A rainy afternoon at Barbican Estate – London

L1008013One of the thinks I wanted to visit during my last trip to London was Barbican Center.

The estate is an example of Britsh Brutalist architecture built between the 1960s in an area once devastated by World War II bombings. Opened in 1969 and is now home to around 4,000 people living in 2,014  apartments. The residential estate consists of three tower blocks and 13 terrace blocks. You can read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbican_Estate

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I cant remember having been there in my many trips to London when I was younger, I probably spent most of my time around Camden, Soho and Portobello road.

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I finally reached the place on a rainy afternoon ; weather and timing were no really photography friendly. I did not take any film shots and I think I only used the 35 and 35 summicrons. I regret not having pulled out the M6 loaded with Tri-x from the bag, but it was really feeling cold and wet at the time

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The place is really majestuous in its own way, it has been shot many times and its probably great for on location shots. The brutalist style is characterized by the usage of concrete on the outside parts of the buildings.

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There are a lot of different constructions, passages and angles which can provide a great variety of subjects.

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How to get there? Easy : Barbican is an underground stop on the Circle line, Hammersmith & City line and Metropolitan line.

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A lot of details of the architecture and decoration are surely work a look as the lift lobby above (where does this flare come from?)

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There are plenty of resources online about the estate, even some BBC programs about life in the estate.

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All shots taken with Leica M262 and summicrons 28mm Asph v1 and 35mm Asph v2

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A rainy afternoon at Barbican Estate – London

Not shooting much in Naoshima

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Kusama Iconic Pumpkin in Naoshima

Naoshima is an island town in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, it has been a long time project to go there, as it hosts several arts museum built by Tadao Ando as well as a famous hotel made by the same architect.

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This year we finally made the trip to Osaka and on the way to Hiroshima we stopped at Naoshima. Getting there seems difficult at first, but in the end it is quite easy, you take the train either to Takamatsu or to Tamano and ferry to the island.

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The Benese house hotel is full 6 months in advance so we had no chance to stay there. We then decided to sleep in Takamatsu and take a ferry for a day trip in Naoshima. Takamatsu is a secondary town, with a big hotel “JR Clement” (a bit expensive for what you get) and a few restaurants where you can manage in english. It also hosts the garden-museum of Isam Nogushi which is well worth the visit.

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A day is Naoshima is probably enough, the Chichu museum hosts some art pieces made to measure and the Benese house museum has an awesome collection of modern and contemporary art. The Lee Ufan museum is also worth the visit, although less well know if you are not into minimalist art. We took a bus to the Chichu Museum with is the furthest palace from the ferry and walked our way back from there.

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The subtle architecture of Tadao Ando is beautiful and invite to meditation. All the buildings are no photo, so you will see here no photos of the them. And I must say I did not miss being surrounded by people taking selfies, not that the place is packed though.

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The rest of the island contains minor exhibitions in some traditional houses and some outdoors installations.

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We spent a nicely filled 10 hours there and probably enjoyed most of it. Time to take the ferry back to Takamatsu

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Pictures shot with Leica M262 and Summicron 28/35 or 50.

Not shooting much in Naoshima

MiniExtraoddinary on Cinestill 50D

 

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Last Sunday Mini Cooper sponsored a “street art” event in Joo Chiat area in East Singapore. I thought it was a good opportunity to go and burn some film.

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I did not really read what it was about, but let s say that it brought some art in the streets and back alleys of Joo Chiat.

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Windows of pastry shops got all rainbowed.

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Best work in my opinion was the above by AikBeng Chia, a local photographer. Streets shots of the area print on T shirts set on the local version of drying lines.

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The set-up of back alley sized sports facilities was also quite interesting.

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While the lady above is responsible for the discreet weeds growing from the concrete pillars.

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Finally the giant hopscotch above seemed to have been quite popular. I ran out of film when I got to the Tea bar. But I shot some 35mm with the M6, so it will be on a next post.

Joo Chiat is extraordinary even without Mini, an easy place to burn film

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One roll of Cinestill 50D, shot at 50 ISO with Hasselblad 500Cm and Planar 80mm F2.8. I managed to get only 11 shots my Hassie back has a spacing problem.

The 50D is quite nice, fine grain, can pack a bit of punch even in this overcast weather. I used my old Gossen Bisix 2 meter (bought in 1989) which proved to still work quite well. Scanner is the Epson v800.

