"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."

- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry

I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Curio Shop Where We Are The Curiosity

I've had just enough time to...   wander through all kinds of everything

Old books in an used suitcase left by the side of a street in Parma, Italy

On the same night that we met the fruit seller, we wandered into a curio shop. It was used books in an old suitcase placed on the walkway by the side of the street that stopped us in our tracks. Books that I have a weakness for like chocolate to some, sinfully delicious. Curiosity dragged us into the shop and into a world of wondrous things. Impractical, kitschy stuff mingled with surprising finds and genuine articles that may be Art to some and “what in heaven’s name is that?” to others.

The shop that sells "all kinds of everything"

I always love being in a shop of “all kinds of everything”. The mind wandered through a dozen cultures, hundreds of possibilities and impossibilities. It amuses and stimulates the imagination. Creative thoughts burst forth skipping from items to items never giving one chance to settle down before one’s attention is grasped and pulled away to yet another item of curiosity. A curio shop is fairy land and we are the child in a toy shop. The mad house is a testament of man’s creativity and insanity. 

Arts from many cultures of many lands and books of more...

There are two kinds of people running curio shops and if you do not come across the mercenary types, you are in luck. These other folks are like the items they sell - odd, impractical, amusing, interesting, warm with an earthly glow and what do you know? The Italian saint of Everything smiled on us. The old man with distinctive features and a pitchy voice manning the shop spoke to us – in Italian of course. And we did not understand, of course. We tried English, that didn’t work. He called for backups. His assistants, or friends or family appeared from the woodworks. They tried French, no good. German, sounded strange. We tried Mandarin, drew recognition but no comprehension. Filipino, that stumped them. Portugese, eh-ah. Spanish, ah a few words both sides knew, but too few. In desperation, Bahasa, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hainanese and we drew to an agreed conclusion. We didn’t know what the hell the other party were talking about. 

The owner among his treasures, he deals in dreams...

When words failed, smiles and laughter paved the way. We joked, laughed, more at ourselves than at the situation. In the shop of curios, we are the curiosity. We did not buy anything. But on the way out, the lady companion of the kindly old shopkeeper gave me a postcard of the shop as a memento. It was a good one. 

A precious gift of memory which is treasured...

The Curio Shop - The Interludes
Laughing dolls and painted soldiers
Standing in a row
Marching bands and ballerinas
Dancing on their toes
Carousels and photographs
Of memories that I know
You’ll find them all inside

Come see the curios
Come see the toys for sale,
There are so many things –
Oh, won’t you come inside?


  1. Jeff S. PhotoArt, sethph88, and 34 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons (Busy, busy, busy)
    This is the curio shop in Parma where we wandered in that cold autumn night. We had an interesting exchanges (sort of) with the inhabitants of this shop of wonder...

    excellent capture....................

    Well said, I would love this place cause my curiosity has no boundaries:-) great shot!

    henrhyde (gill) catching up
    Beautiful presentation of this image

    Rebecca Ang
    "The owner among his treasures, he deals in dreams..." - I'm curious about that. Dealing in dreams. Dreams have no boundaries. I often wonder if we (or rather I) can effectively convey a dream or a vision in a particular art form be it in poetry or photography or other art forms. All art forms have certain boundaries and guidelines, even if we choose to deviate from form and structure. Appreciate your writing - makes me take time to reflect.

    Thou-San, both of the curio shop photos are delightful. Your writing about them and the treasures within is the frosting on the cake!

    Dahai Z
    Well, I'm curious about Thou-San :) Enjoyed looking at your pictures and reading your thoughts artfully conveyed in words.

    Bathsheba 1
    Love shops like this - full of worthless/ precious discoveries that we can project imagined ideas and histories onto - the inhabitants could psychoanalyse their clients based on what items they choose!

    Patricia Speck
    Oh how I love shops like this.....Thanks for sharing., I have enjoyed viewing so much

    excellent shot

    Many congrats on Explore !!

    oola n
    just looking at this shot makes me want to go into the shop... what fun... what a delight!!

  2. sethph88, bjebie, Shahriar Shahidi, and 8 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons (Busy, busy, busy)
    Arts or non-Arts of all lands and cultures can be found in this shop squeezed into whatever corner there is available. You will never know what gem you can find amid the clutters.

    1000 Reasons (Busy, busy, busy)
    Maybe even a rare edition or a forgotten masterpiece?

    excellent shot...................

    Rebecca Ang
    Ah, books, old books, hardcover rare first editions - these have such an attractive appeal that I can't quite explain. Somehow they look and feel much better than their soft cover more "modern" counterparts. Can understand your excitement in such a shop. I would be too. Your image here also reminds me of other different art forms - painting, photography, poetry, etc - where the artist expresses/communicates thought and emotion via different means. My mind jumps to this age old question - does art mirror life or does life mirror art?

    Shahriar Shahidi
    Thou-San, very strong composition. And please feel free to look at my stream

    Patricia Speck
    This looks like the kind of shop I could lose myself in for hours on end.
    Great shot my friend,

    Carl's Captures
    What a delightfully inviting and eclectic gathering of nostalgic gems! :)

    oola n
    yup yup yup... my kind of place too...


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