One of the best things about photography is it gives us a view of places we otherwise won’t be able to visit. Street Photography ups the ante by actually heading to side streets, roads not taken, and places that won’t appear in your usual travel guide. In Patrick Tsai’s modern times, he shows us a China devoid of media’s prejudice and how this diaristic photographer tries to prove that he can document his surroundings as well.
Is he successful? Let’s analyze his book to find out.
Eric’s Note: Streettogs Gallery is an on-going feature and intiative by Manila-based street photographer A.G. De Mesa. Check out more info here.
A.G.: Coming back from a small hiatus, I’m bringing you my analysis and some personal thoughts of Manila photographed by Jun Abe and published by Vaccum Press. I would like to apologize if the images of the book is bad, the actual book is absolutely brilliant. We’ll be back to regularly scheduled features next week!
Manila, Philippines. August, 1983. Then President Ferdinand Marcos just lifted Martial Law a few years prior but still hold absolute power over the Philippines. The country was in a state of constant flux due to President’s’ aggressive development plans under his dictatorship. This dictatorship was met with heavy opposition from his political rivals. Most notable is Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. It is in this month that Ninoy was shot dead in the then called Manila International Airport. With political turmoil and social instability plaguing the country, it was in this period when Jun Abe, armed with his camera, photographed the city of Manila.
30 years later, Vaccum Press comes out with the photographs coming from that trip.
So at the online advertising agency that I work (AKMG), the CEO there has a real great taste in art. He owns several Todd White pieces, who according to his website claims himself as the “critically acclaimed modern master and
portrait painter for the 21st century.”
This piece actually hangs in the bathroom, which is quite funny as some of my female co-workers have complained to him that is creepy that it looks like a bunch of photographers are taking photos of them while they use the bathroom. I, however, found it a quite fascinating piece (being a photographer and all). This image says a great deal about society and celebrity-worship, as the piece puts you in the shoes of a celebrity and shows you how it feels like to have all those cameras pointing at you. It definitely does make you feel a bit unnerved and uncomfortable, as the images of the photographers are abstract enough to actually portray face-less photographers. However as a photographer, I feel completely comfortable in front of a camera (as I am the one usually wielding it).