Ding Ren

A portal into China, found while wandering the streets of Lisbon, Portugal this summer (2011).  I leaned into the open doorway to take the photo with my feet firmly planted on the cobblestone street outside.  I didn’t want to step inside because it was dim and eerie.  It was a stark contrast to the bright blue skies that were surrounding me outside.  I held my breath while clicking the shutter to stabilize the camera and to let the split-second feeling of being in another dimension sink in.  The sea foam green-blue walls and the cracking paint reminded me my grandparent’s apartment in China.  For a moment I had the sentiment of being back there, that I could walk up the stairs right in front of me and find myself in their living room.  The TV would be on, showing a Chinese commercial about body lotion.  Dried herbs and beans in large bowls would be scattered across the floor.  A clear plastic tarp would be protecting the wooden dinner table from different spicy and sour dishes.  The curtains would be drawn, diffusing the natural light seeping into the room.  The walls would be the same green-blue; they would share a similar essence, a similar quality of light.  The shutter clicked, I took a breath, and the moment was gone.