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July 3, 2010 /

Travel Photography: Farmers in Rural Shanghai

This post comes as a welcome break from the more travel oriented posts about our time in Beijing. While Betty did some real work in Shanghai, I spent my time on assignment shooting at the various farm...
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This post comes as a welcome break from the more travel oriented posts about our time in Beijing. While Betty did some real work in Shanghai, I spent my time on assignment shooting at the various farms and greenhouses we visited in the suburbs an hour outside of Shanghai.

Farmer in Jinshan, Shanghai
Farmer in Jinshan, Shanghai

While Betty was occupied talking about gerberas and tissue culture, as well as being the company’s official translator from Mandarin into English, I occupied my time with camera in hand! Language barrier running at an all-time high way out here in rural China, I did my best to communicate nonverbally.

Farmer in Jinshan, Shanghai
Farmer in Jinshan, Shanghai

Most of the time I made things work using the simple action of smiling and saying “photo? Photo?” while raising the camera up a bit. As Rick Sammon loves to say, “the camera looks both way,” and this is even more important when you can’t really communicate with your subject!

Farmer in Jinshan District, Shanghai, China
Farmer in Jinshan District, Shanghai, China

Smiling and being friendly goes a long ways of course, and most farmers were more than happy to let me snap a few shots of them working and smiling back at me. Did some people say no? Of course they did, and I respected that and didn’t push more for a photo. Once you start walking around and show them your kind nature and desire to capture them in the best light, people really opened up.

Farmer carrying cement to build a ditch in Shanghai
Farmer carrying cement to build a ditch in Shanghai

Showing  the results of the capture from the back of the camera really impressed some of these ladies and gentlemen of rural Shanghai. I’m not sure if they have ever really had a “professional” photo taken of them, and granted the working situation was rather quick and rough – a few of the shots here and there really stood out and connected with my subject as well.

Profile shot of a farmer in Jinshan, Shanghai
Profile shot of a farmer in Jinshan, Shanghai

Get out there and shoot if you’re on vacation in a foreign land. Don’t be afraid to take that photo and make a connection with your subject. Through my time photographing the farmers of rural China, this lesson really hit home with me. I just wish I took more people photos in the other areas of China we visited!

Farmer with a gerbera flower in Shanghai, China
Farmer with a gerbera flower in Shanghai, China
Comments

[…] briefly about the farmers we encountered on our next leg of the adventure, where we traveled to rural Shanghai. After a week in rural Shanghai we spent our last three days in Hong Kong, look forward to our next […]

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