Categories
Culture Interior Landscape Portrait

Friday April 22, 2011

BEIJING – We spent the morning in the 798 Art District. It started out ten years ago in a gallery in disused factory that had previously been used by the military to manufacture electronic components – 798 was the number on the building. It has expanded to 300 or so exhibition spaces, all privately owned, in an eclectic jumble. The streets were packed with artists, patrons, tourists, wannabes and so on. Wedding frequently take place there. The vibe is similar to New York’s SoHo and the prices are the same – there is apparently a truly global art market. There are major spaces operated by major players. Pace is there, for example, in a monumental space that featured works by and about Diane Von Furstenberg

The following two images were taken with my Leica M9 and a 35mm Summilux lens.

798 art district, Beijing
798 art district, Beijing
798 art district Beijing
798 art district Beijing

Two images with my 24mm Summilux lens.

Kendall Geers at Galeria Continua in 798 Art District
Kendall Geers at Galeria Continua in 798 Art District
Marie
Marie

Finally, back in central Beijing taken with my Leica M9 and a 50mm Summilux lens – this is two frames stitched.

The Apple Store, Beijing
The Apple Store, Beijing

On this day one year ago: my blog crashes.

My blog crashes!
Categories
Landscape Street Travel Urban

Thursday April 21, 2011

BEIJING – We visited the Forbidden City this morning in heavy rain. This monumental collection of parks and buildings was built in the early 15th Century as the “home” of the Emperors. It is remarkably crowded with Chinese tourists there to soak up their national heritage. Go early. We started at the North Gate at opening time (most people start at the South Gate on Tiananmen Square) and moved South through the complex, giving us a few hours of relative peace until we ran into the the throngs that started at the same time that we did, but at the South gate. This is a standard view of the North Gate from Jingshan Park which abuts the Forbidden City to the North. Taken with my Leica M9 and a 90mm lens, two frames stitched.

It rains on the Forbidden City
It rains on the Forbidden City

Here we are at the South Gate five hours later. The South Gate faces Tiananmen Square, the giant square that is the heart of official China. Tianamen Square is accessible only through subterranean passages with security checks; there are security cameras everywhere; sentries march prescribed routes through the square.

South gate  of the Forbidden City
South gate of the Forbidden City

South of Tiananmen Square is the new Qianmen Walking Street. This had been a vibrant shopping street in the 1950s. The street and the area to the East of it were recently demolished – the walking street consists of new storefronts built in traditional style. The impression is that some Disney virus infected the urban planners who put this here. To the West of it is still a dynamic area old side streets and alleys. Here’s Maria trying to get unlost. Taken with my Leica M9 and a 50mm Summicron.

School girls help Maria
School girls help Maria

On this day one year ago: fundraiser at Gustavinos.

Benefit at Gustavinos
Categories
Landscape Street Travel Urban

Wednesday April 20, 2011

SHANGHAI and BEIJING – Another travel day. The trip from Shanghai to Beijing is only two hours flying time but the disruption in the day, and the time spent in taxis and airports, is the enemy of my photo a day project. I managed a few captures in Hongqiao Airport and some images from a walk after dinner in Beijing.

This was taken with my Leica M9 and a 50mm Summilux lens:

Hongqiao Airport
Hongqiao Airport

Leica and 35mm Summilux lens. This is an apparently wealthy young Beijinger photographing his girlfriend – and assistant (who is out of sight) is holding a reflector to soften her shadows.

Beijing at night
/Beijing at night

On this day one year ago: Hello “Hello Kitty”.

Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty
Categories
Landscape Portrait Urban

Tuesday April 19, 2011

SHANGHAI – I spent the better part of the day walking around the French concession in Shanghai. This area has not been overbuilt (so far). The southeastern portion has a gritty vibe. The more northerly and western area feels like the Upper East Side of Manhattan with leafy side streets and children wearing private school uniforms. My watch developed an issue with its battery – I stopped at a watch repairman in a covered food market to capture this with my Leica M9 and 50mm Summilux lens. I’m posting multiple images for today in light of the visual richness of what’s going on here.

