I've been photographing Chinese opera performers at performances and backstages in New York City's Chinatown, various locations in and near Kuala Lumpur and in Shanghai for the past 18 months or so. My intention is to eventually produce a photo book of these photographs; a long term project if there was ever one since Chinese opera is a subject of immense complexity and depth.
Influenced by the square format portraits by Andres Serrano (see my previous blog post), I chose 24 portraits of artists (12 male and 12 female characters) who performed in Cantonese, Hokkien and Jīngjù performances.
I mentioned the complexities of Chinese opera; it is said that there are as many variants as dialects in China. For instance, there's the Beijing Opera, known also as Peking Opera 京剧 (Jing Ju) which I've photographed in Shanghai; Cantonese Opera, known as 粵劇 Yue Ju, which is popular in the Cantonese speaking regions, such as Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and Malaysia; Sichuan Opera (in Mandarin) mostly popular in Chengdu, and Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hubei and Taiwan; and also Ping Opera, Henan Opera, Kunqu Opera and Qinqiang Opera...to name but a few.
Click on "See The Full Post" on this post's photograph, and you'll be enjoying the two dozen portraits I've chosen to illustrate the magic of Chinese Opera.