Tentative Series Name:
For this series I want to focus on capturing the ambiance and contents of Asian supermarkets.
How will you execute the idea?
I plan to mainly focus on still life photography of the various items on shelves, as well as the walls, floors, and ceilings of Asian supermarkets. I also plan to shoot some environmental portraits of the employees or perhaps some shoppers looking for items but in a street photography style where they are unaware and just going on with their daily tasks.
Why is this topic important to you? What do you want other people to understand? What do you hope this series will accomplish?
I want to focus on this topic because Asian supermarkets were and still are places that I am fond of, mainly because of the kinds of foods that they have which remind me of my childhood and culture. I also think it would be interesting to capture something at an exact moment in that setting because the subject and I are there at the same time in a specific composition.
I want other people to understand that these Asian supermarkets serve so many customers of similar backgrounds and whose paths may never cross again.
I hope this series will encourage viewers to look at the mundane, such as a supermarket, and think about how that one thing can shape and influence a person’s life.
Any special conditions, equipment, or techniques needed?
I plan for these images to be fairly straightforward.
Output method and size:
I plan on using traditional prints on 8.5 x 11 luster photo paper.
Self Portrait: I plan to photograph myself wearing a traditional Chinese cheongsam dress to highlight my cultural background.
On Location/Environmental Portrait: Depending on availability, I might photograph my maternal grandparents gardening in their front or backyard since they enjoy gardening, or sitting in their dining room because it has a lot of elements that tell things about them: a Chinese tear-off calendar, medication boxes, expensive china in a cabinet, etc. If that does not work out, I plan to photograph my mother crocheting and watching TV in her bedroom because she does that in her down-time.
Formal/Simple Portrait: I plan to photograph either my brother or my dad to show their sense of character in terms of clothing, accessories, and hairstyle.
Creative Portrait: I would like to recreate one of Anna May Wong’s portraits: either one where she’s wearing a cheongsam and measuring her long hair with a tape measure (General Photographic Agency/Getty Images), or one of the portraits done by Carl Van Vechten where she is wearing a tuxedo and a top hat and is drinking out of a glass.
Locations of printing
Top Row (left to right): Bill’s Camera, Costco, CPP Print Lab
Bottom Row (left to right): Walgreens, Walmart
Where was the best quality print?
While all of them were printed on pretty sturdy paper, I think the best quality print was from Walgreens. The colors, highlights, and shadows were similar to the digital file as viewed on my laptop, and the print was crisp and not pixelated, though the picture was cropped in a little more than the original jpeg file. The only thing I did not like was the paper type since it was glossy and not luster.
Like the Walgreens one, both the prints from Bill’s Camera and Costco were printed on glossy paper, but neither were as bright nor as saturated. The prints from the CPP Print Lab and Walmart were closer in exposure to the digital file compared to the prints from Bill’s Camera and Costco, but the colors were not as accurate as the Walgreens one. However, they were on luster paper, which I prefer.
Where will you print in the future? What adjustments will you need to make?
I think I will print at the CPP Print Lab. The luster paper that they used has a nice surface quality, and the image itself was neither cropped nor pixelated like it was in the Walgreens print. Since the colors were not as accurate as the Walgreens version, I would have to lower the saturation and/or vibrancy a little bit. I would also have to lighten up the shadows because they printed darker than I expected.