This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Taken from my article on Cebu Smile Magazine:
“As the sky gradually lightens, I look around to a river that is just waking up. Bleary-eyed kids peek out from the doorways of stilted homes, while their mothers prepare breakfast on outdoor kitchens. Fisherman cast nets from tiny canoes. The Cai Rang market feels just like Saigon, except that everything – the hawking, the buying, the sense of organized chaos – happens afloat. From one side of the river to the other (a distance of about five city blocks) are nothing but boats. I see barges loaded with charcoal, coconuts or fruits, and just about any kind of produce. I see smaller, roofed boats stuffed with more provisions than a 7-11. There's also canoes carrying dry goods, and canoes that serve as food stalls – and canoes bearing buyers and tourists like me.”


Read the full story here


You can shoot Paris with a digicam like everyone else, or you can document this amazingly picturesque city like the old photography masters did: using black-and-white film on a rangefinder camera.


That’s exactly what I did last March with my Voigtlander Bessa R and a half-dozen rolls of Agfa APX 100. Following the footsteps of Henri Cartier-Bresson (you all know who he is) I spent days roaming the streets of the French capital, doing as he did. With bursts of silver halide and light, I captured the classic Paris: Montmartre, La Sorbonne, Notre Dame and that tourist HQ, the Tour Eiffel. My photos looked great – you can see more of them here – but to this day I suspect this wasn’t because of my photographic skill; I guess the character of Paris simply showed through.


Good money. A long shoot list. Lots of travel involved, and complete creative freedom. Jobs like these are the reason I became a photographer.


So when I was approached to document Malaysia for a major client, everything else took a back seat. What followed was a month of hopping around the country doing nothing but photography. Better still, I was able to revisit places I haven’t seen in a while. Like Penang with its awesome food, Melaka with its antique charm, and Kuala Lumpur with its cutting edge skyline. By the end of it all I was tired but smiling, and itching to shoot some more. (I was actually back in Melaka a few weeks later, but that was another story)

This truly was a great year… can’t wait to see what 2012 will bring in!

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
Montmartre, circa 2011:


This is a straight scan. It's amazing how this city manages to look old - you can underexpose or overexpose the photo or even scratch the negative. Put dust marks, whatever on it - and the city will only look older. Amazing :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
How do you shoot a city with 150 years of photographic history?

Brassai. Atget. Cartier-Bresson. These are massive footsteps to follow if you plan to do serious photography in Paris.


I found it hard to walk these city streets without thinking of their old, black and white photographs of the City of Lights. Those were classic images blazing with personality and nostalgia. Indeed, how do you make pictures with that kind of impact?


Shooting these streets, I realized that much of this was up to the city itself. That thick, Parisian atmosphere hung heavy in those pictures because Paris was exactly like that - Somewhat eccentric, very artistic. Bursting with life and character.


I'm glad to say that Paris still has much of its charm. Although nowadays the street photography in Asia could just a good (read: Hanoi, Vientiane, Bangkok), there's a special silver halide-laced flavor that this place can call its own.


And while Hanoi, Vientiane and Bangkok are changing every day, Paris has remained essentially the same for almost a century. Proof of this is in the pictures, of course - you can stand on many of the same spots where the masters took their photos, and find that the scenes (or at least the backgrounds) have barely changed.


When I was scanning these B/W negatives, I found that the photos looked good even without contrast control. In fact, the raw scans resembled classic black and white images taken at the turn of the century.

However good or bad a photographer you might be, you're bound to capture at least some of that Paris effect. That's just how this city is.

Photos taken with Voigtlander Bessa R, and Skopar, Industar and Hanimex lenses. Film used was Agfa APX 100 developed in a Rodinal-based developer.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
les dineurs cafe:


les serveurs:


le guitariste:


le roller:


le libraire:


Posted By Lester V Ledesma
It was a lovely day in Paris. Spring was around the corner; the sun was out and the breeze was nice and cool. Folks were strolling in pairs along the river Seine, casting dramatic shadows at the water's edge:


Then I saw this sign:





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