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! 🎉🎉🎉
Thank you so much Sophie! 😄
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. 😊
Are you ready for the reveal?
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 yours 😊👍
I have no dramatic story for how I took this photo, 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 something with meaning. Thus, here it my attempt to attach a breath of significance onto this photograph. 😊
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 I 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 all 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
Do 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! 🤗