When I look back it seems like a miracle: Ying and I got to meet because of pure coincidence while she and her husband were living and studying in Dresden. She is a talented photographer and her husband Shilong is a physicist, so I guess it is not surprising that we connected on the spot! When Ying asked my to photograph her wedding two years later, I was beyond honoured and some months later I found myself on a plane, travelling around half the globe to Changchun, Shilong’s hometown, where I was greeted with hospitality and heartwarming friendliness. But after their beautiful ceremony the adventure wasn’t over: again we travelled a thousand kilometers, this time together, to a small mountain village north of Beijing, where Shilong’s grandparents are living. The days we spent there in their garden and antique wooden house felt like the most beautiful dream. Jasmin flowers and hydrangeas blossomed and filled the garden with a sweet smell; apricot and plum trees were bearing so much fruit that they bent over. Pudding, the yard dog, jumped on my lap as soon as we sat down for the delicious meals of local fish and vegetables. But what I will never forget was the heartfelt hospitality of Shilong’s family, the feeling of coming home while I was more than 8.000 km away from my own family. And if it wasn’t for the pictures I’de taken there, I would still not believe I truly stood on the Great Wall of China in the evening sun, taking wedding portraits of the newlyweds. It was one of the most surreal and most beautiful moments in my photographer’s career so far.
The next day we left Huamu with a heavy heart, spending our last night in China on the glorious night market in Beijing. But soon Ying and Shilong are leaving for China again, to start a new chapter of their live in Shanghai. I wish you all the best and I hope that we will see each other again one day. 再見!
1000 km southward …
I want to end with a special thanks to Shilong’s family who made me feel most welcome!