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September 2009

Public places, lonely spaces

Last weekend I took a crack-of-dawn flight up to Canada to visit some family. In a favor that trumps all favors, my lovely roommate dropped me off at the airport about 4:45 am (meaning we got up at 3:30 after staying up really late watching Bring It On – probably a foolish idea). 4:45 am is an interesting time to see an airport.

I’ve always had a fascination with being at a place normally bustling with people during the deserted off hours. I think it started with school playgrounds during the middle of summer, my parents’ ice cream store after closing, even your own home in the wee hours of the night. It’s like seeing someone you know only from work on the weekends in a T shirt and shorts playing football in the park with their kids (or your teacher at the grocery store – what, you have a LIFE outside of how I know you? What is this third dimension you have?)

The airport is particularly interesting to me since it for the sole purpose of moving people from one place to another. When I think of an airport I think about excitement, joy – because I’m always trave
ling on vacation or really happy to be home. When it’s empty you realize that all the feelings you have associated with a place were brought there only by you to fill that space. What does it do when no one is around?

For me it’s somewhere between beautiful, sad, and eerie – seeing a secret face. When you’re the only other person there it’s rather intimate.

There’s another Doris Cheung out there from Vancouver who already did a whole series of photographers about places like airports with know people so I’ll refrain from making a dramatic, symbolic statement with an art exhibit and just leave you with these. I think 3 am would be an even better time, and if I only had a tripod…

This one is my favorite…taken when rushing to my proper terminal! It seems awfully symbolic to me but I will leave it to you all to find whatever meaning you like. :) I think the lighting could go moodier, but that’s just me – although there’s something about the slow shutter speed-drenched with light look that draws me too since I know it’s pitch black outside!

For a full album view of the pictures I took, the link is here.
http://picasaweb.google.com/cheungd/SFO2009#

And in a case of life imitating art, I found out that the West End of Vancouver (Stanley Park, I think?) looks just like that famous Seurat painting that is always getting parodied, Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte:






























I just need a few people with umbrellas and that’s it!




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