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Guardian of Forbidden City. Taking photos of them is strictly prohibited, so obviously every visitor has at least one.

Guardian of Forbidden City. Taking photos of them is strictly prohibited, so obviously every visitor has at least one.

A lot has been said about People’s Republic of China. Even more has been written about changes happening in Chinese society since the events of Cultural Revolution. I had been expecting to see a communist country where citizens are repressed by the almighty police apparatus and individuality is treated as a threat to the nation. When we got there, I understood that my expectations were as far from the truth as it gets.

Couple at the streets of Shanghai. Behavioral differences between young Chinese and the older generations are noticeable. Photo made by Lukas.

Couple at the streets of Shanghai. Behavioral differences between young Chinese and the older generations are noticeable. Photo made by Lukas.

Newspaper seller in Shanghai. Freedom of speech is still a burning issue, but press in China is doing better than people would think. Shot by Kasia.

Newspaper seller in Shanghai. Freedom of speech is still a burning issue, but press in China is doing better than people would think. Shot by Kasia.

¬†Chinese are obsessed with individuality. There are dozens of so-called creativity or individuality schools both in Beijing and in Shanghai. I’m not exactly sure what is taught there, but there were courses for both children and adults and one can imagine what was the matter of them. Communism changes people and while it’s impossible to call China a communist country anymore (I’d rather say it’s the modern iteration of uncompromising and heartless capitalism), it is quite obvious that what they are trying to change is their mentality. Poles are trying to achieve that since 1989, but it’s the money that makes the difference. We can’t compete with Chinese in that contest.

Men flying kites at the Summer Palace in Beijing. Age seems to be way less stigmatizing in East Asia than it is in Europe.

Men flying kites at the Summer Palace in Beijing. Age seems to be way less stigmatizing in East Asia than it is in Europe.

Chinese men seem to be closer with their children and grandchildren than men in Europe are. Asian parenthood scheme was a big surprise to me. Photographed by Lukas.

Chinese men seem to be closer with their children and grandchildren than men in Europe are. Asian parenthood scheme was a big surprise to me. Photographed by Lukas.

As you can see, this is my first post with monochromatic photos. I was a fan of B&W photography for a long time, but I was unable to achieve the look that would satisfy me. After spending some time trying various different approaches, I finally reached the level that is sufficient to show the photos on the blog. Monochromatic photos tend to concentrate on the subject itself rather than on the visual aspect of the shot, so there are scenes that just don’t work in B&W. However, I find that style of editing well suited for street photography and that is something that I would like to focus on in the near future.