I keep coming back to the couple of days that I spent in Xitang photographing the old water village. The 1200 old structures were very intriging, especially since this village is a not a museum, people still live here and continue their normal lives. But there are shops that do cater to those who come to look and see;- )
The wonderful thing for the two days I spent here, was the effects of the unusual blizzard that hit Eastern China. In retrospect is was a combination of events; the quality of light that resulted because of how the air was cleared by the snow and then that early morning or late afternoon sun with the light clouds. How the new snow that was lightly sitting on the structures, giving very clean lines and adding a wonderful graphic effect to further delinate surfaces and edges. And the snow storm kept the amount of people walking through the area to a minimum. If you were not photographing this area, it was not a fun day to be out and about! Not a good tourist day;- )
I had walked by this boat the first day, but there was nothing about it that stopped me or even interested me. It seemed to blend in to the background structure and the not-so-clean water. The second day with the additional snow and dropping temperature, it all changed. The backgound structure, the ice patterns forming on the canal, the lines of the boat, the quality of light. The very old building and canal with the vestiages of the new world that is commercializing this town.
This is not a “working” boat of the past, but built and ready for the increasing amount of tourist. Which interestingly enough, are almost all Chinese. This water village is not advertised in any English literature that I found, but the other water villages are, which was confirmed by my guest. And the seemingly surprised look that I usually received as I walked through the streets. This is now a Chinese “tourist trap”. Which means, that it may also avoid the Chinese government wrecking ball that literally flatens huge areas of the older Hutongs for modernization.
Best regards, Doug