Pretend that you’re a million miles away from your desk and travelling somewhere, with our Slide Night series, where readers share there travel snaps and the stories behind them.
Dan Miller is back to share some more of his beautiful photos. Dan is a Melbourne-based photographer. His recent work has explored the consequences of rapid modernisation in Mongolia, and life in temporary living spaces in China’s post-earthquake zone.
Dan writes: While travelling in the north of China’s Sichuan province in mid-2009 and preparing to work on a photographic project about the lives of survivors of the May 2008 earthquake, I was introduced to the lively ‘Grandma and Grandpa Deng’. Zhang Qun’an, 69, and her husband of 51 years, Deng Mingyuan, 77, whose home at nearby Qingping Mountain had been destroyed in the earthquake, had been living in a temporary camp with other survivors from their village for nearly a year.
From then on, until I had finished my stay at the camp a few weeks later, the Dengs put my translator He Song and I up in the steel-and-foam room next to theirs, feeding us, doting on us and jealously guarding us from their friends. While I continued to meet and photograph the other villagers from Qingping at the camp, I was dying to photograph who I thought were the most adorable old couple I had ever met.
“Can I photograph the two of you today?” I would ask, just about every day. “Later, not now,” Zhang Qun’an would reply. Although she let me go with her on shopping trips, and although I hung out with her husband as he prepared his tobacco and chatted with his mates, I just had to get the two of them together. It wasn’t until my final day in the camp that they relented.
When I asked where we should make the picture, Deng Mingyuan led me, quite unexpectedly, to a patch of dirt at the edge of the camp. I set up my camera, and suddenly the adorable couple became more adorable. They were excited, giggling like children. “We’re having a wedding photo!”, Zhang Qun’an shouted to her friends from Qingping, who had been milling around and quickly formed a crowd.
Here were my wonderful hosts, who I was about to leave, on a muddy piece of land which substituted for their home, reliving their youth and putting on a performance: for me, for their friends, and –in the wake of the earthquake –for their growing new family album.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Focal length 35mm
Have you got an amazing travel snap (jpeg format, s’il vous plait) and story you’d like to share on ‘Slide Night’? You don’t have to be a professional and it doesn’t have to be “exotic”. Just send it through to [email protected]