A small collection of b/w (monochrome) photographs, taken over a considerable period of time, with very different equipment, such as Hasselblad, Nikon film and Nikon digital, the Ricoh GRD2 and Olympus.
The play with light and shadows is what makes the development of photographs in black and white so exciting.
For portraits and people shots in b/w please visit http://hahn.zenfolio.com/p193233205/ .
Thomas H. Hahn
A collection of chance encounters, accidents, and discoveries. A couple of these pictures are arranged ("staged"), otherwise things were left alone and just slightly recontextualized. Against usual (somewhat harried) practice, with these photographs I did pay a bit more attention to exposure and composition.
Taken in the following locations:
Norwich, upstate New York.
New York City, Battery Park.
Sanya, Hainan Island, China.
Bar Harbor, Maine.
Ithaca, upstate New York.
Sergiev Posad, Russia.
In contrast to my other collections and galleries, this collection is not serialized or homogeneous in any way. Cameras and gear differ considerably, from medium format to digital.
Thomas H. Hahn, Ithaca, NY
A selection of photographs of an esoteric genre: artistic photographs of nudes in early Republican China (New: see also this new gallery with photographs from the 1950s)
It is a curious situation, the nude in Chinese art versus the same subject's ubiquity in western art forms. Francois Jullien, comparing the two traditions and tracing the subject through the respective histories of literati art, rather plainly observes: "...in the development of Chinese aesthetics we can see what resisted the nude to the point of ruling out the possibilty of its existence. China simply missed it." (The Impossible Nude - Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics, U of Chicago Press, 2007, p. 42)
That China "missed the boat" in this regard (whether in traditional painting, sculpture, or most other art forms) still seems baffling. Jullien, at pains to explain this omission, if that is what it is, brings interesting perspectives to bear. The Song dynasty scholar Su Dongpo is quoted as saying for example: "Men, animals, palaces and even tools all have a constant form; on the other hand, mountains, rocks, bamboos, trees, waves or mist have no constant form..." (ibid, p.71) As it stands, to draw or paint what according to Su Dongpo's distinction has constant form (say, a human figure), interestingly enough is of lesser value than painting a rock. Therefore, Jullien deduces, the human figure or body in China was never invested with the same philosophical and metaphysical dimensions as in western traditions. Jullien's treatise on the subject is well worth reading.
With the year 1914, China embarks on a major discovery: it's own bodies. These are some examples. Further illustrations can be found in popular magazines from the 1930s onward, such as Beiyang Pictorial News 北洋画报, Chin-Chin Screen, Liangyou huabao 良友画报, Meishu shenghuo 美术生活, etc.
Thomas H. Hahn, Ithaca, NY
A series of official propaganda photographs from Qufu at the height of the anti-Confucius campaign. As the ancient home to "the Sage" and his heirs, Qufu was a prime target for intellectual and physical attacks from the Red Guards during the latter stages of the Cultural Revolution. The slogan "ethics serve politics" was heard throughout the land, and many traditional Confucian ritual practices were banned, such as the mourning period after a family member's passing.
Qufu's Confucius Temple (in fact a series of grand ancestral and sacrificial halls and courtyards) was converted into a revolutionary teaching facility, with showrooms of past evils and well-trained guides speaking of the exploitation of the old days and ways.
Shandong Forum on Confucius (1962)
Joseph, William, A: The Critique of ultra-Leftism in China, 1958-1981; Stanford University Press, 1984
Gu Chun: The Reactionary Nature of the Worship of Confucius by the Feudal Ruling Class and the Anti-Confucian Struggles of the Peasants as Seen from the History of the Temple of Confucius at Qufu; in 考古 Kaogu, 1974.01 (in Chinese).
Pu Jen: Qufu, once a Shrine of Confucius and His Followers Becomes a Battlefront for Criticizing Lin Piao and Confucianism; in 考古 Kaogu, 1974.03 (in Chinese).
Pu Hong: The Kong Family's Mansion at Qufu - a Manor of Landlord Tyrants; in 考古 Kaogu, 1974.04 (in Chinese).
Thomas H. Hahn
All images taken within a short time span, maybe 4 weeks, in two countries (China and the USA). The equipment is always the same: The Fujifilm S5 and the Sigma 150mm Macro. On DX this lens gives enough reach for close-ups, portraits and candid shots (as well as of course macros, which are not included here). It preserves colors accurately, doesn't add or substract, which the S5 has a tendency to, in JPG at least. Most of these files were developed in Lightroom 3 (final version) from JPGs in fact. At present I prefer the Sigma over my Zeiss 100mm Macro, mainly I suppose because of its responsive, completely silent AF operation and its farther reach. Image quality wise, the Zeiss still pulls away, but both are close enough in terms of IQ to achieve completely satisfactory (or even inspriring) results.
