Framed Mundane Things

The way a camera’s viewfinder makes you organize certain things of the world within a frame is MAGICAL.

It is COMPOSITION. Although not as creative as a musician composes a piece of music, it DEMANDS a meaning or relationship in the things framed within, juxtaposed together and separated from the rest of the world.

Last October when I was in a small old town in Yunnan Province, China, walking aimlessly along a narrow alley in the dim light of early morning with my camera, I came upon an old bicycle by the stone wall. It didn’t catch my serious attention at first, but as I raised my camera towards it and framed it together with certain things on and around it, I began to feel something. The details of the weathered stone wall, the rusted old bicycle with reinforced rear carrier, the green plants (leaves of certain vegetable, probably) on the carrier and the straw hat on the wall, once juxtaposed within the frame, seemed to be intentionally arranged to suggest something. It may be something realistically about the old town and the owner of the bicycle, or symbolically about a China that is disappearing, or abstractly about the different textures and lines and curves of those things.  I stared at the scene for some long seconds and then pressed the shutter.

I still wonder the magic that mundane things can be naturally framed together by a camera to become a meaningful image.


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