Summer Holiday Dreams
China’s northeastern province of Shandong (A.K.A Friendly Shandong) is home to a little city called Rizhao. Its English translation is the sunshine city, and the locals are nicknamed “the sun shiners,” dating back thousands of years to the Dong Yi people during the Xia and Shang dynasties (2070-1046 BC) believed by the local people to be the first place that the sunlight hit as it rose, giving birth to its name.
Rizhao is the home of watersports and over 120km of soft sandy beaches. So it’s none the least bit surprising to see why people come here for vacation.
Global tourism has taken a battering due to the evergrowing nightmare that is Covid-19, China is no exception to this savage whipping.
The Chinese tourism industry was set to take a 69% drop in the first quarter, followed by a further 20% for the remainder of the year.
Several tourist attractions across the country have reopened at half of their capacity just ahead of China’s Labour Day Holiday, partially due to a relaxation in travel restrictions and lower levels of Covid-19 cases across individual provinces, boosting tourism revenue. According to the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, around 43.23 billion yuan was made during the 4 day holiday, equivalent to about 6.12 billion USD. This was still only half of what was made in the previous year.
A valiant effort was made to reignite the tourism sector; however, people still remain a little apprehensive about travelling with the recent cluster of confirmed cases in Beijing. The wounds of the battle against COVID -19 haven’t yet healed, a constant reminder that the fierce war is not entirely over, the fight continues. The hangover from this savage trip will not wholly be a joyous ride, the scarring may never heal; they will lie embodied on the minds of people for a generation to come.
Summer is in full swing, tourism season at its peak.
Swarms of tourists flock to Rizhao’s coastline like the Spodiopsar sericeus (Red-billed starlings native to China), all sporting the same red tour guide hats, all swooping and diving around to get the best selfie for their new social media profiles. Car parks overflow and families pile out of their cars bound for the beach, with wild-eyed children strapped with rubber rings, armbands and other arrays of inflatable toys screaming and shouting. The spirit of childhood innocence and ignorance to the harshness of life, coursing through their bodies like an electric current 150volts of pure energy crackling and jolting then Zapp! A high powered burst right from the heart and through the chest cavity down into their legs carrying them at top speed all the way to the sea and into their summer holiday dreams.
I am a documentary photographer, visual artist and trouble maker; I am constantly fascinated by the human condition. I take on stories that I truly believe in something that can peak my interest and curiosity, turning that energy outwards into creating work. Looking at the state of the human existence but concentrating on the resilience of the human spirit.
I have a profound belief that the still image has the ability to change people’s minds. Even in today’s modern forever changing fast paced world of now! now! now! and limited concentration spans. The access that your subjects allow me when working is imperative to the work that I create. I treat my subjects with complete respect and photograph them with dignity and complete diligence in order to help tell the truth and bring their stories to life.
My work is intended to bring about understanding of different cultures, races, religions and bridge the gap between humans rather than extending it. Bringing people closer to create a more thoughtfully educated world.