MiniExtraoddinary on Cinestill 50D

Zhoujia Qingming

The Lion dance troupes from the Zhoujia style go each year to Bright Hill temple for Qingming celebration to honor their founder. The Zhoujia is a special form of Lion Dance, which is very energetic, founded in Singapore, there are very interesting videos on the history of this martial art, coming from the south China King-Fu. Mister Li, in his 80’s is he current master and the son (or grand son) of the founder

The Qingming or Ching Ming festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English (sometimes also called Chinese Memorial Day or Ancestors’ Day).

The troupes gather at the bottom of the slope getting up to one of the temple courtyards (for those who do not know Bright Hill temple, it is a massive compound), they run up one by one up the steep slope (and very sunny last week).

The lion dancers perform around the yard at the sound of drums and pray as different shrines before ending before a table laid with offerings. They then move aside and align waiting for the other troupes to parade as well. A total of 6 groups were present this day.

 

Afterwards there will be some common praying to the ancestor, Kung-Fu demonstration , a full minute of full strength drumming and a final tour.

Not very easy to shoot action with the Hassie.

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Cinestill 50D

Zhoujia Qingming

Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

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Aspect of Katie Ishtar ¥o-landi

So holidays are over, and after a one week business trip to Philippines I am back home where I can start processing my pictures. Let me start by saying that I enjoyed very much the Leica Kit that I wrapped in my last post (The summer bag). Sadly the 90mm did not get much use (apart from some marmots)  and my sensor is dusty so every shot with some blue sky needs editing.

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Let me start by a small post about the exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” the latest work of Damien Hirst at Foundation Pinault both at Palazzo Grassi and at la Punta Della Dogana. This is off the Biennale, but probably the most striking work to be seen in Venice this year.

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Gilded Medusa head

Hirst exhibitions is a colossal collection of the old world wonders as they have been recovered from a wreck in Easter Mediterranean sea. The exhibition boasts the “original” treasures as recovered, some footage of the salvaging, some artifacts redone as new.

This fictional (needless to say) story and the amount (in quantity, variety of materials and size) of the objects in display is mesmerizing, whatever anyone can think of Hirst work. If you still have time don’t hesitate to go.

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Silver Unicorn skull

The ticket covers both exhibitions, but frankly the exhibition at Punta Della Dogana is superior to the Palazzo Grassi, so if you have to chose… The Palazzo offers two major items, a colossal status of three stores high (below) and a piece inspired by the haircut of Yolandi from the band “Die Antwort” and teh bust of the artist girlfriend (so was I said, but I did not have a chance to check).

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You can check  http://www.palazzograssi.it/

Note also that the building at the Punta Della Dogana is a 17th century warehouse refurbished by Tadao Ando, this by itself is worth visiting.

All shots with Leica M262 with Summicron 28mm or 50mm.

Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

CENO2 Graffiti Artist

This is the second time I bump into CENO2  over the past few years he is a Singaporean graffiti artist that lives abroad, apparently often in Chicago.

This time again I saw him working on a mural at Somerset Skate park in central Singapore. This was one of the first days where I was carrying around the M262 and Summicron 28.

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Back two weeks later I saw he had already replaced his drawing with the two followings.

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These were taken with the old Summilux 50mm V2 mounted on the M262.

You can learn more about Ceno2 at https://www.facebook.com/Ceno2Artkhalytis/

 

 

CENO2 Graffiti Artist

The Fire Dragon – Part 1

“it all started as a riot”

 

I felt very lucky last week when a friend of my wife told us a bout a fire dragon performance organized by a temple in Balestier area in Singapore. In 9 years here I have never seen such a thing and was very thrilled to see one.

The Fu De Gong temple is located in Kim keat lane, very easy to access by bus. I have been told by the friendly member of the temple that this is a taoist temple. I did not see the actual temple as we arrived at night fall and the premises were covered by the tent hosting the celebration.

There was maybe a couple of hundred people attending, on one side of the tent was a stage with a Cantonese opera (or wayang) on the other side a large shrine and in the middle an area for the performances.

When we arrived a very good quality lion dance was in process and we enjoyed for a good half hour until the riot begin. From the end of the road the Dragon was approaching; with music and flames; until it finally enters the tent (but that’s another story)…

The Fire Dragon – Part 1