Muslims in China
Everyone knows that China is huge. But when people think of the population of over 1.3 billion people, it’s unlikely that most would think there are any Muslims in China. But in reality, there are millions of them. And there always has been, throughout centuries of Chinese history. In China today, there are about 22 million citizens that identify as Muslim, spread out through half a dozen provinces. It’s true that 22 million is less than 2% of the population of China, but the fact that they have the right to practice their religion at all, is significant.
But what is important to note, is the contribution that the Hui people bring to the province. The provincial capital of Xi’an, which is famous for it’s terracotta warrior excavations, is just as well known for its Muslim Quarter. And specifically famous is the evening market that takes place every night. And no visit to Xi’an is complete without a visit to this incredible market.
Some photo tips for shooting in a night market:
- If you use Auto ISO, you’ll be able to shoot the scenes that change from dark backgrounds to bright spotlights
- Keep an eye on your aperture – sometimes you’re going to want a large aperture to focus on one person in a crowd, and sometimes you’re going to want a medium aperture to capture the crowd
- Look for individual stories amongst the crowd of people. Single out one specific person and watch them, and tell their story
- Shoot with a wide or standard lens (24 to 50mm range) for crowd shots, and shoot with a medium telephoto for close-ups of people (105 to 200mm range)
- Avoid using flash – it will be too disruptive
- Shoot some crowd shots overhead, by holding your camera above your head at arms length, to get a sense of the crowd size
- To keep your black backgrounds black, shoot at -1 EV or -2 EV, depending on the darkness of the scene
- Taste the food!
If you’re interested in visiting Xi’an, or anywhere in China, check out Private Photo Tours for some personalized photography experiences.