Photo Essay

Photo Shop Windows

Sexy Green

This is NOT about image manipulation using Adobe Photoshop software. No, Sir. I understand that is not allowed here at JPG and I tend to be law abiding. Don't want to receive emails from Admin telling me my photos, an entire photo essay, got removed :-(

And this is certainly not the Windows version of the software. No. Never. I am a Mac fan :-) Had always been since I bought my first computer in 1989 (when it cost a fortune for a few miserable MBs of RAM and hard disk space.)

The title is to be taken literally, meaning "Photographs of shop windows".

I had been toying with the concept of a photo essay along these lines for some time. But what really pushed me forward was the Plastic Fantastic challenge where I posted one of my shop window photos and got quite favourable response. Hey, thanks all of you who fav'ed and commented on that.

I remember very well my first shop window photo. It was 1 January 2008, not long after midnight. I had gone to town to photograph the New Year fireworks, but did not manage anything good as I did not secure a good location and also because I had zero experience with photographing fireworks.

Well, on the way home, I saw this pretty shop window with balloons to match the new year mood. I thought it might be worth my while to get down to the ground to take some shots. It was.

Since then, I would occasionally take my camera out at night and head for the shopping district to shoot some. I have a folder in my computer titled "sian". That is the Hokkien Chinese word meaning "bored" or "tired". So that is what I sometimes do when I am bored, or tired or both.

And I did the same late last year when I had the chance to visit Beijing and Tokyo. Both were working trips, which meant I only had free time in the evenings. So it was back once more to Windows Photo Shopping.

The good thing about shop windows is that they are well lit, well arrange, well posed... it's almost as good as shooting real models in a studio, just that the models are plastic in this case. Ok, it is almost as good as doing still life photography in your own studio.

At the same time, there are all the limitations of candid street photography. While the mannequins may not move, the photographer is also limited in the choice of lighting and angles.

What's given is given. Make the best of it. I like this sort of a challenge, rather than set up my own studio (which I cannot afford, anyway) and have total absolute control.

Hey, I am no megalomaniac. It's okay for me not to be in control always. In fact, I prefer it this way. To me, this is akin to candid photography. You see something, you capture it. As is. I call this "candid still life".

All but one of the images here are taken at shop windows, from the outside. The only exception is Looking at Buddha, which was taken inside the shop. It's a special case. To me, that image deserves to be made an exception.

Another exception of sorts is the image, Buddha on SALE. This is the only image here not related to fashion and without that glam(orous) feel. But I included it here to show that even shop window photographs can be a social commentary.

I hope you enjoy this selection of candid still life, Photo Shop Windows images.

As always, if you love this selection and feel it worthy of publication, a yeah vote would be much appreciated :-) And remember to leave behind some of your thoughts as well.

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5 responses

  • Tim Narraway

    Tim Narraway said (25 May 2009):

    A tricky subject handled well

  • Rey mos

    Rey mos gave props (25 May 2009):

    I love window shopping! You captured it very nicely.

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (6 Dec 2009):

    Wow.......captivating essay/excellent photos!!! voted :)

  • Michaela K.

    Michaela K. gave props (16 Jun 2010):


  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (22 Sep 2010):

    Simply brilliant, V!

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