During our 18 month stay in Dalian we were lucky to have met a fantastic group of friends on just our second weekend in town. We were in a super smoky loud bar that one of Blondie’s coworkers took us to called Acapella (this was before the local police nixed the ex-pat music scene, the bastards). The bands playing consisted of Chinese kids, teachers, IT people, and a number of others who, like us, ended up in that far-flung corner of China, and for the most part, the people and the music were great. It was comforting for us to see so early on that there was a community of like-minded folks, both Chinese and other, that we could hang out with on the weekends.
That night I met the editor of Focus on Dalian Magazine (FOD), Dan Jones, and we hit it off pretty well due to our mutual love of photography, writing, and zines (which is funny because neither of us has ever actually finished a zine). Fast forward a few months, the travel writer for FOD was leaving so Dan took a gamble by asking me to fill in – we were travelling to interesting locales almost monthly and the photos were pretty good so it was a good call on his part and a big break on mine. During my short time with FOD I wrote small features on Seattle, Christmas in Prague, Bangalore, Tokyo, Boston, Cambodia, and filled in by writing one of the local hiking articles that we published in every edition (Click the highlighted bits to see the online issues). Besides writing for the magazine I was able to attend their sponsored events, participate in a burger contest, go for hikes, occasionally acted as an editor, and managed to get a picture of my smug mug in nearly every issue – it was just the best f__king experience for me and I want to let Dan and the people at FOD know that I appreciate everything they did, thanks guys.
The biggest honor for me though was to be chosen as the featured photographer for issue #52. In each issue a local photo junkie would be asked to show some of their work as well as share a few words on their experience and why they do what they do. If given the choice I would do all of my work at night, so for the Feature I spent a number of late evenings out in the cold showing what a city of seven million inhabitants looks like when no one is around. I also sprinkled in a few of my other Dalian favorites to show that I can work in the daytime – those are the pictures you are seeing in this post plus a few more that didn’t make the cut. Have a look.
Living in China was a great experience for both Blondie and I. We got to travel all over Asia and see some awesome shit – both the amazing and unfortunate kinds. However, the best part was getting to live and work with great people who had a solid enthusiasm for life, iron-clad livers, and the ability to see that the world doesn’t start and stop at their home country’s border – truly world-class citizens. Thank you Dan, Jess and Alvin, Miles and Becky, and all of the others that made our stay great. Best of luck to you all. (p.s. – Both Dan and Jess have very entertaining Instagram accounts – click their names and give ’em a follow)
Check back again soon for features on Cambodia and Tokyo as well as on some other stuff I hope to come up with between now and then. Also, you can always see whats going with Afield by following me on Instagram and Tumblr where I usually post something daily . Be good to one another, travel always, and take lots of pictures.
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