Colin McPherson

Photographer and Visual Artist

Posts tagged ‘China’

Moving Beijing #1






To go with my latest Gallery feature on this site about my observations of a typical intersection in Beijing, I thought it would be interesting to share a slice of iPhone footage I made at the time I captured the images.

Closer inspection of both film and photos reveal some of the cast of characters appearing in both media.

Hope you enjoy this moving, swirling, swerving tribute to the ubiquitous Chinese junction.

View it here: Moving Beijing

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Up the Junction in Beijing


Beijing on the move. Any time, any place, anywhere. In this sprawling metropolis, ordinary people are going from A to B, all day, every day.

Take any junction and stand there for long enough and you’ll see cameos of life played out. Small vignettes of existence. Slices of lives lived on the move. Where are they going? Where have they been? Are they late or on time? As the lights turn red, they are forced to stop. Pause. Wait. In doing so, we glimpse some lost in thought, some impatient, some carrying out mundane tasks, adjusting bags, making phone calls or in the case of the refuse collector, examining the damage to his cart, clipped by one of the all-pervading automobiles.

Pedestrians, cyclists, motorbikes all edge forward in anticipation, jockeying for space mindful of the cars and buses which could appear from any direction. There are rules – of sorts – but there’s little time to obey them.

As the lights turn to green, they are off. They disappear from view forever, leaving nothing behind but a collection of pixels in my camera and a snapshot of a typical Beijing day. In seconds they are replaced by a new intake, and the cycle continues.













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China Daily

In May 2012, I was invited along with nine other photographers by the Beijing municipal authorities to visit the city to take part in an exchange project to photograph the metropolis.

This was my first excursion to the world’s most populous country and one of the most famous capital cities. The images I made over the course of eight days reflect, I hope, the shifting balance of Chinese society; from one rooted in a turbulent past, to a present where people now live under a hybrid of Western-style capitalism and totalitarian communism. What I discovered and tried to photograph was how this seismic change is affecting everyday life for people in Beijing. The balance of wealth and poverty is exaggerated and widening; its consequences unclear. People exist under very different ‘isms’ depending on where and how they live. For many there is opportunity and prosperity; for many others there is poverty. I wanted to depict how increased wealth makes people aspire to aspects of life which we in the West recognise and take for granted.

I am delighted to say that I have been invited back to Beijing to take part in the 2013 version of the project along with my Document Scotland colleagues Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Sophie Gerrard. Continue reading…

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