Wet market vegetables.

A most interesting thing.

I made this picture a few years ago in Hong Kong. On black and white film. Likely Kodak Tri-X, but I was also experimenting with Fuji Neopan.

Look at the picture. Look at the color. It’s pretty much in the right place. Celery is green. Peppers are red. Ginger is light yellow. And, so on.

I made this color from whole cloth. Simply by pulling all of the curves in all sorts of ways and positions. At first, I thought it was some weird digital miracle. Then I realized that black and white film “sees” color too. That’s how various shades of gray are made. Red shows up as a dark gray. Green as something much lighter. Like that. My twisting and turning simply pulled whatever the film saw to the forefront. Suddenly, it wasn’t so amazing.

Anyway.

I posted this picture on Instagram. Some of you may have seen it there. Sorry about that. But, for most of you, this is a new thing.

The picture. I told you how I made it. But, not where. When. Back in the day I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong. Six years to be exact. I managed big book projects on huge commercial presses. There is a lot of down time. Beyond a lot of down time. Rather than sit in some bar with all the rest of the expatriates, I wandered the city. Photographing. Always photographing.

I found stuff. I found places. At that time, there were like two coffee houses in the city. I found a third, tucked in a back alley. My then companion, after years of drinking tea, had her first cup of coffee there. She became an espresso addict. Sorry about that. It could be worse. I found places where stuff is really made. The old-fashioned way. By hand. With tools. Real tools. I found wet markets that weren’t quite as famous as the big one in Central. That’s how I made this picture.

Sometimes, those days seem all a dream.

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