(coming soon!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wings over Malibu

It is a great blessing to have such talented and creative friends.

Recently one of them has purchased a 747 and designed a house incorporating many of its parts! At her invitation, I have been photographing various phases of the construction and the other day, the light was right and the moment perfect. Here is what I saw.

Gung Hay Fat Choy/Happy Lunar New Year!

The Lunar New Year - or Spring Festival - is again upon us, overlapping Valentine’s Day this year, thus a day in which cultures combine to wear red. It continues for 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival. For almost a decade now, I have been photographing in the Chinatowns of the United States and Canada, over 40 Chinatowns so far. And now for the sixth year I wander at the New Year through the greater Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley Chinese communities to capture the many ways in which this holiday is celebrated.

This year, I started in Arcadia where the Arcadia Supermarket was packed with last minute foodstuffs, flowers and sweets. Then to El Monte where on New Year’s Eve, Jenny Chen graciously permitted me to photograph her rice-package altars placed on the loading docks of the New Taiwan Trading Corporation, a major importer and distributor of Asian foods throughout the Southwestern United States. At the close of the day, Jenny burned incense and paper money for good fortune in the New Year.

As always, I then returned to Downtown Los Angeles where the usually busy streets were quiet - even on Chung King Road in the middle of the art galleries! - as stores and restaurants close early and families gather for dinners at home until late evening when celebrations and fireworks bring people to the temples and family associations. Homes and businesses post red signs with the chinese symbols for good luck - "foo" in Mandarin, "fook" in Cantonese - often upside down. Association members gather to cook for us all before midnight and again in the morning. My thanks to Jenny Chen, The Southern California Fukienese Association, the Hai-Nam Association of Southern California and as always, the Chua Ba Thien Ha Temple.