Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Facing the Wall

Shi Guorui is a Chinese photographer who abandoned modern cameras in 1998 to work exclusively with the camera obscura, or "dark room" in Latin. Sitting in the the unlit silence of his 10'-by-10' tented camera for hours at a time, Shi has photographed some of the world's most intriguing landscapes, the San Francisco Chronicle tells us - futurist Beijing, mythological California, the ancient lumbering mountain range of the Great Wall of China.

But something about Shi's remarks on his experience staring at the wall-sized sheet of paper inside his shelter contraption struck me - a little zen tidbit perhaps one can only find in the blackness of self-confinement. He says, "thinking about the outer and inner worlds, the look, history and spirit of the place whose image is being burned onto the wall" produces a kind of isolation for improving the inner self. "As I face the wall, I'm aware that I'm living."


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