Today I shall be featuring one photograph from a friend, Jack Koh, which he took at Pudu Market, along with me in one of the usual shutter therapy sessions.
Photo credit: Jack Koh (do visit his Flickr page)
I think the modern photographers have been overly obsessed with gear talk and measurebating, and it is wise to just put all the technical gear discussion aside and talk strictly about photographs. In this case, I shall discuss about this photo taken by Jack, which I quite like a lot.
1) First, let me explain how Jack got this shot.
Before this particular visit, Jack did tag me along to Pudu and as he saw the whole market scene, he wanted to fit everything within his wide angle frame. He was especially attracted to the giant umbrella canopy setup providing shades to the market stalls and people. To do so, he needed a high ground. We did try to go into one of the shops nearby and tried our luck seeking permission to shoot from at least 2nd or 3rd floor window. Alas, luck was not on our side, hence Jack left the first encounter at Pudu without the shot. He was frustrated, I can see it in his face, but he was still very determined. He already have that particular shot in his mind, and somehow, that shot stayed burned (or is frozen the more appropriate word?) in his mind for quite a while.
Then came another shutter therapy at Pudu, and this time, Jack went prepared. At first I did not know why he brought along a monopod, since we usually would do street shooting with as little gear and equipment as possible. When he found his sweetspot to execute the shot, it finally came clear to me, and I remembered he still had that one shot he has not accomplished !! He mounted the Sony Alpha A99 (what a gorgeous camera that is) on that monopod, and extended it as high up as he could, with a wide angle lens shooting the sweeping scene of the Pudu Wet Market, the largest open air wet market in Malaysia.
The following is the image of how he executed the shot:
Like I said before, you know a passionate photographer, when you see one.
2) Pre-visualization and Pre-planning
I love Batman. And I believe Nolan screwed up TDKR movie but lets not go there for now. Batman always wins, because he is always well prepared, and he does pre-emptive strikes on his opponents, gaining him a clear head-start. He is always a few steps ahead of his enemies. That is one of the most important traits that made Batman, Batman.
I can say similarly applies to photography. To get the shot that you want, you have got to pre-visualize the shot, and plan beforehand on how you are going to achieve that shot. If one method failed, there will be another alternative. We tried to climb to higher ground, but did not have permission to do so. Did Jack give up? No, he went back to the market with a monopod, his alternative to achieve his shot. I was impressed by his will and determination to get this shot. The final outcome? It did not disappoint. That one shot nailed the sense of location perfectly, and showed the huge open area of the market covered with umbrella canopies, surrounded by old shop buildings, something unique to Pudu district only. His pre-visualization and pre-planning paid off.
Why three layers? In case you have not figured it out, the layers were the buildings, the canopies and what was underneath the canopies.
3) A Glimpse of my Street Hunting Ground
I have been to Pudu for so many times, I have lost count on my visits there. I come here almost every single time I was reviewing a new gear from Olympus. On ordinary weekends, I would also frequent Pudu for my shutter therapy sessions. I have come to love the place and the people. There is so much activities happening, people are always moving, the place is very lively and noisy, and full of subjects to shoot.
Perhaps, the only one thing that spoiled this otherwise a perfect shot, was me being accidentally captured in the frame. I underestimated his wide angle coverage, and it was my fault for stepping in to shoot him in action. I know I know, how could I ruin another photographers shot?
But come to think of it, now that I am in the shot, suddenly I felt that I was one of the subjects taken in this photograph, and I do not mind being there at all (can't say the same about the photographer's intention). This photograph literally showed me in my own shooting ground, in action, with a camera. This does not happen very often !
Some may argue this does not qualify to be street photography because it was not exactly street but at a market place and none of the shots looked anything similar to what HCB books and Vivian Maier books would tell you what street photography truly is. Screw that. I shoot what I want to shoot, and I love shooting what I want to shoot.
Note to self: stay out of other photographer's frame !!