Friday, February 1, 2008


Untitled, originally uploaded by Jersey Yen.

I loved this shot when I first saw it because of how nearly perfectly everyone is lined up against the wall there. You've got this one horizontal strip of light, nicely highlighting these commuters waiting for the train. It boggles my mind how each one of these people can simultaneously be so emotive. The body language and relationships of their individual silhouettes with each other and the tile background speaks volumes: lethargy, exhaustion, impatience, resignedness, intimacy, friendship, detachedness.

The blur and the skew are both elements that might be considered flaws, but are actually adding to the photograph. I like how the fuzzy forms are kind of mirroring the fuzzy quality of the lighting. That undulating bank of fluorescent lamps above reinforce this off kilter feel of the slanted platform and tired commuters. The thing here to ground us is the station placard, proclaiming the location to be Taipei, the two Chinese characters close to being swallowed by the shadows.

This photograph isn't a favorite just because it captured a feeling, though. It's a favorite because it evokes a feeling. When I looked at this for the first time, there was an immediate recognition. I've stood on that platform before. I've felt like that before underneath those nasty fluorescent lights, sandwiched by darkness. I feel like each one of those people on that platform represent a place I've been at one point. The photo reminds me of all the times I've taken the train to the east coast of Taiwan, in a sour mood about being away from my girlfriend in Taipei. In a way, I feel like this photograph is a memory of mine.

Lastly, I should mention the camera used to take this shot. It's the (in)famous Lomo LC-A. The lomo costs $200 and reigns supreme as king of the "toy camera/lo-fi" hill. Down the line, I'll have an example of color night photography done with a Lomo because the images that come out of this camera can also be shockingly saturated.

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