Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Chinatown Jake...

Los Angeles, CA
Film stock: Kodak Portra 400 NC - 35mm

In 2000 when we were just setting out as photographers we captured this image (on film!) in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

It took us two hours.

We were working on a story about Los Angeles in a day.  For the evening shot we chose The Old Chinatown Central Plaza because it was still intact and had a nostalgic feel to it, the rest of the area having fallen victim to the Asian globalization of Chinatowns everywhere.  
We wanted to convey the magic glow of neon lights and colorful lanterns at that moment just past twilight  when the sky is still blue, but dark enough to let the lights pop. 

We arrived early to scout and then secure our spot on a bench so that we could sit while we waited and waited and waited.  The sun took forever to set, the lights were not going on and it started to get chilly.  But still we waited.  Finally the moment arrived and since we were shooting film we didn't have the million chances that digital affords, we had the one moment to get it right.

Even though we shoot mostly digital now it was our years of shooting film that have most informed and influenced how we shoot.  To this day whenever we find ourselves waiting for the perfect moment we still turn to each other and say "It's Chinatown Jake."   A reference to the last lines in Roman Polanski's 1974 film, Chinatown.

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