Vintage cities show their roughness in lovely ways…

Richard Lund Actor, King Angmar from Dragonquest, translite photographer

Richard Lund played King Angmar in Dragonquest

People and buildings may not look much alike, but we can appreciate both for similar reasons: their roughness. Let’s have a look.

My travels sometimes take me to interesting places. I look at location photography from a completely self-focused perspective, even maybe in a crazy kind of way. This is my account of things. Yeah, you may think it is mostly silly, but there is a nugget of truth in with the pipe dream part.

Most of the time producers play the game by their rules. They control where I go on location to make translites. If they want to shoot on a sound stage for part of the movie, they will choose locations that can come on to the stage easily and make economic sense. They want to shoot the night scenes on stage, for example, so that call time can be at 6 am and wrap at 7 pm. That way they can still have a social life and tuck the kids into to bed, then wind up at the hot little card game, the jazz club, or the Mansion, (no, not that one.) And they might pick locations to move onto sets that are too dangerous or too humid or too boring or just too darn far away from their homes. I have imagined a kind of location lotto game that is completely rigged by the producers. It goes something like this. Chicago South Side: We go to stage! French Riviera: we have to shoot the real place to make the film authentic. Savannah college campus in the summer: stage! How could we get there and back in a day? Tahitian fishing village: We must build it to get the perfect light. In producer-speak, that means that it would be more fun to take the wife, the kids, the nannies, the translators, both puggles with the dog-walker, and the personal assistants to paradise on the studio’s dime.

Now, there are some places that genuinely are remote. Tibet… India… Australia and New Zealand… Alaska. And there are plenty of “grab-the-walkie, get-down-in-the-street, stay-up-all-night and get-the-shot” producers. But, remember, I am the one making the story up to fit my own personal bias. The truth is that there are two basic requirements for a good location: good water and a loo. All the rest is just a plus. But they better look good!

So, I do want to return to pictures and art and that kinda stuff and say that cities get more beautiful as they decay because the roughness goes up dramatically with each passing century. Keep away the wars and the bombs and the urban renewal folks, and you may just come up with some real architectural gems. True urban eye candy. Today I will show some from Shenyang, China. Not the center of the world, like Beijing’s Forbidden City, but at least home to the only Chinese Imperial Palace outside of Beijing. Shenyang is the capital of Liaoning Province, bordering North Korea. Shenyang is a city that reminds me a lot of Chicago, far enough north to get the snowy cold weather and filled with people spurred on to be industrious all the time. At least that what I saw when I was there visiting some friends of mine a few years back. The first picture is part of the complex of the Imperial Palace, if I recall.

Richard Lund's China, Shenyang Imperial Palace, Roughness in Chinese architecture,

Simple, elegant, Chinese building in the area of the Imperial Palace

Click on it to make it larger and feast your eyes on the intricate roughness. Visually yummie.

Roof figures on Chinese Imperial Palace, Richard Lund, Shenyang, Liaoning Province

Lots of figures on the roof to protect it. Beautiful mottling.

One more shot at roughness today and to depth cues. Here I present a picture of a little boy on a stairs up above a simple vegetable market in Xian. We escaped the Jade store in the block that was on the intinerary of the tour and found fresh food and lots to see for an hour or so. I don’t know his name. I just like his humanness, gladly imperfect with lucid eyes.

Chinese boy in red, Richard Lund, depth cue of focus,

Chinese Boy in red on stairs

Thanks for stopping by for a look. Share the site if you liked it. Thanks. ©2011 Richard Lund All Rights Reserved

About Richard Lund

Translite photographer and a reader and a talker.
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