David McCarthy, New Haven, CT

Quzhou China, My Street

The photographs below were shot on 35ml film with a Nikon N2000.

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Photographs above illustrate two months of manual labour roughly 8 men embarked on to pave a road.
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Nikon n2000 – Film – 2005

The road construction:
Upon arrival from Shanghai, some of the English teachers and I were brought to this road. Our eyes were still sheltered and culture shock still flowed through our systems; we were unable to make out what was happening here. Was this a war zone? Is this where I will be living? A lot of questions flooded my mind, but my tongue was unable to voice them. Blindly following our group leader, we walked to a hotel that was in the center of this chaos; which we shortly nicknamed Bay Rough.

With in a few days my eyes adjusted to the turmoil, faces grew familiar, and I started to document the construction. There were about 5-8 men building the road. Located on the end of the street was the school where I taught English. There they were building a walking bridge for the children to cross. This job had 4 men of its own. The construction of the road lasted over a month and a half because the road was almost entirely built by hand. Every manhole was hand placed, and the rim upon which it set was hand chiseled. Every road side block was hand cut and adjusted into place. Even the heavy machenery was removed off trucks by about 8 pairs of hands.

Throughout the construction process the crew slept on the job. I was informed that the life of a Chinese construction worker was one of solitude. They travel with their work, sleeping where ever possible. Late at night once, I walked under the bridge and was yelled at by the workers sleeping in makeshift beds hung in the bamboo rafters. I was not sure what they were saying, but I assumed they feared that I was there to steal their tools.

The day the road was finally paved, all of the people that lived or worked on the street walked on it in rejoice, the road was finally here. In America, if our road gets paved, the construction that last merely a day of two activates us. Here its as if they were celebrating. I knew I took things for granted, but living here opened up my eyes. I was astonished that something so routine in America as road paving could be such an elaborate and appreciated service; I had a lot to learn.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2005 at 3:58 pm and is filed under Photography, Travel Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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