I travel frequently to some coastal cities in People Republic of China (China). I discovered that it was tough to do street photography at these places. People are intimidated of being photographed. The following picture illustrates a common reaction by the subjects.
“Face of Discomfort” is another common reaction of the subjects.
I even tried to communicate with the subjects by starting a conversation or asked for permission to take photos so that the subjects would not feel intimidated. On many occasions, the moment the subjects realized that I am a street photographer and would like to snap a photo him, the subjects walked away and “disappeared” from my viewfinder.
Another common reaction illustrated by the following picture; the fruit seller disappeared from the store upon seeing me pointing the lens on her.
On a few occasion, I do meet friendly people that allowed me to photograph their activities. There was motive for granting me the permission. The following photo illustrated what I mean :
The very “business-minded” owner was trying to promote his product, the best biscuit in town. After the friendly photo session, I ended up buying a few packs of biscuit. I supposed there is “no free lunch “.
I once met with a fortune teller when I was roaming around the old alleys of Quanzhou. I saw him seated at the roadside with an interesting gesture. I hesitated to photograph the subject, I fear for unpleasant reaction.
The fortune teller upon seeing me he invited me to snap a few portraits of him. He said out loudly in Chinese, “come take a few photos of me and post the photos on the internet so that I would be famous, it will bring me more business….”
Was it the culture of urban Chinese that caused the intimidation ? A man with a camera that capturing photos at street is perceived as somebody from the “big brother” that is potentially “hazarded”. Or I am a lousy street photographer who had yet to acquire the skill of street photography.
Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome.
Shot at Penang Malaysia
Leica M7 35mm Summicron ASPH
Shot at Quanzhou Fujian PRC
Leica M 35mm Summicron
Recently during my business trip to Quan Zhou at People Republic of China (泉州，福建省), I found this very old barber shop at Zhong Shan Street. According to the local, this shop is about 100 years old and during its golden time of 1950’s to 1980’s, the barber shop served many prominent people, including businessmen and political figures.
(Click the photo for Sharper view)
These days the barber shop is showing signs of dilapidation, the metal on the barber chairs are corroded and the fabric are worn down.
The master barber was winding down after a hard day’s.
During his prime, he used to be a “hot shot” barber serving VIPs who needed to make appointments to get his service.
Nowadays the patrons are mostly senior citizens.
Seeing me aiming my camera at her, her spontaneous reaction was to cover up her face. I ended up with an out of focused shot.
On the 2nd day of my stay at Yangon, I went out to do street photography. I started my walk along Sule Paya Road and headed to Theingyi Plaza via the Mahabandoola Road and ended my walk at an Open-air Market. Yangon is really an awesome place for street photography ! People are very friendly and most of them do not feel intimidated being photographed.
Unlike other major cities in this region, Yangon is free of motorcycles.
Many of the public buses are operated with very old vehicles. The old vehicles created a very unique view at the city roads.