During August 2014, I spent some time exploring the part of zone around Guangzhou and Shenzhen. I am interested in how China is developing in response to the current stage of capitalism as one of the manufacturing centres of global capitalism. Unfortunately owning to the vagaries of international travel and difficulties of exploring a unfamiliar country, I didn’t get enough time to really get to photograph what I really needed to tell the story. So the images in this slideshow only give you a taster of what is happening in China at this time (as of August 2014). I learnt a lot about travelling and in organising trips to other countries, from the experience of making these images in China. On the equipment front, I did not take excessive amounts of photographic equipment and I am going to be rationalising my kit even more before I return. I will also make more contacts, so that I have an agenda full of contacts before travelling, now having seen some areas that I want to spend more time photographing at some point I will return.
My impressions of China, is that it is developing rapidly and that the majority of people feel that things are moving in the right direction. However, they would like a little more freedom democratically, while they are largely appreciative of the economic developments that have radically reshaped their country in the past 20 years. One tip I learnt quite early on, was to always have the address of where you want to go written down and have your home address (of where you are staying) also, as the taxis do not understand the destination or place you want to go, as my pronunciation of Chinese names is not very good. In both Guangzhou and Shenzhen the metros are amazingly new clean and efficient that public transport in these cities is easy, just don’t walk to far form the metro stations in August when the humidity is rather high as it will wipe you out if you are not used to it. Coming from England I was so not used to the high humidity, the temperature was okay but the humidity after short times left you feeling like you needed to stop, we found that we would resort to going into air-conditioned shops just to cool down and then back out onto the streets and this is what the locals seemed to be doing most of the time as well. You also got used to just walking slower as a way of conserving energy.
On the days it did rain, which happened a bit, I would suggest that as photographer get a rain poncho. As it would keep you dry and let you still make photographs, it is rather hard to stand in a monsoon like downpour holding an umbrella and trying to make images, I tried it a few times and found it hard to do. So next time I travel, I am most definately taking my rain poncho, I had thought about it and decided not to, bad mistake on my part, in fact it was the only piece of kit that I missed not begin with me on the trip.