Photographing Alternate Landscapes In China | Part One

A surreal scene of plastic autumn leaves, hung over a window, looking out onto a winter landscape at a guest house in the Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) region of Eastern China.

I'm a huge fan of traditional, picturesque landscape photography. I've traveled far and wide to experience and photograph such beauty, and I'II continue to do so as long as I'm able.

Photography | Exploring Alternate Beauty

But I'm also fascinated by alternate views of beauty. Kitsch, for example, provides wonderful opportunities to explore notions of taste and beauty. There's something strange and compelling about a fake pink flamingo on a suburb lawn.

Such sights both repel and fascinate me. And that's the attraction. It's as though you're entering into another reality when, in fact, you're more likely to be glimpsing an element of yourself, your own background, from years gone by.

There's a certain sense of unease and, perhaps, embarrassment association with such a scene. It's as if to say that's where I came from, but I've moved on, I'm better than that now.

In the above example, made from a small cafe in a guest house I was staying in while traveling in the Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) region of Eastern China, I was fascinated by the autumn colored plastic leaves placed on one side of the window with the winter landscape behind. I guess they're placed there as a reminder of how beautiful the location is during autumn.

Photography | Celebrating Unconventional Beauty

I like the vibrancy and strong shapes of the foreground leaves against the subtlety of the background. I feel the crack in the window adds another element of unconventional beauty to the image.

I must say I was very well looked after at all the hotels in which I stayed in China. Probably no more so than at this lovely guest house. The staff and the owner, Wayne, provided exceptional service. China is not an easy country to travel in, though it's certainly much easier than during my first trip way back in 1988. Ultimately, what makes the difference is a positive and reasonable attitude, from tourist and local alike. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru