Friday, January 14, 2011

Ryan Pyle Blog: The NPAC Photo Essay


I recently had some work featured on the National Photographers Association of (NPAC) Canada's website. To be brutally honest I don't know too much about the NPAC. I knew there was an association, much like the American version; but I had never been in touch with them.

Having lived in China for a decade and spending my entire professional career abroad I never found much use in photography associations; but I can acknowledge that they seem to be very worthwhile for a lot of photographers based domestically, and they seem to offer a lot of legal advice and small business advice which I think is really important.

A link to the photo essay is below. The text that accompanies the work is below as well. I was in a particularly gloomy mood when I was writing this. Watch out for the double dip.

As we begin 2011 the world is finally showing some signs of economic recovery. Although there is a sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the United States continues to struggle with high unemployment, companies are making money again and banks are behaving more responsibly. As we all look forward to better and brighter times, it’s important that we learn lessons from the behavior that almost caused the end of the financial world as we know it. Not only are banks to blame but we, much of the general public, simply over-consume and spend beyond our means. Do our actions have consequences? The straight answer is yes; especially in places we would never assume.

In October 2008 when Lehman Brothers, the US Investment Bank, went bankrupt the shock-waves were felt around the world. Banks lined up for government hand outs, the public panicked and we all stopped spending. As a result retailers shuttered and global trade came to a screeching halt. For the small factory town of Dongguan, China; that meant that factories that produce goods for US retailers began going under on a daily basis. After years of farmers moving to the coastal cities, like Dongguan, to work in factories, now everyone was heading homes. Factories had gone bankrupt, jobs had evaporated overnight. In the span of about four weeks from October to November 2008 thousands of factories went under and millions of jobs were lost. Entire housing blocks became empty, the streets once bustling now became silent. Those who opted to stay fought harder for fewer jobs. The seen was one of general chaos. These images were taken in November 2008 while on assignment for Newsweek.

Ryan Pyle Bio

Born in Toronto, Canada, Ryan Pyle spent his early years close to home. After obtaining a degree in International Politics from the University of Toronto in 2001, Ryan realized a life long dream and traveled to China on an exploratory mission. In 2002 Pyle moved to China permanently and began taking freelance assignments. In 2004, Ryan Pyle became a regular contributor to the New York Times covering China, more recently he has branched out in to mostly magazine. Ryan Pyle is based in Shanghai, China. Ryan is a reportage style photographer, working almost exclusively in 35mm format range finder cameras. His work drifts between journalism and fine art as he roams through China shedding light on the country and its diverse people.

Ryan Pyle

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Ryan Pyle