As many of you on all sides of the (border disputed) pond probably noticed, this past Thursday was the lunar new year (often called Chinese New Year), where many celebrated leaving the year of the horse for the year of the goat/sheep.
Here’s the thing about celebrating Chinese New Year in China: THE WHOLE DAMN COUNTRY EXPLODES. Not only is this week the largest human migration on earth, it is also 1 of the only 2 occasions where citizens are permitted to use their country’s greatest contribution to the planet: fireworks.
And we’re not talking you’re standard sprinklers and bottle rockets here. The Chinese prefer the more “mortars and artillery” variety of explosive. After all, these guys invented gun powder in the first place.
You probably noticed in the video that this isn’t in some field on farmer Liu’s land in HeBei county; this is in the heart of the city. Sidewalks, rooftops, middle of busy streets: all are fair game. (To the point where every building owner appoints a guy to stay on the roof and hose down any stray sparks, lest you end up burning down your multi-million dollar hotel like this one.)
To this end, I couldn’t help noticing from my snapshots from years before all tended to look like a straight-up war zone. So, I decided it was good opportunity for some fake straight-up war zone photography.
So we marched out in our small battalion of would-be soldiers, very fake guns and very real explosives to show just how much the streets of Beijing on lunar new year’s eve (ChuXi 除夕) resembled many conflict-torn areas of the world.
I should stop to point out, if not already absolutely obvious, that this is 100% fake and in no way intended to insult any country, faction, or real conflict. This is simply my way of comparing the insanity that is the lunar new year’s festivities to insanity elsewhere. I absolutely do not mean to trivialize real conflicts going on, and most definitely do not mean to demean real conflict photographers. You guys are my heroes. I wish I had half the genitals of solid steel you guys have and I truly feel your jobs are one of the most important services to society on earth. This also does not mean to insult China, or the new year festivities. I spent many years in Beijing, and enjoyed many new years eves joining in the insanity.
With that said, if you still find it offensive, then contact me and we’ll go blow something up together until you forgive me.
The night started slow and unassuming in Beijing’s Drum and Bell district, until the machine-gun-like cracks split the ears of all residents in the neighborhood.
After the first shots, it wasn’t long before troops for all sides bolstered for the bloody night ahead.
And finally, once all had cleared the battle-grounds: the aftermath of the destruction. Only the cold, quiet battlefield comprised of streets that now ran red with paper remained.
It was a great time shooting these, and again, hope nobody was put off by a little fun. So happy Year of the goat, kiddos. I hope you brought yours in with a bang.