Friday, May 26, 2006

That photo album from Smoke

One thing I like to do is find a spot and sit for awhile and gaze upon the life flowing by. I like to immerse myself in the duree of the place at a particular moment. I have enjoyed this process ever since I can remember--in Xi'an sitting at a table sipping a bottle of Sprite, in Colorado sitting on the roof of a building and watching friends kick a tiny sack, in Millburn sitting in a park near where we lived (though there weren't too many people walking by), and in Massachussetts sitting on the beach, watching the gleaming sword of sunlight flash across the open sea.

I guess that's why I relate to herons so much; they always seem to be gazing. They just stand there with their long skinny legs and gaze down into the water. You would think they are looking for fish, but no, they are just gazing.

Yesterday I emerged from the Shuanglian MRT station, and after discovering a cool outdoor market adjacent to the station, I found my spot, on which I sat until I had to go to work. I sat there with my camera in hand, gazing, and taking pictures of the surroundings, mostly of the people walking by, some together, some alone, some chatting, some deep in thought, some hard at work, some carefree with leisure.

I like to capture people in motion, whether it is their bodies moving, words being uttered, or simply a thought flashing across the mind.

I sat there in that spot and observed the changing landscape, always the people walking to and fro, not too different from waves rolling in or transitions of lighting throughout the day. Always shifting, ever becoming.

I thought about the scene in the movie Smoke when the character (I think Harvey Keitel) explains his photo album, and how every day he stood in the same place at the same time and took the same picture, but the picture was never the same. Did he do this for a year?

I tried to do the same thing but in a shorter span of time. Here are some of the pictures documenting what I saw (I aimed the camera in a few different directions so it is more of a panorama than a single scene):


Anonymous chai xiaojie said...

These are great!

8:08 AM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

Thanks, Lady Chai!

9:15 AM  
Anonymous dlr said...

I love the street life photos. On my last two trips I discovered that my favorite pictures were the few that I took casually on the street or in the subway that included people. These kind of pictures tell as much or more about a city as those of buildings or icons.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

Thanks! I also love pictures (and the experience) of street life. That's why I take them and spend so much of my free time watching life scenes on the street and in the metro stations. That's also why one of my favorite scenes in this city is at the night market.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Wulingren said...


Judging from the initials, I know who you are. Thanks for the comments. Welcome! I don't know if you read my post on the Berkeley architecture students' comments about thinking about how space is used as opposed to dwelling on the appearance of the buildings. It would be great to get an architectural response to this. All I have are my eyes and some shallow intuitions.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice pictures, Lad.
Your Dad (AA) pointed me to your
blog and I am looking forward to
seeing more interesting pictures.
Hope all is well.


11:20 PM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

Hey BG! How ya doin?

11:47 PM  

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