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Binondo – The Chinatown of Manila

Binondo – The Chinatown of Manila.

Once you make your left turn from Recto, you will suddenly be transformed to another world. The old authentic feel of a typical Chinatown is evident the moment you walk in. Old structures, faded signages, cramped streets, busy fruit vendors, traditional stores, the heavy foot and road traffic – all these elements sum it up into a whole new world, ironic it may be to call it new. The sum of it all becomes a perfect reason for a photographer to shoot this unique place. After 9 long agonizing months without a rangefinder camera, I finally felt complete again – haha. Sent back to Germany for a free sensor replacement amidst a known sensor corrosion issue on the Leica M Monochrom, I shared my months of waiting and all the intricacies that came dealing with it overseas. But all is well that ends well. Leica has earned my respect for being the only camera company I encountered that can do this. Back to the reality of shooting the world in black & white, my few hours of walking through the streets of Binondo gave me a good opportunity to get my rhythm back shooting with a rangefinder camera, minus the pressure of shooting for a particular requirement. While I’m sure some of the photos are not representative of Binondo per se, I just wanted to shoot it as it was, on what I encountered that day, no agenda, no guidelines – just on a pure instinctive feel. Nevertheless, I had a blast with just the limited hours while I was there. Not to exaggerate, but shooting with a rangefinder is bar-none still the best photographic experience I have to date. Less is more!

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Photographer’s note: Leica M Monochrom, Leica Summilux-M 50mm 1.4 ASPH


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