Saturday, February 3, 2018

Chinese New Year - 2018


Lo, the rains perish which Ether-father throws
Down to the bosom of Earth-mother; but then
Upsprings the shining grain, and boughs are green 
           --  Lucretius, "On the Nature of Things"

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(Photo taken in Dallas, September 2016)

Many things happened in my life in the past year. I just realized that I didn't record any footprint until another (Chinese) New Year coming at the corner. In 2017, I have made significant progress in work, though I also occasionally question the meaning of life. The process of identifying a problem then solving it brings me intellectual inspiration and a pleasant sense of achievement. Meanwhile, the stylized discipline day by day hinders the utter freedom and wears out my sensitivity and keenness to the beauty of everyday life. 

When I am trapped in the goal-oriented circle: set up a goal - meet the goal - check - set up the next goal, I find my life corrupted into the mundane noise. Life becomes a rush. Too many new things to learn, too many materials to shop, too many places to go, too many gourmet meals to taste, whereas too little time to sleep... It sounds extremely busy, but they only add to the emptiness since little is essential goodness to life.

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(Photo taken in Stedelijk Museum, Den Bosch, Holland, October 2016)

What uplift me from the goal-oriented circle is traveling, museums, and unexpected shocks in life.

In the past May, I photographed the funeral of a friend. The work was heart wrenching and overwhelming, and . . . ultimately . . . it was tender, intimate, and astonishingly and inexplicably, beautiful. I left that day completely changed, as a photographer and as a human being. We’re used to taking millions of selfies and group shots when we’re happy, but when we’re having a bad or sad time, we just want to be left alone, right?

I took a different perspective of life and death. All emotion is beautiful. Life is full of a range of experiences and emotions and if we focus only on the sugary glossy ones, we miss the important part of being a human. I tried to capture the 'beauty' of grief: the moments how the people show their respect, support, and love to the departed and his family. One day, when the children grow up and review those photos, I wish they could understand that they have a great father deeply loved and respected by many many people. The funeral is thus an outpouring of love. It’s beautiful to be able to see the impact that your loved one had on people around them. It’s also a great reminder that we are all human, and suffering is what unites us.

Like what Heidegger explains in Being and Time: being is time and time is finite. For human beings, time comes to an end with our death. Therefore, if we want to understand what it means to be an authentic human being, then it is essential that we constantly project our lives onto the horizon of our death. This is what Heidegger famously calls "being-towards-death" (向死而生).


Life is time bestowed to us which allows the possibility to pursue what we truly love.

Life is short, thus we need to focus on one or a few things.

Living towards death, I sow myself into the earth of life, growing myself into the light which can enlighten myself and nourish other beings. This is my happiness, and the one thing I determine to pursue throughout my life.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”                                                                                            - Albert Camus

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(Photo taken in Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, Oct2016)


我的新年愿望(Jennie's Chinese New Year resolution):

愿你多笑,对自己笑,也对他人笑。
愿你对世界多一分相信,少一分猜疑。
愿你不论何时何境,保持静水流深的心,安静缓慢地成为想要的自己
愿你不论回应,始终爱得真诚
愿你优雅面对生活
愿你与家人分享喜悦
每天认真做饭,认真吃饭,认真做事。
不问前程,只为心中无憾,无惧,常持欢喜




Photographed by Jennie Bai.
Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Unknown


回到海南的家,每晚去海边看潮汐。海天一线,神秘未知,让人心中敬畏,不由得感慨人生。王介甫曾言,“吾行有定止,潮汐自东西。”(注) 命运自有定数,唯勉力精进,不虚度光阴。

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Below are pictures taken in Lausanne. It's also the one line linking the sky and the sea. But it's more peaceful and beautiful, compared to the scene I saw in Hainan. The former inspires one to feel the kindness of life, whereas the latter tells you the mystery and uncertainty of Karma.

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终有化茧成蝶的一天吧。



Photographed by Jennie Bai.
Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.



注1:
           泊姚江 
                       王安石

轧轧橹声急,苍苍江日低。
吾行有定止,潮汐自东西。