Watch repair
Watch repair

In the late afternoon Maria and I met at the Shanghai National Museum. This was a fairly disappointing experience. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts (at the US end of the China trade) and the Metropolitan Museum have more extensive and better curated collections of just about everything. I suspect this is the product of the Cultural Revolution and the fact that the Nationalists, when they left the mainland, took many of the best treasures, which now reside in the National Museum in Taipei. Anyway, the building was nice. Taken with my Leica M9 and a 24mm Summilux lens.

Shanghei National Museum
Shanghei National Museum

Finally, an “I was there” shot from M Restaurant above the Bund with my Leica M9 and 24mm Summilux lens.

The view from M
The view from M

On this day one year ago: Harwinton Connecticut Congregational Church.

Harwinton Connecticut
Categories
Interior Landscape Urban

Monday April 18, 2011

SHANGHAI – Back in Shanghai. Where do I begin? Yes, it’s true, everything here seems to have been built within the last 20 minutes. There are few traces left of old Shanghai, whatever that means. The few traditional looking small scale buildings that you see may well have been built in the traditional style in the 1950s. I came to Shanghai to meet Maria who came here directly from the London Book Fair for meetings with her client, Shanghai 99 (who have been our hosts and guides).

I took a walk on the Bund, later meeting Maria to go to Annabel Lee. I’ve gotten lazy about editing – I’ve included three images for today, all shot with my Leica M9 and a 50mm Summilux lens.

Sunny day on the Bund
Sunny day on the Bund

For the above image I sat on a bench on the esplanade that runs along the Bund. A young Chinese man sat next to me – he had a posse of three older guys, one of whom was carrying a back pack for him. It turned out it was a brand new camera bag full of new Nikon gear, including a D3x and every lens known to man. He put a lens on the body and stared snapping a pair of startlings on the grass behind us – a total bore – he was all gear and no action. Kind of confirms what people say about the children of the very rich in the People’s Republic of China.

Sidestreet Shanghai
Sidestreet Shanghai
Maria at Annabel Lee
Maria at Annabel Lee

On this day one year ago: Sunset after the rain in Warren.

Sunset after the rain
Categories
Landscape Religion Urban

Sunday April 17, 2011

SHANGHAI AND HANGZHOU – This morning we took a high speed train to the lovely city of Hangzhou. The idea was to spend the day and a night at Hangzhou, a medium-sized city surrounding an extensive system of shallow lakes. It was the capital of the Song Dynasty and has an extensive group of Buddhist temples, and Buddhist statuary carved into living rock. We went via a hypermodern Hongqiao rail station – the Chinese are sensational at designs for moving people. Here is the rail terminal (Leica M9 and 24mm Summicron, two frames stitched) and one of the Hangzhou temples (Leica M9 and 24mm Summicron):

Hongqiao rail station Shanghai
Hongqiao rail station Shanghai
Rail terminal Shanghai
Rail terminal Shanghai
Temple Hangzhou
Temple Hangzhou

On this day last year: Next table at a club.

Two young women
Two young women
Categories
Landscape Urban

Saturday April 16, 2011

SHANGHAI – Well . . . Shanghai at last, but I’m jet-lagged in irritable. After crossing multiple time zones and the International Date Line how am I supposed to figure out what’s a “day” for purposes of “one photo every day”? The short answer is I keep all of my cameras’ internal clocks set to UTC (which used to be called GMT in a less politically correct time) – in other words London time. In general I rely on the time stamp in the photograph’s metadata and produce on picture per UTC day. At home I base “days” on local time. Anyway, I captured this out my hotel window before I collapsed. Shot with my Leica M9 and a Cosina Voigtlander 16mm lens.

Shanghai
Shanghai

On this day one year ago: Triborough Bridge in the rain.

Triborough Bridge