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

2011 EAW Thoughts and Assignment

It has been just over a week since I got back from the 2011 Eddie Adams Workshop. I must say I had a great time there and made some really good friends. Recently I was contacted by Wonderful Machine owner Bill Cramer, who was a real pleasure to meet at the workshop. He asked me to write a little bit about my time at EAW and it got me thinking once again about exactly all that I experienced there and what I took away from all the sleepless nights.

I know it might sound cheesy but, an EAW acceptance was something I had strived for ever since I first heard of the workshop. Since I didn’t go to photography school, being accepted was for me, a total a validation of my work from the industries best people. It felt really great when I found out the news. During my time there I made some great new friends I hope meet again in future, listened to amazing speakers and began the foundation for lasting relationships with some of the editorial industries best editors.

One of the most memorable moments of the workshop for me happened after it all ended. I was sitting drinking a coffee the day after and thinking about everything when I realized that EAW was like a team building and bonding experience between photographers, editors and the suppliers that work in our industry. For me, this is a very rare experience and I would imagine it is rare in our industry as a whole to connect to people like you do at EAW. I now can see why many of the editors and organizers of EAW use words like “Family” and “Love” to describe how they feel about the participants and the experience in attending EAW.

I thought to myself at that moment, how often do photographers get to just talk to editors you don’t know, one on one, like a normal person where your not selling yourself? Most of the time when I talk to a editor I know they are very busy and are tired of being bombarded with emails and promos of photographers selling themselves. So to be able to have a normal conversation that wasn’t 5 min long and then later show my work for another 30 min was just amazing.

It was also a great opportunity to meet a lot of the industries suppliers like Anthony Pak from Manfrotto who hooked me up with a bunch of missing parts (I know I owe you a photo. I promise it is coming) and hanging out with J.C. from B&H during my whole assignment day talking about life and of course photography. These are good people who work in the industry and want to help photographers do their jobs. Now that we know each other, I’m sure  i will be a loyal customer to them and they will be happy to help me out in the future.

EAW gave me the opportunity to meet all these great people from all over the industry and connect with them on a personal level and hopefully make new friends in the business.

It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will never forget it. Thanks to all the sponsors, editors, producers, black team and the Adams family for continuing this tradition in pushing and inspiring new generations of photographers.

For me this made my trip from Vietnam very worth while and something I will remember forever.

The photos above and below were from my assignment, which was to shoot downhill mountain biking. On my assignment, I meet 15 year old Taylor who is a fearless pro downhill biker. Needless to say I love what I do and had a great time shooting the sport even if I’m not a “sports” guy. Thanks again EAW. Love you all.