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.
~Curiosity thrives behind half open windows~
Fall, autumn, the time of separation, of big changes, of getting ready to go huddle indoors, and the time of little deaths. We get inspired and uplifted looking at the leaves changing color in the fall because it is just too overwhelmingly beautiful to witness. So death must have a beauty in itself like all things in life do. A leaf is born out of a magnificent blossom and it dies with an explosion of color. It is always about how we choose to see things, and this leaf was a magnificent vibrant yellow, can you see it?
Most of us live in this world that we are born into with most of our attention focused on the events that directly touch our lives. What is close to us and what will influence us directly is what ends up hoarding most of our care and attention. It is only in rare moments that we extend ourselves and our minds to other realms and ponder the reasons why we are here and what will happen when we go. And what would our journey here have added up to? Will it add to the furthering of our universal journey or are we just more shadows drifting by?
Did you ever entertain the thought of taking out a lounge chair, carrying it out to the pavement of a busy street of an densely populated city, opening it up and stretching there to chill? Chinese people baffle me with their ability to just let it all hang for a half hour when they need a break, as if they have an on/off switch and they can just power off to recharge just about anywhere!
For me to take a nap, I need to have the right pillow, one of the 4 on my bed, not the one that’s too hard, or the one that is too feathery, or the kind of not so comfy one, I need the one in between and I know exactly which one it is. The noise levels have to be close to mute, and the temperature of the room has to be right. I have to be wearing no constricting clothing items like socks and the other stuff women wear and I need to silence all my phones and deal with any pending issues that might keep my mind active and stop me from relaxing into a nap… how complicated is that?? In the meantime, the locals are dozing off on the pavement, in the bus, on restaurant tables, on shop counters, and in the middle of loud and hectic traffic!
Almost 1.4 billion humans live in China. This is almost 20% of the whole world population. It baffles the mind to think of it. I come from a tiny country of 4 million so these numbers take a lot of getting used to. There is so little space allotted to the majority of Shanghai’s 18 million residents, that they find themselves needing to extend their space to the street. Washed laundry hangs on pavements all across the city streets, so do lounge chairs and dinner tables in the summer time. This makes street photography such a fantastic exercise in this amazing city where the unusual abounds.