The dark loneliness left you to fill in the blanks about the place. Such it was in the almost deserted Great Asian Mall. A giant place framed by an endless parking lot with only a few cars Greatness had long left this place. I learned the owner a man from Vietnam resided far away, the mall floors unswept. The closed shops with windows covered by newspaper sat side by side like forgotten tombstones, only names remained.  

There’s a sadness here, but the far end of the mall still has life. There a cosmetic art school, Asian market, dim sum restaurant and Vietnam sandwich shop kept the lights on. Everyday, debris from each would fill the mall space between them. Each fighting with the other to keep entry ways clear. You could see stacks of crates and pallets moving all the time. Money still flowed here.

The women at the cosmetic school sat at attention, all hoping for a better future. Numbers on paper hung on wall boards. Some hawking services, some seeking the lost. The dim sum found a loyal following among Asians who knew genuine food and the brave others who ventured there. The Asian market always busy, boxes of goods everywhere. The fish monger arranged the dally catch, barking out orders.

In between all, art can be found. The flashes of color, the mosaic of experiences, a special sound, a certain shape or shadow.

I did not know what continued to draw me and my camera to this place. Maybe it was the striving to stay alive I saw, the rare art I found in the darkness, or the mystery of it all. And maybe it was something deep inside that drew me to the edges of life. All I knew was that I would return again…

David Young