Uploaded: Friday, June 5, 2009, 9:38 AM
Views Beyond the Peninsula (adult)
The winning entries from Views Beyond The Peninsula didn't just capture a place; they captured the spirit of people, created a sense of wonder and allowed us to view the world in a different way.
The compelling reflections taken from inside an airplane terminal in Tokyo, Japan, in Jack Simon's "Leaving Japan" caught our eyes right away. The solitary figure seems to be ascending a stairwell of the sky; a ghost suspended against a backdrop of airliners departing and arriving, luggage carts whizzing by and the shadows of empty seats waiting within the terminal.
Audrey Loke's entrancing "Old World Pacific" stirred our curiosity. The young woman dressed as a geisha in such brilliant colors is a bold contrast to the muted grays of the people hurrying past her, barely even noticing her. Her expression is ambivalent and magnetic, leaving us wanting to know more about the woman stopped in the street.
"Bedouin Girls" by Margo Wixsom, taken in Jordan using a fisheye attachment on her camera, is a charming moment in which the subjects are just as curious as the photographer herself. The photo captured a sense of the girls' culture and humanity in an interesting format.
-- Veronica Weber
"Leaving Japan" by Jack Simon
Learning the ropes on a film camera can be difficult. It was for Jack Simon. The 65-year-old Palo Alto psychiatrist says he didn't start taking his photography seriously until about seven years ago when he got his first digital camera.
"They never were quite what I wanted," Simon says of the photos he used to take on film. "With digital and the more immediate feedback, I found that the photographs were closer to what I wanted to take."
The immediacy of digital photography helped Simon get the image he wanted in "Leaving Japan," which he took in an airport lounge in Tokyo. While waiting to board a flight back to the United States, Simon spied an opportunity to take what turned out to be his favorite shot of the whole trip. He took many versions of the scene, each time with the luxury of instantaneously evaluating and then adjusting until he ended up with his award winner.
"That is one photo where I could see what I was going to get," he says of the photo, which, at first glance, appears to be a dual exposure, but is in fact a single shot. Through the airport lounge window the viewer sees an airplane ready for boarding beneath wispy cirrus clouds. The window's reflection reveals a lone traveler ascending a staircase that snakes up and over the docked aircraft.
"I just loved the image, so I took out my camera," Simon says. "It obviously suggested to me a movement into the sky."
That his favorite picture of his venture to the East should come from such a Western source as an international airport does not bother Simon. In fact, he embraces the fact that the image came to him so unexpectedly.
"I like the surprise of photography," he says. For Simon, the hunt for the right photo is what thrills him most -- to find stunning images in the day-to-day.
"Initially I was pleased to find a composition I thought worked well," he says. "Then I actually started to get interested in finding scenes that were more exotic. That has shifted. Now I'm interested in finding an interesting picture in everyday life and the mundane."
-- Nick Veronin
"Old World Pacific" by Audrey Loke
This photograph was taken in Kyoto, Japan, this past December. The shot was not staged and has not been cropped or modified in Adobe Photoshop. During my relatively recent and short introduction to the study of the history, theory and practice of photography, I've learned to approach the subject with a 'painter's eye.'
While luck was important, my developing sense of formal balance and composition culminate in this photograph. Happily, I think this shot represents what Cartier Bresson meant about capturing the "decisive moment."
"Bedouin Girls" by Margo Wixsom
Coming down from the steep climb to The Monastery in Petra on a hot summer day last August, I was surrounded by these cheerful Bedouin girls. They offered painted rocks for $1 in the merciful shade of a draped rest area. Using a cheap fisheye attachment for a Nikon 4300 digital camera, I framed their enthusiasm and ease in the rich desert climate of Nabatean culture. I spent August of 2008 traveling the Middle East on a Silicon Valley Education Foundation teacher's fellowship, photographing for a book I'm working on, titled "Picturing Middle East," that visually counters American stereotypes of these amazing world cultures.
"Nature's Guardian" by Leon Brauer
"Taj Reflection" by Zeke Daniels Shpall
— Palo Alto Weekly staff
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.
There are no comments yet for this story.
Be the first!