Photography is … visual. That much is obvious. As a published poet and literature professor, I’m supposed to be able to convey ideas with words but what happens when something is a visual idea?
This would take us from visual to verbal to visual again. And the first and last visual may not be the same, even though we’re talking about the same photograph.
I look and look and understand how a photograph works, but I’ve yet to properly learn how to say why it works and why I enjoy it.
Photography has made me rethink some of those things to do with literature that I’ve forgotten. Of course, the experience of a literary work is not the same thing as a book review or a scholarly paper.
The experience … the experience … the horror … the horror … the “oomph” … it starts with the experience, and sometimes I feel like all one has to do is to read and look and be quiet. That was the experience of reading in my youth which put me on the path of academia.
The subjective “oomph” comes first. All the bits about literary/intellectual history, the meaning of meaning and so on, comes after.
This explains why my colleagues down the corridor could spend so much time on books that I genuinely find boring and pointless … and of course, vice versa.
Anyway, back to what is visual “oomph”, at least for me:
That’s the Leisure and Cultural Services Headquarters at Shatin. Perhaps this is what the Ministry of Truth looks like in Orwell’s 1984.
The mini-bus and high-rise apartment buildings. So very Hong Kong. This is at the elevated bus interchange just outside New Town Plaza, the hard-to-miss shopping mecca at Shatin.
Walk down the sloped pavement by the side onto ground level and you’ll see an entire length of village houses, some of which have been converted into eateries.
That’s just below the bus interchange, right next to more mini-bus terminal stops. I like the different greys of the pavement…
Yet another village house … with a gothic feel.
All these images are taken from within 200-300 metres. That’s how packed Hong Kong is. Keep in mind this is the urbanised area of the New Territories, third in line in terms of urban development, coming after the Kowloon/Tsim Sha Tsui areas and the Central/Wanchai areas on Hong Kong Island.
Thanks for reading.