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Krasner in Shanghai; take six

*****My work is featured on the PHOTOGRAPHY OF CHINA web site which is written and curated by Art Historian Marine Cabos*****

My Selected photographs from the past month in China are posted at this link: HERE.


Krasner in Shanghai: take one
Krasner in Shanghai; take two (Part 1, A Trip to the Country)
Krasner in Shanghai; take three (Part 2, A Trip to the Country)
Krasner in Shanghai; take four (Part 3, A Trip to the Country)
Krasner in Shanghai; take five (Part 4, A Trip to the Country)


“A Trip to the Country”  The FINAL episode!





So…while we were waiting for 3 hours for the train, Eddy says, “did you take about 3000 pictures?” which was odd, because I think I did take almost exactly that, and I said, “yes…about…” and he said, put them ALL on a DVD and give them to me and I’ll give to ‘the Man’ and he can choose.”. I’m not exaggerating, he really said that verbatim.

Anyway….I’m eating Oreo cookies for dinner and Green Tea, which seemed the best choice given my options at the train station grocery store….freeze dried hen feet in sealed plastic…picked it up, put it down. I also bought a small hip flask of Chinese booze, which, after I take a scalding shower to kill all the murdered pig viruses I’ve contracted (on the TV show House, I remember, someone picked up some horrifying disease and had to be isolated in a glass room and puffed up, turned blue, got scabs and puss and died a horrible death and it turned out…he caught it from being in some isolated part of South America from some dead animal…and I was thinking……THAT is what’s going to happen TO ME).

So….after I get home…and attempt to scrub all the virus’s away, I’m going to down this little bottle of booze and hopefully pass out and never wake up. I never ever ever ever want to wake up again…I am exhausted. Oh….so let’s start from the beginning of the end.

4:00 a.m. Eddy bangs on my door, “TIME TO GO!!!!!!!”. I get up, open the door and say, “5 minutes”. Eddy says, “5 minutes.”. I am dressed, with both cameras on my hips, backpack and umbrella and downstairs in five minutes; I look like an army soldier in Vietnam.  15 minutes later Eddy and ‘the Agent’ come down…we start hiking down the road though I don’t know where we’re going. It’s pitch dark, raining, hot, 4am in the monring and I have all this gear on and Eddy says to me, “This started at 2 a.m. so we probably missed it.”

…we turn at Eddy’s old town and I realized the man I photographed yesterday was the butcher. We get to this very dark cement shack and in the back there are about 5 men holding this pig upside down on a board and one bald light bulb and I just started shooting like mad. It was exhausting…but there is nothing like having a camera between you and the action, it literally physically and emotionally separates you from the subject, but…I looked at one of the pictures with the pigs head in a water bucket and if there was a sink around, I would have thrown up. I hope these photo’s turn out…I had to shoot at H2 which is like 25,000 ASA…like ridiculous, but it was that or nothing, so they will be horribly grainy, besides gross.  After it was over, and I realized that was the second pig they killed that morning, I was thinking that though I was prepared to watch them actually kill the pig, that photographing that and the tremendous amount of blood which came out of the body….that really, I was spared. I am pretty sure I was spared…I can’t really tell you how I would have responded to that…grinned and bared it and done my job, but the repercussions, never getting the images out of my head…I don’t particularly like ham, but I do love bacon…maybe I won’t be eating that for awhile. I’ve been told that watching a pig being killed is pretty gruesome…maybe missing that was all right.
















Applying fire to the pigs ears

















Weighing the pig for the sales price




















So we hung out there and Eddy bought some dead pig, and when the whole thing was finally cut up, weighed and sold and photographed, we hiked back. When we got back Eddy abruptly says to me, “We’re leaving. There is nothing else to see. The woman is sick and the baby is sick.” So I said, “When are we leaving?” and he said, “NOW”….and that was that.

Addendum #1: I just realized the name problem. I am soooo stupid. I’ve watched enough Chinese movies I should have known this. Everyone’s name was probably Lu, except ‘the Driver’ who was Wu because he wasn’t related…and there was The Sister, and The Baby and The Boss and the Grandmother, and The Other Sister and The Agent and THAT is why he didn’t know anyone’s name, and THAT is why they all had to be referred to by what they did.

Addendum #2: After I shut down the computer and prepared myself to extricate the train, all the screaming and all the noise just suddenly melted away, it was as though the train was floating through the night into Shanghai…I saw lights and a Metro go by in the distance and over the load speakers the cocktail lounge piano version of Feelings gently wafted through the train car. As we drifted into the station an overwhelming feeling of calm came over me; I was home and it was safe and I was content.

Addendum #3: I get up, and get in line to walk out, I can’t move at all and ‘the Agent’ says to me in Chinese to move ahead which is impossible. I finally get out…we trudge through the station, everyone is pushing and shoving at each other and moving FAST and more bloody steps…and we get into the Metro and Eddy says, “I hope you had a good time” and I thanked him profusely and he smiled a genuinely nice smile but then abruptly dismissed me and I tried to hand ‘the Agent’ money like Eddy told me to and he grunted as though mad and brushed me off, so I am pretty convinced I made yet another faux pas which made me feel absolutely awful as he had been so nice to me, and then Eddy is talking rapidly on the phone, I imagine, trying to get someone to pick them up because of all the heavy dead animals they were carrying and so I walked away into the Metro station for another 40 minute two train + a hike schlep back to the hotel. When I got back, I took the most glorious shower I have ever taken, called my mom on Skype and while recanting the entire story, downed the Chinese booze right out of the bottle and then crawled into a spotless clean crisp cool white bed and slept like I have never slept in so many years.


     “Home Sweet Home”    Talk about culture shock.


THE END   …of that.

Next week we pick up with shorter insights, some of you will be glad to hear! Ciao….

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