FARMERS CARPARK

I’ve been quite fascinated with the old Farmers Carpark across the road from my work place in the city ever since I serendipitously discovered the photographic opportunities it provides earlier in July this year. This carpark was built in the 1950s and served as the carpark for what could be the most prestigious store in New Zealand at that time, Farmers. The carpark consists of two buildings connected by multiple bridges on each level, linking one building to another.

The highlight for me is the stairwell that rises from the middle of the roof top level, the corresponding stairwell on the other side and the industrial look of the building. As a bonus, the Art Deco Farmers store which is now the Heritage Hotel and a wall of interesting buildings serve as backdrop to two sides of the carpark.

Most of the time, I visit the carpark at lunchtime as it is generally when I do my photo walks.  Given I don’t have much of choice of what time I can visit the carpark, I make do with the angle of the sun and try and find my shots. However, what has always been a little disappointing to me is the large number of cars that park at this busy carpark. In my mind, I see two shots, both of the industrial stairwell. The first shot is a clean view of the stairwell without any cars and the second, the stairwell with a single classic car by the side.

I thought I break the cycle of workweek afternoon shots by cycling over this Saturday morning in the hope of a empty carpark before 8am. These are the result of my morning’s effort. I did not get the shots I was after but they are a record of what could be. I enjoyed being the only person in the carpark. Like a pencil holding rebel, I cycled up and down the bridges, going the opposite way, up and down the bridges connecting the two buildings. That hour of solitude composing the shots the way I want with no fear of my subjects looking up was very peaceful and nice. Great way to end a tough week.

Joy and Pride

Three weeks of excited anticipation came to a heady climax earlier in the week when my personal photo book I ordered from Blurb arrived from America. I spent the past three weeks constantly refreshing the order tracking page, watching the book move from Tukwila, Washington to Compton California to Auckland New Zealand. This photo book is a collection of the photos I took between Apr to the 1st week of August. I’ve been printing my books since last year, experimenting with different book sizes from Snapfish. This time, I decided to experiment with a 8×10 inch book from Burb.

When it finally reached my hands, I was giddy with excitement and I ripped into it without looking for a scissors or knife to help seperate the packaging. Putting my photos aside, the book felt good in my hands and the decision to print a 200 page book with a more premium matte paper paid off. The end product felt really good and the quality of the photo print looked really nice. Flipping through my book, joy and pride rose within me. I loved how the photos looked in the book and even though some photos looked a little darker than what I expected, the heft of the book coupled with the familiar digital photos of mine now printed in real life made me feel better than I’ve felt in weeks. I quickly learnt to ignore the 4 typos in the book.

Even though I post my photos on instagram and interact with others online, photography is a deeply personal thing to me. On instagram, I post more on the story function where stories disappear after 1 day and there is limited ways to draw people’s attention to it. But with this book, I was so surprised that I was so keen to actively share it with others. There was definitely a buzz to me for the entire week. I had to stop myself from talking more about it or thrusting (yes, thrusting) it into the hands of my friends. The short instagram story video of me flipping through my book brought a surprising amount of people reaching out and chatting to me. It allowed me to get to know a fellow photographer from Wellington and I got nice kudos from a professional photographer friend of mine whom I admire a lot.

5 days after, I reflected on my buzz from the past few days. Yes I liked the book. Yes, I was proud of what I did. However, I think the buzz came from seeing the fruits of my photography labour come to fruition when I was feeling so much frustration from another part of my life. With the help of my loving husband, I organised the layout of my book by spreading photos over the guest bed and my friend Carlo also chipped in with good advice. When things are not going well, it’s important to stay positive and focus on what is going well. My relationship friendship and my passions, Yoga and Photography are going well. Cheers to that!

Passing Through

1, 2, 3

Entering, Here, Gone.

Settling back into office life has been a very fulfilling experience. The chore of earning our keep made so much enjoyable when you stand shoulder to shoulder (metaphorical but with ample social distancing) with friends and colleagues. Seeing others working together with me helps me enjoy my work more than working alone at home. There is a deeply satisfying feeling of being able to communicate face to face with others to discuss, debate and delight in work and non work topics.

I’m an introvert who enjoys the company of others.

Changeable as Spring Weather

This spring morning was darker than others. It feels like a nice day to laze in bed and snuggle up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. It’s not cold but it’s just cool enough to be really pleasant. But I’m off to work this morning. A good yoga practice this morning followed by a short meditation has done the trick.

Chance Shadows

We came out of our second round of Covid lockdown a few days earlier on Wednesday night. Tomorrow is the start of a full week back work at level 1 in Auckland, New Zealand. In preparation, I cycled into work to drop off a week’s supply of breakfast food and snacks. While at work, I saw the skylight capturing beautiful Sunday afternoon light. I’m glad I brought my camera along. Such a Boy Scout. Prepared for photography.

A Mini Reset

I can easily attribute how I’m feeling about work to the impact of working from home due to Covid. However, that would be an easy cop out. I’ve been feeling unhappy at work for sometime now. I can’t blame a global pandemic for my disappointment with work and my desire to just throw in the towel. However, I can understand how Covid could have impacted my colleagues and influenced their behaviour.

In any case, when flights re-opened and Air New Zealand launched a sale on flights around New Zealand, I jumped on the chance to join my husband in his work trip to the Wellington region to visit my team in Wellington and give me a chance to escape from my familiar environment. I’m looking for this trip to give me a break up in my routine and give me a mini reset. Spending time with people from work I like always gives me a chance to balance my yin and yang out.

