For the Love of People~ Yunnan

the boy who saw through me

the boy who saw through me

flying dreams

flying dreams

early bonds

early bonds

indelibly connected

indelibly connected

Attempting documentary photography and not feeling compassionate love for people would be pointless as far as I am concerned.

I love feeling the humanity in other people’s eyes, to guess at what they are feeling, to lock eyes with them even for a brief moment, to be part of their world for the time I that I am there and later again and again through their photographs.

With each visit to Yunnan, my connections are deepened and I feel compelled to return. Simplicity is a gem in our complex world of today, a fountain of peace to a busy and crowded mind.

More soon from this amazing region of China…

The Ethnic Minority Culture of Yunnan~ China

state of surrender

state of surrender

the bending force of habit

the bending force of habit

Leader of the marching band

Leader of the marching band

I returned with a small group of photographers last week to this remote region of China’s Yunnan Province that haunted me since my last visit to the area a couple of years back.

It is the type of journey you would do if you were really in love with photography and different cultures that make up pieces of the puzzle of the human story on our planet.

The journey was a great challenge from the long drives, to the heat, the spare accommodations and the great element of unknown.

It was the opening of my series of documentary photography workshops that I am doing in Yunnan and despite all the challenges we faced, I can happily call this a great success.

I will be sharing here a series of images, stories, portraits and special stories about this journey into a unique and mysterious part of the world.

Day 31~ October 31st~ Yunnan

until the next journey~ farewell beautiful Yunnan

As harsh and as raw as Yunnan was to travel through, I am counting the days till I am able to go back there and be charmed again by its wild intensity. I have been told that the way I processed the photos of this past month has been too contrasty, too sharp, too extreme, and this is true. Yunnan for me was exactly that, rough, sharp, wild, and its lifestyle contrasting greatly with what I and most of us are used to. I feel that knowing different cultures thoroughly can only increase and deepen our humanity. So with that, I say farewell to the Honghe region of Yunnan and its colorful people and I will meet you again tomorrow with the start of a new month of images, somewhere entirely different…

Thank you for your comments, encouragement, advice and views along the way.

Day 26~ October 26th~ Yunnan

a generous smile~ Yunnan

Have you ever noticed how we walk sometimes in the cities with small clouds hanging around our heads, that the shine of our smiles has a very hard time breaking through? We move as though we are troubled by so many invisible phantoms that prevent us from responding humanly to others that pass us by. But when we meet simple people in simple places, there is just us, them and their reaction. Most often it is a big generous smile that glows and its warmth is able to reach us and force a mutual reaction from our faces. And it does feel so good to exchange these smiles with the people of the world where no words are necessary.

Day 24~ October 24th~ Yunnan

girl with the pearl necklace

There is a little girl who lives on a mountain top, her home is made of mud bricks and it is one big room, her brother, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents all live in that big room, also her chickens, pigs, cows, cats, dog and all the birds in their trees. She has a very pretty pearl necklace and a lovely pink dress. Her name she could not tell me, she was too shy to speak. I will call her the girl with the pearl necklace.

Day 17~ October 17th~ Yunnan

bearing it for long years

There are still places in this world, where hard labor is a way of life. The formidable Hani women build their own homes, plant and sow their own rice fields, slaughter their own animals for food and gather their own firewood for cooking. All the weight is carried on their backs and supported by their incredibly strong necks for years on end. If the essences of strength and patience were looking for a home on this planet, wouldn’t it makes sense that they would seek these people?

Day 16~ October 16th~ Yunnan

Hani woman delighting at her little gift

After 5 days of being around these beautiful people in the mountains of Yunnan’s Honghe area, my two traveling companions and I realized that we had not seen a single other foreigner around since our arrival, and we knew that we and our ways must appear so strange to the locals. I had brought a small polaroid camera with me to offer small photos as gifts, and to my utter surprise, most of the older people had no idea that the photos were theirs. They would look at the photo after taking it from me, look at, smile and give it back wondering why I was showing them these people printed on the paper. It was so brilliant  and such a great privilege to witness a culture still separated from modernism and its grip.