One of my favourite places to hang out in Amsterdam. I only wish they’d stay open beyond their very dutch 7 PM closing times. Took some pictures near at the coffee place near Scheldestraat in Amsterdam.
Capturing a photo on film evokes this strange feeling in me: a slice of time being arrested; the moment physically is frozen; to be stowed away; to never be lost, but to be forgotten; forever left in dust-filled boxes, in cobweb filled attics, only to let me reminiscence into the past when re-discovered decades later in future.
I have to admit that my expectation of this feeling, of using a disposable camera to be similar to that of traditional film camera – was misinformed. The idea that the very device used to capture these moments, will be lifeless and pretty much useless after doing so; made me feel the added dimension of ephemeralness to the format. I have neither expected nor anticipated this, and it has left me gasping to slow down.
With digital cameras I usually take anywhere between few hundreds to few thousands of pictures in an year. On film, a hundred pictures or so. But with a disposable camera, I managed to take a mere 30 shots in an entire year; of those 5 were a lost, forever; leaving me wondering, what was in it? where was I? what was I thinking?; questions, which perhaps, I will never get the answers for.
Here are some of my favourite moments in the “forever format”
Snow in Amsterdam
Texel Island, Netherlands
Recently I made a trip to Portugal. While I landed in Lisbon, after a couple of days I was tempted to go see the Atlantic ocean, and so I ended up renting a car and driving about 750kms in 2 days, all the way to the south-westernmost point and along the Atlantic coast of Portugal.
The main subject on my agenda was to see the coastal cliffs in the town called Sagres. The views brought back memories of Etretat in France, with the biggest difference being the splashing sounds of furious ocean waves.
Standing alone on a secluded beach was such a delight
I drove a little further to see the spectacular sunset from the light house
As the light waned, I made a reservation in a nearby hotel, where I woke up to spectacular blues – both in sight and in mood for I didn’t want to leave that place.
Now I look back, dream of the day I drive along this road again, back to those blues.
Thats the number of hours I spent last week around airports and airplanes while I made a short impromptu trip to India. This brings it to a total of about 160 hours spent around these things. The irony of long duration flights for me is that towards the end, I am both thoroughly exhausted and at the same time incredibly mentally relaxed.
Places like Airports never cease to fill me with this familiar feeling of total awareness of surroundings so full of people going somewhere, drowned in their world of unsettling emotions, excited anticipations and wishful retrospections, as they wait to enter this portal called the airplane which after hours of solitude in the crowded discomfort and unfulfilling meals – would leave them in a whole different reality.
Today I fly back to Shanghai, to the familiar hard and exciting reality of life in China; with hopes of returning in a month for good, to this romantic beauty of a city that Amsterdam is, which forever will stay in my heart right beside my first love San Francisco