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A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.



Sushi Grass in Paradise (A story)

written by Holly Lee
with photographs by Lee Ka-sing

(61) Domestic Life and Colour

“Chopin’s hand!” Declared Mrs. Bento, growing increasingly curious about the pictures Mr. Bento took these days. He’s been poking around the house with his funny camera, not even the bathroom, kitchen or basement could escape his gaze.

“Yes, don’t you remember, we bought it in Warsaw. I just found it in the basement.” Answered Mr. Bento, while changing the lens of his camera.

“Yes, I do. Now it’s sitting in the bay window, sunbathing!” Mrs. Bento went over to the bay window as she spoke, gently grazed over the bronze hand and its five slender fingers, which rested among several pots of small cactus plants. She noticed the phrenology head standing at the further end of the window also appeared in Mr. Bento’s pictures. Long noticing Mr. Bento’s fond of taking photographs and finishing one image with two pictures, and he calls it “diptych”, Mrs. Bento wondered why the recent diptychs he made, were pictures of a black and white image, juxtaposing not another photograph, but a solid block of colour.

“The colour block speaks of mood, of poetry couldn’t be expressed in a captured image. No, what I actually mean is, can only be expressed in the image of colour, like music.”

“Where do you get your colours?”

“Very simple, just from my computer’s colour menu.”

“And how do you choose, and pair colours with your black and white images? Do you have a language?”

“It highly depends. The colour chosen to pair with the image can surely affect the way of looking, and interpreting whatever meaning it is carrying. For me, the process is on-going. From the initial image to the choice of colour, whether the colour be placed on the left, or right also matters. I also have to take the series in mind, not just one diptych, but sometimes up to ten or more.”

“That’s a lot of consideration! But why do you choose to shoot the photograph in black and white? Is it because you want to emphasize colour, the other ‘image’?”

“Well, certainly black and white is appreciated and regarded highly for its abstract quality. Without the distraction of other colours focus will be placed more on the content. However, in the beginning I chose black and white out of the different nature of the images, I needed to band them together to create unity. The colour I choose to juxtapose with the black and white serves really as a fermata, a pause, a musical note, or you can even say, an emotion. I am sure different viewers will have different imaginations on the diptychs.

“Oka-yee…like composing a poem, or music. Do you repeat colours?”

“I might have, yes, but subconsciously. I use colour that I feel appropriate to cultivate feeling and mood at the time of work. And because this work appears not as one single photograph, but as a series, in a group, I often have to consider colours used in the whole set, how do they work and…speak with each other.”

“There’s a lot of things you shot from our house, I totally understand in this lockdown situation. Sometimes, the pictures that I saw feel familiar, then recognized they are from our home! I really like the way you’re looking and finding these things, small details, a withered amaryllis, a small piece of window view, a book shelf corner, a messy table-top, the scorched bottom of my frying pan, and the basement is recently your new discovery…”

“I am able to shoot outside too, but just within walking distance.”

“Yeah I noticed in our brief walks. I love our neighbourhood, their small front gardens are blooming with all sorts of flowers, birds dance and sing on tree branches and electric poles overhead. Everything is so alive. I couldn’t wait to see the grapes and tomatoes coming, soon, in a few months time. By the way, you don’t shoot with the cell phone anymore?”

“Basically no. Now I use different cameras for different projects. Do you remember I have a Fuji camera? I used it a lot before I got Sony. I use Sony now basically for colour, and Fuji black and white. Well, for my age I’d like to carry lighter gear when shooting outside. On eBay I found a lens package offered by a Japanese seller, the lightest lenses from Pantax 110, 18mm, 24mm and 50mm that can be adapted to my Fuji. That’s what I used when I started the home project.”

“You have a bunch of other old lenses too. Do you ever use them?”

“Yes, sometimes. I’ve experimented with a Leica 90mm, and an Apo-Lanthar 150mm on the Fuji. But right now I’m having the Pantax 18mm on.” Mr. Bento walked over to Mrs. Bento, detached the lens from his Fuji and showed Mrs. Bento.

“You’ve dropped something.” Mrs. Bento said as she bent down to pick up the object.

“It’s the cap for this lens.” Said Mr. Bento.

“What cap, you use a, let’s see, Tung Chun soya sauce bottle cap as your lens cap!”

“Exactly. These lenses did not come with lens caps. I have to find substitutes. I found this one in the kitchen, a perfect fit - of course I still have to attach some felt inside the rim so that it won’t come easily off.”


"Sushi Grass in Paradise" is an on-going story. To read the full length version with previous chapters, please visit- https://oceanpounds.com/blogs/sushi-grass-in-paradise




Lee Ka-sing
Photographs from domestic-life-colour-book series (2020)
you can view this series a carousel presentation of 200 images at this link:


Issue 0619-2020

A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
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Holly and Ka-sing currently live in Toronto with their daughter Iris, and their cat Sukimoto.


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