China is a paradise of text, image and fine art photography. No where is this more evident of the candy and sweets displayed in a Datong, China store window.
While people talk of Beijing and Shanghai as the centers of commerce, in reality, there are dozens of other cities with populations of one million people or more in the country. Datong, a seven-hour train ride west of Beijing, simmers with energy, a walled-city where old meets new, and like most other cities in China, is filled with tastes, sights and sounds you’ll find nowhere else.
In the city, you’ll find juxtapositions of text that that tell you a bit about part of the unique Chinese culture and color of yesteryear that is quickly disappearing. Because I take joy in shooting the-last-of-what’s-left-of-the- old, China is a dream destination for me.
As the country furiously builds the new, there are small pockets of the old–rows of brick construction built a century ago, some with a unique Asian architectural style–all containing text messages in Chinese, translated into English in a colorful combination of graphics where East meets West.
Although I like all of the packaging that seems to glow through the old wood-framed window, the text, CA NDY drew my eye. You usually don’t associate Chinese culture with sweets, other than the ubicutious American fortune cookie prevalent in the United States, but, indeed, an assumption that the Chinese don’t much like sweets is flawed.
Cookies, muffins, cakes and candy are found everywhere, most packaged as single-servings, tiny in size, yet great in taste–sometimes. It’s a whole different world than super-sized food and drink items in the U.S., but one in which the people of the United States have begun to embrace. While one sample can be deliciously sweet and moist, another doesn’t much suit the Western palette, a powerful sugar-and-salt mixture that strikes opposite ends of your taste buds.
From the text on the packaging of these items to the sheer number of different kinds of sweets you can find in them, the images you can create can almost be tasted.