Wandering around Baishizhou a few weeks ago was a bit of an eyeopener for me. I’ve heard about this place from several sources, including a coworker who is nervous walking there because she claims, in her own words, a bit “too dirty and ghetto”. Not sure what it is, but I am attracted to these places. Living in a nicer area of Shenzhen makes me take for granted sometimes how people come here and struggle for a better life, even if it is far from what I would call getting your basics. The people that live in these less than desirable places are also some of the nicest people I’ve met, open to conversation.
My first impression about Baishizhou is how calm the place was. You see children playing, adults working, and cool old people just sitting around and chatting. I’m not trying to romantize the place, there are obviously unpleasant smells, fresh food lying out in the open all day (are refrigerators unpopular here?) and dirty ground. But I’m also not looking at rich spoiled people thinking they are better than the average person. It seems to be like (for lack of a better term) that these people understand for their role and strive for a simple goal. The children here aren’t spoiled (unlike many of the students I teach who have everything and still aren’t happy) and running into a number of them I am reminded of how wonderful innocence is. I used to feel uncomfortable taking photos of people off the street, but the ones here almost, without speaking, invite me to do so. I will probably return there again with a lighter camera next time, once I finish all my expired 120 film (I have about 10-12 more to go, not sure why I bought that much in the first place!).
For some history about this place, head on over to Shenzhen Noted. If you happen to be in Shenzhen and want to wander around there some, free to contact me.
A few photos from my jaunt. I’m not posting a lot simply the files are huge, plus I’m editing some for the show I’m doing next year. Still working on an artist’s statement for that. I hate writing about myself.