The New China
The world prepares to visit China in great numbers for the 2008 Olympics. Many visitors may be surprised at the extent of China’s expansion. According to Businessweek, “China will soon be home to the world's largest airport, the world's first fully sustainable city, and the world's highest outdoor observation deck, to name just a few of its innovative architectural feats”.
Interest in this booming economic marvel will extend long after the Olympic torch is extinguished as will demand for images of the ‘new China’. Those who have an opportunity to visit China for the games, for business or as tourists should photograph more than just the ‘typical’ sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.
Modern Chinese public and business buildings recently completed or still under construction are among some of the most amazing in the world. Scope out locations that will allow shooting the full measure of the height and shapes of these new structures. Go for the magic light times of early morning and late afternoon to add interest to the architecture or as the lights come on later at dusk.
I’m not suggesting that photographers neglect 'typical' shots such as the Great Wall, the theater and other images that Westerners associate with China. Those subjects are interesting and important to document but images of the new China are not as common.
More than ever, China is a country of contrasts. Position yourself to include both old and modern structures in the same image. A list of not to miss modern Chinese buildings is found here
Use care when you include Chinese characters in your images if you don’t read Chinese. It’s best to ask before you end up with a beautiful image that shows a sign saying, “This way to the bathrooms” or something else inappropriate. I meticulously copied a sign on a street scene in Quelin in one of my pastel drawings only to be told by a Chinese friend that I had made a drawing of bathroom signage. Beware of signage in any language that you can’t understand…just as you must be careful in copying keywords from other images in any language that you do not read.
The dark side of China’s growth is its ecological and environmental challenges. Shots showing pollution are newsworthy as are any that touch on the subject of human rights.
Dreamstime has many talented photographers living in China. We look to you to supply us with many fantastic images documenting modern life in China such as the many new automobile drivers, construction sites, modern factory life and the rise of the middle class shopper. Business people against a background of modern buildings such as seen in the image of the couple shaking hands against the skyline of ChengDu is a good example.
There is great curiosity in the West concerning the evolution of society in China over the past decade. Chinese photographers should document their daily lives, their friends and family, the streets they travel everyday, their day at work as well as the events they attend.
I’m not suggesting that photographers neglect the ‘typical [‘ shots such as the Great Wall, the theater and other images that Westerners associate with China. Those subjects are interesting and important to document but images of the 'New China' are not as common.
Edward Burtynsky has created incredible images of Chinese factory workers seen on his web site (Go to ‘China’ the last entry on the left on his homepage). If you click on the larger images, you will get a full screen view, the only way to get the full impact of the images.