Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Intricate facade


Windowed vista
San Francisco, CA, March 2007 [Click to enlarge]


On my way back to the hotel from shooting the Golden Gate Bridge, I sat by the window of a city bus and shot random snippets of the neighborhoods that slipped by. I was feeling incredibly nauseous - travel and I don't often get along - and was using every iota of willpower to keep from losing it in the middle of a crowd of strangers.

When the waves of green subsided, I picked up the camera and grabbed whatever images I could. I felt like I was watching a never-ending movie, and wondered why I never did the same thing when a much younger me rode transit in Montreal. Was that city genuinely less interesting or did I simply not take the time back then?

That's an answer for another day. On this day, San Francisco put on quite the unintended show for me. Each district seemed more vibrant than the last. All kinds of people were outside, enjoying the gorgeously bright sun. And the architecture seemed to reach through the window with stories of intensely livable neighborhoods and survival against a landscape that hasn't always been so friendly.

Your turn: When you're a passenger in a moving vehicle, do you look out the window and experience the surrounding neighborhoods. If so, what do you see?

17 comments:

Jessica said...

Hi Carmi
You're so observant, I always know that your posts are going to reveal something to me that I wouldn't have thought of.

To answer the question, I love being a passenger and observing the neighbourhood around me, although I take more notice of the people than the scenery. I'm always curious when I see people in the street etc,....where is she hurrying to? Does she really want to get there? Is that her brother or her lover? I've come up with so many story ideas that way.

If I'm travelling abroad, that's when I notice the sights, sounds and smells. I love seeing something new for the first time and I don't think I've ever seen anything that I haven't found something good in.

I only recently became a driver and I miss being able to stare out of the window and lose myself in another world. I'd rather be a passenger any day!

Hope the green waves subsided and you had a good day!

Merlyn Gabriel said...

I travel a lot, especially, these days by car. I love the world beyond the window, but it is a world in motion, prickled and peppered by small signular seconds of snapshot images. The hawk circling the field, the crows waiting for road kill, the trucker who acknowleges my wave as we pass each other, The blades of grass that seed, the fields of blooming rhaps, and so on... travelling and viewing through a moving window allows for both the blur of time and the singularity of it. It is at its essence pure magic.

cheers
merlyn

Anna said...

Seeing this shot....regarding your comment on my post...it is "frightening" ...Hehehehe. This is a good find...again!

Cravey said...

Yeah, I always look, and do what Kenju mentioned yesterday, imagine the people that live there, the lives they lead, and I wonder what it's like to live there.

Thanks for fighting the nausea. The pictures are wonderful.

Anita said...

I love your photo!

Sadly, I share your propensity for nausea, which means I do look out the window, but it must always be the front one. And the view is not quite so interesting out the front windshield.

kenju said...

I have to be in the front seat of a vehicle to do that. If I am forced to look out the side windows,or sit in the back, those waves of nausea you mentioned take me over!

Moi said...

whenever am driving past the neighborhoods, i remember to soak in the atmosphere surrounding them....i love to breeze past myriad mailboxes ...in all shapes and sizes, people's porches...their gardens, the windchimes, picket fences, the various places ppl choose to put up the national flag......kids playing on the street ...all that and more...:)

Carolyn said...

As long as I'm in front and can look ahead I'm ok, but put me in the back seat or in a seat that faces backwards and... well, nobody is going to enjoy the rest of the trip, lol! ;)

ChaCha said...

I wonder where it is that everyone is off to in such a hurry

Shephard said...

I'm always looking out the window and thinking about where I am, and who lives there.

I had to zoom into this photo to really appreciate it... I love the perfect repetition.

~S

Matt said...

San Francisco can really be a show!

I do this a lot when I'm traveling alone. When the buses rounded the alleys and narrow streets of Bangkok, a whole different world slowly unveiled. Gone are the usual smiley faces and flower-wreathed shophouses. What I see is the plain naked picture of life, one that might not be worth taking picture of but is proven to be so real.

Kids in Cambodia registered most deeply in my mind. Each corner, every entrances to a temple, every storefront--you will see them scrupulously selling guidebooks, postcards, and those who are even more unfortunate would be devoid of anything to sell. They badger and follow tourists for maybe a small change that they can bring home to their parents.

People watching is by far the most titillating in Hongkong, where daily conduct of life is suffocatingly fast-paced. People--men in business suits, women with LV bags under the clutch of their shoulders, uniformed school children, grandmas and grandpas--they are all, at one time or another, glued to their cellphones. Traffic lights alter in a speed that only trained pedestrians could have catch up with.

It was not until I travel do I realize the power of seeing.

tommiea said...

I have had the chance to live in alot of places. Every place we live, we try to get out and explore that environment....I am usually the passenger.....I try to see the world thru that of wanting to share it with others. Each month we pick a fun place to get out and do things. I have tried to continue to do this even while my husband is deployed.....not so easy with a 2 and 3 year old!!

Carolyn said...

Coming back to this photo: interestingly, when I hold my waffle up at this angle, it looks almost the same :)

Rainbow dreams said...

I love looking at the neighbourhood around me when I travel - imagining what goes on behind what we see...
am trying to catch up from a few days away from the pc and always find inspiration here, :-)

Blue Monkey Jammies said...

Oh I always do. I'm a scenery person. And will notice the little things. That eagle wayyyyyy up in that tree. The small group of kangaroos lying out in the sun in the distance. I don't get to be the passenger as often as I'd like though.
Thank you for a provocative post.

YTSL said...

Hi Carmi --

"Your turn: When you're a passenger in a moving vehicle, do you look out the window and experience the surrounding neighborhoods. If so, what do you see?"

I see a variety of things. Depends on the neighborhood, city, place, etc. In London, I often feel like I'm riding through various phases of history and/or eras. In Hong Kong, I feel like I'm inside of a giant movie set. (A lot of Hong Kong movies are shot on location.)

Generally though, I must say that I often feel like I see so much more when I walk rather than when I drive or even when I'm being driven...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Michele sent me tonight, Carmi...
Another wonderful picture...this building look endlessly intertesting...one wonders what is going on behind all those windows...Hmmmmmm!

So are you in or near Los Angeles? Well, I guess you will let me know, or not.

Many times I see things from a moving car whichI wish I could just snap with a camera attached to me head---seeing what my eyes see, if you know what I mean? LOL! It is often frustrating to me that I either cannot stop, or worse, don't have a camera with me. That's why I think the Camera-Attached-To-The-Head would be a terrific soulution!