I like pictures which pose questions- “Why did they throw away two almost unsmoked cigars?”. Perhaps they were getting into a car?
Background info – Sanlitun is a very smart part of Beijing, where there a lots of designer shops and a number of countries’ embassies are based. Every day, armies of gardeners groom the neighbourhood trees and bushes and everything looks unnaturally neat and tidy. You will note that the cigars are the only things in the ashtray!
I was sorry to read of Marie Fredriksson’s passing on the 10th December. Apart from their chart hits (which aren’t always a real reflection of a band) I didn’t know much about Fredriksson or Roxette.
My wife however, who is younger than me, is a big fan. So when I heard that they were doing a tour including China, I got some tickets for the Beijing show.
In my mind’s eye, I imagined a nice cozy venue, but it turned out to be a huge stadium, which was absolutely full. With a long lens, this was as close as I could get. Anyway, it was a good evening, as they went through their songbook – and my wife was able to sing along to all of them (which was unexpected).
Thanks to Katie Melua, most people tend to think of Beijing as a place with lots bicycles and 30 years ago, that was probably true. No so much now. Mostly cars.
But, there is lots of street life, which I was trying to show a little bit here. And there is a bicycle.
Sometimes, when I look at my photos I try to imagine a narrative about what I can see. In this case, I imagine that it is a mother and son, coming home from dinner. And they seem happy, which I like.
I’m afraid it isn’t perfectly asharp. A few years before I did a session with Gavin Goff (a noted travel photographer), who became known for a while for doing sharp panning shots of street life. To make it really work you need a fast wide-angle lens, be quite close and use a slowish shutter speed. Done just right you get a sharp figure moving through blurred surroundings – which looks good.
When I lived there, I used to walk past this lake on my way to work. And so I saw it different seasons. In China, public spaces are usually well kept, particularly trees, which are carefully trimmed and tended to. I should add that it is in the Embassy District of Beijing, so most of the population see it on their way somewhere else.
In Beijing, there are four seasons, but they are unequal in length: Winter seems to last last from October to March; Spring lasts two weeks in April; Summer lasts from April until the end of September and Autumn lasts for the first two weeks of October. So it is generally either pretty warm or very cold. I think this was in Summer.
I used to live in Beijing. One of the things I liked about it, was how much life there was on the street, I’m pretty sure you could spend a lifetime walking and taking pictures and never take the same picture twice. In the summer the streets are busy, late into the night, in the winter (which is very cold) they clear quite quickly and you can see more of what is going on around you. Although there are street lights, it looks like a black night. When I took the picture, I was wondering why they had decided to walk in the road, rather than the pavement.
I started blogging about 3 years ago and for a while I raced to put up new posts – and there is a kind of excitement about seeing your photographs online and having people look at them and tell you what they think. But after a while I felt that I was writing for other people rather than me.
Anyway – I’m back for another go!
I took these pictures in Shanghai and Beijing using my Pearl River TLR and Shanghai GP3 film.