Thursday, November 22, 2007

Crossed wires


The local grid
Shanghai, China, May 2007


If the devil is supposed to be in the details, then one has to wonder why we don't pay more attention to the little things around us.

When I was in Shanghai, I took big pictures of the skyline (see here and here), but it was the little pictures that sealed my memories of this remarkable place.

The so-called small views have an attainable reality that the big ones often lack. The people who live here don't spend all their time staring into the distance. Rather, they spend their days navigating the blocks near their workplaces, their homes, their schools. The things they encounter as they go about their lives make up a much smaller vista than the tourist books would have you believe.

These otherwise forgettable overhead wires may not merit any kind of extraordinary attention. But they're real, they're local, and they help me remember what it felt like to stand on the street corner and shoot this. Somehow, the broad vistas failed to accomplish this.

Your turn: Small, local, real. Why is this important to you?

18 comments:

Bob-kat said...

When I visit a palce I like to take the grand shots of skylines adn vistas, but I alos like to capture some smaller, more local ones. Together I find they are evocative of the palce I visited as they capture the large and small scale. You are quite right though, it's the more local pics that bring back the 'feel' of the place.

Michele sent me over to say hi!

Mr. Althouse said...

I like the chaotic organization... It tells a story like larger panoramas can't. Happy Thanksgiving my friend. Michele sent me, but I was on my way anyway.

Mike

David said...

i just look at your photo, and think, How does that deliver electricity?

people look at me and say, How in the world can he build houses? hehe

Jerry in Tampa said...

at different stages in ones days different things bring emotions - what brings us to tears today may roll off us next month.....

well expressed........

Happy Day!

jerry in Tampa

panthergirl said...

Love the looks of Shanghai. On America's Next Top Model, the girls just arrived there and it looks really cool!

Here via michele today!

John said...

I think 'small, local, real' matters because that is what each life is made of. Which one of use really lives in a postcard? Which is what the broad vistas seem to be. Like an overview as opposed to an intimate conversation.
Details are what make life interesting.
Happy Thanksgiving! (USA style)

reddirtroad said...

Carmi, you always have such a way with your photos. I don't comment everyday, but I read faithfully and I continue to be amazed with your astute perception of everyday things. It's inspiring.

surcie said...

It's my favorite thing about your blog, Carmi--that you notice the details in life. You know, that's exactly how some people "practice the presence of God."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lee Ann said...

CHAOTIC, FUN, IMPORTANT....KIND OF LIKE THANKSGIVING.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ARE YOUR FAMILY CARMI!
~XO
LEE ANN

PI said...

I love all your photos Carmi. You couldn't take a boring one if you tried. Seasonal Greetings! As you know we don't in the UK and just have turkey at Christmas but I know there is a deeper meaning to the celebration.
Here - happily - from Michele's.

kenju said...

I agree with reddirtroad, Carmi.

wordnerd said...

Carmi, this may be one of my favorite photos of yours.

Haven't been by in awhile -- hope all is well with you and yours.

Denise said...

Hello, Michele sent me and I'm grateful that she did.

While the picture postcard vista might look pretty in a frame, it's things like the cobblestones on a street in England that really bring my travels back to me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jodi Cleghorn said...

This reminds me of a local photo my partner took in India of the electricity supply there. The substation is a fairly dubious, erratic and overloaded collection of wires etc - and the electrician is a guy working on it all in rubber washing up gloves!

Small, local, real - in these cases reminds me that we should be grateful for the small details that we take for granted in our every day lives - such as having continual and dependable electricity supply.

Thanks again for the provocative photography. I intend to send my soul sister over here to check out your photos - as she has an abstract way of capturing everyday life like you do and I know that she'd get a kick out of your photos.

Omykiss said...

Hi, Michele sent me. I love the picture ... lots of people talk about the bigger picture but i love the small, often unexpected detail in things. I'll be back.

Sarch said...

It is the small, local, real moments that make up our lives. Have you ever noticed how facinating it can be when you take the time to look back over those small moments and see the life they have created?

Smiler said...

I love this photo. I love the contrast in colour and the geometric shapes and the small details in the grid. I agree with you that often there is more to be found in small details than in the typical tourist attraction type places. Why? I suppose it's because we tend to pay closer attention.

aoitenshi said...

You have such a knack for turning seemingly ordinary things into extraordinary ones. Great post, like always!