Last week I was in Ho Chi Minh City armed with my iPhone camera. As my Twitter followers would have no doubt seen I had a grand time taking photos. I have recently downloaded Instragram which allows to you post photos pretty much instantly with a geo-location. For me this added a new dimension. I could take photos and label them with a more or less accurate location. With the camera apps I felt like I had a whole camera bag filled with lenses and film that I could change at will. I took my video camera as well but rarely used it.
It was very satisfying yet disconcerting to have a virtual camera bag. Instead of just pointing and shooting, I had a whole new vocabulary of effects with which to experiment. Some of the effects are painterly. So now I had a way of abstracting what was before my eyes pretty much instantaneously. I found this added another layer to my engagement with place. Not only was I framing shots and deciding what would work and what wouldn’t, I was also imaging colour casts and distortions in way that was reminiscent of working with monochrome film with my old box Brownie as a child where you had to imagine how real life scenes would look in black and white.
The ‘photo’ above was taken with a Salvador Dali style lens which behaves quite unpredictably to skew and mirror the scene in front to the camera’s eye.
Further along the canal bank was a hand cart. It sat there lonely, waiting for its owner to return. Behind it were the owl eyes of a river boat. It was an irresistible subject. I experimented with the different effects I had at my disposal. I was wanting to evoke the heat haze and the unbroken way of life people had on the river boats carrying produce from family farms to the market. I chose a lens that pulled saturated colours towards pastel hues. Then I chose a lens that pulled the colours to give a burned effect. I guess what I enjoyed most was shifting the photos away from typical high res digital photography into an old school effect at the swipe of the screen and the touch of a button.