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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Life Celebrates Diversity

Show, don’t tell
Wikipedia

Thus started my photography series Life Celebrates Diversity where I photograph everything mundane in life to show how divesity is evident in our daily lives as an act for LGBT activism.

Originally only the life forms in nature was included, but starting in 2012 I have started photographing things which surrounds our everyday life.

You might not understand the absurdity of finding myself in tears photographing everything mundane—food, notebooks, travel souvenirs. To you, they are just that—mundane things in life. To me, it is a life long fight for justice and equality.

Coke Cans + Coke Bottles Diversity / SML.20120905.G12.00200

Coke Cans + Coke Bottles Diversity / SML.20120905.G12.00200

Motherboards Diversity / SML.20120917.164110.IP3

Motherboards Diversity / SML.20120917.164110.IP3

Moleskine Diversity / SML.20120919.1609123.IP3

Moleskine Diversity / SML.20120919.1609123.IP3

Panda Diversity / SML.20121009.IPH5

Panda Diversity / SML.20121009.IPH5

Gelato Diversity / SML.20121107.IPH5 / @lifecelebrates #diversity

Gelato Diversity / SML.20121107.IPH5

Dairy Diversity / SML.20121111.IPH5 / @lifecelebrates #diversity / #CCBY

Dairy Diversity / SML.20121111.IPH5

#Life is interesting precisely because we are all different from each other. Celebrate life. Celebrate differences. Celebrate #diversity. Human Logistics Architecture Forms Diversity 人流建築形之多樣 / SML.20121111.IPH5 / #ccby #smlphotography #lifecelebratesdive

Human Logistics Architecture Forms Diversity 人流建築形之多樣 / SML.20121111.IPH5

Swatch Diversity / SML.20121204.IP3

Swatch Diversity / SML.20121204.IP3

中國傳統糕餅之多樣 Chinese Traditional Bakery Sweets Diversity 中国传统糕饼之多样 / 中國飲食文化 Chinese Food Culture 中国饮食文化 / SML.20121216.IPH5.CnFoodCulture.LifeCelebratesDiversity.Bakery.Sweets

中國傳統糕餅之多樣 Chinese Traditional Bakery Sweets Diversity 中国传统糕饼之多样 / 中國飲食文化 Chinese Food Culture 中国饮食文化 / SML.20121216.IPH5.CnFoodCulture.LifeCelebratesDiversity.Bakery.Sweets

火鍋素菜之多樣 Hot Pot Vegetables Diversity 火锅素菜之多样 / 中國飲食文化 Chinese Food Culture 中国饮食文化 / SML.20121216.IPH5.CnFoodCulture.LifeCelebratesDiversity.CN.SZ.HotPot.Vegetables

火鍋素菜之多樣 Hot Pot Vegetables Diversity 火锅素菜之多样 / 中國飲食文化 Chinese Food Culture 中国饮食文化 / SML.20121216.IPH5.CnFoodCulture.LifeCelebratesDiversity.CN.SZ.HotPot.Vegetables

Related SML Universe:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

寧 Serenity: Part 2

I started using Instagram about 2 months ago. As I wrote on SML Pro Blog: Photography requires no expensive cameras, lesser cameras are challenging to control, but because of that it challenges me to push what can be done on it.

So now I have more photos for the Serenity series which have received great feedback on both Instagram and Facebook — #smlthankyou!

These were all taken with the iPad 3 or iPhone 5 and processed using Snapseed — very grainy but also very fun. I was actually surprised that they receive so much positive feedback because they are simply snaps from my home office.

