London’s Chinese community dates back to the 18th century when the first Chinese sailors arrived with the East India company.
By the 1880s London’s first Chinatown became firmly rooted in the East End as growing numbers of Chinese sailors and traders settled and opened shops, cafes and laundrettes in the Limehouse area.
Aerial bombings of London’s East End between 1939-45 caused so much damage to the Limehouse community that it began to move west to what is the present-day Chinatown in Soho.
Chinatown is busy all year round but for me, summer is when it really comes to life as the long days stretch out into warm, balmy nights and the streets fill up with excited people out to have fun.
I've always enjoyed the hustle and bustle of London's Chinatown. It's as much a feast for the eyes as the stomach.
I spent the summer of 2017 working on a street photography project, capturing life in London's Chinatown.
I enjoyed it so much, I was inspired to make a short travel film using my iPhone 6. It was a new challenge, I'd never made a film with a smartphone before but it it seemed the right choice following the tradition of street photography using a small and unobtrusive device.
The built-in lens wasn't as wide as I wanted and the OS camera app didn't allow the quality or control I wanted so I had to find some solutions.
The lens was an easy fix. I bought a Moondog Labs anamorphic lens which offers a 2.39:1 widescreen ratio and decided to use FiLMiC Pro as the video camera app. It's easy to use and allows all the creative, technical controls needed but I kept getting dropped frames and had to find an alternative. Mavis was the answer (odd name, I know). It's a fully loaded smartphone camera app that performed flawlessly.
I have used FiLMiC Pro since on an iPhone XR and 13 and it’s worked perfectly and is my preferred app.
I quickly discovered battery life is a problem when filming with a smartphone and had to recharge during breaks. It wasn't ideal but I managed to get the filming done.
Another problem I found with the iPhone was how quickly memory got used up.
The street photography project was shot using a Fujifilm X-T1 and the film was shot using an iPhone6.
Huge thanks to Katie McClane who starred in the film and Rick Cordell for assisting.