Before my trip to Kunming I had read about how there was a theme park called the Midget Kingdom (the official name of the theme park is not so PC). I knew before going out there that this place had been covered before, but being a curious person I still wanted to go see it for myself. On my second day in Kunming I arranged to take a quick tour that goes out there once a day with Chinese tourists and had about 2 hours to spend there before I had to head back to Kunming with the tour. Needless to say the whole place was fascinating to me in a dilapidated, half-fast put together, cheesy Chinese theme park kind of way. When I arrived, I immediately went to hang out with the gang as they prepped for their performance. Everyone was friendly, smiled and was pretty easy going for having a stranger hangout with them all of a sudden taking photos.
Even though this place has been covered before, the people and who they are outside of their work environment is quite interesting. I really liked finding out about where they all came from, their hobbies, how their life was before coming to this “kingdom” as well as how they currently live in their little community (no pun intended). These aspects about peoples lives are always so much more interesting and important to me and also makes me more curious about who these people are, which is why I create stories. When dealing with visually abnormal subject matter it is important (at least to me) to humanize the people we are documenting and create a level of understanding and empathy with the audience through my images or films. Knowing more about the person/peoples normal lives and seeing that there is a way to create a bridge to the audience helps me not to relying on the shallow, visually shocking aspects of a person or subject matter when creating a story. Maybe this is subject for another blog post, so to sum things up I am happy that I took the trip to meet these people and I hope I end up back here one day to work on a story(If you want to help support this feel free to email me).
For now, I will just share some images I took in my quick visit to this place.