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  • Day 15: Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City

    "We're going to let you lead us there," says Anna. And I did just that. After being in Beijing for two weeks, Anna and her younger brother, Daniel, wanted to see if I could navigate the subway and get us to where we needed to go. The destination was Tiananmen Square, and other than going up the wrong stairs that brought us to the opposite side of the street we wanted to be on, I executed my task flawlessly.

    Tiananmen Square

    The most recent historical mark of Tiananmen Square brings us back to events that transpired on June 4th, where a pro-democracy protest turned violent. China was put under martial law by Communist Party Leaders at this time. The police and troops that moved into the square killed several hundred, maybe even thousands (there is no solid number here), of protesters in the streets that surrounded the square.

    Most of you will recognize the "tank man" image from this period of time. The article I've referenced is pretty interesting. Four photographres, four images, one moment. Followed by the images there are brief writings from the photographers writing about their time.

    Forbidden City

    Forbidden City is accessed through a gate from Tiananmen Square, which was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). This served as home for emperors and households from hundreds of years. Common people were not allowed inside the walls, but today, anyone can walk through the immensity that is, The Forbidden City.

    Once we were past the gates, I took to photographing Forbidden City a little different compared to that last major places we visited. Mostly because I was tired of seeing people all over the place. So, this a collection of photos taking a quiet look at the design, architecture, patterns, and more. I really love it, and loved approaching it this way - mostly because I myself found some peace shooting in this manner.

    After our little tour we ran into some shopping areas to pick up quick gifts for people back home. Here we encountered some photographers we had seen earlier in the week shooting in the same location. The guy on the left took to waving cheerfully, and then continued to take photos of me taking photos of him. When we first crossed paths, I caught him taking photos of Anna and I (probably more here than I), so I returned fire in a world of digital pixels. Many of the locals do this same thing on the street and would hold up their phones or cameras all nonchalant and "sneak" photos of you. I made it a game that whenever I noticed this happpening, I would bluntly take photos of them in return. All reactions were the same - smile and carry on.