the view from a home that is not my own // Black & White Photo Challenge

the view from a home that is not my own // Black & White Photo Challenge

I was challenged by Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner to participate in the Seven Day Black and White Photo Challenge, and I’m super excited because this marks the first time I’ve been tagged by a blogger to do something! Yay! ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

Thank you so much Sophie!ย ๐Ÿ˜„

The point of this challenge is to post a black and white photograph for seven total days without providing an explanation for what the photo is, buuuut as I’m not going to post seven photos, I thought it would be fun to do the opposite and go full-on analyzation mode for one black and white photograph.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š


Are you ready for the reveal?


Drumroll please….









Have you thought about your own interpretation of the photograph yet? If you haven’t, think about it for a bit, and then read on to see if my analysis matches yoursย ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘


I have no dramatic story forย how I took this photo,ย and it’s the kind of photograph that could be easily lost within the thousands I have stored on my hard drive for my travels. I’ve mentioned before in my post about walking around Hume Lake that something doesn’t matter to me unless I notice it and pay attention to it; the same can be applied to the photographs I take. If I had deleted this picture early on during my travels in Hong Kong, I would have never known this photograph existed. I would have never stopped to analyze it, as I’m doing now, or been able to appreciate the fact that I stopped on that day in Hong Kong to point my camera lens at the sky outside my grandparents’ home and snap a picture of that moment.


Basically, this photograph could have been meaningless.


But I have now found it — the appearance of the Black and White Photo Challenge has prompted me to pick this photo out of the thousands of others I could have picked to think about more deeply. I am ready to make something meaningless into somethingย with meaning. Thus, here it my attempt to attach a breath of significance onto this photograph.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š


The setting of this picture, if you haven’t already gathered, is Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a place I have never lived in but I feel close enough to as if I had lived there my entire life; Hong Kong is the embodiment of summers without the pressures of school and the joy of seeing half of my family again, and it’s the embodiment of the stages of my life in which I have grown the most in knowledge, character, and gratitude.


Most people mark the start of their new year with January 1st, but my new year has always begun the moment I board the plane and leave California for Hong Kong during the summer.


My summers have never been idle, boring, or timeless — my schedule is always packed with things to do, people to meet, and places to discover, so whenever Iย do get time to sit down and relax, it feels much more soothing than it would at home. I was at my grandparents’ home, sitting on the little shelf beneath the window overlooking the ocean and sky, when I took the photograph above. The sky was a stormy gray that day, a large contrast to the burning clarity and heat of the sunny skies that overtook Hong Kong weather the day before. Like my life during my summers, Hong Kong’s weather during the hottest season of the year is always unpredictable and ever-changing.

It was then that I realized — this is not how many people see Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is the one of the “cities that never sleep” along with New York, Tokyo, and London. Search up Hong Kong on Google, and pictures of landscapes lined with skyscrapers or streets blurred by hundreds people walking past a slow-shutter camera will pop up. Scroll down further, and neon signs will begin to dot the screen; the colors of the pictures are always hectic, bright, and a bit stifling. They are nothing like the picture I have above, which is anything but colorful or busy.

Many people who live in apartments don’t have a view like this when they look out of the window. Space and resources are running out in the world as a whole, but that particular fact seems to shine through with the most clarity in places like Hong Kong, where the common sight out of a high-rise building is… another building.

I know the busy part of Hong Kong well, but I also know a much more mellow side of this place in the world that many tourists overlook. Like the way I am able to look at the ocean and sky without having skyscrapers block my view, I am able to see details within Hong Kong that a passerby would perhaps glance at, but not think about more deeply. I’ve witnessed the intricate class system that exists between Hong Kong natives, foreign domestic workers, and the mainland Chinese; learned an abundance of local Cantonese words and phrases that no textbook can teach me from my relatives; and have gotten glimpses of the often overlooked by breathtakingly beautiful nature within Hong Kong.

