Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Getting By

活著‧To Live, originally uploaded by Tiac.

Tiac is a really great photographer on Flickr and I always look forward to seeing updates on his page. The coolest thing about his work is that it's all done on a Sony compact digital camera. He has mentioned setting white balance to cloudy to get more warmth and upping saturation and contrast levels to the max. The results are really astounding. He captures ultra colorful images of the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system and vicinity.

Here, Tiac has titled this photo "To Live", drawing our attention to the rubbish collector, picking up discarded cardboard on his tricycle just to get by and make a living. The crop is perfectly suited for the subject, straight and narrow. The arrows on that wall then further emphasize the straight grind that must be this man's life. There's nothing to do but keep going forward, on and on. I really like the angle and proportions of wall to street. That foreground line is a nice reinforcement of how confined that man is to his path.

I wonder if the decision was his own to make his living this way. What were the circumstances that led to this? There are quite alot of people in the city of Taipei who are in this line of work, so maybe it's as good a life as the next alternative, opening a soup stall or cleaning the escalators in the subway stations. It does seem like strenuous work, though. Hauling flattened cardboard boxes around day in and day out, rain or shine must be draining on the soul. Or maybe it's just what life is. It's work and he gets by. I bet there are people in fancy shoes and fancy suits that are mentally in the exact same place as this guy is.

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