Thomas H. Hahn
Photographs taken on Sunday, April 26, 2015, at the How Weird Street Festival on, well, Howard Street, in San Francisco. Only one focal length and lens used, namely, the Sigma 35mm DG HSM. Camera: Sony A900.
Being in a bit of an urban canyon, I was mainly looking for pockets of good light, where certain subjects would stand out. That wasn't achievable in every image (far from it), but #7 might be a good example to highlight my technique.
Developed from cRAW in LR6 with two custom made presets, one for color, and one for b/w. Especially the color images suffer somewhat from compression and loss of detail after being uploaded, there's actually quite a bit more detail to be gleaned in the original versions.
Thomas H. Hahn
A selection of photographs, original and published/printed, related to Daoist sites and practice. The time frame of this collection will extend backwards as far as technically and topically feasible, and forward - hopefully - into the 1970s (through the end of the Cultural Revolution, that is). For more current photographs related to Daoism, see the galleries under "(Sacred) Mountains and Sites in China".
Images such as these are difficult to trace. Outside of Hedda Morrison's photographs of Mt. Hua, with its Daoist cloisters and sword-wielding masters, and Anne Swann Goodrich's study of The Peking Temple of the Eastern Peak: the Tung-yüeh Miao in Peking and its Lore (1964) , there is very little coherent visual documentation of Daoism's late Qing and (post-)Republican era history, either published in print, or unpublished as unique mementos. To arrive at materials covering what was left of Daoist practice (or sites) during the CR is an even more fragmented undertaking. The photographs here represent these circumstances, by drawing from Perckhammer (1930), Osvald Siren (1924), Carl Kupfer (1911), Melchers (1921), Boerschmann (1906-09), John D. Zumbrum (1911-1929), etc. Added - and of considerable interest - is a unique pair of photographs of Daoist Associations (Baoji & Jinan), and a photograph of a Daoist turned filial son-in-mourning who, according to the photograph's description, did not utter a single word over the entire mourning period of three years.
Thomas H. Hahn, Berkeley, CA
Last update April 2016
On Nov. 1, 2007, Metropolis Magazine recently printed an interview with urban planner Sun Huasheng 孙骅声 (if you do not know Sun Huasheng, think Shenzhen urban development from 1980 to today). In this interview, Sun states: "I usually say that an architect or planner who wants to do urban design, if they neglect people’s movement and their feelings, their work is without any soul. In a word, it must be people-oriented because the soul of urban design is people." While this may sound obvious, the reality of urban planning in contemporary China is in fact quite the opposite, and - given Weng Peijun's striking images of Shenzhen as a place of defragmentation and functionalized desolation - Sun's words strike me as almost preposterous.
This gallery of photographs (most of which were taken in various galleries in China in the past 5 years) includes many artists as critical of urbanization as Weng. Obviously, modes of expression differ: the Gao Brothers use the naked body as the last line of defense against an environment which increasingly becomes ungovernable. Zhou Jun's b/w photographs of Beijing's structures, partially dipped in red as if the site was bleeding, are striking examples of how profound the body and the soul of the city of Beijing are affected by change. Song Feel, a Korean artist working in Beijing, places a person not unlike Rodin's Thinker on top of a large pole sticking out of a Beijing map. He can't make sense of the place obviously. And Hong Haochang needs to bring his Yunnan color palette to Beijing in order to create a visual narrative of Tiananmen Square which is striking both in its degrees of reverence and distortion. Yang Xiaobing (theorizing about the effect of urban noise), Miao Xiaochun, Daniel Lee are included here, too, as is Song Dong with his extremely interesting installation of the house of his deceased father, displaying all belongings that once were his, thus reminding us of the specific spatial and ecological footprint of a previous generation.
Thomas H. Hahn
Ithaca, NY, November 30, 2007 (updated June 26, 2010)
For a lens which was first introduced exactly 20 years ago (=1993), this solid Minolta zoom acquits itself very nicely. It balances well on the A900, produces images which are very sharp (use with caution on anyone over 18 years of age!), and possesses a wonderfully rich, native color signature. I use it as much for architecture (usually to isolate a specific detail in, say, the masonry of a building) as for people and street photography.
These - random - sample images were taken throughout New York state, Tokyo, Beijing and elsewhere in China. Processing (sometimes more involved, sometimes less so) in Lightroom 4.4, CS5 and - on a couple occasions - in Silver Efex 2.
Thomas H. Hahn
Photographs taken at the 2015 Oakland Malcolm-X Jazz Festival in San Antonio Park, Oakland California.
The event, the way I understood it, was a complex mix of stages, conversations, narrations, and actual performances. Here is a breakdown:
Photographs taken in the Colma cemeteries, just south of San Francisco. From Wikipedia: "Colma became the location of a large number of cemeteries when San Francisco, the town's powerful neighbor to the north, passed an ordinance in 1900 outlawing the construction of any more cemeteries in the city (mainly because of increased property values making the cost of using land for cemeteries prohibitive), and then passed another ordinance in 1912 evicting all existing cemeteries from city limits."
A number of famous men and women have found their final resting place here, including Wyatt Earp (images #12 & 13), Levi Strauss (image #9), Joe DiMaggio etc.
The memorial sites represented in this gallery are:
1. The Jewish Cemetery (Hill of Eternity)
2. Cypress Lawn Cemetery
3. The Serbian Cemetery
3. The Italian Cemetery
All taken with the Leica M9 / 35mm Cron. Processing in Lightroom 5.7 and CS6.
This is a "working collection" of photographs of churches in China which I have come across during my travels in the country. There are of course many such places both in urban and rural settings, and it should not come as a surprise that the architectural styles & designs are highly diverse & distinct.
The time span in which these images were taken is rather broad: the earliest date back to 1986, while the most recent ones register as of November 2014. Images of the interior are rare. In some instances outside (=foreign) visitors are not allowed or welcome, in (most) other instances the premises are often locked and only open for limited hours during the week.
I hope that this gallery is of use to
a) those studying the revival of Christianity in China;
b) those who look at the integration of western architectural elements into the modern Chinese cityscape;
c) those who are interested in the aspects of preservation of cultural heritage sites in China.
The sites represented here are situated in the following cities:
- Qingdao (Shandong province)
- Jining (Shandong province)
- Fuzhou (Fujian province)
- Xiamen/Gulangyu (Fujian province)
- Yandang Mountains (Fujian province)
- Shantou (Guangdong province)
- Ningbo (Zhejiang province)
- Wenzhou (Zhejiang province)
- Wuhan (Hubei province)
- Wuxi (Jiangsu province)
- Luoyang (Henan province)
- Pingyao (Shanxi province)
- Zhengding (Hebei province)
- Qingyan (Guizhou Province)
- Tangqi (Zhejiang province)
- Suzhou (Jiangsu province)
- Handan (Hebei province)
- Weixian (Hebei province)
- Daming (Hebei province)
- Kaifeng (Henan province)
- Jiaxing (Zhejiang province)
- Shaoxing (Zhejiang province)
Thomas H. Hahn
A cross between Zhang Yimou's showbiz style performance spaces and Cirque du Soleil, the 'Seeking the Longushan Dream" ( 寻梦龙虎山 ) is a daily night time event that can be booked on site in this mountain of Jiangxi province, near Yingtan City. This is a land and water-based performance, after a lavish introduction consisting of a narrated preface to the unfolding theme (or dream), a pathway opens up that takes the visitor take to a small flotilla of boats. Once out on the Luxi River one is ferried across the water in between some of Longhushan's most famous mountains which serve as backdrop for the actors and a rather spectacular light show projecting Taooist themes onto the cliffs such as the head of Laozi, a huge coiling dragon, a hidden grotto 洞天 and various other Taoist imagery.
Images taken with the Canon G7X. EXIF data intact.
Uploaded on December 12, 2014.
Thomas H. Hahn
Photographs taken during the month of October 2014 in various townships and locations in China:
Processed in Adobe Lightroom 5.5 from Canon JPGs only (except #35). B/W conversions with contrast dialed back, some shadow enhancement, very little sharpening, some noise reduction engaged (for the ISO 3200 files). Color images mostly OOC, cropping applied as befitting the composition.
Thomas H. Hahn
October 30, 2014
This is a small selection of photographs taken at Harvey Fite's sculpture park Opus 40. Fite (1903 - 1976) was one of the co-founders of Bard College's Fine Arts Department. He purchased a decommissioned bluestone quarry between Saugerties and Woodstock in 1938, and projected to labor in it for exactly 40 years. An accident shortened this projection by 3 years. What he created over 37 years of toiling, tunneling, excavation and accummulation constitutes a "labyrinthine world of finely fitted stone, swirling stone ramps and terraces constructed around pools and trees and fountains, rising out of bedrock a half mile deep."
