Behind the Golden Circle

By: Gustav Hoiland

Dec 17 2010

Category: china

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Focal Length:35mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Red Aprons

I’ve had this photo hanging up in my cubicle on and off for about three months now. I think the conveyed feeling is pretty universally understandable. It shows, how should I say, the wonderful joys of working a less than ideal job. And whenever I get frustrated with some spreadsheet formulas or other setbacks, I see these arms crossed, the shoulders slouched and the breath wet behind the mask in a glass cage and… well, I get a little renewed jolt of appreciation for my good fortune.

There’s a pretty clear divide here between the two sides of the photo. On the right is the meaning, while at left we have context. The circular window gets our attention to focus directly on Right Red Apron Wearer. While Left Red Apron Wearer is really in the same position, RRAW gets the star treatment.

At left is the rest of the street market. The apartments rising up in the background (with surprisingly little laundry hanging out to dry; usually it’s covered). The general clutter and density of the lower class Shanghainese neighborhoods with stained walls, dirty cobblestone streets, etc… A far cry away from the unabashed prestige that’s paraded in the stainless skyscrapers and in the deep black paint of new Audis.

This wonderful little alley, home to many a good dinner, was aptly nicknamed, by my classmates, the dirty.

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