Hangzhou’s West Lake is well-known to all Chinese as a city of honey-moon love or otherwise a very special holiday destination.
Once a fabled imperial city on and around West Lake, and a cosmopolitan place of famous poets and high culture – especially during the Southern Song dynasty, Hangzhou was a stunning beauty that Marco Polo described as “greater than any in the world”.
Today it still has a ton of charm. West Lake is divided into 5 sections by 3 (man-made) causeways, with temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands abound. And beyond the popular places of interest, there remains a blissful tranquility.
Humid, piercing summer light. Mystical, misty vistas. Sharp frozen cold. Colorful, leafy hues. I saw a slice of it all – across the year I spent living and working and playing, in Hangzhou.
In 2011, West Lake became a UNESCO World Heritage Site; but most tourism remains domestic. Taking a boat across the lake is an essential activity.
These images are inspired by my love of a Chinese woman here in China in 2015. Wei, I take you to West Lake – in my head, strolling together, elated and free, with the warmth and color of a closing Autumn day.
Travels in China – 2012-13