“Rainy Day” Serenity 寧 / SML.20121125.IP3 / #ccby #smlphotography #serenity #smlbw #smlprojects

“Rainy Day” Serenity 寧 / SML.20121125.IP3

“中國山水” / Serenity 寧 / SML.20121126.IP3

“中國山水” / Serenity 寧 / SML.20121126.IP3

“Rainy Frozen Breakfast” / Serenity 寧 / SML.20121127.IPH5

“Rainy Frozen Breakfast” / Serenity 寧 / SML.20121127.IPH5

“Silence before the storm” 寧 Serenity / SML.20121130.IP3 / #serenity #ccby #smlphotography #smlprojects #smlbw

“Silence before the storm” / 寧 Serenity / SML.20121130.IP3

“Fog over Victoria Harbor” 寧 Serenity / SML.20121130.IP3 / #serenity #smlbw #ccby #smlphotography #smlprojects

“Fog over Victoria Harbor” 寧 Serenity / SML.20121130.IP3

“Change takes time.”  Serenity 寧 / SML.20121207.IP3

“Change takes time.” Serenity 寧 / SML.20121207.IP3

“天地一沙鷗”(Jonathan Livingston Seagull) 寧 Serenity  / SML.20121220.IP3.Serenity.BW

“天地一沙鷗”(Jonathan Livingston Seagull) 寧 Serenity / SML.20121220.IP3.Serenity.BW

“雲起龍襄” / 寧 Serenity / SML.20121221.IP3.Serenity.BW

“雲起龍襄” / 寧 Serenity / SML.20121221.IP3.Serenity.BW

“風和日美 時和年豐” / 寧 Serenity / SML.20121222.IP3.Serenity.BW.SQ

“風和日美 時和年豐” / 寧 Serenity / SML.20121222.IP3.Serenity.BW.SQ

“雙鳧一雁 絶世無雙” / 寧 Serenity / SML.20121222.IP3.Serenity.BW.SQ

“雙鳧一雁 絶世無雙” / 寧 Serenity / SML.20121222.IP3.Serenity.BW.SQ

See also full set on SML Flickr. In usual fashion, everything published via Creative Commons (CCBY) so please feel free to print them yourselves. Limited edition prints available (3 Eds). Please email seeminglee+photo+rfi@smluniverse.com for details.

Related SML Photo Blog: Serenity

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Forms 形

It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic,
Of all things physical and metaphysical,
Of all things human and all things super-human,
Of all true manifestations of the head,
Of the heart, of the soul,
That the life is recognizable in its expression,
That form ever follows function. This is the law.
Louis Sullivan, 1896

形 Forms / SML.20110221.7D.07459

形 Forms / SML.20110221.7D.07459

There is a reason behind my madness for forms in my design and in my photography (more on SML Flickr). It is the backbone of my art education. When you remove the subject matter and see only the forms – i.e. the shapes, lines and space – you are looking at the overall construct in its purest.

I enjoy photographing bridges. They are not ”travel photography” – I photograph them because they are the purest expression of utility. Not a wasted bit was devoted for decoration.

Manhattan Bridge HDR / SML

Manhattan Bridge HDR / SML

Colors have an unfortunate side effect of being distracting. When we remove color, we can more readily see its forms. Here you see the same sequence of images reprocessed as black and white. Without the color information, the forms are more readily seen.

Manhattan Bridge HDR BW / 20051002.10D.35448-35450.HDR-BW.RP2008 / SML

Manhattan Bridge HDR BW / 20051002.10D.35448-35450.HDR-BW.RP2008 / SML

I bought my first digital camera in 1997 in order to study forms. That I do not need to buy TMAX + Tri-X in bulk, snap shots, run to the darkroom and get all worked up with chemicals, and then wait half a day to get back to the darkroom to spend even more time to print means that I can quickly see results and retake as necessary.

Forms / SML.20110221.7D.07464

Forms / SML.20110221.7D.07464

Now with the iPhone and iPad, the instant gratification effect is still a lot easier. I walk by a place and I just snapped and voila.

Human Logistics Forms in Yellow 黃色人流之形 / SML.20121023.IPH5 / #hk #cn #street #forms

Human Logistics Forms in Yellow 黃色人流之形 / SML.20121023.IPH5

Often when people look at “abstract art” they would say that they don't “get” it. Well there is nothing to get — which is exactly the point. They are study of forms – forms which evokes emotion even though they represent nothing concrete.

