Envoy captures images of New York
On weekdays, dressed in a suit and tie, Deputy Consul General Zhong Ruiming does what he can to promote USChina relations from the Chinese consulate in Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River.
On weekends, he straps on his camera bag, hops on a bike and delves into the lives of New Yorkers.
Taking photos of local people and landscapes takes up most of the spare time of this overseas diplomat.
“It helps me understand every aspect of the country where I am posted,” he wrote in the foreword of his new book New York Through the Lens of a Chinese Diplomat (Asian Culture and Media Group, 2016), launched on Tuesday at the Asian Cultural Center in New York.
Framed by the same tunnel in Central Park, he shows the green-and-orange of early autumn and the snowy white of winter. He captures the romantic moment of a man in a Wolverine costume proposing to his girlfriend at New York Comic Con.
Timed to coincide with the 2016 China-US Tourism Year, the book is a celebration of cultural interaction.
“State-to-state relations thrive when there is friendship between the peoples,” said Zhong. “We are also seeing more foreign photographers go on to the streets of China and share their works with their people.”
Zhong has taken tens of thousands of photos in the Big Apple since being transferred there from the embassy in Indonesia in 2013. The book features more than 300 photographs organized to six sections: City Landscapes, The Four Seasons, Home of Birds, Diverse Society, Festival Parades and Chinese Culture.
With his Asian looks and big camera in hand, Zhong is easily mistaken for just another tourist. His photos provide the distinction.
He has gotten up at dawn to see the city before it awakens, taking a shot of a sanitation worker cleaning the deserted TKTS stairs in Times Square that would be crammed with tourists in a few hours.
He snapped a photo of a mom, with a baby tucked at her side and a young son by her side, beaming with pride after taking part in the Climate March. He captured the real New York as a boy snoozed away on a stroller while his parents cheered on marathon runners.
On the coldest day of this year, he went out to the Lunar New Year Parade to take photos of the clouds of people’s breath next to the Year of the Monkey puppets.
Once in a while, he also captured the perspective of a diplomat. From the balcony of the consulate, he took a bird’s-eyeview photo of people packing the riverfront for the Fourth of July fireworks.
To reveal the complexity of the city, he shot the artificial limb of a homeless person with three young women jumping in flip-flops.
“I pondered how different lives can be,” he wrote in the caption.
Zhong’s works will be on display at the Asian Cultural Center through May 5.
A photo of Central Park in the fall taken by Zhong Ruiming (below), China’s deputy consul general in New York, is shown on Tuesday at the Asian Cultural Center, where Zhong launched his new photography book NewYorkThroughtheLensofaChinese Diplomat.