Travel Photography: China’s Midget Kingdom

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.

 

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Ehrin Macksey Southeast Asia Travel Photographer

Travel Photography: Kunming, China

Ah China so close yet so far. At least this is how it has felt since I have been living in Vietnam for last 6 years. People are always telling me about it and I have always wanted to go, even to see a little bit of it. Well that opportunity finally came early last month when I got a 4 day corporate assignment in Kunming, China and I decided to go 2 days ahead of my assignment to wander around and just be curious of this foreign land. I couldn’t tell you anything that you haven’t already heard, but I did like it very much and it was great to get lost again like I used to when I first moved to Southeast Asia.

My plan of attack for my 2 days of exploration was simple. Armed with an iPhone with google maps and translate(probably gave horrible translations) I got on a public bus and jump off when I saw something interesting. Needless to say I jumped off the bus (sometimes while it was still moving) a good amount of times. I saw some temples, large scale construction, parks, city life and a nuclear power plant. Pretty much everything a tourist would not want to see and I was completely happy. Now I am even more curious about China and can’t wait to go back.

Below is a series of things and people I saw in my two days of bus jumping in the city of Kunming. As always thanks for checking them out.

Vietnam Wedding Photographer and Videographer

Hoi An Wedding Photographer

In about the middle of last year I started to get a lot of inquires about doing some wedding photography in Vietnam. I have always wanted to shoot weddings as, to me, it is a documentary photography paradise, filled with ample supplies of emotion, passion, light and of course great moments all waiting to be captured. This is a great experience to document and now I love shooting weddings! I was lucky enough to get some wedding work in Hanoi, Vietnam and Hoi An, Vietnam at the end of last year and have a couple more already for 2012. As to organize my images I have finally put together a small business, MWeddings, and a dedicated website where my portfolio of images and videos can be seen. I hope that people looking for a wedding photographer in Vietnam or Southeast Asia can find me easier and can see my work.

 

Thanks for checking it out and hopefully I will see you at your wedding.

Vietnam Wedding Photographer and Videographer

Calm after the storm

Every year at the end of January or beginning of February, Vietnam is in a chaotic flurry of buying, preparing and tidying up in anticipation of Tet. I hate this time of year and so do most other Expats as the traffic and general feeling of the city is all too stressful.

Yes more than normal.

What I do like is the calm and tranquility that replaces the chaos that was just one week before. This is the first morning of Tet. If you are ever lucky enough to experience it, it would be to experience Hanoi, Vietnam in its true Zen like or Valium induced state. The streets are empty except for the odd straggler here and there. You can hear birds clearly while walking down some of the larger streets in the city like Dai Co Viet. People are in a joyous and festive mood and will let you take photos of them with no problem (big deal for me as the ratio of asking is usually 1/3). All in all, it is really amazing and a joy to experience.

Since most photographers love to take photos or get assignments of the leading up of Tet, I thought why not show the actual first day of Tet and how calm it is and what remained after the chaos has subsided. So I set out at 6 AM and anyone I saw on the street I took a portrait of them. Got to say after 3 hours there were not so many portraits as it was really that quiet.

My first intention was to do this purely with images, but as my time on the street progressed I wanted to capture the sounds I experienced in the hope of helping place you, the audience, next to me in my morning journey. Sorry the sound is not better all I had was my iPhone, but I think it can still put you in the setting

I hope everyone has a great new year. May the year of the dragon bring you luck.