Just Looking – PingHu

PingHu, China copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale

An image that I made of the three men crossing the street in PingHu may not be part of my series I’m Just Looking (Wo Zhi Kankan). It is a picture about them looking (and of course, me looking at them doing the looking).  I can not put my finger on what it is about this image that keeps pulling me back into it.

To say that it haunts me would put a kinda of wierd negative spin on my feelings about it. But it is one of those images that has stayed present in my memory. I think that I am trying to find a home for it. For me, it is a great Singular Image, but there is more to what I was trying to accomplish with this photograph than may be communicated with this one single image. And I do have more like it! What the heck was I doing?

I have already shared that I am not a people photographer, such that I am not the person you should ask as to what makes a great portrait photographer. As I had recently shared in a conversation with Miguel Garcia-Guzman when he asked me about portraits and family photographs, I think that I have some wonderful photographs of my grandchilden and my children and family. But that is because of the memories that are also associated with the photographs. For you to see these same photographs, you absolutely will not have the same connection that I have, nor would you probably consider them great portraits.

So while I was in China that last trip, I did work on my self-assigned ‘stretch goal’ of photographing people and try to put them into the context of my landscape photographs. And after making some drive-by photographs of people (like this one), I started to reach out and interact with those I was photographing. That was an interesting process in as we did know the others language, which prehaps made it ‘safer’ for me.

I am still trying to understand what the ‘safe’ is all about, but probably has something to do with me being a little bit of an introvert. Because I can write this, you can read this, but I am ‘safely’ far away and some what unconnected from an actual conversation. And I can take me time to write this, edit it, and decide if I want you to read this. Thats safe for me. So you can kinda understand that I am not the best person to take pictures of other people. But I also know that if I want to be entirely safe, there is no room for my growth. So damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead! I am now taking photographs of people.

Okay, sometimes;- )

Best regards,

BTW, there are aspects of this picture that remind me of some album covers made in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that may be my visual connection and why I like it. But I am still not sure.


One thought on “Just Looking – PingHu

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  1. Amazing what the lines—all of them—are doing in this shot. I think the only way you could have gotten the focal point more clear would have been to circle the fellow on the left with a red Sharpie. Wow!

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