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Beijing Portfolio

This portfolio is the result of three weeks spent in Beijing in October and November 2013. I was invited by the ALPA China Company to China again and teach a Platinum Printing Workshop at the Beijing Film Academy. I taught for ten days then had ten days to photograph. For three days my friends at Alpa China took me to the city of Chengde, in Hebei province. Chengde is home to the Mountain Resort built in the Qing Dynasty. This was the summer home for the emperors. The entire complex is 2.2 square miles and took 89 years to complete. Also in the city are many other Buddhist temples. We spent three days exploring many of the se temples and the Mountain Resort itself. On another weekend I went west of Beijing with my new friend Charles J. Dukes an American ex-pat living in Beijing. We traveled to Tanzhe Temple (Tanzhesi) in western Beijing, and Zhongyingshui Village out side of Beijing. And finally I spent on day in the restored village of Cuandixia. On the days when I didn’t have a schedule photo excursion I played tourist and visited the Great Wall and wandered around eastern Beijing. I walked to a couple of parks on and spent time making images with both my 5x7 and digital cameras.

What did I think about Beijing and how did I feel in Beijing. Exploding. It was bustling. It must be what the United States was like in the 1950’s, brimming with optimism, everybody busy working, things changing faster than anyone can track. I felt safe walking around the city, but very confused at the size of it. I rarely ventured in to the subway system but if I had I would have been able to explore more of the city. People I met were kind. If I greeted them with my basic Chinese they responded eagerly. When they realized I spoke very little Mandarin, they would often respond in perfect English. So I loved Beijing and yet I was humbled and confused by it. When I look at these images I see signs pointing out a direction, pathways leading to somewhere else, and even in the opening image a statue point out to a companion something in the other direction. So I was clearly looking for avenues thru the city, sign posts to help me find my way, and occasionally places to pause and rest.