It is very easy to breathe in the post-Olimpic Beijing, no matter what. It is easier than two years ago. The authorities have overcome sand storms by way of making a forest shelter belt. The trees have been taken from southern regions of the country. In addition, the authorities have closed hazardous industries and prohibited many automobilists and companies from using vehicles. In Beijing there are more than three million automobiles. The Government’s anti-smoking action has also been succesful: now one can seldom see a smoking person in the center of the city but there are many signs reminding of the adverse health effects of tobacco smoke. And there is no twenty-four-hour smog in the city. It appears only towards evenings. The wind blows it away in nights, and in the mornings one can admire the blue sky which is usually depicted in every possible guide-book.
It is warm in crowded Guangzhou. People do not understand my Chinese but my English, I guess, is much better. Guangzhou ranks as the third largest city in China and is located in comfortable proximity to Hong Kong with its overblown economy. Guangzhou is considered to be one of the most comfortable places to live for expats. As in two other cases with metropolitan areas of Beijing and Shanghai, there is no exact information about its population. The estimates of the population for Guangzhou are different and vary from 6 to 20 million people. I can assert one thing that there is an awful crowd in the city.
There are no cars here, on Lamma Island which is near Hong Kong. As soon as you have sailed up to Lamma Island you can walk up the hills and view the outskirts. Mainly, the view is traders and barges that can be seen in the distance. The island has an area of 13.55 km2 and is 7 km in length, the height of the island is 353 m. Only about six thousand people live there.
The post is continued with photos and comments .
An Asian businessman at the Kowloon Waterfront Promenade.
There live more than 7 million people in cramped Hong Kong. They get born, hurry to their scheduled affairs, laugh, cry and die. Today I am going to post photos of some people living in this striking city.
“Pirates” on board of a sailing vessel “Aqua Luna”.
In spite of a great number of people in every place of Hong Kong, for some reason, the city seemed to me “uninhabited”. May be, that was why I got photos of individuals and not pictures of omnipresent and constantly hurrying crowd consisting of dark-haired units of a new communist-and-capitalist world.
Appreciate the color-and-type decision in the stand signs of an underground passage in Hong Kong metro.
A night guard next to a laundry in the center of Kowloon.
An Indian paterfamilias in 3D-glasses in the amusement park.
A tired tourist at the Kowloon Waterfront Promenade next to the Avenue of Stars. In the Avenue there, I found out that Mark Dakaskos had “girl’s”palms, and as for Jackie Chan, we were “palm twins”.
A man staring into the distance. You see it yourselves, though.
A man sleeping under the sign “”Crossing the Victoria Harbour” with Star Ferry is one of the fifty places of a life time”. That what they wrote in “National Geographic Traveler”.
A group of builders busy with the renewing of a decrepit high-rise building in bamboo scaffolding.
A nice Chinese girl with the Diana lomo camera which was no less nice than the girl.
Children rejoicing at soap bubbles in Hong Kong Disneyland. I showed pictures from there but it was long ago.
At the same place, in Disneyland, a boy is enjoying with rather primitive “races” created after the cartoon “Cars”.
An inhabitant of the Lamma island which I wrote about yesterday. As you can read on the sign in the background, the land is a property of the state and one can neither dig nor even just go there.
An elderly Chinese man at the waterfront is showing the other bank of the Victoria harbor to a child.
For a few days of my stay in Hong Kong I kept roaming about the streets of that super city and could not help but strike dumb. During long Easter holidays I’ve sorted out my archive files and processed a few dozens of Hong Kong photos. For convenience, I will divide them into three posts which will be entitled as “city”, “people” and “suburb”.
The central part of Hong Kong reminds an anthill made of glass and concrete. High-rise buildings in new districts grow like mushrooms. In China, people like adjectives in the superlative, for example, a building is the highest and the tunnel is the deepest and the longest. That love for the superlatives is deeply rooted in the tradition of Great China.
Those, who have been to such megalopolises as New York or Tokyo, must be familiar with the feeling of reverence for human engineering achievements. One is seized with awe when, throwing back one’s head until the jugular vertebrae crunch, he or she tries to figure out how many floors there can be in this or that building. The tempo of life certainly depends on the city size and on the population density. In Hong Kong, everybody is in a rush exactly like in detective stories of Darya Dontsova (“I rushed to the police station”, “I’ve done my shopping in a rush” or “I rushed to work”).
For a long time Gaulung (Kowloon) have been considered one of the most densely populated area of the world. The population density here is about 40 000 people per km2. I counted one day that if the population of that district is to be arranged on plane there would be a man every five meters. There would be no room to move. Regarding the size of the megalopolis, Hong Kong is fifth in the rank nowadays (graph).
The post is continued with photos of Hong Kong city labyrinth. All the photos are clickable.
Balconies and windows are hanged with air-conditioners. Nothing saves people from heat and dampness but air-conditioning only.
The height of the International Commerce Centre 2 is 417 meters.
Traditionally: where there is the rich there is the poor.
In the distance, one can discern a small fragment of a green hill hidden from view by the buildings and the smog.
My favourite picture of the series. This is how the Asian city jungle looks like. The piece of live greenery is lost among the reinforced concrete constructions. This is a city for those who are organized, active and accelerated. No doubt that it can be considered one of the centers of our civilization: you can find here all things that are the newest, the most beautiful, the most technical, as well as the dirtiest and the poorest.
Next time I will show Hong Kong suburbs (it will be Lamma Island) which strongly differ from the cement boxes of the city.
Don’t miss the post with photos of Chinese twin city Shenzhen which is just “across the road” from Hong Kong, on the Canton side.
Keep abreast with the updates, or “stay tuned” as Sergei Dolya says, there will be two more posts of the series.
Here in Auckland, there is a retirement village in my neighborhood. The village consists of a mere few oblong and stocky blocks of flats. Almost every evening, when I return home from work I pass those one-roomed cells shut off from the external world by plastic sliding doors. Near one of the flats there is an old useless TV set which practically melts into the background in the gentle shadow of a nearby tree. The TV set is there in the rain and in the heat, very beautiful, almost like in the “American Beauty”.
It seems to me, now I start to realize why I used to admire photos by Stephen Shore. He was the first photographer in the world having exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art inter vivos. A year ago I kept the browser window with his works in sight trying to understand why they seemed so much special.
I don’t know about you but I am often attracted by the harmony of static scenes being, as one would think, quite ordinary. It can be soft light, geometry of lines, a combination of colors, a combination of textures, or all said above in one. I mark such photos with purple tag. They represent a space for the lively play of fancy, the scenery for imaginary situations and characters. This is the way to obtain photos without people involved. No faces at all. The time-space, which has been stopped in a photo and fixed as it was, does not notice anything and continues its own existence. You are watching a film where static actors are shot on a static camera but there is no doubt that they are alive.
2. Auckland, New Zealand
3. Zeya, Russia
4. Zeya, Russia
5. Zeya, Russia
6. Heihe, China
7. Guangzhou, China
8. Kathmandu, Nepal
9. Nanchang, China
10. Zeya, Russia
11. Guangzhou, China
12. Katmandy, Nepal
13. Guangzhou, China
14. Zeya, Russia
15. Pekin (Beijing), China
16. Pekin (Beijing), China
17. Novosibirsk, Russia
18. Hong Kong, China
19. Zeya, Russia
20. Zeya, Russia
21. Zeya, Russia
22. Harbin, China
23. Blagoveschensk, Russia
24. Shenyang, China
25. Shenyang, China
26. Shenyang, China
27. Shenyang, China
28. Pekin (Beijing), China
29. The Great Wall of China
30. Pekin (Beijing), China
31. Pekin (Beijing), China
32. Xiamen, China
33. Xiamen, China
34. Xiamen, China
35. Xiamen, China
36. Guangzhou, China
37. Guangzhou, China
38. Guangzhou, China
39. Guangzhou, China
40. Guangzhou, China
41. Shenzhen, China
42. Shenzhen, China
43. Guangzhou, China
44. Shenzhen, China
45. Hong Kong, China
46. Hong Kong, China
47. Macau, China
48. Macau, China
49. Hong Kong, China
50. Hong Kong, China
51. Macau, China
52. Macau, China
53. Macau, China
54. Macau, China
55. Macau, China
56. Macau, China
57. Shenzhen, China
58. Macau, China
59. Macau, China
60. Macau, China
61. Macau, China
62. Hanoi, Vietnam
63. Hoi An, Vietnam
64. Macau, China
65. Macau, China
66. Shenzhen, China
67. Nanning, China
I would modestly remind you that any of the above photos you can get for private use (for your desktop or wallpaper), if you apply at the following address
3. We are entering the old part of Àomén on a regular bus. The city can be seen through the wind shield, if you click on the photo.
