Today I’ve pulled out a photo of some bamboo scaffolding from my father’s World War Two album. Next to it, I’m placing a photo I took a few weeks ago of some scaffolding against an apartment block under construction.
While the old 1940s photo is blurry, it’s clear enough to tell us that the scaffolding is made of bamboo and not metal. The photo might have been taken in India, for my father stopped there on his way back to Australia, and bamboo scaffolding is still used in India.
This photo has the feel of an old black and white movie. I can almost imagine it as part of an action scene. By contrast, my new photo is sharp and ideally produces the straight lines of modern metal scaffolding, but is definitely inanimate. Patterns of sun and shadows as well as the crooked lines of the bamboo in the old pic give it life in spite of its fuzziness. It’s my favourite of the two photos today.