I got back stateside last night around 11 pm and honestly, it wasn’t that bad of a flight. Granted, I started the day at 5am China time and had to take a train to Beijing for 4 hours and then deal with beijing traffic and the smog and well, it was a long day none the less.
So, China. What an interesting place. I had been back in 2003 and it was amazing to see the changes in the last 9 years. You can tell there is a huge change and most if it seems to revolve around a new found wealth with buildings going up everywhere and lots of shiny new cars and a lot less bikes. One other telling factor that we know all too well here in the US is that not only are the wallets getting fatter, so are the people. I fear that with the Chinese proclivity to smoke constantly and their new ready made food culture, heart disease is going to burn through the upper classes like wildfire. But, that is another topic for another day.
I was a bit unclear as to why I was being sent to China or rather, what my assignment was. I knew it had something to do with landscapes and tourism but that was about it. When I got there ( 9 hours late mind you – United Airlines is on my shit list) it was an immediate flurry of activity and right into formal dinners and handshaking and then shooting first thing the next morning. I was being hosted by the Liaoning province and more specifically, the City of Panjin’s regional tourism bureau. I was there to lens a western eye to a group shooting campaign for their next tourism push. There were 5 or 6 well known photographers from China there along with 2 from Hong Kong, 1 from Taiwan and me and Camille Seaman, both from the US and we were to balance the Eastern View with our Western View, or something. As thrilled as I was to find out I would be traveling in a mini bus with a whole bunch of other photographers it really wasn’t that bad because there is a huge difference in shooting style between me and the local fellows. Where they all had their biggest baddest lenses fitted, I was rolling around with my Mamiya 7 shooting portraits and waiting for the light and waiting for the moment. I feel like even if there were a dozen cameras going at once, Ill still have some unique images – just have to wait for the film. That being said, I do have some digi images I will attach below but the film will be much better.
There really are too many stories to go into and too many surreal moments/ Granted I only shot for 2 full days but it feels like a lot more. China is seriously like the Twilight Zone at times and as much as I love it and love the people, it’s nice to be back in good ol Tennessee…