Though we visited the Hsinchu Harbor fish market on an ill-fated search for lunch, I couldn't help but pull out my camera for a few shots. What is it about fish markets that inspire in me a still-life? In part, it's undoubtedly the pure visual appeal of glittering scales and shining fins; but I think there's something more to it.
The still-life was perfected as a genre of painting during the height of the Dutch Republic, an era when the country was at the center of a grand and wealthy trading network. The still-life painting was meant to show off expensive imported foods, in the luscious oily gleam of a painted lobster or melon. But behind the veil of grandeur was a deeper message: that inside these delicacies were the seeds of rot, decay, of wealth's own undoing. Our current consumption of the ocean's riches is quickly leaving it depleted of life, meaning that in several decades Davy Jones' cupboards might be quite bare. Given that we might be one of the last generations to enjoy a decadent seafood meal, the still life really seems a fitting form for photographing a fish market.