Fotoeins Fotografie

a question of home: 鹹水埠溫哥華? Or elsewhere?

Posts tagged ‘Chinatown’

International District, Seattle, WA, USA, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: King and Maynard (Seattle CID)

I’ve been fascinated by the origins and appearance of words and characters since I learned how to write in both Chinese and English languages. Thanks to a variety of websites (particularly one about Berlin), my eye has recently been tuned to typography.

In front of the Fortune Garden restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID) are bilingual street signs which have been widespread throughout the area since 2013. North of Jackson Street, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Japanese-English; east of I-5 and 10th Avenue, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Vietnamese-English.

In the picture, the combination of Chinese characters have little meaning. But where transliteration to Cantonese is concerned, each Chinese character is an individual “vocalization” representing a syllable in English. South King Street becomes “南景街” which is pronounced “naam4 ging2 gaai1” and in literal terms is “south – view/situation – street”. Maynard Avenue South becomes “南美拿大道” which is pronounced “naam4 mei5 naa4 daai6 dou6” and in literal terms is “south – good/pretty – take/use/capture – big – road”. (See the note below* for more.)

I made the picture above on 11 May 2016 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/11, ISO1000, and 47mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-byk.

* Arriving primarily from Guangdong province in southern China, people began building Chinatown settlements in North America in the 19th-century; most of the new immigrants spoke Cantonese. With my own intermediate proficiency in Cantonese, I’ve used CantoDict for the transliterations above. The numbers associated with Anglicized pronunciation of Chinese words correspond to six tones in the Cantonese dialect. A summary of the six Cantonese tones is provided in this video.

Singapore Chinatown, Singapore, Chinatown, Pagoda Street, myRTW, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Pagoda Street, Singapore Chinatown

4 July 2012.

I’m interested in finding out what Singapore’s Chinatown is like. Riding the MTR, I exit the transport system at “Chinatown” station, and I walk down a flight of stairs to street level. I’m always curious to see (1) what people think how Chinatown should appear, (2) what the resident Chinese feel about the incarnation, and (3) how a gentrified form of Chinatown appears similarly around the world. Apart from electronics stores and dollar stores with cheap souvenirs, there’s a lot more to Chinatown farther afoot. There is a Chinatown heritage centre down this street, and historical heritage buildings are scattered around the area.


During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 4 July 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/160-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 32mm focal length (51mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie on fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9VG.

Chinese New Year parade, Propaganda, Chinatown, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: “Everything is going to be all right”

During the final stages of the Chinese New Year parade through Vancouver’s Chinatown, I’m in front of the window to a café called Propaganda1. I remember there used to be a Chinese butcher shop here …

There’s been a lot of debate in Chinatown about gentrification, the loss of Chinese businesses, new Western-style businesses, the question of an appropriate mix of free-market and social-housing, and what the future will hold, and how it’ll appear for this historical neighbourhood.

I have mixed feelings about what I’ve seen since returning to the hometown. The symbolism of the large letters and the reflection of sunlit faces and national flags for Canada and China make out as crucial elements in a present-day picture of Chinatown and their respective roles in defining the present and staking the future.

I made this photo on 22 February 2015 with the Canon 6D, EF 24-105 L zoom-lens, with the following settings: 1/80s, f/16, ISO400, and 32mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-6zF.

1“Propaganda” is the name of a committee, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, of cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions. The word’s origin is Italian, from modern Latin congregatio de propaganda fide, for “congregation for propagation of the faith.”
"Solter(r)a", Keefer Block, Vancouver Chinatown, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Vancouver’s “Solter(r)a” in Chinatown

For a few minutes, I kept a watchful eye to see who would pass underneath the scaffolding and the sign. I fired off a flurry of shots, and I’m fortunate to have captured the woman in mid-stride between the two red cones and framed by the metal poles. “Solterra” is a Spanish compound word consisting of “sol” (sun) and “terra” (earth or ground). “Soltera” is the Spanish noun for a single unmarried woman.

The Solterra Group is responsible for the construction of the Keefer Block, here at the northwest corner of Keefer Street and Main Street in Vancouver, Canada. There is concern and consternation about the construction of condominiums. There are questions about how the future of Chinatown will proceed. Redevelopment? Gentrification? Sell land to the highest bidder? Maintain an equitable fraction of social housing, particularly to elderly members of the Chinese-Canadian community who built and resided in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the city? Is there any respect? Does it matter? Does anyone care?

I made the photo above on 23 August 2014 with the Canon 6D, the EF 50 f/1.4 USM prime-lens, and the following settings: 1/250s, f/16, and ISO400. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5UQ.

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