However, despite seeing and learning and knowing all of that, I am still a foreigner in Hong Kong. A foreigner who understands of workings of Hong Kong very well, yes, but nevertheless still a traveler and not a local.


Like the old building that blocked my view of the entire sky in the picture, my knowledge of Hong Kong is still clouded in many places.


I still have people I need to talk to, more of the Cantonese language to learn, and more books to read to educate myself about Hong Kong. Though my understanding of Hong Kong is not as clear as I want it to be, I feel myself getting closer and closer to that goal as I grow older, and that feeling of uncovering more of the secrets of the world… it’s one of the most wonderful feelings I’ve ever experienced.


Many things can be derived from my picture above of Hong Kong, but allย this is what I have been able to pick out of my mind and connect to the photograph above.


I hope you enjoyed this analysis of

the view from a home

that is not my own.



Before you leave, though, remember to



Doย you have a place that you call home that you don’t currently live in? What makes that place special to you? Do you feel like it’s important to sit down and make things meaningful when they otherwise could easily be overlooked? How do you choose what things to make meaningful in your life, whether it be a book, a piece of art, or another person?


Thank you so much for reading this post, and I will cya next time!ย ๐Ÿค—


~Zoieย ๐ŸŒƒ

6 thoughts on “the view from a home that is not my own // Black & White Photo Challenge”

    • If you’re able to, Hong Kong would be an amazing place to travel to! The culture in Hong Kong is so unique, as well as the language and history. I hope you can visit HK in the future! ๐Ÿ˜Šโœˆ๏ธ

  • Oh I really liked this post and how you wrote it! That was really nice how this photo ended up having a lot of meaning and like metaphors for your life all captured in it!! I’ve just recently moved and still am trying to feel like this new house is my home. I tend to feel like “home” means having family around though?! For me anyway!!

    Hong Kong sounds very amazing and also overwhelming!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Reasons Why Bookworms Panic At The End of The YearMy Profile

    • Thank you so much, Cait! I had so much fun writing this post — it’s amazing how much more I discover in terms of the themes of books when I take my time to sit down and really think about the meaning of the story. ๐Ÿ˜Š As for my home, I think I’m still trying to make sense of what that word means for me. I’ve lived with my family my entire life, so I don’t know what it feels like to not have them always be there for me, but I’ve talked with a lot of people about their home and they’ve said that theirs is where their family is as well. Which makes sense, because why would someone want to be anywhere else when they can be with the people who love them most? ๐Ÿ˜‹ Thank you for sharing your idea of home, Cait! In the meantime, I’ll continue to try and figure out what the word “home” means to me ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿก

  • Hi Zoie!
    I love your interpretation of this challenge. Good job on taking your own spin on it! That’s so interesting to read about how Hong Kong is like in your experience. As someone who has never visited Hong Kong, I did have the impression that it is like Tokyo or Beijing and always bustling with activity. However, it makes sense that there are areas of Hong Kong that foreigners and tourists do not know about, and that how a local sees Hong Kong would be different than how I would see it as a foreigner.
    I feel the same way about China where I was born (and still return to visit once very few years.) I am not quite a local but not a complete foreigner as well ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sophie recently posted…Seven-Day B&W Photo Challenge: Colour & ExplanationsMy Profile

    • I’m glad to hear that you could relate a little bit to my experience ๐Ÿ˜Š Of course, I think my descriptions of Hong Kong would be very different compared to a girl my age who lives and goes to school in Hong Kong. For me, since I’ve only been to Hong Kong when I’m at my happiest state during summer, without the weight of school pushing on my shoulders, I don’t associate Hong Kong with grueling schoolwork or the stress of life. For my cousins who actually live in Hong Kong, though, they would describe Hong Kong in a much different way than I. It’s really interesting to think about how one place can have so many different interpretations of it depending on who you’re talking to… I hope that I will get to know more of the different sides of Hong Kong when I meet more people and explore the place more deeply. ๐Ÿ˜„ Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment, Sophie!

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