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.
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.
Last month I was commissioned to document a local community around the offices for one of my corporate clients in Ho Chi Minh City. I must say, I love the idea not just because it helps me keep the lights on, but because when local people visit the offices it will make them feel (hopefully) like the business is part of the local community. I wish I saw more companies in Vietnam developing these kind of ideas for corporate photography rather than the contrived realities normally done of what they wish Vietnam was like. We all live in neighborhoods like these and there is something special about them. When you send a photographer out to capture the local people and places I think the audience will respond better to the honesty and beauty found in their own neighborhood. At least that is my take.
Here are some of the images I captured while wandering around this particular neighborhood for the day. Thanks for looking.
Back in November I was contracted to develop the creative idea, direct, shoot and edit a Trailer and a Program Identity for a Vietnamese TV show about the everyday little things we can do to make life, the environment, pollution ect better.
It took me 1 day for shooting and 1 day of editing after I had an idea on what I wanted to do. Nothing fancy, clean, simple and to the point.
I headed out to get daily life scenes of Hanoi which was done with a mix of timelapse and regular footage. I wanted to show that even though we are all busy and hustling around the city it only takes one moment to make where we live that much better, which is basically what the TV program is about.
Everyone was happy with the results and the Trailer and Program Identity started playing on National TV back in December.