Archive for July, 2011



“A Future of Price Spikes” – Vegetable Stall Owners in Time Magazine

Time Magazine "A Future of Price Spikes" clipping

One of my first assignments for Time Magazine is finally in print. I spent a few days in Guangzhou earlier this year shooting formal portraits of vegetable stall owners for an article on rising global food prices. A combination of natural disasters and inflation continues to create a spike in food prices across China. Affordable basic necessities such as electricity, food, water and transportation are always a mainstay of the Chinese Communist Party, but these increases seem to be beyond their control. Consumption of food across China is rising dramatically in line with increased wealth in both rural in urban areas. Everyone wants pork and extra rice at dinner. Many of the figures in the article are actually quite alarming. Global food prices already increased 39% over the past year, food production must increase 70% by 2050 to meet the demand of swelling populations and the average amount of meat people consume has doubled over the past three decades. Despite our profound ability to manipulate our environment, we are going to have to rectify many of our eating habits, not only to combat increased food demand, but also to stave off the rising spectre of obesity. Still, I am going to have my fill of tacos while I am in New York City this month.

Wangquan is 56 years old and a mother of three. Her parents also live with her at home.Machuangran is 16 years old and works at the market when his parents are busy. He lives at home with his older sister.

Liuhaili is 28 years old and lives her husband and son. Her husband also works at the market.Wang Di is the youngest of three children and still lives with his parents.

An assortment of vegetables and garlic at a Guangzhou vegetable marketPeppers are one of the commodities that has seen the highest price rise at a Guangzhou vegetable marketPeppers are one of the commodities that has seen the highest price rise at a Guangzhou vegetable market



    Meeting of Styles: Changsha Graffiti Gathering

    Overlooking the main location in Changsha, China for the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering

    I am back in New York for the next month starting my MFA Art Practice program at the School of Visual Arts, so excuse my delays in posting new material. After shooting Han Han for the New Yorker I was able to escape to Changsha to witness the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering. Over a hundred graffiti artists from all over China congregated in the city that once witnessed Mao Zedong’s conversion to communism. Street art in China is still in a very nascent stage, so I was greatly impressed by the wide variety of styles on display smack in the middle of Changsha’s waterfront. Quite frankly I was a bit surprised the local powers that be even approved a graffiti event of this scale in the first place. The artwork ran for hundreds of meters, stretching out from either side of the Xiangjiang River No.1 Bridge – a major transportation artery in Hunan’s capital. The video below walks you through the core of the murals created during the Meeting of Styles. I met a ton of really interesting graffiti artists while in Changsha who I will be following up with individually across China.

    Graffiti artists participating in the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, ChinaA graffiti artist participating in the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, ChinaGraffiti artists participating in the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, China

    Fresh work from the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, ChinaFresh work from the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, China

    Fresh work from the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, ChinaFresh work from the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, China

    A graffiti artist participating in the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, ChinaA graffiti artist participating in the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, ChinaA graffiti artist participating in the Meeting of Styles graffiti gathering in Changsha, China



      The New Yorker Han Han/韩寒 Profile: China’s Bad Boy Blogger

      "The Han Dynasty" clipping, featuring Han Han/韩寒, from the July 4, 2011 issue of The New Yorker

      Han Han/韩寒 is China’s bad boy blogger, pop star, race car driver, lady killer and political-dissident-dabbler extraordinaire. His personal blog has garnered upwards to half a billion hits, and he ranked second in the 2010 Time 100 Poll for the most influential people in the world (granted there was a viral movement in China to boost his rankings). This week Evan Osnos profiled him in The New Yorker and my portrait accompanied the piece (there is a paywall, but Evan posted two related blog entries). Photographing Han Han in Shanghai was surreal. I think he is inured to contrived studio locations so he seemed a bit surprised when I met him on the street and started dragging him around to dirty internet cafes just off the Bund. Still, Han Han went with the flow and fully cooperated despite the ad hoc nature of the shoot. Quite frankly he is really easygoing and always down for a joke. A few people recognized him on the street and at the last Internet cafe we visited where I shot the published portrait, the manager flipped out that Han Han was present and allowed us to do whatever we wanted. Still, his popularity is a double-edged sword. Some people were scared to let them into their establishments while others couldn’t believe their luck.

      After shooting Han Han in Shanghai I got to meet up with him one more afternoon at the Zhuhai International Raceway, just outside Macau. He was in full race mode. Bantering with the other drivers and strutting in and out of the pit, Han Han seemed at ease in the air conditioned confines of his sponsor tent. I feel Han Han is actually rather crowd averse. He mentioned that he was working on a new book, but otherwise seemed a bit resigned to his current daily routine – keeping things subdued ever since the crackdown on other outspoken activists around China. There is a boyish air to Han Han, and he is just as pleased to hone his skills behind the wheel instead of injecting caustic commentary into the Chinese zeitgeist. Despite the whirlwind of cars and speculation, Han Han is in no rush and has plenty of time to devise his machinations.

      Han Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses on the Bund with Pudong in the background in ShanghaiHan Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses in an Internet cafe in ShanghaiHan Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses in a traditional longtang in Shanghai

      Han Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China and race car driver, looks down the pit lanes at the Zhuhai International RacewayHan Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China and race car driver, poses with his helmet in the stands at the Zhuhai International RacewayHan Han/韩寒’, the most popular blogger in China and race car driver, looks down the pit lanes at the Zhuhai International Raceway

      Han Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses in a traditional longtang with some local pups in Shanghai





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