The Endless Cycle

Looking for recyclables in city streets

Looking for recyclables in city streets

As the holidays approach fast, I dedicate my post today to those who work harder than most, who see no retirement day in their near future, and who bear the weight of life and the passing of years. They are all around us, patching up the holes in our social structure, tirelessly moving because stopping is not an option.

 

Street Portraits~ Finding Myself in the Streets of Dubai

captain of his own boat

captain of his own boat

his eyes and my lens had a conversation

his eyes and my lens had a conversation

shrouded with mystery and distance of the far seas

shrouded with mystery and distance of the far seas

the eyes that sailed the ocean

the eyes that sailed the ocean

These striking men are part of the foreign working force that powers the engine of the Dubai metropolis. They granted my eye contact and for that I am grateful.

Images taken during our last ‘finding yourself in the streets’ street photography workshop earlier this month.

Summer in the old alley~ Shanghai

smoking his way through the last hot days of summer

smoking his way through the last hot days of summer

Each time I start a new walk into one of the old alleys of Shanghai, I feel as though I am entering another world where simple life, community feeling, tradition and open communication thrive. There is a charm to the old alleys and a distinct sense of nostalgia that makes them so attractive and keeps me coming back. As long as they are there, the spirit and essence of Shanghai continue to live on.

Behind the glitzy face of Shanghai

gambling women behind barred windows

gambling women behind barred windows

residents of the old and slowly vanishing alleys

a resident of the old and slowly vanishing alleys

a witness of the whirlwind of changes that took over the glamorous city.

a witness of the whirlwind of changes that took over the glamorous city

Behind the modern facade of Shanghai and the fashionable lifestyle of its rich, is a world of tradition hidden in the city’s old alleys. Every week when I visit these neighborhoods, I find less and less of them left. The city is changing so rapidly and the new has no room for the old. Modernization is consuming tradition and Starbucks cups are quickly replacing the famous tea containers of the Shanghainese. A paradise for street photographers, I feel so lucky to have lived in Shanghai as long as I have.

Pingyao moments~

pingyao-6pingyao-2 pingyao-4 pingyao waiting for a break in the rain~ Pingyao

Pingyao, an ancient town in the Shanxi province of China, completely walled, preserved and authentic looking, is home to the yearly Pingyao photography festival where thousands of photographer meet. I visited for 3 days as 2 of my photographs were curated and  included in a show there and during the last 2 days, it rained endlessly setting a beautiful mood for photography. I walked and walked, got drenched and took some photos that I will treasure for always.

all the time in the world~ Pingyao

wearing her story ~ Yunnan

wearing her story ~ Yunnan

wearing her story ~ Yunnan

Every stitch on her costume, every threaded bead she decorates herself with, every wrinkle on her face plays a part in telling her story, a life so different to ours, a world so alien to 21st century culture, an existence rising out of old traditions, she belongs to a tribe that allows strangers no access. All I could capture was the sense of her presence and the few photographs that I always hope could link to the state of standing in front of these amazing people.

ravaged~ Yunnan

ravaged~Yunnan

ravaged~Yunnan

We were driving along one of the long dirt roads leading to far off villages of Yunnan and neighboring Sichuan when I had a strong instinct to stop the car. And as instincts are mostly right if we choose to listen to them, down a slope on the side of the road this most incredible woman was sitting under a broken umbrella and an old straw hat trying to hide from the blazing sun of the Yunnan mountains. She spoke no words, only gestured with her hands and smiled her glowing toothless smile through a muddy face and tangled hair framing her warm face. In the end of her consenting gladly fo my friend and I photographing her, she asked with hand signals for water that she accepted from us with so much gratitude. She was adorned with strange jewelry and wore muddy rags, but she had the power to leave such a strong impression on us, that I most certainly found myself filing her memory in the ‘unforgettable’ category.

let me tell you~Yunnan

let me tell you~Yunnan