Try to show it, learn to see…

Getting back to China had me return to the “20 Seconds China” video impressions I had been producing before. With a return a few years later, with new gear, it was just too tempting, and while traveling can provide insights – or not, looking around a place and trying to see is different again.

When you don’t just spend time somewhere, but you look through a camera’s lens, try to find interesting motives and provide a glimpse of normal life in all its average and abnormal guises, even places you know can get different. Places like China, of course, provide even more, even more unusual, impressions even more easily. And at the same time, it’s all just normal – but the normal of this place.

(This, by the way, is what cultural relativism really is about. It’s not that you can’t criticize others for things they do that you don’t consider good, it’s that understanding an other should be tried and done from the perspective of that other.)

A side effect of this my return to China and “20 Seconds China” was that I found older videos I had never put online… and it’s fascinating. Most of the things they show could still be found, some of the places probably would have changed a bit – but the technology has, over the three or four years that have passed since then, changed tremendously. The videos are starting to look like footage from a 100 years ago, found on tape reels in some dusty old attic (except that such tapes would actually have better image quality…).