Source: SCMP (11/29/19)
Blue-collar photographer’s slice-of-life photos aboard China’s slow trains capture a side of country forgotten amid the fanfare over high-speed progress
China’s high-speed trains are a gleaming testament to its rise, but in the shadows is another world, one documented by a hotel worker with a second-hand Nikon. Qian Haifeng set out to see country on the cheap, and began photographing his fellow passengers. His images have won him national and international recognition
By Thomas Bird
Edging the banks of mighty Lake Tai and bisected by the fabled Grand Canal, Wuxi in eastern China has been a favoured place of trade since antiquity. Wedged between economic heavyweights Suzhou and Changzhou in Jiangsu province, the manufacturing hub has awoken from its post-socialist slumber and is now known more for software and solar panels than silk and rice.
The Wuxi Grand Hotel looms large over the city’s Binhu district, where, in a 20th-floor Japanese restaurant, appears the hotel’s long-serving electrician, Qian Haifeng. The 52-year-old is sporting brown worker overalls and big black boots. He is a little hard of hearing but a boyish energy projects the character of someone much younger.
“Sorry to bring you all the way up here,” Qian says in Mandarin lilted with the local Jiangnan dialect. “I usually eat in cheap noodle shops on the street but I’m not allowed to leave the hotel while on duty. At least up here you get a good view of Wuxi.” Continue reading