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February 14, 2009

Visit To Quarter Gallery

"Life is Beautiful"
An Exhibit of the Photographs by Song Jing
Quarter Gallery - University of Minnesota

I was most impressed by the display of Prof. Jing's work. Interestingly
enough, it was not the photography techniques used or the qualities of each
photograph's composition that was most impressive-instead it was the
message she communicated with each print. (There is a VERY common adage in
music that expresses a similar phenomenon-"It is not how well you execute a
piece of music, but instead what you say with that piece of music that
makes a performance meaningful.) In the case of this display, while Prof.
Jing is obviously a very talented photographer and the quality of the
medium of expression is outstanding, it seems that perhaps her real art is
in her ability to understand people and to recognize and then capture on
film the fleeting yet poignant moments that are sprinkled throughout the
course of a very fast-paced lifestyle. Somehow the moments she captured are
not only meaningful to the people in the photos, but also encompass tenets
that are perhaps universally meaningful.

Amazingly, all of the people in the pictures are on the other side of the
world, have a very different life story than mine, are living in a very
different culture than that to which I am accustomed, and I have never met
and will most likely never meet in my lifetime, yet I can understand and
identify with the emotions expressed on their faces. The expressions on the
faces of her subjects so vividly tell a story and, in a lot of cases, the
surrounding objects in the subject's environment mean very little and have
very little impact on the communication of the message. This further
emphasizes the fact that the intended connection in this exhibit may be one
of humanity - one human understanding something innate about the other and
through this understanding, sharing a bond of similarity.