Familiarity

I dropped a random pin on my Google maps with my eyes closed and it took me to Wilson Plaza, in front of Royce Hall and Powell Library. I think this was serendipity because I just returned to campus two weeks ago after being away for a year. The view from this location overlooked the most important buildings of UCLA and is the exact point where campus starts. This activity allowed me to reconnect with campus, and appreciate my beautiful surroundings again. It was interesting how I created new memories and revisited old ones simultaneously. From Prof. Thomas’ lecture, I was thinking about how we impose the image of something in our heads rather than looking at what’s really there. I remember walking these grounds last year and I felt those memories imposing on me. I wanted to document the reality of the space now and how different I feel. I took this opportunity to really examine Wilson Plaza from this perspective and attempted to capture it through different angles and at different times of day.

I took several pictures from the point on the map:

 

I took a picture during the evening:

 

I also recorded an audio clip to capture the sounds I was experiencing.

This journey of documenting this location was interesting. There were elements that I hadn’t noticed before, because I wasn’t really trying to observe the place. I tried to live in the moment and note the feeling of the cool wind, the different types of trees, and the way the sun hit the brick buildings. Like the stroke of a pencil, each photo was my attempt at making a mark that captured the essence of the location.

The word I would give to my discovery would be “familiarity”. Being home in India for so long, I missed being on campus. It’s almost strange to be back here and it still hasn’t fully sunk in yet. It’s serendipitous that this seemingly random location on campus was one that I knew well. While the space remains almost the same, I feel different. As I attempted to capture the location through photos, it struck me how comfortable I was in this location, and it felt right to back. As a freshman last year, even this felt like a new and exciting space, but now it feels familiar. In my attempts to document Wilson Plaza, I feel like I grew a little bit closer to campus.

I wanted to include a picture I took last year from Janss Steps, overlooking Wilson Plaza. I’m using it to compare the location across time and capture it from a different perspective: