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Photographer's Note

It was shortly after I returned to China (from Japan) and after I'd picked up a tired Sarju from the airport. I was about to spend the evening with two TE members, both of great talent and kind of Heart. Pawel was the one showing us around, as he had been living in China for a while already. A lovely and talented guy, with great passion and a generous amount of rebellion running in his veins.

We met up for a drink somewhere around some tower, Sarju, Pawel and myself. With my great skills, I had managed to get us completely lost and into the wrong place and ended up more than late to meet up our guide-for-the-late-afternoon. He'd been busy shooting some locals. And gosh, what shots...

I must admit that I truly envy Pawel for his ability to just enter any scene and simply go for that shot. Get into people's private spheres and still be comfortable about it and keep those shot comfy with him. I guess being able to speak the local language helps a great deal.

Anyway.

Pawel showed us around, and we followed his steps as well as advice very closely. I wish I had been able to pick his brains for a bit longer, extract some more knowledge from him, some more ideas, words, advice, whatever. He was like a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world of difficult communication.

Most Chinese people don't speak English. And why should they anyway?
Mingfang however, is a lovely exception to this rule. She was an outstanding guide in her own right!

That night, Pawel took us around the area in central-Beijing where you can enjoy a little ride on a boat (that you can hire as well as steer yourself if you so desire) and then down the hutongs. As we wandered from one street to the next in the lovely evening warmth, passing by clubs, restaurants and other various commercial venues that offer all kinds of services, we stumbled upon a group of people apparently practicing their musical skills.

I didn't have my tripod, and I'm not really fond of my Nikon's high ISOs so for a while I only recorded audio-tidbits of what they were playing (listen to one here!). Finally I decided to give my free-hand skills a try, and this is the shot that came out. Not the sharpest in the bunch, nor the best in a pile, but a random moment, on a seemingly random street in the middle of Beijing.

China, despite the language barrier and the limited time I had to spend there, proved to be quite a different place from what I had imagined. And definitely not the hell-hole Westerners (esp. media & politicians) try to make it out to be.

Floydian, rbellemare, sevy, luisafonso, J304, woozbman, crhieatt, JonteW, Porteplume marcou esta nota como útil

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Additional Photos by Julia Leijola (leiju) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 435 W: 84 N: 523] (1697)
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