(Note: English below Chinese text)
Ever since I moved back to China, I often feel guilty because I haven’t been able to photograph as much and as often as I hope to. It is much more difficult to photograph Chinese people than Americans, as Chinese people are either too shy or too vigilant to be photographed. They don’t trust any stranger, like me, who want to photograph them. I still keep my habit to ask for permission beofore I take pictures. Here in China, I am often rejected. And they often look at me as if I were an alien. “Why should you want to photograph me? What do you want from me? Are you a reporter trying to dig something sensational?” They ask. If possible, I would explain what I do and some would give me permission, even though they are shy. Unfortuantely, I have been very busy this month and I haven’t really been able to spend time photographing lives being lived. What I do so far is snap some pictures on the way to work or home, or when I hang out with friends. They are just snapshots.
However, even in these snapshots, you can tell how interesting modern China is. China is almost a montage made of images from different times. On Christmas night, in the newest and most expensive district, Pearl River New Town, people wear heart-shape flashing glasses and masks and take pictures of themselves by a glistering, silver Christmas tree. It is almost like New York.
Just three subway stops away, in Yuan Cun, a low income neighborhood, a young boy, a dwarfed woman and a young girl perform in a pop song with great efforts. The boy bends down to pick up a coin while riding a bike. The dwarf shrinks herself into an iron pipe back and forth. Their music is so loud that two cops come and drive them away. They try to resist silently. They eyes are stern looking, but the cops win in the end.
In a Sichuan restaurant, customers enjoy tradional Chinese folk performances while enjoying the delicate cuisine…While there, I feel as if I went back to 100 years ago…
This is what I see in China.