Assignment Kunming

Water Pipe, 1 of 20
This man is using a water pipe (more commonly known as a bong) to smoke what I am assuming is simply tobacco. Here at the Stone Forest, one of the great tourist attractions in Kunming, there were several park staff members making use of this paperless method of taking tobacco.

The Stone Forest is about a one and a half hour drive from the city center. Kunming people have a saying that to visit Kunming without having seen the Stone Forest is the same has having never been there at all. The scenery was interesting, with many rocks rising out of the ground like, yes, a forest--but for me, the most interesting aspect of being there was taking photographs of the people.

I particularly like this photo for another reason. The rock in the background has a stripe of discoloration, caused long ago by a layer of differently colored sediment settling down on the layer beneath. After many years all the sediment hardened into rock, and then there probably was an earthquake that tipped this rock up on end. In the photo, this odd layer of sediment mirrors the angle and color of the water pipe. Many photographers talk about how long they had to wait for all the elements of a photograph to come together, but this marks the first time I've ever had to wait for millions of years to snap a pic.

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