By XI MEITI
Western Media Correspondent
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – Freelance photographer David Hammond speculated yesterday that classic shots he recently took of a migrant worker, squatting on the sidewalk and lighting a cigarette, could finally be his shot at the big time.
“I was walking past this building site when I saw him: face smeared in grime, hands dripping with tar. He looked bone-weary, in need of just a few solitary minutes of quiet self-reflection – just him and his cigarette,” said Hammond.
“I immediately went over and started taking his picture.”
It was only when Hammond developed the snaps the next day that he realized he had at last struck gold.
“Look at this guy: if this stuff doesn’t appear in a Western photography exhibition about China’s rapid urbanization and marginalized peasant class, I don’t know what will,” declared a satisfied Hammond.
“I can see this guy doing a 28-hour train journey to his home province, while standing. Carrying two gigantic sacks containing his entire worldly goods,” Hammond added. “It’s quite possible he will die of black-lung disease in his mid-40s, leaving behind an unskilled wife and deprived child. He’s perfect.”
Hammond then revealed he had not been this excited about one of his subjects since he took that wide-angled close-up of a deeply-weathered Shanxi peasant back in 2010, whose enigmatic smile crinkled her eyes and mouth to reveal just two remaining teeth.