Just added a new photo gallery to the Hong Kong collection
MAJOR UPDATE: We’ve just updated the TAI YUEN MARKET, HONG KONG photo gallery.
May 2. 2021 – We’ve just update the Tai Yuen Market photo gallery. The images that were here in the first place have all be “refurbished”. Then, we’ve added another 20 images.
Hmm, how do you “refurbish” images? Well, easy enough. Most of the photography for this project was done in the 2011 time frame. Much of the photography was done using a Canon EOS 5D MkII. Basically we just “reworked” the original Camera RAW images from that time.
At the time and while working on this project, I was using CAPTURE ONE version 8 to prep all the digital images. Just recently PHASE ONE upgraded CAPTURE ONE to version 21.xx. I may go into more details on my digital image workflow in another post. But, just for now, it’s worth mentioning that there are significant differences and improvements between the two versions. More on this anon.
As for the gear I was using at the time, while the Canon 5D MkII is a full frame DSLR sporting a 21.1 megapixel sensor, this is not the sort of rig one should take on a social documentary shoot – and this camera in particular. It’s a bit like taking a city commute moped on a cross country run. It was later acknowledged that the MkII had some serious shutter bounce issues. Thus, trying to use this rig hand-held at anything less than 1/60th of second at f/5.6 was kind of asking for trouble – as in soft, blurred images – especially in detailed areas such as the subject’s eyes and other facial features. I touch on this in the original post below.
The beginning of the original post…
As with so much going on here on this website, the photography here is NOT new work. The images featured in this gallery are part of a collaboration with the Link REIT, a Real Estate Investment Trust based in Hong Kong. Currently Link REIT is the largest in Asia in terms of market capitalisation.
The purpose of this collaboration was to show off the unique features and innovative designs of the then newly refurbished Tai Yuen Market. Innovations included air-conditioning, sluiced drainage, high level power points as well as innovative signage and wide, uncluttered passageways to enhance the customer walk-through and experience. Most of the photography for this project was done in 2011.
In a sense, with this project I was given “carte blanche” and more or less, allowed to “indulge” myself. And, for this, I must express my gratitude and thanks to Link’s management.
In the process, I got to know not only the stall holders, but the market’s management staff and some of the regular customers who patronise this market. In one sense, this was a sort of a, “Day in the Life of…” exercise. Except that, we took this one stage further.
In the process, we took a look at the whole food supply chain – Tai Yuen Market’s and, for the whole of Hong Kong for that matter. In this, we went with the stall holders to source their supplies – be it for vegetables in the Fanling Wholesale Vegetable Market, for fruit in the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market, for fish and seafood at the Aberdeen Fish Market and more of the same at the Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Fish Market.
This collection of images is but a small sample of work from this particular collaboration. More images featuring Tai Yuen Market will be added to this gallery in due course. More galleries from other legs of this project will be added in the near future.
Regarding the featured image – this lady and her husband ran a vegetable stall in the market. If you want to know about busy, this couple gives the term “busy” a new meaning. The husband does the buying. One morning we joined him shortly after midnight at the Fanling Wholesale Vegetable Market where he does his buying. Here we spent a hour or so with him. His main task was sourcing his supplies – this by the styrofoam box full. Here he was after good quality fresh, green leafy vegetables – mainly bot-choy, pak-choy as well as lettuce, broccoli, celery and the like. Carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes as well as varieties of squashes and other seasonal vegetables were all part of the mix. While buying, every box, crate and punnet is checked for quality and freshness.
He gets back to the market before 6:00 AM and starts packing and stacking his stall’s shelves. When the market opens at 8:00, his wife takes over to handle all the morning sales. A little later in the day, the husband returns to trim up the vegetables and to restock the, by now, rather depleted shelves.
There are three basic rush-hour periods at the market – the early morning, a period in the late morning and then, in the late afternoon through to closing time at 7:00 PM.
As for the couple’s children, it’s the story of Hong Kong all over. All their children are studying at college. And, this is the story of one stall. There are many similar stories like this through out the market.
The work we did on this project was eventually published in a corporate publication. The publication – a PDF document – can be downloaded here.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Much of the photography for this project was done using a Canon EOS 5D Mk II and several lenses [the Canon 5D Mk III came out in March, 2012]. This was the gear that I had at the time. Not the best for social documentary work. Part way through the project, I acquired and started using a Leica M-3 and a pair of Leitz lenses. Yes, I went back to using film. And the results, they were quite telling. Material for another post. Enjoy…
FEATURED WORK: Rogan’s work is featured on the following websites:
You can find out more about Rogan and why he does what he does here on his ‘Artist’s Statement’ page.