Beijing day 5 is all about a visit to the famous Silk Street Market. A one-stop-shop for international tourists (and the seat of counterfeit goodies) that sells at a hard-bargained price. That is, bargaining in this place involves a lot of arm-twisting. And this is not the thing for me. Shopping? Never. So as my friends trooped in for their shopping galore, I decided to pay a visit to some compatriots at our embassy right across the street, at the Diplomatic Residence Compound. Maybe for a bit of a courtesy call, protocol or perhaps some alcohol.
But then again, do I have the poise for the decorums and stuffs? Truth is, after a short walk and a snapshot inside the compound, I sheeped out, made an about-face and opted instead for the more challenging and more diplomatic people-photography!
I find it a challenge to take photos of people without them taking a full swing at me. It requires summoning all my tact, well-bred manners if any, and a little luck. I’m completely aware that when I take shots of people, I take up my time, I take up their time, make them feel awkward and make them feel uncomfortable by barging in their intimacy barriers. This is where the savoir faire comes in. (gulp!) And when people smile back at me, that’s the prize! And the camera, it’s such a powerful invention. I always thought it can tear down walls and open doors. In a span of a click, it instantly removes the bar between two perfect strangers. There is this flicker of friendship in the air and for a second I have gotten to know them and captured not just the surface, but their heart and soul.