Friday, August 12, 2005


Yi classmates

I knew instantly it was perhaps the most beautiful and tragic place I would ever set foot. The well-known Naxi people are a subgroup of the Yi minority, and they live on neighboring mountaintops. Life is harsh, tough, but simultaneously riveting. The Yi school is one room, with broken windows, few books, and much free time. The children study until age ten, or whenever they will become useful to their parents on the farm. He, the teacher, may have a high school diploma, but nothing beyond. They learn some Chinese and basic science, but they are not prepared for study beyond their little classroom. Upward mobility through hard work is a distinctly western notion. Here, everyone works hard, but unless a hurricane of fortune blows through and carries them away, these children will live the lives of their fathers.


Looking out - Yunnan

2 Comments:

Blogger Myself said...

Yi schoolmates
Canon EOS 20D
Shooting Date/Time
6/23/2005 1:44:55 PM
Shooting Mode
Aperture-Priority AE
Tv( Shutter Speed )
1/50
Av( Aperture Value )
5.0
Metering Mode
Evaluative Metering
Exposure Compensation
0
ISO Speed
800
Lens
35.0 - 80.0 mm
Focal Length
56.0 mm

Looking out
Canon EOS 20D
Shooting Date/Time
6/23/2005 1:39:32 PM
Shooting Mode
Aperture-Priority AE
Tv( Shutter Speed )
1/80
Av( Aperture Value )
7.1
Metering Mode
Evaluative Metering
Exposure Compensation
0
ISO Speed
200
Lens
35.0 - 80.0 mm
Focal Length
80.0 mm

I learned more about photography in the half hour with these kids than I ever had before. Partly because I made so many mistakes.
First, when it counts, never trust autofocus. Second, when it counts, never trust aperture priority. Third when it counts, never trust the view screen - check the histogram as well. Forth, if you get a subject strong enough, it doesn't matter how many mistakes you make:)!

Also, on imitation - I took yesterday's "into the mist" in imitation of Susan B's stark, haunting toy camera photographs (she's linked in my sidebar).
Today I was imitating a Sebastio Salgado picture of two Kosovar refugees. He often speaks of taking pictures on different planes, both literally and figuratively, a concept I often look for these days. Spatially, the subjects are at different depths, which really shows at wide aperture. Psychologically they are at different depths as well - the older one already wearing the stern, weathered look of older men, and the younger one still showing the mischevious grin of youth. Both are very descriptive portraits of the Yi people - a life both joyous and arduous.
Also, I love the juxtaposition of the subjects - hopefully you'll see it again in my photos. Something about the back to back posing cements in my mind the retained indivuality of two people who share nearly identical circumstances and lifestyles.

12.8.05  
Anonymous Adriana said...

:) I love this one. This is so typical on children. You'll se this soon but with your own child. :)

17.8.05  

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