Wellington, Windy Wellington, is a fun place to visit. It is a pocket size dynamo with a wide range of cafes, restaurants and sights. I was on a completely different stage of my photography journey when I previously visited Wellington. This time, I’m armed with a different view of photography and I’m keen to explore. Here are some photos from about 2 hours of shooting spread over an evening and morning I got to spend ion Wellington.

Online Connections Made Real

Social media is sometimes portrayed as evil. A place for people to seek the approval of the world or lose themselves in the lives of others. However, it is can also be a place to learn, be inspired and maybe, contribute to the general pool of positivity. In this world of social media, I have migrated from Facebook to instagram. I find that instagram allows me to be inspired by the photography of others in a positive mindset.

In this big wide world of instagram, I’ve connected with people close and far. Lorenzo (originally from The Phillipines) who lives in Singapore together and Richard who lives in Auckland, New Zealand are some of the few friends I’ve made online. While online friendships like pen pals from days of old enrich outlives beyond instagram likes, nothing beats a handshake and a chat over coffee or food. I tried to meet Lorenzo when I went back to Singapore in 2019 but the birth of his first child meant that he was back in The Phillipines when I was in Singapore. A little disappointing but hopefully in a post covid world we can connect in real life (IRL).

On a more positive note, I caught up with Richard for lunch today, connecting him also with my friend Carlo. We met at Ponsonby Food Court for lunch on a pre daylight saving Saturday afternoon. Almost similar to a blind date scenario, us two grown men were sending messages on instagram to make the “date” and provide descriptions of what we’re wearing or caring to help with the identification. And no, there was no yellow or red rose on the lapel. I did however were a bright yellow T-shirt. The three of us had a very good lunch, sharing our interests in photography, taking about gear; why it does not matter and what our current approach to photography is. I also tried to explain poorly why I share a lot of my shots on instagram stories rather than the more permanent regular posting. I don’t think I understand my intentions well enough to convince myself or anyone.

Following lunch, Carlo headed off to town while Richard and I walked along Ponsonby Road talking about what catches our eyes when we walk with a photographer’s mindset. I’ve never done a photo walk before. Photography is generally an exercise I do alone. I go into my zone and I physically disengage from the world as I enter in a singular existence with the classic chrome world around me. It was a new experience for to share photography insights with Richard as we walk. I was so keen to share with him the parts of my neighbourhood that I hunt for shots at and hear what he thought of it. Richard was busy shooting away and I played the part of the support crew, making his shooting “professional” and “legitimate”.

Just past halfway down Ponsonby Road, we talked about shooting people and how being brave can reap rewards. We discussed how we want to capture people and not make it a point to not intrude into their personal time and space. While we love interesting characters, we also discussed how we would avoid shooting people who are interesting because of the situation they find themselves in. Yes, there maybe a documentary aspect to photographing such scenes. But I personally struggle to justify the scene.

Shortly after parting ways with Richard, I walked past a scene that looked very interesting. I took the following two shots.

I love how the person was hidden in this scene. But as I walked up to there person, I found him with his head in his hands. He could be tired or sad. I don’t know because all I did was take a photo of him. I’m ashamed to say that I did not step up to ask him if everything was ok. I found many reasons to not reach out. I’m not going to post the photo I took of him. From a photographic stand point, I thought the photo was really good. But I rather write about my inability to connect after glorifying my efforts of connection above.

This is the reason I call my site Good Intentions. I do want to do go. I do want to be a better person. But sometimes all my efforts remain good intentions.

An Interview With Ishiuchi Miyako

I watched an interview with a Japanese photographer, Ishiuchi Miyako before heading to tennis on Sunday morning. It really struck a chord with me. I watched it twice before heading out. Here are some thoughts of the video.

  • She started in photography by accident. A friend stored film developing equipment in her parents house and she decided to give it a shot because she felt it was a waste to not use the equipment. The English subtitles struck a chord with me -“if you don’t use it, it becomes a waste”
  • The documentary focused on her photography projects. The projects were simple but yet so profound. For example, photographing hands and feet of 40 year olds to document her 40th birthday and photographing her recently deceased mother’s belongings to begin a reconciliation process.
  • Things left behind by the dead were important to them but they are garbage to others. It makes me think, is the attachment I have to certain things worth my time? It is not so much as what others think of the things I have but rather if I were to hold on to something, let it be really be useful and meaningful
  • Photography is one more chance to see the past more meaningfully.

Tuesday in the City

Tuesday was good. Tuesday was amazing. I had to go to the office to sort out an IT issue for my team. That means a chance to shoot in the city and more importantly, more food options.

Lunch was at Chamate, a Chinese restaurant on Swanson. Customers enter, sit and place their orders on an order slip and hand it over to the waiter. Not me. It says a lot when the staff already know what I want. TC3 – Butter Prawns. Either I visit too often or I always order the same thing. Or maybe both.

After lunch, I camped out at a spot by the entrance to the restaurant and captured these shots.

Moving on from that spot, I walked through town towards Britomart. Like most cities, Auckland is constantly undergoing road or building works. But at Covid alert level 3 and the recent move to 2.5, there seems to be even more construction work. Maybe with so many people working from home, the fluorescent vests standout even more.

There is a good reason why I won’t go down the film route. I tend to take multiple shots of the same scene. Multiple shots does not mean two or three. I’m talking 20-30. It might not be a good reason but it is a good reason for me as I’m as tight arse… except when it comes to food. 1 doughnut is not enough. Let’s throw in a slice of lemon pie too.

I ended up with these 2 shots from a pool of around 50 shots of this scene. I deleted most of them without having a second thought. But I’m happy with these two straight out of camera shots.