ma hongjie’s photography

Over the past 11 years, photographer Ma Hongjie’s (马宏杰) has been photographing Chinese families and all their possessions, like the image of a Home on the Yellow River, Huayuankou Town, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, above. On his blog, Ma said that an album of this work, titled The Family Belongings of Chinese People will be available the end of his month. The blog is primarily in Chinese, but the images–mostly from rural areas and the west of China–speak for themselves. For example, his photo-essays on monkey trainers and their monkeys, or on how Guo Fucheng makes calligraphy brushes.

Continue reading

another park, this time in dongmen

Went for a ride with Sarah.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

shenzhen new year’s flower market

Shenzhen’s largest and oldest new year’s flower market is located on Aiguo Road, which has been closed for the bustling street fair. For a good quarter mile, several hundred venders hawk fresh and artificial flowers, Brazilian turtles, Chinese medicine, and plastic bubble hammers that read “Diaoyu Island belongs to China”. To join the festive multitudes, take the Third Line Subway to  the Cuizhu Station and exit onto Yijing Road. Follow the crowds one block to the Main Gate, where photo opportunities abound. So go and get your snake on! Portraits, below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

street life, baishizhou

Xintang and Shang Baishizhou lie northwesterly to Tangtou within the larger Baishizhou neighborhood. Where the allies widen into roads, a vibrant, bustling urbanity hints at unexpected encounters. The Baishizhou Pedestrian Commercial Street, the Baishizhou Christian Church, and inadvertent plazas, for example, speak to the social possibilities that high density street life creates.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

the yaopi float glass factory

The Yaopi float glass factory hovers at memory’s edge, abandoned to ideology and chance encounters.

In 1987, the Shekou factory represented the highest level of float glass technology production in China. Today, it evokes nostalgia for the heroic romance of early industrial manufacturing. And that’s the rub. Even before it was built, the technology and mode of production used at the factory had been downgraded in terms of added value. In terms of global competitive advantage, Yaopi had been outdated even before it was built. Perhaps more telling of the ideological structure that ranks advanced and backward nations with respect to production capacity, the Yaopi factory elicits comparison with the Terracotta soldiers in Xi’an. This unhappy comparison relegates Shenzhen’s modernization efforts to the ancient past, even as it confers uncanny modernity on the First Qin Emperor’s army, which of course was mass produced on low-tech, but large-scale assembly lines.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

orange tubes

This morning while touring an abandoned factory in Shekou, I encountered massive orange tubes. By themselves somewhat uninteresting, yet arranged beneath a banyan tree suddenly transformed into art. And that seems the way of it. As a new friend commented recently, “In a city, despite the buildings, ultimately the trees speak to the human soul.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

suzhou garden, huanggang, shenzhen

Visited the Suzhou style garden in Huanggang Village today. The Village axis runs from the arch on Fumin Road via a main street and the central plaza to the ancestral hall and temple. The garden is located behind the ancestral hall.

Also of note: in the main plaza, the village has crafted a self representation that mimics Shenzhen billboards, in which key buildings symbolize the strength and unity of the group. Nevertheless, unlike the municipal central axis, the village central axis runs east – west. Indeed, that’s the rub. If the central axis were opened up through the convention center, it would split Huanggang and plow through the garden.

Impressions, below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.