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Seeing a new look of the Chinatown in Bangkok
through Samyang XP 14mm F2.4

Cedric Arnold

Photographer from England

French-British artist Cedric Arnold was born in 1976 in the UK. While studying history and linguistics at the University of Paris, he first took up photography and filmmaking. He later trained in London at the London School of Photojournalism, studying under Eamonn McCabe, then picture editor of the Guardian newspaper. He joined the Sygma agency as a correspondent in London and Belfast.

In late 2001, he moved to Bangkok, representing Corbis Sygma, and began working as a photojournalist in the South East Asian region, collaborating with publications such as Le Monde, Time Magazine, New York Times, The Sunday Times, Newsweek, Stern, and many others.

In 2004 he began exploring more personal projects, showing his work that year during the “Month of Photography, Bangkok” In his personal work, Cedric is often drawn towards memory, time and the physical marks time leaves behind.

Cedric’s work is part of private, institutional and museum collections such as the SOAS and British Library Collections. He has show his work at National Museums, at festivals and galleries world wide.

You can find his work on Website : http://www.cedricarnold.com/

Bangkok – Chinatown Backstreets
Written by Cedric Arnold

zoom
MODE Night-scape
LENSES XP 14mm F2.4
CAMERA EOS 5D Mark III
DIAPHRAGM F11
SPEED 25 sec
ISO 100
EXPOSURE Aperture
priority
BRIGHTNESS -
FOCUS 14mm
PHOTOMETRY Multi-segment

Bangkok is a city for extremes. It lends itself so many possible artistic interpretations.
As a photographer based in Bangkok for the past sixteen years I have documented the city in so many ways with every format
imaginable, from 4x5 film to 35mm 6x6, 6x9, Polaroid cameras, Lomo and Holga cameras, and of course digital.
No matter the format, I am always drawn to documenting the lives of people in this ever changing multi-layered city.
I often shoot portraits and documentary series here as well as short films.
My lenses of choice in the the full frame format are 50 & 35mm I rarely use anything else.

When I was given the opportunity to choose a single lens to document Bangkok for a whole project,
I certainly even surprised myself when I opted for the 14mm.
A lens I have only used once on a film set for just one day in my career!

zoom
MODE Portrait
LENSES XP 14mm F2.4
CAMERA EOS 5D Mark III
DIAPHRAGM F3.5
SPEED 1/50 sec
ISO 1250
EXPOSURE Aperture
priority
BRIGHTNESS -
FOCUS 14mm
PHOTOMETRY Multi-segment

When I was given the opportunity to choose a single lens to document Bangkok for a whole project, I certainly even surprised myself when I opted for the 14mm. A lens I have only used once on a film set for just one day in my career!

I am not a landscape photographer, rarely shoot interiors commercially and generally hate barrel distortion, so this seemed like the worst choice possible to match my style of shooting, which is usually low light and night time photography with wide open lenses. But I wanted to challenge myself to something new so I could try to document this city I know so well in a way I had not tried before.

In Hollywood, the 14mm is often referred to as the Gilliam (named after Terry Gilliam) because of its distortion when used close-up and how it helps convey and enhance the weird atmosphere in his films, a classic example is the Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt scene in 12 Monkeys, where they are filmed from above and get close to the lens. I actually love Terry’s work and had the immense pleasure of photographing him (with a borrowed 17mm lens actually!) ten years ago.

But save for some weird and comical effects, like that fun shoot with Gilliam, I never really feel the need for anything wider than 24mm in pretty much all of my work.

zoom
MODE Portrait
LENSES XP 14mm F2.4
CAMERA EOS 5D Mark III
DIAPHRAGM F2.5
SPEED 1/20 sec
ISO 1250
EXPOSURE Aperture
priority
BRIGHTNESS -
FOCUS 14mm
PHOTOMETRY Multi-segment
zoom
MODE Portrait
LENSES XP 14mm F2.4
CAMERA EOS 5D Mark III
DIAPHRAGM F2.5
SPEED 1/225 sec
ISO 1250
EXPOSURE Manual
BRIGHTNESS -
FOCUS 14mm
PHOTOMETRY Multi-segment

So the challenge was on.

I live in an older part of Bangkok, along the river and adjacent to Chinatown. It’s an area that is changing fast, bustling and chaotic, a neon wonderland, with street food everywhere, it’s noisy, hot, steamy and everything is in your face. One would never imagine it when walking down the main roads and tourist spots of Chinatown amongst all this chaos, but in the backstreets, you’ll find some truly unique and often quite magical scenes, it’s like a trip back in time, quiet, strange, and fascinating. I go for walks very often with either a small video camera or a stills camera, avoiding the noisy main roads. I often end up having long conversations with locals, many are third generation vendors living in dilapidated 80 + year old traditional shop houses, local monks at temples and Chinese opera performers. Their way of life is under threat and for many the tradition will end when they retire. Their children are studying or have studied to be doctors engineers, bankers etc… And with fast changes in the neighbourhood many think that within 10 years they will probably have to move abandoning in some cases over 100 years of local family tradition.

zoom
MODE Night-scape
LENSES XP 14mm F2.4
CAMERA EOS 5D Mark III
DIAPHRAGM F2.5
SPEED 1/50 sec
ISO 1600
EXPOSURE Aperture
priority
BRIGHTNESS -
FOCUS 14mm
PHOTOMETRY Multi-segment
zoom
MODE Snapshot
LENSES XP 14mm F2.4
CAMERA EOS 5D Mark III
DIAPHRAGM F2.38
SPEED 1/15 sec
ISO 2500
EXPOSURE Shutter
priority
BRIGHTNESS -
FOCUS 14mm
PHOTOMETRY Multi-segment

While this felt familiar,
this time I just had to go a LOT wider.

