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Monday, August 29, 2011

39 Steps: A photographic experiment

Inspired by a photo challenge on Red Bubble, & the title of the book by John Buchan, I decided to conduct a photographic experiment over the weekend. Starting at my front door, I took exactly 39 steps (the elevator ride counted as two - one in, one out) & looked around.

At first, it was difficult for me to find an interesting subject to photograph. Since I pass by this scene every day on the way to & from my life in Shanghai, everything looked so... usual. I decided to just start taking photos at random & see what happened. I snapped continuously for a few minutes, taking 70 photos total before I started drawing curious stares from the neighbors.

Back inside, I uploaded the shots to my computer. With very minimal tweeking - auto fix mostly - I wound up with five usable images.

It was a good experiment for me. It forced me to look at a very familiar scene a bit more closely - to notice the details - & I found some pretty interesting stuff.

Perhaps the point of this type of exercise is, instead of always looking to the future - the weekend, the next vacation, retirement - to notice where we are. Even if we've seen it hundreds of times before, it's still worth a second glance.

This is probably a large part of why I have such insatiable wanderlust - my inattention to where I am. I feel more comfortable with a constantly changing backdrop. When I see the same scene day after day, I get restless, longing for a new view. But what would happen if I zoomed in every now & again, & took a closer look at now?

What do you see 39 steps from your front door?

starting point
39 steps from the front door
worker ants
沪 (pronounced "hu") is the official symbol for Shanghai
ginko leaf
between a rock & a hard place


Steve Skinner said...

What a great idea. Outstanding images.

Nancy Lewis said...

Thanks, Steve :)

Scott said...

Very cool! :-)