Monday, September 03, 2007

Dark chair in a dim alley

Shanghai, China, May 2007

I think I took around 1,200 pictures when I was in China. At that rate, I could post an image a day and keep y'all entertained into the next decade.

Don't worry, though, as I'm not that cruel. But as I continue to refine my archives, I continue to find images that bring me right back to an incredible experience in an incredible place. So don't be surprised if you keep seeing bits and pieces from my Chinese adventure.

While I was there, I kept looking for scenes that I thought would tell the micro-story of this place. Small pictures, not big ones. Quiet moments instead of the loud ones. The kinds of scenes that would normally not make it into the typical photo album, but would still evoke the spirit of what it was like to be here.

I found this scene in the shadows of one of the many alleyways that snake away from the jam-packed streets. I had gone for a walk with other members of the Canadian contingent, and as the evening sky darkened over the still-busy, neon-lit pedestrian mall, the ghostly fluorescent glow from this forgotten corridor drew my attention. I liked the two intersecting forms of light, the down-on-its-luck tile floor, the chair with no one in it, and the story of how it came to be there that everyone in my group tried to divine, but no one could.

In the end, we figured it was another mystery for us to ponder.

Your turn: Who sits here? What's his/her story?


Anonymous said...

Michele sent me Carmi & I too wonder about such odd things placed in seeminly random places.
It's late though & I can't imagine who might sit in this chair in China. Someone certainly does though- there's even a pillow after all- I'm sure it's someone who likes to people watch as much as you seem to!

Anonymous said...

First, thanks for the comment. It /is/ scary that so many people don't read.

Second - you DO know that Melissa @ Bibliotica = MissMeliss, right? I told you?

And finally, about this chair: I see an old woman, stooped from age, hair still mostly black, fingers gnarled from working hard all her life, sitting in this chair and watching people, attempting to capture her own lost youth in their quick steps and happy banter.

Lara said...

i sit there. i like to keep chairs in random cities all across the world, just in case i get tired and want to sit down.

-E said...

I think it's for weary old men that need to take a break before continuing on.

November Rain said...

I cant wait to see the rest of your pictures on this amazing trip

I came by to once again thank you for your comments on my writing

It is much appreciated :)

now I am still waiting for the lesson learned story ;););););))

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

certaily is a mystery.... very random, like it

November Rain said...

michelle sent me back again ;)

Anonymous said...

The chair looks ominous to me. The light and shadows lead you down to where it waits alone. I think I'd be afraid to sit in it.

Anonymous said...

Who sits there? A lonely lady. Or someone who wands to ruminate sitting in that dark alley, watching people. Or maybe he/she is there to warn others about somethng. Some secret.

I would like to know the texture of that chair. Is it kind of antique?

Michele must have sensed my inquisitive nature. No wonder she sent me here.

John said...

I think this chair is likely the favorite respite for a local merchant. A momentary draw back to reality. A spot to reflect, take a deep breath before returning to the chaos just around the corner.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be grst fpor you to entertain us that way, but then that;s just me.

Thanks for all the moral support on my blog, michele sent me over to return the commenting favor

polechick said...

It's special pictures like this that make you thinks and realy remember what was so wonderful with the trip in the first place.

Michele sent me

Unique Designs from Zazzle said...

Very cool Carmi
-- chuckling at "down on its luck tile" heh heh

very fascinating - as though it would be improper not to have some form of hospitality in every nook and cranny.

Maybe it's a test and the locals are given a hefty fine if they are found sitting in this contrived setting.

BreadBox said...

That looks like a graduate student office! No door, the light sucks, the desk has gone, but at least there's a chair!

Michele sent me this time of course,

Pirate Princess said...

To me, it's a forlorn looking chair - a place no one would sit in with happy thoughts.

So my contribution is a man sits there, with his head in his hands, trying to come to grips with some sort of extremely bad news.

Doesn't that sound awful?