Slick City by Rhoufi

Melbourne, a wet night in November,
citizens wander the back lanes aimlessly, dogs slink for scraps,
milk crates loiter, roller shutters rattle in the wind,
a cigarette flares in a dark alcove

Hidden in shadow at the opposite end of the alley, stands a cop called Braille. It isn’t his real name, but down in Chinatown that’s what he goes by – he is renowned for his unique method of extracting information using his hands. The sudden appearance of a man and woman, unfamiliar to Braille, causes him to draw back into the alcove and stub his cigarette. He’s waiting for Branko to show and is watching with amusement as his informer Guido is rolled in the garbage for his wallet by a tag team of thugs. Braille carefully places the light bulb he has removed from the downstairs landing, on the tread of the bottom step and climbs the sixteen concrete stairs to the first floor. He pulls open an unsigned firedoor and steps into the Yuen Lum Low Chinese restaurant, as if he owns it.

Camera: Pentax K-7
Lens: Pentax DA 70mm F2.4 LTD
Focal Length: 70mm
ISO: 1250
Focus: Manual
Aperture: F2.8
Shutter: 1/15 sec
Tripod: No (hand held)
Processing: Lightroom 2.7

To reveal art and conceal the artist,
is art’s aim.

Oscar Wilde – “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

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  • Evelyn Bach
    Evelyn Bachabout 4 years ago

    Utterly scrumptious, Rhoufi. The whole kit and caboodle! The overlay/ underplay/ merge of written and visual text is pretty slick – in the best possible way. Are there sequels? Prequels?

  • Ah, Evelyn! Quick as a flash you pounce ;-)
    Well I haven’t thought about it really, that was just the mood that struck me as I was processing the image (that and Blade Runner of course). I have been affectionately rebuked in the past for leaving stories in my Description Panel apparently unfinished. This time I should try to do something about it. We’ll see, it will depend on the capture of another photo of the right mood. Thank you so much for the prod.

    – Rhoufi

  • abigcat
    abigcatabout 4 years ago

    There’s something to be said for your stories just as they are because they concern only the moment captured in photo :) Now a series along the lines of the ‘lonely’ ones could be ddifferent. Well done my friend :-))

  • Thanks BC. Yes there is something about just dropping into a story and being whipped out again that appeals to me. I hope it leaves the reader wondering what came before and what might come later. The idea of a series of photos with connected stories interests me. Hmmmm…

    – Rhoufi

  • abigcat
    abigcatabout 4 years ago

    Oh yes congrats on your new camera LOL :-))

  • Boy, are you answering an old comment here? Thanks anyway, I love my Pentax K7, but I wish I had known the K5 was on the way. Oh, well!

    – Rhoufi

  • Mel Brackstone
    Mel Brackstoneabout 4 years ago

    Melbourne has the best alleys for these kinds of images and stories! Fabulous!

  • Thanks Mel, yes it’s really nice getting lost in these alleys and when it rains the neon goes all rainbow on the slick bitumen and the cobbles. Special time and atmosphere. I never remember to take my tripod, because I like to just loiter as light as possible; a watcher in the shadows that’s me ;-)))))

    – Rhoufi

  • athex
    athexabout 4 years ago

    This is so very Melbourne well done

  • Yes it sure is, getting crowded thought.

    – Rhoufi

  • rosson1
    rosson1about 4 years ago

    won’t be lomg before admission fees are charged in this joint LOL fantastic shot R:))

  • There are times when you have to wait in line – no joking. I saw 5 photographers with their tripods setting up at the head of the lane that night. Felt like a tourist in my own city. Thank you Ralph.

    – Rhoufi

  • Catherine Berger
    Catherine Bergerabout 4 years ago

    Lovely image Rhoufi and great write up – another novel for you!!

  • Thanks Cathy, I have so many of these little scenes in my head, who knows if they build into anything

    – Rhoufi

  • abigcat
    abigcatabout 4 years ago

    Tripods? oh no! These alleys ( lanes) call out for shooting on the run and from the hip. :-))
    I have a whole different impression of Melbourne from your work,and others, Certainly not the place I thought it was :-))

  • My thoughts exactly BC, I just like wandering with my snub-nose 70mm prime and shooting on the run. The tripods are a chain around your neck.

    Yes Melbourne can look squesky clean from afar, but that’s not the side of it I like. Bohemia exists in every city until the money sniffs it out and moves in to commercialize it.

    – Rhoufi

  • JanT
    JanTabout 4 years ago

    Love this, both slick, wet texture on the alley and your writing, R!

  • Hi Jan, thank you. I haven’t written anything for a while and I just had to put something down for the atmosphere of this shot.

    – Rhoufi

  • Bjondon
    Bjondonabout 4 years ago

    Something mythical about this . . . . a wonderful photograph

  • Thanks Bjondon, yes I see that side of it because the atmosphere reminds me of the Blade Runner movie, which is very mythical. The sort of inevitability of social decline followed by redemption. Myths are just wonderful.

    – Rhoufi

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