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June 06, 2012


I am enjoying your China pictures, particularly since they are probably not the pictures I would have shot; seeing from someone else's point of view while they are travelling is always interesting to me. And of course there is the question, "Why China?"

Having just returned from a six week cycling trip in Germany with my husband, I appreciate your comment about not having the luxury of shooting wherever and whenever you wanted. On the other hand, it does hone the eye when opportunities to photograph are reliant on where and when one happens to be. We missed a couple of places I would have liked to have seen, but, if you're not seeing something, you're seeing something else.

Funny - our kids (aged 3 ,5, 6) are always telling each other 'you get what you get...' as well :)

I had a similar trip to Korea recently. Being there for business I didn't have much time for photos, but it was interesting to try and find images that captured the feeling of the country without just getting snapshots.

Wow, it's been a long time since I visited Beijing. I enjoyed a midwinter trip there ten years ago. I was 12. I still remember the sights fondly, but I also remember the brownish-grey dust on the sidewalks and the air pollution-- of the 9 days I spent there, I saw blue sky on only one day. Every day, I would wipe my nose and find that black dust thoroughly coated the insides of my nostrils. No doubt the tens of thousands, if not millions of households burning coal for heating contributed to that.

Wonder if it's still like that today. I might visit again some time, I liked the place.

Hopefully some of the siheyuan and the hutongs still stand-- I loved wandering about in them back then, and was greatly saddened to find many of them slated for demolition to make way for development projects. At the time, many siheyuan slated for demolition had a big, ugly word "拆" (meaning "break apart") spray-painted on them in garish red paint. Many others were remodeled into separate houses to be sold off by residents who could not afford to maintain the complex. Some of them jokingly referred to their homes as "dazayuan" (大杂院, big property housing a motley assortment), which was a pun on another term for siheyuan, "dazhaiyuan" (大宅院, big mansion). I found it admirable that people who had to tear apart their ancestral homes still found the fortitude to joke about it.

The Beijing of 2002 was a time of change, movement, and uprooting. Wonder if it still is now.

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