I had just flown and sat around in airports for nearly 30 hours to reach Chengdu from Miami, and by my first morning I needed to stretch my legs, get some fresh air and make some photographs. As I entered Wenhua Park, just a few steps from my hotel, I could feel the cobwebs tugging at the corners of my tired brain.
I love wandering Chinese urban parks, especially early in the morning while millions head off to work through honking traffic and yellow smog. I find open spaces, greenery, even chirping birds. And parks provide lots of people enjoying themselves outdoors, easy to approach and photograph.
Kindergarten-age children roar like lions during school outing in Wenhua Park, Chengdu.
I’ve been invited to China several times to attend photographic festivals, and once to lecture at a trade school, and my eager hosts booked my days with activities they thought a photographer would enjoy. Visiting the ethnic village and puppet factory made photos. The trip to the electrical cord factory and municipal museum, not really. But by getting up early and skipping breakfast, I could fast walk to the closest park and find people I would shoot on my own terms.
And skipping a breakfast of cold noodles with super spicy meat sauce, watery oatmeal or pickled shredded vegetables would
keep my mind on the pancake house back home give me time to shoot.
Children race to picnic area in Wenhua Park last October.
On this weekday in Wenhua Park I found children flowing past the usual seniors tango dancing and performing tai chi with swords. The young, brightly dressed elementary aged students were on school sponsored outings with teachers and parent volunteers.
As about three dozen kids sat in tiny plastic chairs, their teacher read them an adventure story while encouraging them to vocalize the animal’s roars and growls.
As I plopped down nearby on the pavement and began making photos, the children cheered, laughed and howled at the top of their lungs. I shot wide, then closer, then super tight, picture after picture, the children’s expressions were terrific. Before I knew it, their roaring and blown away my cobwebs and I was ready for the coming three weeks traveling in China.
Wearing the red scarf uniform, a member of the Young Pioneers is curious about my
cameras in Wenhua Park, Chengdu, China.
To see more photography from China, please visit my Miami editorial photography portfolio site.