Pudong Backstreet

By: Gustav Hoiland

Mar 18 2010

Category: china, self portrait

1 Comment

Wandering in the Warm Wet

I tend to do this a lot, especially in unfamiliar cites.  I got to this point after hopping on a subway from my university (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics) and taking it to a part of town I’d never been to.  When darkness fell, I would find a subway stop and shimmy on home, but until then I had a couple hours of free reign in one of China’s largest, wealthiest and newest downtowns.  Also, it was alternating between a downpouring and sprinkling, though both were thankfully quite warm.  Spent a lot of time fending off the umbrella vendors that appear out of nowhere when the first drop hits.

I rediscovered this shot while pouring through my China archives, digging up shots that will be considered for use in a promotional brochure produced by the program that got me to China in the first place.  While I don’t expect this would turn too many people on to enlisting for a stint in Shanghai, I quite like it.

Perhaps it’s all of the different textures that I like most.  Wet pavement.  Dirty concrete barriers. The flat beige of those giant bricks on the left. The gritty wall I’m standing in front of. Further out the texture is gone, but the patterns of the sleek glass towers and decidedly less sleek windowed facades continues the … I guess the complexity of every surface here.

From what I recently read about the elements of images, I can find three distinct indicators of depth here. The first is the vanishing point. Until I read about this I really took these for granted, but now I really notice them. There’s only one here (of a possible 3 in photography). This is shown by lines that run parallel in reality, but are shown as non-parallel in the photo. Next is the size difference between “known” objects.  Human Left (me) is perhaps five times as large as Humans Right, who are seen as smaller. My relative largeness identifies me as being closer, while they seem deeper set.  Really they’re the same distance from you’re eyes, but this depth stuff gives the illusion of them being far.  Finally, there’s some great aerial diffusion going on here… fog!  The colors and everything are much clearer on the walls by me.  By comparison, the buildings in the background appear paler, and further back they even disappear into the mist.


One comment on “Pudong Backstreet”

  1. umbrella venders have kids too you know.

    really like the picture though. The leading lines you used to direct my eyes to downtown worked great. you should of leaned against the far wall next to the graffiti but someone would of probably stole your camera. First time checking out your blog, you do good work man keep it up

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