Fite's world was opened to the public in 1978. It includes the sculpture park, the Fite's private residence, and a (very interesting) Quarryman's Museum. It was designated the status of a National Historic Site, too.
Visited September 28, 2012, and again May 17, 2014. Cameras used: Fuji S5, Leica M9 and Samsung EX1. Files variously processed in LR4/5, PS5, and SFX2.
Thomas H. Hahn
* Quoted from the official Opus 40 website at www.opus40.org
Photographs taken with Leica M9 and 095 Noctilux at the 2014 Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. Note that a few images ate not entirely in focus (such as #32 and 33); they are nevertheless posted here anyway because I believe they contribute to conveying the atmosphere of the event. Processing in Lightroom 5.5 and (light treatment) Photoshop.
Thomas H. Hahn
A gallery of transitional colors, from summer to fall. Photographs were mostly taken with the Fuji S5 and the Zeiss 100mm, with a couple of exceptions (Nikon D2X, Leica D-Lux 4, and Olympus 8080). The Zeiss does enormously well on the Fuji.
Processing was done in Adobe Lightroom or Capture One 4.
Halsey Valley is a small hamlet in Tioga County, NY, smack in the middle between the villages of Tioga and Spencer. The area belongs to the so-called Southern Tier of New York State, an area with few privileges these days, and few opportunities compared to, say, the Capital Region or "downstate". It's fertile countryside, though, good farmland, and has been settled for a while, mostly it would appear by Finnish immigrants.
I passed through Halsey Valley one day at dusk and was struck by it's "ghost town" appearance. Many of the residencies are old, torn, bent, abandoned. Wayne Wirtanen, who grew up there in the 1940s and beyond, only recently described the hamlet with these words: "Beautiful downtown Halsey Valley had a dozen or so houses and a few farms in and around the "city limits". Well, regrettably, as these photographs of "downtown" Halsey Valley show, there is little beauty left. The damage may be due to neglect, or it may have occurred when superstorm Lee tore through the regions in 2011, but it doesn't seem sudden, more like a long-term decay and decline in property values and interest in the area's livelihood as such. Mr. Wirtanen's recollections of "Life on the Farm in Halsey Valley in the 1940s" (first published in 2003, revised 2010) are well worth reading, as it gives specificity and focus to life in a (now very rare) coherent Finnish community. One member of that community, a young woman by the name of Greta (maiden name Konen or Kukkonen), coincidentally married no other than the film star Gregory Peck, and would be known thereafter throughout Hollywood as Greta Peck. Mrs. Peck passed away in Beverly Hills in 2008.
Photographs taken in completely unflattering conditions at the beginning of February 2014. Leica M9 with Zeiss 28mm Biogon. Processing in Lightroom 5.3.
Thomas H. Hahn
This gallery of images is a tad atypical and perhaps not germaine to the overall theme of urbanization in China,
yet I feel there are enough topical connections that can be made simply by exploring these paintings. I came across this public display in front of an elementary school (the Huaixi xiaoxue 淮溪小学) in the city of Huaibei in northern Anhui. It appears the task was to allow free reign and express projections of life well into the future, primarily for the city as habitat and immediate environment, but also for the future self. The childrens' age ranges between 7 and 10 years. The variety of paintings, most of them in strong colors and bold designs, moves between Huaibei as home (town) to paintings of nature. The latter include birds, green spaces, blue skies, a bright sun, rabbits, fish, buttterflies etc. These are "happy" paintings, positive in outlook, even though none of the natural elements enlisted above ever constitute the reality of the conditions in Huaibei, a refurbished city with very few aesthetic assets or pleasing vistas. The "urban" elements included in the paintings include high rises, cars & trucks, airplanes, a tank (in front of the Huaibei government building, of all places), and wide roads.
Emplyoing an outsider's impressionistic viewpoint, it must be said that the children have expressed not only their experience, but also their desires (the feminine dress
code depicted in # is very rural-immigrant-in-Shanghai for example) and hopes. I found the display of "hometown Huaibei" intriguing enough to document almost the entire series, and have uloaded the images here as material for study and reflection.
Sony RX100; processing in Adobe Lightroom.
Visited on June 5, 2013
Thomas H. Hahn