People of China


China is full of interesting people. The contrasts between old and new are overwhelming, and so are the faces that we meet as we journey through the country. These photos from China show show her people, how they live and focuses on the older China.

A worker in Lijiang, Yunnan, smiles at the viewer, as he lets the day slip by on the town square. Playing a game of cards on the city square, old timers ignore the tourists around them and play for stakes. An old woman on the market haggles over her eggs. The markets are full of small stalls, with colorful produce and people bringing it in on tricycles and scooters. A young mother is carving souvenirs for tourists, her child tied on her back in the old town of Lijiang, Yunnan. The children in this orphanage have it harder than others, since they are all mentally retarded in some form or other. The young children's winter days are often spent in their chairs, since outside is it too cold to play and they cannot look after themselves. A child in an orphanage in Shanghai is looking straight at the viewer. With little hope of adoption these children have little to look forward to and their nurses are constantly looking for better food, diapers and more to help them survive another few months.
They have a volunteer program. Money donations are not accepted, but items, like diapers, milk powder, food, etc are. Traders judge the wares and make up their minds how much to pay. The fish market in Shanghai is old, simple and the action is over by 7am, yet a lot of good fish is sold there and it supplies a lot of the consumer markets around town.
People here are friendly and full of the joy of people having a good job and knowing it. Like everywhere else in China, cigarettes oil the haggling and are never far from reach at the fish market. He made my day at the fish market in Shanghai. Telling tall tales and laughing with his friends. The day almost done, an old trader leans back against his basins and enjoys a bit of rest. Rubber boots and old style clothes, but this is still 2009. 

The place was so dark, fighting camera shake and motion blur was tough, even at ISO 1600 and full frame film. However, the image is so reminiscent of the old days, I  think it belongs here. A little child clings to his ayi in an old alley. Typical for Shanghai, children often spend more time with their ayi (nanny) than with their parents, who either work or enjoy modern life. An older peasant is sitting in on the door step of a restaurant, smoking cigarette stubs given to him by the patrons. 
This image presented itself to me when I was having lunch in the old town of Shaxi in the mountains of Yunnan. The man slowly inched closer the our table the other patrons, gathering cigarette stubs and also hoping for something to eat.

The village is in a remote part of Yunnan, with few tourists and the farmers come from the surrounding villages to market every week. They are easy targets for the locals, since they hardly know the value of money and live a very secluded live.

The image was shot as he was sitting in the door, bathed in the light of the day against a dark interior. The market day was winding down and the people from the country side were packing up to go home. This lady seemed undaunted by the prospects of a long treck back home to the fields, as she smiled into the camera.

I love the unruly hair, and the face, so typical of the mountains of China. An old man is sitting on his veranda in the village of Shaxi in Yunnan, giving himself a haircut with a mechanical cutter. The light glitters on the metal of the cutter and his skin looks like the old wooden beams of the house he is living in.

I was fascinated by the posture and the light on his hand and got a couple of shots of through the open door, since I did not wish to intrude. Out West in Yunnan, close to Ruili, near the border with Myanmar, an old woman haggles over the price for a bag full of vegetables. Her drawn face shows just how bitter her days have become, and many people in this area are not much better off. 

The market itself is a ramshackle affair for local villagers, with the raw meat under the sun attracting it's share of flies and the severed head of a pig a bargain not be be passed. On a market in Heshun, a man in hat with really funny teeth smiles at into the camera, while the butcher cuts his meat for him.

The setting was just too funny and the smile to engaging to pass up.

The meat on the market has, like nearly everywhere else, never seen the inside of a cooler or fridge. Fortunately it is ont too hot, this high up in the mountains. Under the shade of a large temple two monks are studying, well, one is actually sleeping. Right next to them were a few small chairs and a blackboard setup, so the children of the village can also study.

Throughout Asia, this is fairly typical, monks teaching the children, while they are studying themselves. Pouring a bowl of congee, the owner of this well assorted breakfast place by the market in Heshun, looks out on the center of the market every day. 

Serving congee, you tiao, and spicy noodles, the place is a favorite with the locals.


Category: people

A little child clings to his ayi in an old alley. Typical for Shanghai, children often spend more time with their ayi (nanny) than with their parents, who either work or enjoy modern life.

Ayi and Child, Shanghai

A little child clings to his ayi in an old alley. Typical for Shanghai, children often spend more time with their ayi (nanny) than with their parents, who either work or enjoy modern life.