[Sunflowers] Summer Portfolio July 2011 – 天星村,闵行区

Sunflowers, Tianxing Village, Minhang District , Shanghai China 2011

It started as a gaze through the company’s car window.

Make it a couple of gazes.  As I zipped past on the way to the factories, the ashen gray curved roofs stand sentinel in the sashayed fields of long maize. Beneath lies rows of rich brown earth. Eggplants. Cabbage. Lady Fingers, and of course sunflowers. Occasionally a bike will zip out of the fieldslike startled deers, or a rash of a horn as a car grumps uneasily along the narrow dirt track. A wave from behind a window, and perhaps an unseen smile.A few seconds, for a few weeks, it was a world that just passed me by.

It was 38C. Sweat stains stained the collar of the shirt, as I trudge down into the emerald fields. A slight jingle , the squawk of panicked chickens as they tried to defend their delicacy: a half eaten watermelon . The avian housewives complained bitterly, distraught of such an intruder.  I sheepishly picked my ways along the long houses of old, their proud curved roofs now revealing tattered tiles. A man caught me lifting my lenses, as I picked my way. He raises an eyebrow as I smiled nervously…slowly taking photographs of their pots and pans, and an occasional shot of his family.

I turned, to head back to the busy road. He continue to look, then turned away resuming his life in the fields. I stopped, looked back and contemplate. The sun hangs like melting gold in the sleeping sky. We got time. I turned back and popped a question ‘Where are you from?’. The man smiled,’Zhejiang,eh, your pu tong hua isn’t bad? You taiwanese?”No, but I can weave a story like one if you want…’

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