Recording the disappearing old Beijing

Updated: 2007-05-30 09:33

Recording the disappearing old Beijing

Readers' comments:

johnyou:The old will be replaced by the new sooner or later...! It seems what's been done by departments concerned in the preotection of the old serves only to slow downthe process...!

egypsy:I really appreciate their spirit and effort.They are the people who do stuff, not just say stuff.
salute to them!

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As a new metropolis forms and the old life of Beijing disappears, a group of people, both young and old, take up their cameras and rush ahead of the bulldozers, trying to save bits of the memories contained in the centuries-old lanes, or hutongs that crisscross the city center. They call themselves the Photographing and Recording Team of Old Beijing.

They are not professional photographers, and "don't aim to capture architectural aesthetics. Instead, every photo we take shows the beauty of the real life of Beijingers at the time," said Zhang Jinqi, one of the founding members.

Zhang spent his childhood in a hutong. "I still clearly remember the peaceful and harmonious residential surroundings in which people developed mutual understanding and close ties," he said.

"There was a 70-year-old woman who was very kind and helped raise the neighbors' kids, guarded their doors and filled the coal stoves for each family while they were out working."

Click to see more photos of old Beijing on page 52-57 atRecording the disappearing old Beijing

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