been searching for the best part of a year. The (1956) Leitz Summaron 2.8cm f5.6 screw mount lens – a tiny lens (150g) with a demonstably large character. A recent remake of this classic in M-mount can be bought brand new at an eye-watering price and so it was a moment of pure joy when I happen to stumble upon the original version this week, second hand and in pristine condition.

What a lens! 

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T H E . O R I G I N A L . S U M M A R O N

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L I F E ‘ S . A . B L I Z Z A R D | One New Change, London

 

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B I O S P H E R E | One New Change, London

 

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S T O R Y . S O . F A R | Tate Modern, London

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D A Y . I N . T H E . L I F E  #181 | Barbican, London

To be continued…

002: 海纳百川

This set of 3 monochroms showcases some of my uncle’s recent calligraphic work.

The first phrase from the initial picture is the proverb “海纳百川”, which literally means “water containing hundred lakes” and literarily describes something of epic proportions. More subtly, it is used to describe the personality of a great person, as the trait of being able to see other points of view is the sign of a leader – a democratic leader in times of war was particularly honoured.

The phrase itself came from “三國时代” – the period of the three kingdoms (220–280 AD) and the late Eastern Han dynasty (c. 184–220 AD).  Below is its first recorded appearance, in an account by the 晋 Jin dynasty historian 袁宏 (yúan hóng, 328-376) written in memory of the famous warriors and generals of the 三國 period:

出处:晋·袁宏《三国名臣序赞》:“形器不存,方寸海纳。李周翰注:“方寸之心,如海之纳百川也,言其包含广也。”

translation: Origin: Jin · yúan hóng notes in 《Three Kingdom notable general review》:  A microscopic nature undisturbed by material, can rival even the most gargantuan of worlds. Addendum by 李周翰: for an inch of intent is like a sea containing hundred lakes, a saying of grandeur.

Like many old Chinese proverbs, it aims to condense a parable into 4 characters. Reading beneath the line, this particular one is saying that should an intent or idea be natural, however small it may be, has the capacity to explain or contain nature itself.

In some ways, this sentiment is also perfectly captured by the idea in set theory that there exists a one-to-one map between an infinite set A and the set A × A (A multiplied with itself). So does infinity equal infinity squared? I shall leave that as an exercise :)

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001: M-ine

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Influenced by the style of graphic minimalism, this image portrays the abstract path of light on a ceiling in a modernist building in Hong Kong. Subtly embedded in plain sight is a stark reminder to think outside the frame even when heavily constrained and boxed in.  – LS

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This illustrates the tale of the canaries in a coal mine. Sensing darkness as opposed to carbon monoxide, they remain isolated within the dystopian backdrop of London office blocks. Slowly lowered into the abyss by the converging rotating columns, they are being silently observed by the rectangular viewfinders. –LS

 


 

Note. I have hit a reset button on this blog to regularise the randomness of the content. In the future, there will be 2-5 curated images per (numbered) post with occasional text explaining my thoughts behind them. The plan currently is to update more frequently (weekly or fortnightly) depending on my schedule. However, if you want to see images more immediately, I encourage you to follow my Flickr or Instagram page both with the handle @thedroidlife.