An everyday life's Odyssey

Huang Quan De.

Huang Quan De.

November 2, 2016

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Huang Quan De. Lijiang river, Xingpingzhen. This Guy is 87 years old! I suppose he doesn’t fish that often now, but cormorant fishing is still a thing around there. The birds are domesticated, and serve as a fishing tool: a small rope is tight around their neck, that prevents them from swallowing fishes when they catch one.

As said on previous pic, finding this place was a big part of why I wanted to go to China. I’ve seen other pictures before of the same guy in more or less the same surroundings (it’s the illustration of the 20 yuan bank note). It is indeed really photogenic, and I guess all the other photographers before me have been through the same process.

I have mixed feelings about those photos, mostly because I paid the guy for this shooting session. This was organized by the hostel I slept at. Paying for a model was a first for me, so I didn’t really feel comfortable with it. Staging pictures is something I seldom do; I sometimes ask the person walking with me to be the human presence on my shot. I usually like taking pictures “on the go”. Also, in a way, it encourages turning an ancestral craftsmanship into some trick for tourists. But it gives the guy some revenue, and it’s not that different from going to see a spectacle or paying for a tour in a boat.

Anyway, I enjoyed finding “the place” just as much as shooting those pictures. I tried the best I could to bind with the fisherman; we had a laugh a couple of time. More specifically, I tried to “direct” him, to get something that seemed natural, even though he knows all too well the drill along with our expectations. All in all, it was an interesting experience, and just being there, bare foot in the river as the night was falling, surrounded by the mountains and the forest, was well worth the trip.

  • Model Name: X-T1
  • Date: 2016:11:02 18:18:53
  • Exposure Program: Aperture priority
  • Exposure Time: 1/50
  • F Number: 2.2
  • ISO: 1600
  • Focal Length: 23
  • Exposure Mode: 0
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  1. Merci d’avoir expliqué tout le contexte qui a mené à cette photo et le recul que tu as dessus car c’est vraiment passionnant.
    Je comprends tes doutes, mais franchement, le résultat final est impressionnant, pour moi l’une de ces photos pour lesquelles il manque une 6e étoile tellement elle claque 🙂 Et techniquement elle est magnifique, en terme de lumière, de compo, de textures…

  2. I love the photo and related to your mixed feelings about the experience. I love taking photos of local people when I travel, but the fact that some locals are in “costume” just for tourist photos feels inauthentic. I always ask permission first and will give a tip when that’s part of the expectation. I agree that it is helping the person make a living. The time I felt the worst was in a Karen hill tribe village in Thailand taking pictures of “long necked” women. Young girls were posing with the bands on their necks. Without the tourist dollars the practice would have probably died out by now? For your lovely photo, though, this gentleman is making some revenue and representing a traditional lifestyle that is being preserved.

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