When fire meets water, when legends merge with life, when mystery overshadows skepticism, when fantasy touches your heart and you fly with the dragons…
Halong Bay~ the bay of descending dragons~ they came from the sky to help save the people from invaders, they spat out pearls that turned into small islands, and they loved it so much that they decided to stay.
It has been an amazing year full of wonderful experiences, learning and great new friends in photography and in life. As my project came to a close I realized slowly what the next step needs to be. A deepening into past experiences and a harvesting of those special times in a fresh new way through photography, images and a bit of storytelling.
“365 from the archive~a deepening journey” will begin in two days and it starts where it all started with me as far as I remember, my home country, Lebanon.
Until then! Stay well and enjoy the wonderful lanterns that adorn the old streets of Shanghai for the coming of the Spring Festival!
My project finally comes to its ending at the exact ending of the lunar year. With its end we moved into a new year, an auspicious year, the year of the Dragon! This daily project started in Shanghai and went to the Philippines, Xinjiang, Germany, Spain, Lebanon, Switzerland, Hong Kong, France and then back to Shanghai again to end on the eve of the big celebrations in the vibrant city.
It has been quite the journey for me, filled with inspiration, endurance, discipline, moments of joy, freedom, seriousness, quiet, chaos, new ideas, new skills, learning, contemplation, expression, art, sharing and a great new open way of looking and of seeing the world around me.
Best of all, it has been a great chance to meet so many people of like mind, wonderful photographers, inspiring artists and so many whose daily presence was interwoven into my project and whose work and support inspired me and kept me going.
At the end of this, I want to thank you all, my friends, for being the amazing people that you are and hoping to continue this brilliant and inspiring affair with photography together along the way.
photo taken: a composite of the skyline of shanghai with the year of the dragon fireworks on the night of January 22nd.
As China gets ready to shed the old ‘rabbit’ year and to welcome in the new ‘dragon’ year, fireworks can be heard all over the city. Fireworks, which were originally invented in China and became popular as early as the Song Dynasty, have a very strong place in the culture and daily lives of the Chinese. Not only is the new year celebrated with an explosion of fireworks, also shop openings and moving to a new home, among other important events. This year we decided to stay in Shanghai for the New Year holiday, and the city is gradually getting louder and louder as we approach the big day next week.
photos taken: boys playing with firecrackers in the city streets.
Dragons have fascinated me for so many years and they still do. They come up in legends of old Europe, in the bible, in many different cultures, myths and religions and here in Asia, their representations are everywhere you look. In China the dragon (龙, lóng) is considered the embodiment of universal wisdom and is highly revered. All over Asia dragons are looked at as representatives of the primal forces of nature. So, I wonder if a creature is indeed mythological and fictional, then how does it come to appear in so many different ancient cultures at times when there was no contact between them and no swapping of fantastical sketches? In any case, they make for an incredibly intriguing research subject with a wealth of references from all over the world.
photo taken: steam near the dragon boat on the Huang Pu, Shanghai
Chinese people often refer to their ethnic identity as “descendants of the dragon”. The dragon is believed to be fierce, strong, dignified, wise and auspicious. Hence the celebratory dance, historically performed by acrobats, up to 50 dancers per dragon, who hold it up with poles and move it mimicking the movement of the dragon’s river spirit in an undulating and flowing rhythm. It is quite captivating to witness and it is accompanied by loud drumming and clinging of cymbals from the musicians. As many times as I have seen this dance, I still witness it with incredible awe, and I find that it causes you to stand taller, prouder and stronger, and somehow induces an inner calm afterwards. A mysterious gem of the Chinese ancient culture…