F-Stop Magazine has featured two of my photos in the group exhibit of their 50th issue, Optimism. The first is of a kite being flown in front of the government building in Zibo, Shandong, China. The other is of a Spring Festival lantern being released on the beach in Sanya, Hainan, China. It was fun to see how the other contributors interpreted the theme.
In other news, after about six months of it sitting in my garage, I’ve finally gotten my second-hand Epson 7600 up and running. The prints are amazing. Next steps are to find a loupe somewhere, align the print head, find double-sided paper I’m happy with, and learn how to bind books. Lots to do, but busy is good.
I’ve been lucky enough to have one of my photos chosen for the latest theme, “Eat at Your Own Risk,” which shows strange foods from around the world. The photo was one of the first that I took in China–Amanda and I were invited to attend a wedding shortly after arriving, and this fish was one of the dishes. We later learned that since eating fish eyes is good luck, it’s a sign of affection to pluck one out with your chopsticks and offer it to your significant other.
Not surprisingly, over a quarter of the photos in the showcase are from China. My students proudly told me on more than one occasion, “We Chinese eat anything with legs that is not a table, and anything with wings that is not a plane.” This may be an exaggeration, but not by much.
Fish eyes are pretty tame compared to some of the things we ate–scorpions, snake, cocoons, duck heads, donkey, and fox (we were told that it was mutton, but that’s a story for another day). By far the worst, though–and I’m pretty sure Amanda would agree with this–were sea cucumbers. If you ever have a chance to eat this “delicacy,” don’t do it. You won’t like it. I promise.
Anyway. I’m very happy to be a part of Pictory, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Over the past few years, I’ve had some people approach me about buying prints. With the cost and difficulties associated with international printing and shipping, I never knew what to say, other than a flattered “thank you.”
I’ve finally found an option that makes all of this possible. I recently made an online store with red bubble, a company that sells and ships prints to just about anywhere in the world. My first upload:
Yangtze River, Hubei, China 2007
Here’s where I need your help: I’m not sure what to upload next. If you have a few spare minutes, head on over to my Flickr site and let me know what kind of work you think would do well on red bubble. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
I didn’t notice it until our second year in China, as we hit the outskirts of Zibo on a bus ride back from Jinan, the capital of Shandong. But once I did notice it, I could stop seeing it—Zibo was made up of a very definite palette of colors.
First and foremost were the deep red and lemon yellow of flags, banners, and signs. “Red China” is still an appropriate name, but not necessarily because of Communism. Since it’s considered the most auspicious color, you’ll see red everywhere in China:
Then, there was the gray of concrete:
The dusty black of cars and clothes:
The primary blue of construction fences, tarps, and street signs:
And finally, the dusky pink and mint green of the sidewalk tiles. These aren’t limited to just Zibo, either. We visited close to twenty other cities in China, and Amanda was the first to notice that these same tiles were used in almost every city. Even now, when I think of China, everything always has a pink tint:
None of the other towns I’ve lived in—Cranberry, Edinboro, Puerto Vallarta, or Erie—evoke any specific colors. Why do you think that is?
In other news, after a six-month hiatus I’ve started on a new project with my new Holga. This is the first time in over five years that I’ve shot film, and as much as I love digital, I still love the element of unpredictability and expectation that goes along with film.