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a 100 year old house...

Posted by
hugo poon (hong kong, Hong Kong) on 13 June 2010 in Lifestyle & Culture and Portfolio.

... and its lady owner.

This old house was for sale and I was invited to make an inspection. The estate agent kept explaining to me its superb value and wonderful return upon converting it into a luxurious boutique or restaurant. She's professionally trained and her presentation should have been impressive but ironically what really struck my heart was another story, a rather depressing one, that the lady owner shared with me, in a surprisingly peaceful tone: how she lived with her family in this "once beautiful" house since she was born; and how they were expelled from it during the Cultural Revolution... well yes, it was eventually returned to her family but they could never find the resource (both mental and financial) to restore this heavily damaged "home"...

I had been completely drawn into her story, but her calm voice suddenly stopped when we climbed to the second floor. She even behaved a little embarrassed - I only realized then that I had entered her bedroom. Swiftly, I took a few snaps before moving to another room: BTW, this is one of the few "brighter" spots inside the entire house that I didn't need to switch my camera to ISO1600...

Hefei Road, Shanghai

From my recent business trip to Shanghai in May.

FUJIFILM FinePix F200EXR 1/10 second F/3.3 ISO 1600 7 mm

I do not regard myself as a photographer. I'm an ordinary man but extraordinarily obsessed with capturing all the memorable scenes that I encounter in my everyday life. It's like an excited traveller craving to record his memorable journey in a memorable way, but in my case, it's the journey of my life ... If I can record my encounters in such a way that they leave an image on the mind of myself and other viewers, it's a tremendous joy and some accomplishment...
In terms of photography, I'm trying to preserve the moments as my eyes see "something" and my heart feels it too. As such, I seldom feel interested in planned, arranged or manipulated photographs...

roeb from rotterdam, Netherlands

great shot and linernotes.

13 Jun 2010 5:53am

ordinaryimages from Kentucky Bluegrass, United States

Sweet...we seize your property to destroy it, then return it to you for repairs...all so very cultural are these revolutions. Her pensive expression recounts the tale. best...jerry

13 Jun 2010 6:17am

@ordinaryimages: Well, they didn't destroy it intentionally - in their mind, they had only seized a "big house" from a rich bourgeois family and let 15 (unrelated) proletarian families move in to share it...

k@ from Paris, France

Impressive light here too, just love the natural elegance in the way she crosses her arms (as if keeping her past tight below, in her heart & belly), very moving story haunted with ghosts of lost life and regrets... And the way she looks up is quite heartbreaking, like an impossible to reach mental floor, another world or step forbidden now... What a wondrous image, Hugo.......

13 Jun 2010 7:01am

@k@: That's certainly some heartbreaking memory! Thank you for taking the time to leave your words on my pbase pic... "enter in on tiptoes and leave the same way. With respect..." Can't find other words that can describe more accurately how I was feeling.

Bruno from froyennes, Belgium

very great shot . Light, compo are perfect even at 1600 ISO.
We can feel the deep sadness of this old woman.

13 Jun 2010 7:28am

DLee from Fanling, Hong Kong

This's an outstanding shot. The tone added the sad mood and vision of the old lady also told alot ...

13 Jun 2010 7:34am

Bettina from Los Angeles, United States

Wow, this is really amazingly beautiful! Incredible light over the figure. I love her look up into the light. The textures are gorgeous, looking like a beautiful painting.

13 Jun 2010 8:10am

olivier Paillet from toulouse, France

Beautiful compo, beautiful light....Great shot !

13 Jun 2010 10:10am

António Pires from Lisbon, Portugal

The first think that strikes me is the quality of the composition, the light and shadows balance. Secondly, the dignity of the old lady, so well captured.
This image makes me a bit sad for it shows the inexorable passage of time, a think that I can't be used to.

13 Jun 2010 10:13am

yz from Budapest, Hungary

the low key and the light on the face and the pattern of decay on the wall make this photo really outstanding!

13 Jun 2010 11:35am

Yvon from Orleans, France

superbe capture

13 Jun 2010 11:37am

GJC from Kyoto (京都), Japan

An elegant image, and a powerful story. Well done as usual.

13 Jun 2010 11:47am

Anna.C from LA ROCHELLE, France

a beautiful lighting, great framing and powerful shot ! I love the mistery mood !

13 Jun 2010 11:50am

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

Beautiful composition, perfectly framed and balanced with the eye being led upward. The story is as sad as the photo is beautiful.

13 Jun 2010 12:41pm

dr pankaj shukla from panaji, India

great capture !
some how my attempts with the F200exr in low light at 1600 iso have not yielded as good results !

13 Jun 2010 2:41pm

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

poignant and beautifully told & shot Hugo.

13 Jun 2010 3:42pm

mo.langel from Genève, Switzerland

Great capture! Beautiful lighting and framing! Excellent composition!

13 Jun 2010 4:15pm

Fade ToBLACK from tehran, Iran

Beautiful compo

13 Jun 2010 4:51pm

jlm from Västerås, Sweden

It's all there. Simply wonderful.

13 Jun 2010 5:35pm

grace from newyork, Angola

(/, i saw
your interesting profile,and
write you immediately,
i will like you to contact me
via my email
(gracedokie [AT] ymail [DOT] com)
so i can send you my pictures for
us to know more about ourselves
and have good relationshp

13 Jun 2010 7:35pm

Ian Smith from London, United Kingdom

Very touching story, and a nice shot Hugo.

13 Jun 2010 9:54pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

The anguish she has suffered all these years! This is such an elegant and powerful image. Bravo!

14 Jun 2010 12:49am

Pavan Kaul from Mumbai, India

So wonderful, so poignant... a touching image...the history moves one to feel the sadness of these people, about to be displaced from their roots...Great work my friend Hugo:)

14 Jun 2010 6:04am

P J W Miller from Chase Terrace, United Kingdom

How sad Hugo, she is a strong lady indeed

14 Jun 2010 9:23am

B.Held from Santa Fe, United States

beautiful and strong . . . nice work :)

14 Jun 2010 4:56pm

✿ Anina ✿ from Auckland, New Zealand

WOW! A very strong and powerful shot, Hugo. The lighting is simply gorgeous. Her body language and expression seem so sad somehow. Thanks for the link. When I saw her room I felt so sorry for her, what a life. The first thought that came to me was: loneliness. Thanks for the interesting background information.

14 Jun 2010 6:50pm

foto-rolero54 from Charleroi, Belgium

Beautiful composition, perfectly framed ,bravo Hugo

14 Jun 2010 8:55pm

micke bergling from Sweden

wow.. like it a lot

14 Jun 2010 9:33pm

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

This is an impressive narrative and image, Hugo. I thin I can imagine the feelings you tell.
The bedroom image is also very heartbreaking.

15 Jun 2010 4:37am

Marie from FRESNES, France

belle image, mystérieuse...

15 Jun 2010 1:48pm

elena from turin, Italy

great picture and very ineteresting story!

15 Jun 2010 8:33pm

Marian Laura from New York/Chicago, United States

That's a sad story. I like the way you captured the emotion on her face.

29 Jun 2010 3:09pm

1/10 second
ISO 1600
7 mm