Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 17 2010

The Oskar Barnack competition

I don’t enter a lot of photo competitions, especially after seeing how skewed the judging is in many cases towards certain parties and against others. But I do participate in the odd contest now and again, and my entry in the Oskar Barnack Leica contest this year is now up. I know, the gall I must have entering such a competition using Canon photos.

In any case, my 12-photo essay is on the monks of Luang Prabang in Laos. Last year’s entry was on the scooters of Taipei. I didn’t stand much of a chance of winning last year, and this year looks much the same, but it was interesting picking out the photos, a good self-editing exercise anyway. There are many really kick-ass photos in there to peruse, so go have a look.

I also couldn’t resist, after reading so many articles on the new Leicas and seeing the wonderful quality of the photos, going down to the store last night to take a look at the production models of the M9 (NT$245,000, body only) and the X1 (NT$75,000). As before, the M9 felt top-heavy and overly thick after the near-perfect dimensions of my M6, and the LCD was abysmal. The X1’s screen was the same, and the wait for it to lock focus was interminable. Shutting down took a long time as well. I could see trying to live with those faults just for the image quality, but the prices are insuperable: the Invincible Rabbit is less than the X1, and a new Panasonic GF1 with the 20mm f1.7 is only NT$26,000.

posted by Poagao at 11:48 pm  


  1. Best of luck.

    Comment by Craig Ferguson (@cfimages) — March 18, 2010 @ 8:12 am

  2. Thanks, Craig, but there are too many, far better entries than mine that deserve the award more.

    Comment by Poagao — March 18, 2010 @ 8:21 am

  3. that four monks sweeping photo is just brilliant. 50mm f1.2 I suppose.

    Comment by Ashish — March 18, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

  4. Thanks, Ashish. I don’t remember the stats, I’ll have to go back and look. Seeing as it was very early in the morning, before sunrise, I think it probably was taken wide-open.

    Comment by Poagao — March 18, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  5. I think it’s ironic: you were giving other Western tourists a hard time for taking monk pics, yet your own monk pics are the ones you entered in the contest!

    Comment by Prince Roy — March 19, 2010 @ 9:39 am

  6. I think the word you’re looking for here, PR, is “hypocritical”. And you’re right, although what dismayed me was the crowd of tourists at that one corner more than just tourists taking pictures of monks in general. It’s actually hard not to take pictures of monks in Luang Prabang, you’ll find if you go there; they’re everywhere. I think if I’d stayed a week or more I’d be able to get some really good shots and a more rounded picture of the place, but as the competition requires a theme, monk pictures seemed the obvious choice.

    Comment by Poagao — March 19, 2010 @ 10:01 am

  7. I was just being polite. “Ironic” is much nicer that “hypocritical”.

    Comment by Prince Roy — March 20, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  8. Hi,

    I looked at the Turpin link you put up somewhere when you were contemplating the place of street photography (can’t beleive I just wrote that…).

    Anyway, I guess it makes sense. “Street” is just a synonym for road which a metaphor of life.

    Good luck with the contest!

    Comment by persimmonous — March 30, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

  9. Thanks, Louis. The article got me to thinking about how, by segregating themselves off from “regular” photography, some “street photographers” think they are exempt from having to think about composition, editing, etc.

    Comment by Poagao — March 30, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

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