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Song of a Lonely Bird

Photography, 2020

An albatross sees an infinite span of water at the start of its journey. In a few months’ time, it would cross the entire Pacific Ocean. Its flight discretizes and attempts a measurement of such infinity and, in doing so, defines its own magnitude, and limits.

With the help of reason and willful ignorance, humans have mostly managed to replace the unbounded infinity with a substitution that is, albeit very large, within the bounds of our perceptions. Just like the bird, our best approximation of infinity is only the definition of our own limits. 

It is when facing nature, with its existence spanning one more dimension above us, that humans are made aware of the gap between the border of our perceptions and the realm of true infinity. Thrill, tranquility, powerlessness, solitude – we often have inexplicable emotions in the presence of nature. Loneliness is the principal emotion I felt when taking these photos. Indeed, “emotion” is the name our brains have branded for the responses nature sparks in us that surpass reason. Through these responses, we directly connect to, reflect on, and be with true infinity. 

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© 2022 by Jiaqi Liu. All rights reserved.