bike sea

backyards in nanjing are not meant for foreigners. just 150m away from the main road i found this parking lot, chinese style. trying to work out the best way of visualising the sheer abundance of bicycles, after 5 minutes i heard somebody speaking in my back. lucky enough i did not turn around immediately but shot some more frames, this one among them. a short break on my side was used by the voice to approach me. it turned out to be a policeman, who friendly (thou shall not annoy the foreigners…) but firmly insisted by gestures that i had to leave this place. my guess was that there is nothing like a right to photograph in china…

bike sea(2) backyards are very rarely enjoyable sights (there is a reason why they are backyards anyhow) but they usually offer good insight how people are living. in the present case the officials probably regarded it as disrespectful if this normal side of life of their citizens gets photographed and published.


  1. Andreas, in your case I think I can take ‘inclinations’ literally…

  2. Wow that is pretty wild! Makes me wonder why the air is so horribly polluted there if so many ride bicycles.

    Glad you got this shot before the policeman chased you off. I do wonder why bicycles are considered off limits to photography there? Seems random.

  3. Laurie, the pollution mainly origins from heavy industry and coal power plants. Re. bicycles off limits or not: I had the strong feeling of better not to insist. China does not really have a free government under the law – the communist party controlling everything feeling seems to be still there, at least among many officials. And anyhow, there are sufficient reports about harassments of photographers in Europe or the US, especially after 9/11. So it’s probably wise to adjust with the situation and not insist on what you ‘think’ is right.

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