The Poetry Between Hard Labor & Steel

The Era #03


Photographer Huang Sheng-Min is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay.  From the project Rhythm on the shelf of the Era  架上弦律. To see Huang’s body of work, click on any image.


The Era #25


The Era #05


The Era #13


The Era #14


“The Show: Construction Site” is a long-term photographic project that artist Sheng-Min Huang launches for paying tribute to the labor force and blue-collar. By conceiving and imagining the construction site as a theatre or stage, Huang explores the people and things that happened on the site with a poetic photography language. “The Show: Construction Site” is divided into three episodes: the first “Rhythm on the Shelf of the Era”, the second “Tower Crane”, and the final “Light on the Construction Site”.


The Era #06


“Rhythm on the Shelf of the Era” is the main displaying series this time, which depicts that the workers show various techniques and talents on the scaffolding of the constructing building as if dancing on the stage. Scaffolds, steel bars, steel bones are regarded as strings and stave in the show; meanwhile, the busy workers just like the jumping notes, which is composing pieces of unique music belonging to the construction site.


The Era #07


The entire project has been launching for more than 20 years. To seek the beauty of musicalization and to show a unique surreal visual universe, Huang illustrates the lines of steels with the extreme contrast between color black and white. Furthermore, he uses metaphors to show the potential occupational injuries of workers. The silhouettes of hard-working labors on the images are like a series of phantom drama, providing various possibilities for the audience to imagine.


The Era #23


According to Schelling(1989), he mentioned in the book “The Philosophy of Art” that ‘architecture is frozen music., while other people also regard that the form of architecture is a kind of philosophical poem. Both of these statements come to the same result: “how art is the architecture is.” There is no doubt that the concept of architecture is a part of the arts. However, do the unfinished buildings contain the aesthetic sense? To respond the question mentioned, Huang attempted to discover the answer regarding unique musicality and artistry of unfinished buildings from the process of creating series “Rhythm On The Shelf of The Era” in the construction site.


The Era #16


The inspiration inside the series is based on considering the scaffolding and steel bone of architecture as strings and stave and imagining the movement of busy workers as the jumping notes, which can be hoped to reach the aim of mine: let visual art be as elegant as poetry. In order to achieve the goal mentioned, I mixed the concept of rhythm into the sketching part, which should be consist of the perfect geometric form and sense of tune. It is delightful to say that the view of thick and thin lines of steel bars and working labors in the field seems like someone is playing music. On the other hand, the technique of images is presented in high contrast, colored black, and white. I would like to display the world with different surreal horizons by expressing the danger of hardworking labors in a picture without telling, the audience can imagine freely by themselves.


The Era #10


All images and text © Huang Sheng-Min



See also:

Tower Crane 塔式起重機

By Huang Sheng-Min





Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.

We are committed to publishing the human condition, the raw diverse global entanglement, with total impartiality.


Documentary Photography * Fine Art Photography * Street Photography * Portrait Photography * Landscape Photography * Night Photography * Conceptual Photography * Travel Photography * Candid Photography Underwater Photography * Architectural Photography Urban Photography * Art * Digital Art



This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Press Release For Artists, Photographers, Poets & Writers On Edge of Humanity Magazine



Living Under A Pandemic

COVID-19 | Coronavirus’ Days



Support This Small Independent Magazine





Follow Edge of Humanity Magazine


Email Subscriptions

Follow Edge of Humanity Magazine
Please enter your email address below

Join 101,086 other subscribers


WordPress Bloggers

Follow Edge of Humanity Magazine on


Not on WordPress?

Don’t Forget to add

to your reader or bookmarks


Thank you!





Search Site

4 Responses to “The Poetry Between Hard Labor & Steel”

  1. Anna

    The poem “The Poetry Between Hard Labor and Steel” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a beautiful classic that depicts labor and steel. It was written in 18 92 and inspired by the life of a laborer in San Francisco. The author, an affluent Quaker, portrayed the grueling tasks of this labor by using powerful imagery. The poem also captures the beauty of the industrial age, as machines replaced the swineherd and hammers and saws replaced the loom.The poem begins with a description of a workman’s life, working in a smelting plant. The poem then shows us the monotony of this work by telling of how little is accomplished throughout the day. The poem then describes the cold of the metal grinding as it cuts through iron. The description of the grinding effect of the steel cutting into iron can be horrifying to some and may not apply to most readers. However, Longfellow manages to turn this discomfort into beauty, as the workman grinds away at metal with the best of his strength and skill. The poem ends with a description of what would happen if the worker did not continue to work, as steel would wear away at his or her body and become useless. The last stanza of the poem describes what would have been had the worker continued on with his tasks. The poem ends by giving a description of what will happen if the worker befriends a fellow worker, as the description of the monotony of labor is not overcome by the idea of love. The poem ends with the conviction that the poem’s message is one of life and love despite the hardships of labor. The Poetry Between Hard Labor and Steel is an amazing and well-crafted piece of literature.

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you Debs Dragons Appreciation and review of my work.

  3. DebsDragons

    Beyond incredible. These photos produced a deep state of breathless awe in my heart. There’s a great deal of power here….Dr. Deb

To share your thoughts/opinions or to converse about this article please comment below. Thank you!

%d bloggers like this: