Saturday, May 19, 2012

Forget it Jake

Forget it Jake

So I’m a fan of film noir. Probably not a surprise if you’ve been looking at my stuff for a while, but there it is. I’m also a fan of Chinese food, which would normally be less relevant on a photo blog except in this particular case since noir and Chinese restaurants tend to provide the combination for an interesting photo. Or at least, they did this time.

As it happened, I was recently arrived in the District of Columbia and, as I had been sans Chinatown in my previous residence, I was eager to see what H Street had to offer.

It was an inauspicious beginning.

I knew that DC’s Chinatown had withered over years, but I wasn’t prepared for Chinablock – a roughly one-block stretch of H street with perhaps a half-dozen or so restaurants with all the architectural charm of an office complex. The only thing signifying the place as being connected to China were the characters affixed to the signs in front of the eateries – but since the Bed, Bath and Beyond and the Fuddruckers around the corner had the same characters, this wasn’t saying much. Fortunately, Chinatown Express redeemed this place. Now, the reviews I read of the food were good, but that doesn’t figure into noir or photography. What does figure was how absolutely dingy the inside of the place was and, of course, that façade. After slurping down a bowl of something or other noodles, I came back out determined to get some photos. The usual HDR shooting occurred and I went about my evening. When processing time came however, I had a problem. See, the dominant colors on our restaurant there are green and red – and it was just not working with the HDR algorithms. The light and tone were good, but the Christmas feel was ruining the mood. Frustration hit. I had a photo that I liked but that just didn’t quite work. I can’t say exactly why, but out of frustration – almost anger – I randomly ran a black and white channel mixer layer. And whadd’ya know.

So I submitted this to the DCist website and they ran it and it was popular. But they also gave me an idea. See, I already had a title for the photo, which I liked (and still do). But writer for the weekend feature nailed it with this one: Washington DC as Imagined by Raymond Chandler.

Now that’s not a bad idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment