Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Into the Light, originally uploaded by Socwind.

This photo features Jiufen, a popular travel destination for tourists and photographers near the northern tip of Taiwan. For all those who had the poor luck to visit during rainy weather, I'm envious of you for having had the good luck to find yourselves in such a misty maze of alleys and stairways. I never had such good luck. The one time I visited, the weather was clear to partly sunny, chance of shooting mist 0%.

Of course, capturing mist is not all about luck. It's about lighting and exposure. In this photograph, Socwind must have had a hard time getting the shot to come out nicely due to the wide range of lighting in this one frame. However, the orange light off frame at the top of the stairs, the bluish lamp in the upper right, and the red lanterns somehow worked. They melded together to create this web of silhouettes, highlights, shadows, and impressions. The part of the shot that gives me the shivers is that tree creeping in the background. It's awesome how that awning in the foreground just happens to have similarly creepy water stains.

The most striking feature of Jiufen, though, are the red lanterns that hang through all of the alleys and stairways of the village. They light up at night and feature the words (roughly translated): the more night, the more beauty. This photo has captured them beautifully. With the wide angle, we get a great perspective and sense of scale as the lanterns shrink into the distance and disappear in the warm glow around the corner. As warm and dreamy as it all looks, though, I can't seem to shake a feeling of trepidation. It's like I've been here before, lost in a maze of winding streets, disoriented by the lights and unable to find my way. I like how photographs expand past their frames and offer alternate worlds and hidden stories. It's part of what excites me about photography.

So keep shooting and Happy Chinese New Year everybody!

(I wonder if I maybe should start another new blog, psychoanalyzing my blogposts on clickclickclick)

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