Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Hur tar du dina foton? Vilken vinkel väljer du? Inte många tar nog rakt uppifrån. Men, ibland är det nödvändigt – och ibland är det bara för att det är roligt.

Mina gamla foton på hutongerna i Peking togs på vår första resa till Kina med barnen. Hutonger är smala gator eller gränder, främst förknippade med Peking och en del andra nordkinesiska städer. Ordet hutong kommer från mongoliska hottog som betyder ”vattenbrunn”. Det var fascinerande att gå genom dessa trånga gränder med sina familjehus. Vi såg många gamla där och även kvinnor med liljefötter.

Idag rivs hutongerna ner i rasande takt för att ge plats åt höghus av glas och betong. Inför OS 2008 hörde vi talas om massrivningar och gamla människor som tvingades flytta.  Staden har bland annat kritiserats hårt för detta av företrädare för UNESCO, FN’s organisation för utbildning, vetenskap och kultur.

How do you take your photos – from what angle? I think most of us do not take photos straight from above. But, sometimes it is necessary. And, sometimes it is for fun.

My photos of these old hutongs in Beijing – now torn down – are from our first trip to China with our children. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods.

Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. For the Olympics we heard of mass demolishing of hutongs and the government forcing many old people to leave their homes. Beijing today is another city… with impressive skyscrapers of glass and concrete. Gone are these old family houses, seemingly dilapidated, but still working. Walking those narrow alleys (hutongs)was indeed fascinating, and we even met some old women with lily feet.

From Above they are a piece of old China, those hutong memories.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARedan då låg smogen tung över staden. You can see the smog that’s constantly hovering over the city.


Några hutonger renoverades, eller kanske revs, så det fanns tält för vissa att bo i. Kanske var de arbetare.  Some hutongs were renovated or maybe torn down then too. People were living in tents in the area. It might have been workers.


29 reaktioner på ”Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

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  2. Amazing shots … and what a great idea to take them from above – I suppose it’s something that China don’t really want to be connected to …. In the present. Like the similar areas in Rio and Hong Kong … but it’s a big piece of their history will go too. Where were you standing when you took the shots????

  3. Superb shots Ann Christine. Have never seen the Hutongs from this angle before! We loved walking through some of them too. Wonder how much longer they will survive.

  4. Wow, this is so interesting ~ the thought of this view from above all depends on the perspective of where one stands and how personally attached to the scene. For those that these were their homes, how sad – history wiped away. How good has progress for the families I wonder, I don’t know – just a thought.

    • From what we heard they are not so happy. When you move old people from their homes, children and grandchildren – and dear friends and neighbours – they get lost and bewildered and age very fast. I feel so sorry for them.

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    • Do they also have these narrow alleys and the whole family living in the same house? The houses here were all charming and even if they looked strange from above, they looked all right inside.

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  11. wow there’s no space betweetn the hutongs. It looks as though they build their homes in the roads and so close to each other that in the end there aren’t any roads?

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