Sanford & Son

taiwan,market,black and white,street photography, I often get asked about do I ask permission...,etc. about my street shots. So from time to time I run down my street ninja ethic for those that have not heard it from me before. So here goes... What I hope to capture is a frozen moment of reality in a bubble-in this case through a lens and digital light sensor. Why don't I ask people if it's ok to take their shot...well once you do it's not candid and therefore not what I really am after. Even if people agree maybe they're still going to be a little nervous and that will show. Even good actors have a hard time acting "natural" let alone Mr. and Mrs. Everyman. Even worse than that that is someone giving you some big fake smile and in Asia the "victory sign" (looks the same as our "peace sign"). Am I saying that you can't have a good looking posed portrait or fake smile shot? Well yes and no. It depends what you think looks "good." This is a very subjective matter. Since photography is a very subjective art the photographer gets to be the determinator of the subject-in my case I like candid and natural. That being said, many people are cognizant of me shooting them as I go "click" or maybe a fraction of a second before. For those that realize I shot them before I evaporate into thin air often I'll smile or wave at them-many smile and wave back. Yes, many of the people I shoot are happy about me taking the time to shoot them and finding them worthy as a subject. Sure there are some that don't want to be shot. If it is clear to me that someone doesn't want to be shot I don't shoot them. They wouldn't make a good candid shot anyway-aware and hostile!!! I have erased shots of some that have been shot and told me they would like to be removed-sure why not. I'm out doing this because I want to present these people in a special way, not to generate ill will. Many of my shots are misconstrued by viewers thinking-ha you've been caught or are getting the stink eye... I'm not saying that doesn't happen but in fact Asian people tend not to emote that freely when in a neutral environment. Sure they know how to smile and cry and even scream-it's just that their culture has taught them it's not good to be too emotive and reveal too much of yourself. That being said it delights me when I get a good shot of them being more emotive in their behavior. So I thought I'd just share these tidbits of my gray matter to those of you new to my site or images-thanks :D A Tribe Called Quest-Award Tour

Panda Looming

black and white street photography night market taiwan Last night I was having a discussion with some local friends. The subject of imagination came up. One friend said she has difficulty using her imagination. I knew immediately what she was referring too. The traditional Confucian education system emphasizes rote memorization and favors classics and awareness and acceptance of them over exploring and considering divergent culture or thought. I even told her when I first came here I wondered if so many Taiwanese "could be so dumb" before I realized it was my ignorance of the education system and resulting consequences, and no-not a widespread lack of intelligence as I wrongly intuited. During my early days here locals in the workforce were continually working overtime and had 1 day off a week leaving precious little time or energy to nurture forays into the creative or other areas requiring challenging the imagination.This was the reality behind the export engine Little Dragon Taiwan was at that time.I realize that imagination is not a measuring stick of intelligence and am sure that people can live perfectly happy lives without one-I'm glad that through art I can explore my imagination. I'm also glad that many younger Taiwanese are also developing their imaginations and creative impulses.

The Temptations-Just My Imagination

Something Strange

Definitely not the Energizer Bunny...I guess I'll proceed at my own risk.


There's something strange going on tonight,
something going on that's not quite right,
Joey's nervous and the lights are bright,
there's something going on that's not quite right.

There's something going down that wasn't here before,
keep your eyes glues to the floor,
no-one's gonna save your life,
something strange going on tonight.

There's something going on that wasn't here before,
keep your eyes glued to the floor,
no-one's gonna save your life,
something strange going on tonight.

There's something going on tonight,
something's going on that's not quite right,
Joey's nervous and the lights are bright,
there's something going on that's not quite right.

Chit Chit

IMGP5403.jpg Don't you just love those guys(usually men, probably exclusively men) that make the guns with their fingers and make that "chit, chit" sound like they're pulling the triggers in their playful smarmy way? I've been experiencing a new level of understanding and satisfaction of adjusted ISO and aperture settings for those of you that care or are more technically oriented.

Jef Lee Johnson-Live