Little India Redux (with a X100S)

Whacha' lookin' at? - Little India, Singapore

Whacha’ lookin’ at? – Little India, Singapore

Fujifilm Singapore kindly loaned me their amazing Fujifilm X100S large sensor compact camera with rangefinder sensibilities (Thanks Cheryl of Fujifilm!!!) for review shortly before I left for my last Japan trip, and even though I had to return the unit before I flew off to Tokyo, I was able to get some shooting time with the X100S at my favorite street shooting place in Singapore – the ever-busy Little India, an area where the migrant workers of mostly Indian and Bangladeshi descent from various industries like construction and IT congregate in large numbers on weekends, turning the area into a semblance of India (hence the name of the area). For once, I left my Leica M9 in the bag – all the photos you see in this post were taken with the X100S.

Two men enjoying beer over lunch at Little India, Singapore

Two men enjoying beer over lunch at Little India, Singapore

A cab in the rain at Little India, Singapore

A cab in the rain at Little India, Singapore

I am shooting a long term project call “Home away from home”, a photo documentary essay on the migrant workers and life in Little India, a confluence of roads, alleys, shops and houses where Indians, Bangladeshis, mainland Chinese, some Vietnamese and foreign tourists amalgamate into a melting pot of activity every Sunday, where these migrant workers, mostly in construction, get their day off.  I’ve also written extensively on this in this blog:

A Home Away from Home (part 1)
A Home Away from Home (part 2)
A Home Away from Home (part 3)
A Home Away from Home (part 4)
A Home Away from Home (part 5)
Vignettes of Little India

A man crossing a small road at Little India, Singapore

A man crossing a small road at Little India, Singapore

A woman with a cigarette in front of a poster.

A woman with a cigarette in front of a poster.

The X100S is the successor to the wildly successful X100, the original camera which was first announced in 2010 to much fanfare and first debuted in 2011 after a delay caused by the Great Eastern Earthquake in Japan which affected Fujifilm factories in the area. The X100 is styled classically like a Leica and the shooting experience is very much like my own Leica M9 – watch out for the full review here and also on Three Guys with Cameras, a gear review site which I collaborate on with two other friends.

Tailoring services by the main road - the only place you will see this in Singapore is at Little India.

Tailoring services by the main road – the only place you will see this in Singapore is at Little India.

Shooting the X100S was a great joy, and as the former owner of the original X100, I took to it instantly – everything was familiar and even the gorgeous look of it was virtually undistinguishable from the original X100. Here are a few more colour photos from Little India with the X100S.

Migrant workers enjoying their day out on a Sunday at Little India.

Migrant workers enjoying their day out on a Sunday at Little India.

Life in a back alley along Little India.

Life in a back alley along Little India.

Crossing the road in Little India, Singapore.

Crossing the road in Little India, Singapore.

Little India remains one of my favorite places for street shooting because it does not feel like a typical street in Singapore here – crowds thronged the streets in an open display of street life; shops that are not housed in enclosed shopping malls lined the streets and back alleys; sellers hawking their wares while people of various nationalities congregate on a Sunday, a day of rest and relaxation for many who have toiled continuously the past six days.

The people here are also some of the friendliest you will ever meet in Singapore, and i frequently struck up impromptu conversations with many of the Indian and Bangladeshi workers here. They are also not suspicious of the camera, and many remain nonchalant and indifferent even when I’m standing very near to them. Little India is a street photography haven par excellence, and reminds me of shooting in Tokyo.

In the next post we will return to our regular feature on Tokyo Dreaming. Meanwhile here are a few more pictures from this on-going project. Enjoy!

Two men chatting on a Sunday afternoon in the late afternoon sun.

Two men chatting on a Sunday afternoon in the late afternoon sun.

A mosque in Little India

A mosque in Little India

A man on the phone in Little India

A man on the phone in Little India

A fortune teller in Little India

A fortune teller in Little India

Men crossing the road from an Indian temple along Little India in the late afternoon sun after a drizzle.

Men crossing the road from an Indian temple along Little India in the late afternoon sun after a drizzle.

Four men minding their own business.

Four men minding their own business.

That’s all! 🙂

1 comment for “Little India Redux (with a X100S)

  1. kenneth
    October 4, 2013 at 19:28

    I like especially the picture of a girl with a cigarette in hand in front of a poster. She must have noticed you taking a picture of her… How do you manage such situation coz people may not like your picture taken?

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