In Focus Friday - The Letter Writer

08 December 2017

SIG: Documentary

This week we get a glimpse into a fading world as Gaz Jones shares some images from a project covering some of Hong Kong's traditional industries.

Hi, Gaz. Can you give us a little background about the shot?

For over 100 years, letter writers – or “seh sun lo” have been helping Hong Kong’s illiterate to communicate with overseas relatives and loved ones by writing and reading letters. This image is part of a series I’m working on for a book about Hong Kong’s Sunset Industries with writer, Lindsay Varty. Actually, it’s Lindsay’s project, I’m just a hired gun ;)

The Book will be called Sunset Survivors: Meet the people keeping Kong Kong’s Traditional Industries Alive

What was your plan for the day?

I had 3 subjects to shoot that day, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, all roughly in the same area of Kowloon. The letter writer, a metalwork shop (link) and a stencil maker (link)

But I have shot many more subjects for this project, you can find some examples on my website

What’s your routine just before heading out with your camera?

Hardest thing is deciding which camera to use, and whether to shoot film or digital. I have 3 digitals to choose from: D810, Fuji X-T2 & Fuji X100F And around 10 film cameras in various formats 35mm, 120, 6x7 & 4x5. Plus pinholes. I often suffer from decision paralysis ;)

While you’re out what makes you press the shutter release?

I just look for interesting Characters and great light

Where can we find more of your work?

You can find me on Flickr (link), Facebook (link) and I have my own website (link) which hosts my portfolio.

Which camera has been your all time favourite and why?

Very difficult question. I think it comes down to these: Nikon D810 - for sheer quality of images. I use this exclusively for ‘work’ photography. The Fuji X-T2 - Great for street and shooting musicians in low-light, something I do a lot of, but I also love my Yashica 635, Fuji GF670 and Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 - for quality film work

And finally, what’s the best purchase you’ve made for less than £100?

It would have to be the Peak Design Camera Sling Strap (link). I have a couple, but all my cameras have the little anchors on them, so it’s really easy to clip the strap on when you need it.

Thanks Gaz, I look forward to seeing your work in Lindsay's book.