A Kid’s-Eye View of Chinatown

Chinese Kids This is a bit of old news from San Francisco Chronicle, but I think it’s still cool:

National Geographic handed out Olympus digital cameras to 15 San Francisco teenagers — first-generation Asian Americans and newly arrived Asian immigrants — and hooked them up with a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who talked about seeing, framing, texture and storytelling. Then they were set loose to shoot in Chinatown and around their neighbors and kin.

This reminds me of a similar news story I once read. Some inner city kids in a New York borough were given cameras and told to take photos of their environment. Despite living in a violent and decrepit neighborhood, it was surprising to see such beauty and serenity in their photos.

(I tried searching for that news story but couldn’t find it; if anyone remembers it, please let me know.)

This effort was part of National Geographic Photo Camp, a “series of photography workshops for youth from underserved communities both in and outside the United States.” The theme of these photos was the Asian immigrant lifestyle.

The photos are awesome. Even more awesome is that they were taken by amateur teens with only a four-day workshop (I should take this workshop too).

There are scenes which many of you, our gentle readers, may have seen before. Even though I grew up in a predominantly non-Asian town, I remember seeing aunts and uncles play mah jong late at night. I remember the traditional Chinese music playing from my grandma’s radio. And I’ll always remember wearing a pair of red & gold slippers as a kid, which my Mom purchased from NYC Chinatown (though not the girly kind in the photo) (really).

The video provides more background behind this event. (Check out the kids fawning over the camera. Aww how adorable.)

When I first moved to San Francisco, I walked around the city to take photographs. I took a bunch in Chinatown, but was shoo’ed away from a few fish markets. There was a sign saying, “No photos please.” I guess they didn’t want tourists taking their pictures? It’s a good thing these teens didn’t have that restriction. Heh.

What kind of photos would you take to cover the Asian immigrant lifestyle?

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About Mike

I'm an idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student. And what, you want to Internet-stalk me too? Why, sure.
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