Friday, May 18, 2007

Ornate threads


Ready to wear
Shanghai, China, May 2007 [Click to enlarge]
Quick note on yesterday's entry: I woke up this morning with that fuzzy feeling you get the day after something monumental has happened in your life. It was a good-fuzzy, though, the kind of emotion that comes from knowing you've done the right thing for the right reason. I'm off work today. I dropped the kids off at school and gave them a big hug and kiss before they sauntered into the school yard. The sun was shining and I drove home with a smile on my face. Life is good. Now, on with the continuing show from my adventures in China...
A visit to the market in Shanghai is an experience not to be missed. As you walk in from the main street, your senses are inundated by sights, smells and sounds that are decidedly different than anything you'd find at home.

As I slowly walk the streets and try to avoid getting lost - tough to do amid choking crowds in the midday heat and humidity - I find myself struggling to commit this place to memory. I wish I could bottle it in some way and take it home so that I wouldn't forget what it's like to be right here, right now. I wish I could somehow explain it better to my family, to give them a glimpse, a sound or a taste of what it's like to stand in this place and feel its pulse.

But all I have is a lens and a writer's memory. And when I pass by this simple rack of women's shirts, I realize that this is the kind of scene I couldn't find anywhere else. I take a few pictures here, and when I'm done I smile to myself for two reasons. First, I'm happy with what I'm seeing on my camera's screen, because it reminds me of our daughter, who appreciates loveliness like this and can spot it from a mile away. Second, I have the answer to that vexing how-to-bring-it-home question: just capture unique and simple images.

It makes eminent sense: Don't try to grab it all, because it's just too big. Zoom in, get close, find the colors, textures, and shapes that define and explain this wondrous place.

Now that I've learned my lesson, I sling my camera over my shoulder and head off to the next wow moment, no longer overwhelmed by a seemingly impossible task.

Your turn: The shapes and colors grabbed my eye as I walked by. Sure, it's a simple rack of clothes. But beauty can be found in all sorts of unexpected nooks and crannies, don't you think?

17 comments:

Yemi said...

Beauty is everywhere. Sometimes, it jumps at you; you don't have to look for it. Other times, you have to look for it, find it, and expose it.

Congrats on your new job by the way:)

Valerie said...

Michele sent me today. What a beautiful picture.

Holly Schwendiman said...

The colorful and brilliant fabrics were my mom's greatest and most cherished memory of being in the orient. It is 100% unique. Of all the people with a lens and writer's memory I can think of few as well equipped to savor and retain as much as possible.

Hugs,
Holly

Bob-kat said...

I've just been reading and catching up on your China posts. Your commentary and wonderful pics surely give us a glimpse of what you experienced on your trip. The colours and textures in this pic are gorgeous and as vibrant as the culture you describe.

JC said...

"But beauty can be found in all sorts of unexpected nooks and crannies, don't you think?"

Yes, very much so. And your lesson learned is a great one for life, in general, imo.

Rachel said...

I've been reading your posts, trying to get caught up. Some days I'm not able to get at blog reading much or getting on the computer at all. I love all the pictures from your trip. I'm sure China is quite an amazing place and the people there. It's just so great that you got to make this trip and then bring back all these photos and memories to share!

I can certainly understand your job change. Being with your family while they are growing is something that you can't replace. I'm sure they are thrilled with your decision!! Best of luck to you! I feel you will do well with the new job! :)

Love the colors in this picture; bright and vibrant! Beauty can be found in so many things and unexpected places indeed!! It reminds me of when I go through the drive thru window at Fazzoli's here they have those waxy leaved shrubs (not sure of the name of them) there and I must reach out and touch a leaf and feel it in my fingers.

Awareness said...

Hi Carmi.

First off, I want to wish you all the best. From your description it sounds like a logical step forward because it will allow you to combine your techie expertise and your wonderful personality and heart.

We all try to find that illusive balance in life....our kids are young for such a short time. Though I have bitched and complained myself about my work situation and lack of a few more options because of how small Fredericton is etc (though I am making small incremental steps to get out of there and onto other challenges) I also weigh things and know that we will stay here and not move back home to Ontario. Why?

Balance......I'm 10 minutes from the schools, 5 min. from my husband's office....15 minutes from home. It's doable.....it allows for full time work and lots of involvement with my kids. We are all home by 5:30 at the latest...lots of time to do some extra curriculars etc. It works.

Just reading your post yesterday, I could feel your sigh of relief and smile..... good on ya.

As for your beautiful ornate threads pic......so pretty. My daughter also has the uncanny ability to sniff out beauty and fashion from a far!!

Lots of beautiful nooks and crannies to be explored.....

take care....enjoy your long weekend.

Shephard said...

I definitely love the colors together. And the textures/patterns. Great photo.

~S

Matt said...

Even the tawdry ornaments and clothing could shine in the lens at the right perspective. Whenever I travel, walking around the streets of unfamiliar horizon (of course I've got map), looking for unique images and off-the-beaten-path landmarks, I come to terms with a dilemma: How am I able to commit all that I see (and often hear) into memory? Just as you have shared.

The pencil and journal come to the rescue as I reflected on what I've seen, along with historical facts and details made savvy from guidebook, I try to verbalize that experience from the perimeter of it and enrich that writing entry with a couple of photos--ones that are unilke the postcard images. It takes a bit more time to find out a unique angle but that is well worth the time.

kenju said...

Beauty is found in the least expected places, Carmi, as you know. I would have had to buy a yard of each fabric there!

Wordnerd said...

What an incredibly exciting time for you! And how wonderful of you to want more 'kid time' -- they grow up entirely too fast, Carmi, and I applaud you for recognizing the blink-and-you'll-miss-it pace of parenting. Yay for you!!!

tommiea said...

If I looked at all the things I take pics of, then yes, I have to agree with you. I want to remember those tiny little details that most seem to pass right by.

Lori said...

I completely agree. This reminds me of a visit to an antique store where I photographed old linen dresses against a window. The world is so full of beautiful things; there truly is artistry around every corner!

Your blog is beautiful.

Scott from Oregon said...

Having seen way more than most, I've realized, too, that the enormity can't be described.

But a well-told anecdote or a finely framed image WILL transfer.

Sarch said...

Carmi the mixture of your "wow" moments combined with your skillfull descriptions will be more than enough for your family to get the sense of being there.

Also, your explanation of it just being "too big" to gather for them actualy helps one to get a feel for what you're describing.

Anna said...

I agree Carmi and I really try to look and find beauty in the ordinary and unexpected places. This shot is great ans remind me of some I have taken of the Saree and Punkabu suit fabrics here....they are so vibrant and stunning. This is a great shot.

It certainly doesnt surprise me that we managed to discover the same beauty....again! :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I do so agree with you Carmi...It is a matter of really looking...You know? We pass things by and don't see them unless---unless, we really "look"...As you do, all the time. I LOVE that you see the seemingly simple things and show us the great beauty in them! Beautiful picture, my dear.