4. Some buildings are high and odd, and others are even higher and odder.
5. A view of the city center.
6. The central street of the old part of Macau.
7. As you can see, the city stands on hills.
8. A new building in the coastal part of the city.
9. A big building being constructed in an underprivileged district. After having strolled on the hills I walked down and went there to see the contrast between that district and a thoroughly cleaned center.
10. One of the squares of the city. In the foreground, there are Chinese inscriptions, and on the white building aloof – Portuguese ones.
11. A cozy small yard with benches. The best cafes and restaurants are usually located in such secluded corners.
12. Figured balconies with flowers.
13. Winding back streets and THE mopeds.
14. A composition involving a window, a ladder and a tropical plant.
15. A very European piece of China, in my opinion.
16. Walls of many houses are laid with ceramic tile. If you click on the photo you can see it better.
17. An old woman near a small store’s entrance. And here I am, in the district that you have seen in the beginning of the post on the photo of a constructed building.
18. A stranger in a red T-shirt is dozing after having dinner in a cook-shop.
19. A small piece of a street art.
20. A banana-guy.
21. A Chinese room on the ground floor.
22. Typical dwellers of such Chinese corners.
23. A repair shop for repairing mopeds.
24. A young lad is having a rest in the marshaling yard.
25. Contrasts, contrasts, contrasts… Think of shining glass-concrete buildings in the center and a cosmic tower.
26. Narrow streets, wires and narrowness. This part reminds Hong Kong.
27. 28. Balconies with grates. One can assume that it was done for safety reasons. But in fact, it can be so that it is just done, like, for example, in Vietnam they like to frame roofs with small ornamental balconies.
30. The school walls are laid with tile. The red cat didn’t know how to get down, it was afraid of jumping down and was sadly mewing up there for a long time.
31. Schoolchildren are walking home, the day is drawing to a close.
32. The lights come on in sign boards and shop windows with jewelry. In contrast to Hong Kong, there are not so many charlatans in Macau, who tug at people’s sleeves and offer faked Rolexes or electronics.
33. One of cosmic casino buildings.
34. I hope that when you see the photos you will be able to feel all the difference between these magnificent non-human constructions and common proletarian districts. For the umpteenth time, I’d like to remind you that you can purchase any of the photos, of any size: just feel free to write me a letter.
35. A historical building two blocks from Lisboa Casino.
36. You’ve seen this building in the beginning of the post. It is VERY big. The lower spherical part reflects running images of playing cards, card suits and easy money.
37. 38. Night cafes offer fish from aquariums and simple entertainments. The Chinese like eating at nights.
Today I would like to share with my humble subscribers my photographs selected by Getty Images editors to be sold under Royalty Free license. Please feel free to purchase any of these at Getty Images photo stock website.
Here, fifty minutes away from Nanchang, next to the river rests an island of a bamboo forest in which the opportunistic Chinese organized something like a rest base. As far as I know, this is part of a national park meant to save rare forests. Hammocks, comfortable bamboo huts, delicious cuisine, simple karaoke, a river in which locals with lights tied to sticks catch lobsters at night and give tourists rides on colourful rafts during the day. This corner has been a favored spot of tourists in Nanchang for a while. These are mostly English teachers in local schools and universities. The sociable owner is not multi-lingual, but this does not stop him from being hospitable and benevolent.
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Shanghai is a real City: it engulfs and amazes from all directions. With building size, Victorian architecture and the countering cosmic forms of the business center across the street. In Shanghai, which translates as “on-above the sea,” there are, according to different estimates, 16 to 20 million people, the density is, on average, is over 2000 per square kilometer. Managers in extremely expensive suits, vendors of fakes, freaks and beggars who ask for charity all bustle back and forth, above the crowd tower fat American tourists. In the center, where several streets are closed to drivers, people mostly speak English, unlike in China. To sit in an Internet cafe, you must show your passport, they are afraid of the white threat, yep. Only two blocks away from a magnificent flower park with mirror buildings across the street, ground rhinoceros horns and deer hooves are sold from a rag that is spread out on the roadway, and the vendor rather aggressively suggests walking past with photo cameras. This is China: the country of contrasts.
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