形 Forms / SML.20120910.G12.00219

形 Forms / SML.20120910.G12.00219

Photography is not about your skill and technique, nor is it about how pretty the subject matter is. Good photography is pleasant to the eye even if the subject matter is not intrinsically beautiful.

Forms / SML.20110221.7D.07453

Forms / SML.20110221.7D.07453

Being able to photograph beautiful objects to create a beautiful result does not make you a good photographer. A good photographer should be able to turn even the ugliest thing into something poetic. That shows skills and technique. And that is exactly what my Deadyard project is about.

Deadyard Forms / 20091125.7D.00557.P1.L1.C23.BW / SML

Deadyard Forms / 20091125.7D.00557.P1.L1.C23.BW / SML

By taking photographs of trash and dirt which are repulsive to others, I force the viewer to only respond to the forms. Taking abstract art one step further – I wish to get a positive response to the deadliest matters.

SML.20050610.10D.34579

This project started way back in 2005. I have gained some positive responses but almost everyone told me that although they like it, they would not want to see it hanging on their walls. This probably means that I am not quite there yet. But I hope that someday I will be.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Prince Lee 1994-2012 RIP

I never knew how to deal with loss. And I never really experienced loss so close to me.

This afternoon I received news from my ex in New York that my son Prince Lee had a seizure and he had decided to put him to sleep. As a gay man, I probably never would have any children, and Prince is the closest thing to a son to me – which is why he inherited my last name.

Prince has been there for me through my highs and my lows. He was an excellent cuddle buddy. And in my darkest hour when I had alienated the world, he was there to keep me company. In 2007, he was attacked by unleashed dogs and had to be in the emergency room for four days. He did not fully heal til three months later. Despite all the challenges in life, his will to live had been an inspiration for me, and I would like to dedicate this post through photography on our lives spent together.

2005. At SML Universe NYC Backyard

CRW_5294-001

2005. Playing with toys

CRW_7579

2006. Chewing with all the attitude

CRW_7691

2006. Chilling out in hand-knitted sweater

CRW_8733

2006. Scared by the Macro twin lite

I know it's crazy but I bought all my macro gear just to photograph Prince!

Prince

2006. Snout :)

CRW_9121

2006. Menace

Menace

2006. The Last Laugh

the last laugh

2006. ”Coffee”

Coffee

2006. I'm a lion

i

2006. Untitled

CRW_40478

2006. Beauty Queen

CRW_40577_bw

2006. Licking Action

His tongue is quite amazing. :)

Prince Lee / 20060802.40576.BW / SML

2006. Charmed

Charmed / L*a*b / 20070212.10D.41207 / SML

2006. Stop bothering me when I'm sleeping

CRW_40564_bw

2007. Prince Scarlet

Prince Scarlet / 2007 / SML

2007. Recovering at the backyard

Pain in his eyes, but still a will to live – my inspiration, my hero.

20070512_10D_41794

2008. Somewhat recovered, walking on a rainy day

20071223.SD850IS.1564 / SML

2009. Treasure hunting

20090815.10D.51536

2009. Fresh after haircut

Prince / 20090815.10D.51544 / SML

2009. Bored

Prince / 20090815.10D.51548 / SML

2009. Prince

This is the last photograph I took of Prince. I had broken up with my ex by then. It was his dog. But he remains my son. I did say goodbye before I leave New York for Hong Kong. At 18 years old, he was very old and can barely recognize me.

Prince / 20090815.10D.51552 / SML

If seeing my dog die will bring so much emotion, I learned that it must be hard for my parents when I contemplated death a while back. Even through death, Prince was an inspiration for me to live, and for that I am forever grateful and thankful.

The full set of Prince is also available on SML Flickr.

CC-BY SML