Friday, November 02, 2007
Scene from an alley
Shanghai, China, May 2007 [Click to enlarge]
The texture of a place is what sticks in my mind long after I've returned home. I try to take pictures that remind me of what I felt like not when I was standing in front of some tourist trap, but of how I felt when I stood on a typical sidewalk like a typical local.
I grew up in Montreal, which has long had the reputation of being a cosmopolitan, tourist-friendly town. Indeed, the downtown core is on any given day jammed with folks from all over, snapping pictures and wandering from one must-see landmark to another.
But I never saw any of these places. I didn't take the elevator to the top of the Olympic Stadium tower. I didn't shoot the Lachine Rapids in a jet boat, nor did I take a tour bus to the top of Mount Royal. It dawned on me that a resident's view of the city always seemed to be very different than a tourist's perspective. And then it hit me: no one ever seems to take the everyday-resident kind of pictures.
Which is a little sad, because they miss scenes like this, where the fabric of the life of a city and its people is laid bare by a quick glimpse down an alley, at tired stucco walls that have seen their share of everyday, unflashy, routine life. The story of these walls is infinitely more interesting than that told by bright, shiny so-called attraction.
Your turn: How does this image make you feel?
One more theme: This photo continues a theme I've been revisiting somewhat infrequently. Other entries are here, here, here, here and here. I hope you like 'em.