Assignment Kunming

Proletariat, 9 of 20
In one of my most touching moments in photographing Kunming, I snapped this one of a worker using a sledgehammer to tear down an old apartment building. The building itself was a prototypical Communist edifice, a huge, faceless block of brick and cement with a very utilitarian function. A tin gate in the middle of one side was studded with five faded red stars.

As I walked along the sidewalk parallel to this building, I could just see over a plastic sheet shielding the worksite from view and snap a pic of this laborer smashing to bits the interior walls of the building.

Just after I passed this building being torn down, I could see a modern office structure being constructed of steel and glass with a quite pleasing architectural design. All over the city, one can see the same thing: old being torn down and new being constructed, reflecting the value of new versus old. This building in particular must go, as the ground floor is right next to a major sidewalk. The space on the street can be rented at high prices because businesses will open up shop, while the space in the back will command much lower prices.

All this construction is seemingly being done with much help from the muscle of laborers like this man here. It is rife with symbolism, and I'll leave it to you to put a meaning on this one.

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