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boy under water curtain at Grand Childrens Park, Seoul (James Hendrick)

boy under water curtain at Grand Children's Park, Seoul (James Hendrick)

Author comment:
I took this photo at the end of the day on my way out of the park, when I noticed this water curtain over the promenade off one of the side paths heading back to the main entrance. When I got there, the boy pictured in the photo was playing at the near edge of the promenade, and every once in a while would run out in front of it and look down to his (I presume) family at the other end, but I was waiting for this to occur when the promenade was clear of any other people. After a few minutes it happened, and I hurried to take this shot before the boy moved or someone entered the frame.

The primary incongruity is of scale, of the smallness of the boy against the vastness of the promenade before him and expansiveness of the water arcing over the top. The use of a telephoto focal length (at 75 mm) helped compress the boy against this background and emphasize his small size in relation to the surroundings in general and the curtain of water in particular. There is further incongruity in the loneness of the boy on his side of the promenade against the togetherness of the people retreating from view on the opposite side. Finally there are several contrasts between his figure and that of the boy (perhaps his brother; I do not know) facing him on the other side: the figure on the far side is older, wearing black instead of white, and has his attention focused on the fountains themselves instead of on the path before him.

For me the photo is a visual metaphor for the many rites of passage of youth, and a symbol of those moments when, in spite of our young age and unpreparedness to deal with the world at large, we must discover something of ourselves in mustering the courage to take some small steps alone. The older boy on the other side can be imagined as the future self of our subject, still safe with his family but empowered by the knowledge of what he is capable of himself.


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Ritesh Pandey 04-Jul-2009 10:38
This photo is such a very nearly from a Life of Fountain. These moments shows beauty of real Life. "Kash Ye Duniya Bhi Yeesi Hi Hoti"
puppet02-Dec-2005 22:33
This image immediately caught my eye. The curtain of water did convey a sense of one going through a rite of passage. Water is full of symbolisms - for some it may conveys purity, for others, emotion etc. The juxtaposition of the two boys are clearly in contrast to the curtain of water yet united at the same time to suggest the challenge of growing up. For me, this image clearly deserve a vote!