Workers On Yellow Mountain In China

A young woman worker on Yellow Mountain in Eastern China poses for a photograph with the 'V for Victory' gesture.

My main interest during my time on Yellow Mountain was landscape photography. However, I also made a few portraits and candid people based images, mostly of workers, as I journey across Yellow Mountain.

In many ways visiting Yellow Mountain in winter was a good move. Far less visitors to this popular site at this time of year provided me with great access to the hotels, narrow paths and scenic locations on top of the mountain where I journey for three days.

In the Chinese language huang means yellow, an auspicious color in China, while shan is the Chinese word for mountain.

Two girls pose for a photo with the 'V for Victory' on the slopes of Huangshan in eastern China.

The first two images in this post feature some of the girls who work as receptionists, cleaners and the like at one of the hotels on the mountain.

Making the pictures was a very straightforward process. As we passed each other on a pathway I stopped and gestured with my camera that I'd like to make a photograph of them.

After the initial surprise they seemed happy to have been asked. A few seconds later I was on my way with a smile and a few photos.

I let the girls pose for the photos in the way they wanted. The results provide an interesting cultural record of the way these young Chinese women respond to the camera and the process of being photographed.

Huangshan Tiny Snowman, China

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Unlike in western countries, where the 'V' sign stands for peace, throughout Asia 'V' is often used to signify victory.

But there's nothing particularly sinister about it. In this case victory likely means, "I'm here, I made it and I'm happy to have done so".

A porter, carrying goods up a steep stairway, on Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain), China.

The final photo features one of numerous porters who carry considerable weight over their shoulders along the steep, narrow and, at this time of year, icy pathways.

As there are no roads up the mountain, this is the only form of transport for supplying both tourists and workers alike with food, drinks and the range of other so-called necessities we require on the top of the mountain.

I found the going tough along some of the pathways. As I stayed in three hotels over as many nights, I had to carry a loaded pack with clothes, camera gear (including tripod) and other travel necessities.

But it only takes a momentary meeting on a high, cold and ice-laden path with one of these workers to put things into perspective.

It really was quite a profound and humbling experience. I'II never forget it.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru