Lens-Artists Challenge #236 – East Meets West
“Double, double, toil and trouble.”William Shakespeare
This week Amy has challenged us to contrast East / West or North / South. I’ve decided to focus on architecture, comparing that of China in the East and the U.S. in the West. As architecture goes, in my humble opinion (😊), there couldn’t be two more different examples.
“Anything difficult to say must be shouted from the rooftops.”Natalie Clifford Barney
While it’s true that the differences are many, it is also true that one thing is constant….no matter the location there is beauty to be found everywhere. In China one will find some amazing uses of color – exhibits A and B my two opening images. Is there anything more striking than the color red (which is found all over China) or the gracefulness of the colorful upturned roofs? Perhaps also the inclusion of dragons, something never found in the U.S.!
“I’m not so much a dragon slayer, more a dragon annoyer.”Craig Ferguson
One thing we share with China is a preponderance of parks. Although they may differ in size and scope, all illustrate the glories of nature. One of my favorites in China was the beautiful Summer Palace which takes full advantage of its nearby waterfront and is open to the public.
“Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail.”John Donne
Although I’ve used the image below in previous posts (and on my desktop), no conversation about architecture in China would be complete without the incredible Great Wall. Our world is an amazing place, and I’ve been fortunate to see much of it, but I rank the Great Wall among my top five memories of all time.
“There were endless stories locked into the silent, cool mass of the Wall.”Braam Malherbe
The thing about beauty is that it comes in many forms, some concrete, others abstract. Happily, it can be found everywhere if one is open to it. Beyond Chinese architecture and landscapes, there is beauty in the warmth of her people – especially those we met in the more remote areas of this vast, incredible country. The same, of course, is true of our own country. Beyond the natural beauty I often post about here on Kiawah, in nearby Charleston one can see architectural beauty that could not be more different from that found in China. We are famous, for example, for the amazing ironwork crafted by local artist Philip Simmons which is found throughout the city.
“I come to a world of iron to make a world of gold.”Cervantes
Similar to the many temples to be found across China, Charleston is known as “the holy city” because of its many churches, some 400+, many of them from before the 1800s. Often they feature beautiful steeples like the two examples below. They can be seen perfectly from any of the higher buildings or rooftops throughout the city. For me, they bring to mind the children’s rhyme and finger game “Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the door and see all the people”. Do other countries also play that game?
“I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
One thing we share with much of the world, but which I did not notice to be prevalent in China is the ubiquity of fountains. Throughout our travels in Europe we saw them everywhere. Charleston was originally settled by Europeans which may explain their presence here. One of my favorites is the fountain in our Riley Waterfront Park. It is built in the shape of a pineapple, a symbol of welcome and hospitality which is seen frequently throughout the city.
“True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person.”Kathleen Norris
I’ll close today with a favorite image from quite some time ago. I captured it while strolling, camera in hand, along one of Charleston’s main streets. It’s located at what we call the “Four Corners of Law” (God’s law (St. Michael’s Church), state law (Charleston County Courthouse), city law (Charleston City Hall), and federal law (Federal Courthouse). The image captures an area of Charleston’s City Hall and to me is a wonderful example of the charm and beauty of the city.
“All the diversity, all the charm, and all the beauty of life are made up of light and shade.”Leo Tolstoy
Having spent nearly a month in China and nearly half of my life in the Charleston area, I could have gone on for days with examples of the beautiful architecture to be found in both places. Instead I’ll stop here with advice that should you ever have the opportunity to visit either or both, you should jump in as quickly as possible with both feet!
Sincere thanks to Amy for the opportunity to share two of my favorite places. Be sure to link your response to her wonderful challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tab to help us find you. Thanks also to Patti for last week’s Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome challenge. Her post and your responses reminded us all to think creatively and to see and show our world in new ways. Finally, we’re excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be guest-hosted by Bren of Brashley Photography. Bren’s topic will be “Lowering Clarity to Bring Softness” so be sure to visit her site for a look next Saturday at noon EST. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe, be kind and enjoy the journey.
Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.
Tina, this is a great post! So many wonderful pictures from China, (especially The Wall of China!) compared to the very different styles and equally beautiful architecture in Charleston.
Thanks Sylvia, some amazing differences but then again as always people are people everywhere!
wow amazing and unique
Thanks AWD, both for the comment and for joining us! Congrats on the award!!!
Thank you Jazakallah khair
A wonderful comparison! As always excellent photography and a wonderful choice of opposites. So different, but so beautiful both. I love the Great Wall image of course, but the Pineapple is a true beauty. I was thinking architecture as well, but could never have put it together like you do! Thank you for taking us!
LOL I’m sure you could do so as well or better Ann-Christine but I appreciate the compliment. The pineapple is a symbol of welcome in one of the major Charleston attractions. It’s always full of life and fronts a marvelous view of the waters beyond. A personal favorite.
Oh, I can see why the pineapple is a personal favourite, Tina! Thank you for believing in me…but we don’t have that marvelous architecture to choose from in Sweden. And – I don’t have many good photos of it either!
Lovely clicks with examples for this challenge.
Love Riley Waterfront Park Pineapple Statue.
Many thanks Philo – it’s quite the draw for visitors to the city and one of my favorite spots for people-watching!
And it’s so wonderful!
What a wonderful post comparing East vs West architecture and design, Tina. So agree with you when you say that ‘no matter the location there is beauty to be found everywhere’ and comes in many forms. Beauty is found everywhere in things big and small and each and every one of us. Red and yellow are certainly standout colours in China, with the colours symbolising good luck. I really like that symbol of the pineapple fountain in Riley Waterfront Park. Very interesting design of a fountain. It certainly stands out. Beautiful shots all round, every one a winner. Hope you are doing well 🙂
Greetings Mabel – so nice to see your name pop up! Glad you enjoyed this one. All good here, wishing you the same!
Wonderful post, Tina–in both words and images. Your love for both places shines through. It’s so true what you’ve written-“it is also true that one thing is constant….no matter the location there is beauty to be found everywhere.” I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing beauty with us!
Thanks Patti – Honestly I never expected to visit China but we were SO glad we did. It’s amazing and so eye-opening. I’ve often said I wish everyone would have the chance to travel as we have. Not only is the world a beautiful place, but people everywhere are for the most part kind, welcoming and interested in keeping peace. If only 😊
Styles between the East and West differ, but they share a great elegance. Such a great take on the East meets West, with the contrast of architecture also mirroring the difference in culture ~ from the Double double doors (great, creative shot) and elegant, turned-up eaves of Chinese roofs match the beauty of the churches and Charleston Charm (love the play of shadow and light). My two favorite photos: are the Great Wall (like you, I went in with high expectations and still was blown away), and then you also capture the peace of China’s Imperial Summer Palace. Excellent post, Tina.
Many thanks Randall. I agree of course about the elegance of both and so many others. Unfortunately I wasn’t so lucky with crowding when we visited the Summer Palace so its serenity was somewhat lost on me 😊. But I did especially enjoy the short boat trip in the surrounding waters which was indeed quite peaceful.
Wonderful response to the post. The world’s architecture is amazing. And I always love seeing your Great Wall photo.
Thanks so much Max – I agree wholeheartedly!
I never tire of your beautiful photos of Charleston or of the Great Wall!
Many thanks GF. China is such a great memory for us, and I have absolutely no complaints about living on this beautiful island and so close to Charleston. Life is good.
Truly a gorgeous POST Tina!! I am just so in love with your shots from China…always appreciate u sharing as that may be as close as I will get fearing that this body just could not endure that FAR travel!! We really do also live in a spectacular place with its own beauty…love the shots!! PS I have your book from China…love to flip thru its pages often!!
That is so sweet April, thanks so much. China was truly other-worldly for us. Honestly I never imagined we’d go there and was so glad we did!!
Beautiful images Tina, so glad you are sharing your wonderful capture of the Great Wall again here too! 💖
Thanks very much Xenia – such a memorable experience for us.
Great to see Chinese architecture highlighted as it’s always fascinated me. I enjoyed how you draw our attention to some similarities and also the differences.
Thanks Sarah – for me it was so eye-opening and truly fascinating.
What a beautiful post! Your photos are amazing!
Thanks so much Aletta – it was fun revisiting our China trip. Talk about two different worlds!
I can imagine that.
Great examples, Tina. I‘ve never been to China, but I love your image of the Chinese Wall 👍 and the summer palace.
Asian, and especially Chinese, architecture always looks so lightweight. They are able to hide the real weight of the material behind design 👍
Very true Andre. It’s incredible to watch them building using only bamboo for scaffolding. Thanks for your visit and comment.
You’re welcome, Tina 😊
That’s a beautiful set of photos exploring variations at home and half a world away, far to your west. Specially lovely are the opener and the last photo.
Thanks I.J., it could be another planet it was so foreign to us. I’d love to learn to speak Chinese but it’s so much more complex than English or the romance languages.
For the short while that I learnt Mandarin, I found that learning to speak wasn’t so complicated. Writing is impossibly hard.
“beauty to be found everywhere” – so true
-I do like those red buildings and curled roofs and did not realize China had so many parks
That is very good to know
Thanks Yvette – yes some truly beautiful parks, many of them quite ancient. Another world entirely!
Always love yours shares of China. It is indeed on our radar. The Wall photo offers such a yes…just go. And Charleston after all there years, continues to be such an intriguing place to go. Interesting about the number of churches, and the fountains. I guess when you live there you see them, appreciated them , and not realize how many. At least for me anyway. I love the Emerson quote…I concur. And I love the pineapple fountain. I, too, found this topic pretty challenging. I have moved so much in my life, I wanted to do an autobiography. lol. Have a good week.
Thanks Donna…With you on Emerson 😊. Maybe you DO need to do any autobiography!!
Funny. Little blog blurbs are fun, but not sure about putting everything out there. lol
Really enjoy your photos of China, a place I will never see…great examples of East/West!
Many thanks Laurel – but never say never. I know I said never about both the wall and Africa, my two fondest memories!
I love this post. What an east-west comparison. Your Great Wall photo must be an amazing wallpaper for your computer.
Many thanks Dan – it’s a fond memory every time I open the computer 😊. Of course it doesn’t do justice to the experience but it does make me smile!
Great photos and quotes. How different we are. I would love to see the Great Wall someday. Its not on the immediate radar, however.
Thanks John – I literally couldn’t think of two more different examples! The Great Wall – words cannot describe!
Shakespeare, Donne, Tolstoy and others: great company for your lovely gallery 😊
😊 Thanks Andrew – quotes are as much fun as building my post each week. They were quite plentiful this week!
These two cities are the perfect examples of East meeting West, Tina. Charleston, an older, more traditional city in the US, boasts such classic architecture, especially in its churches, which you have captured beautifully. Of course, the Chinese love their lucky reds. Gorgeous shots! Since red is my theme this week, I went ahead and linked this post for Sunday Stills in my round-up! Have a great week!
Hah! It’s funny how often our subjects share a common element Terri. I shall have to link back to you. Glad you enjoyed this one.
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I am jealous that I will never get to see the great wall or other sights of popular Chinese destinations, but then I’ve seen Dilworth, Minnesota. Not many (comparatively) people can say that. >grin<
Of course, I kid, Tina. Beautiful work.
John, your comment made me laugh out loud. I actually read it to my husband who also laughed. Thanks for the dose of humor this rainy day.
Mission accomplished! 🙂
Tina, You have illustrated the difference in the two architectures beautifully. I love the pineapple fountain image and the colorful architecture of China.
Many thanks Beth – I love that statue and am so happy my mentioned it. As beautiful as both cities are, their differences could not be more stark!
“Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the door and see all the people” is a game played by children in the UK. Or at least it was. I have often wondered whether all the old nursery rhymes and skipping songs have survived. The newest generation seem to spend most of their time watching screens. So many young parents pop open a video on their phones for their toddlers to watch when I would have been showing mine a book and talking to them. Anyway I digress, the Great Wall is my favourite shot here and as many have said probably one of the best views of it.
Thanks Jude – yes I’m sure you’re sadly so right about toddlers and screens. However here in the US there are so many warnings about how terrible that is for young brains I sometimes wonder how prevalent it is. The other complicator is that so many homes have 2 working parents that the young are spending much more time with babysitters or in pre-schools even as infants. All that said, I know the children of my 4 siblings are all playing it on their parents’ laps so maybe there’s hope still!
Great post, very beautiful images to show us the contrast between different cultures.
Thanks very much Ana, happy you enjoyed this one.
It was quite an event in the city, although, for me, there were too many people.
Thank you, Tina 😘
Sorry about my earlier comment, I thought I was replying on my post. I always love your posts!
Lovely contrasts here, Tina. Your image of The Great Wall is a stunner, the best I have ever seen of the Wall anywhere Do you have top ten of your all time best photos? I’m sure this one would get high ratings. Happy Sunday to you across the pond.
Greetings Hanne! Funny you should ask about that. Our photography club here is working on a project where each member gets to submit only 3 favorite images, and all must have been made here on Kiawah. I cannot tell you how difficult that exercise was for me. I cannot begin to imagine trying to do it for ALL of my images!!! They’re like our children, don’t you think? That said, whether this photo would make the top 10 or not, the Great Wall would DEFINITELY make my top 10 of the sights I’ve ever seen/places I’ve ever been.
I thought about you the other day when I arranged a meet & shoot for my local camera club. The artist had a precious bottle of red wine named the Great Wall with a stunning label on her worktop, obviously not opened.
Until a couple of years ago, we used to have open competitions without a theme. We changed it to 50-50, and now have a pdi and a print competition with a theme, hoping to inspire the members to think outside the box and try something different (and maybe give the non-wildlife photographers a chance to showcase their work.) We might have to change it again as many members don’t like to be forced to do exercises outside their favoured genre. However, I love the idea of a competition “taken in North Norfolk” and will propose this for the next season. Many thanks, Tina!
This lovely post points up how differently east and west has evolved. Great examples.
Thanks Margaret – our two countries could not be more different! That said, people are people everywhere. It’s too bad we have to have leaders!!!
Too bad indeed. Perhaps Bloggers United should run the world!
LOL – what a mess THAT would be !!!
Your post shows there’s beauty to be found everywhere. Amazing photos as always, Tina. The summer palace really caught my eye and I always love the Great Wall of China one.
Thanks Sofia, truly beauty everywhere. Some of the images I’ve seen of places I’ve never been are so amazing – one can only get to so much of our beautiful world. We’ve been fortunate to have seen so much and yet it’s so little of what’s out there!
Beautiful images of China Tina! It brought back memories of when we were there on business. It’s too bad I wasn’t into photography then. Charleston is new to me and it was nice to see those great images too. Take care!
Thanks Anne – I have a good friend who was in China for business many years ago. he said at the time most everyone got around on bicycles and all of the people dressed in brown. Quite a difference today. Shanghai was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen – almost like Disney World it was so modern! The wall is beyond imagination!
We went in the mid ’90s and it was the same as your friend experienced. Within China we traveled from province to province.
Each had their own language with Mandarin as the common communicator. Our customer was taking us to his customers who had problems with our drilling equipment. Most of the difficulties were their misusing the equipment. We saw the countryside where farmers still plowed with oxen. It was an amazing trip. We also saw Hong Kong which was a totally different story. We didn’t get to Shanghai unfortunately.
I think that would have been even more fascinating Anne. We also saw a few examples out in the countryside where the oxen were used to plow the fields. It’s a fascinating place but is modernizing now so quickly I fear the experience will soon be much less so.
Love this travel about of discovery Tina. I am in the that Great Wall photo is fabulous group. 🙂
Thanks Brian – it’s an astounding site really – far exceeded my very, very high expectations.
Wonderful response to the post. The world’s architecture is amazing. And I always love seeing your Great Wall photo.
Thanks so much Nora – a very fond memory for me.
“Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the door and see all the people” is a game played by children in Australia too. I wonder which country it originated in – probably the U.K. – perhaps hundreds of years ago before modern technology.
Lovely series of images and I think we can all appreciate architectural details in any city or country town. It only asks us to take the time to pause and appreciate the details around us.
I think Japanese and Chinese architecture have to be my favourites.
Thanks Vicki – somehow I think that little game is everywhere. I also think I read somewhere that it did originate in the U.K. And I agree about Japanese and Chinese architecture – especially the more ancient buildings and their beautiful centuries-old parks.
Charleston. Charleston. Made in Carolina. So much beauty right in your own city.
Thanks Perpetua, you are so right! It’s a beautiful city and one of the top tourist attractions in the U.S.
I love the Great Wall shot and that last one. You beautifully show the contrasts between the two countries and that each does have considerable beauty.
Thanks Janet – the Great Wall was a long-held dream come true. One of those things you think you’ll never get to see and then it surpasses even your wildest dreams. Funny when you think of how new Charleston is compared to the Great Wall, but it’s one of the U.S.’s oldest cities!
Hi Tina, I love the contrasts and beauty of the architecture of China and Charleston through your fabulous images. The Great wall photo, beyond Compare, indeed!! Is this the oldest part of the GW? I remember the beautiful Summer Palace garden, but my photos were not nearly as yours. I didn’t know charleston is known as “the holy city”. Such a beautiful historical city. Thanks for the tour!
Thanks Amy – especially for the opportunity to highlight both places. We visited the wall at Jinshanling which is about 2 hours outside of Beijing. I have no idea how old this section is versus the rest of the wall but it was an amazing day for us. We had beautiful weather so we could see for miles and miles, and there were virtually no other tourists except for 1 or 2 others. A long -held dream realized.
Perfect weather, and no other tourists! The part of The GW we visited was packed with people.
Yes, that’s what our travel agent wanted to avoid. Well worth the long ride!
This is a wonderful contrast. The two styles seem so far apart. Love the pics, and extra WOW to the Great Wall of China.
Thanks Frank – hard to comprehend really, it goes on forever!
I’m still waiting for someone to whisk me away to the Great Wall of China but some people are very slow on the uptake, Tina. I have to say that your oriental images have far more appeal for me, but I’ve always hankered after the exotic. Not that I’d turn my nose up at Charleston or Savannah, but he’s not listening! Have a wonderful week, hon.
LOL I hear you Jo! I love all kinds of travel but I think the more different our destinations are, the more interesting our experiences become. Not that I haven’t loved the more familiar places , but the TRULY foreign countries have been a whole different ball game (U.S. football Super Bowl is tomorrow so using a game analogy is a must this weekend 😊). A wonderful week to you too my friend.
Such beautiful contrasts, Tina. Your Great Wall photo is absolutely breathtaking!
Thanks very much Kellye – we were very fortunate on two fronts. The first was our travel agent, who is HQ’d in Hong Kong. He was great and absolutely insisted we go to a spot much further from civilization so that the wall was not crowded with tourists. (we only saw 2 other people the entire day) Second, both here and in Shanghai we were fortunate to have some of the clearest weather they’d had in a long time. We could literally see for miles!
Great post, Tina, and excellent images as ever. I thought this was a tricky prompt, and you have tackled it with aplomb!
Oooh, aplomb – that may be my first achievement at that level Sue 😊! Many thanks!
I doubt it’s your first achievement, just the first time it’s been pointed out!!