At some points, the camera isn’t important any more. What becomes important is how I am going to show my viewers what I saw the moment I captured that picture. I don’t want to think about either the compositions or the camera settings. I only want to capture the scene the way it approaches my mind’s eye. Pure and simple.
I went to the 114th Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown, Los Angeles last weekend with a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and two lenses. But when I stood in the middle of the crowd, the festive atmosphere changed my plan. My brain told me that neither the narrative nor the reportage photographic style would convey the emotional states of the attendees. “You don’t want to show your viewers another street photography set. You want to show them the images from your memory.” The voice in my head told me.
So the camera stayed in my bag for the entire parade. I walked the streets of Chinatown with my iPhone 4s in hands, armed with the Hipstamatic app.
I shot the first four pictures in color. I captured the essence of the festival, but the memorable sense wasn’t there when I chimped at the LCD screen. I needed my viewers to look at the photos from the past. I wanted them to feel the sun, hear the street noise, enjoy the festive air when they look at the images from my memory. I thought the high contrast character of the Watts lens and the grainy, underexposed nature of the US1776 film would help in delivering my message.
Stripping off the jolly colors didn’t take away the celebratory mood but rather helping the viewer’s mind to explore the photos with their own imagination. The high contrast and grainy effects produced the low-fi feel, making the photos look like they were cut out from the old newspapers. Imperfection worked for me in this case.