Even though I was very pleasantly surprised by how little distortion this lens displayed, I kept wanting to get closer but often backed off when I saw lines distort and circular objects in the foreground start to look very strange. I soon became obsessed with keeping vertical lines straight and kept using them as a point of reference to decide how close I could get. I began to wonder if I was completely mad to have chosen this lens for my project! But then I started seeing things differently and really began to enjoy the challenge. The first step was one backwards, going against the classic photojournalist’s quote by Robert Capa “If your pictures are not good enough you’re not close enough” It’s a smoky, messy, frantic area of Bangkok but I always find oddly serene moments in the fascinating backstreets.

zoom
MODE Snapshot
LENSES XP 14mm F2.4
CAMERA EOS 5D Mark III
DIAPHRAGM F2.5
SPEED 1/50 sec
ISO 1600
EXPOSURE Manual
BRIGHTNESS
FOCUS 14mm
PHOTOMETRY Multi-segment

Focussing I imagined , would be a breeze, since it’s such a wide angle lens, but because I was shooting wide open at f2.4 pretty much all the time walking at night, I found that live view and zooming in to check focus was really the only way to know what was actually in focus.

I found that to be a hindrance at first but it then became an opportunity to take my time in observing the right moment to shoot and noticed things I had not noticed before in the neighbourhood.

On special occasions Chinese Opera performers set up their own ramshackle stages on street corners with old worn out planks of wood and cover the stage in colourful PCV and tent material making a small back stage area behind or even under the stage, the super wide lens was very useful there to make use of those colourful backdrops. Markets, small alleys all became bigger.

I began looking up a lot more realizing that I had to consider the huge field of view and how much I could include in a

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森养最佳标准画角提案解析

从人与人之间的关系乃至为了营造美丽的空间而布置装饰品时都需要保持适当的距离。那么,为了更好地欣赏美术或摄影作品,我们应该保持多少距离?

答案是相当于“作品框架对角线的长度”的距离。

표준화각 자료 이미지
표준화각 자료 이미지

为了将作品完整地纳入视野并予欣赏,保持相当于作品对角线的距离为宜。如果距离过近,将大于人眼可集中精力的50°视角而无法取的良好的欣赏效果。

为了最佳欣赏效果与最佳视角而保持理想距离也适用于摄影技术。在拍摄静止画像的摄影技术中,将等于摄像面对角线长度的焦距镜头定义为标准镜头。数码相机的全帧传感器尺寸为36x24毫米,其对角线距离约为43.26毫米,标准镜头应为多少毫米以下的最理想答案可以称为“接近43.26毫米的数据”,而难以断定是至今被视作标准镜头代名词的“50毫米”。

以往与胶片对角线长度相仿的45mm画角镜头较为常见,随着SLR相机大获成功,为了保留可容纳反射镜的空间,50mm被视作标准镜头。但是,最近随着无反相机底边大幅放大, 鉴于无反相机法兰距短的特点,需要将标准镜头的画角以45mm再度予以解释,由此开始研发AF 45mm F1.8 FE。 与35mm画角镜头相比,三阳的AF 45mm F1.8 FE将畸变现象降至最低,且比55mm画角拍摄范围宽,为人物、风景、建筑物及宠物等各种主题摄影呈献令人满意的效果。

DSLR / Full Frame
1D X Mark Ⅱ
1D X
1Ds Mark Ⅲ
1Ds
5DsR
5Ds
5D Mark Ⅳ
5D Mark Ⅲ
6D Mark Ⅱ
6D
DSLR / APS-H
1D Mark Ⅲ
1D
Mirrorless / APS-C
M6
M5
M10
M3
M2
DSLR / APS-S
7D Mark Ⅱ
7D
80D
70D
60D
30D
D60
D30
77D (9000D)
760D (8000D / Rebel T6s)
1300D (Kiss X80 / Rebel T6)
1200D (Kiss X70 / Rebel T5)
200D (Kiss X9 / Rebel SL2)
800D (Kiss X9i / Rebel T7i)
700D (Kiss X9i / Rebel T7i)
100D (Kiss X7 / Rebel SL1)
650D (Kiss X6i / Rebel T4i)
600D (Kiss X5 / Rebel T3i)
550D (Kiss X4 / Rebel T2i)
500D (Kiss X3 / Rebel T1i)
1000D (Kiss F / Rebel XS)
450D (Kiss X2 / Rebel X냐)
DSLR / Full Frame
D850
D5
D810A
D4S
D810
D750
Df
D610
D4
D800
D800E
D600
D3s
D3x
D700
D3
DSLR / APS-C
D7500
D3400
D500
D5600
D7200
D5500
D3300
D7100
D5300
D5200
D7000
D300s
D300
DSLR / Full Frame
Z6
Z7
D810A
D4S
D750
D810A
DSLR / APS-C
D7200
D500
D3300
D5500
D5600
D3400
D7500

* Cameras released within 5 years from 2019 are tested.

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