Photographer Pavel Dvorak has been photographing Yunnan, Tibet and traditional Chinese Life since his arrival. His photographs have bought him fame in his native Czech Republic. This summer we are privileged to be introducing Pavel to our travelers for a once in a lifetime trek through Yunnan and Tibet to see its annual Nomad Festival and some of these countries most beautiful natural and spiritual sites: https://asiaarttours.com/tours/under-the-tibetan-stars/
contact me at Matt@asiaarttours.com if you’re interested! Our interview with Pavel is below
- AAT: What brought you to China and when did you first start photographing the country?
I fell in love with China when I was maybe ten years old. That was the first time I saw Jackie Chan movie. I become obsessed. I had known for a long time before moving to China that I want to live here. I studied Chinese as my University Major and I first came to China in 2009. I have been living in Shanghai since 2012.
When I was studying I used to assist my brother who was professional photographer his whole life. Even though he was almost 25 years older than me, we had a great relationship. He thought me a lot about photography and he was my strict critique.
It all came together maybe 5 years ago when I found out that you can actually make living with travel photography. That was information that completely changed my life and I started to pursue it as my goal.
Since then I am constantly traveling around China and doing photography.
- What type of moments, scenes or individuals do you try to capture in your photographs?
I love stories. And I love to capture them. I also enjoy landscape photography, light painting, professional portrait and I am trying to get better in all of those. But stories are the thing to go for me. I am always trying to capture moments that speak. I love my fixed 35mm focal length, which allows me to get inside of peoples lives for a short period of time. During that brief moment, I am trying to see how they see the world and I want to capture it. I don’t always take the shot. But when I do, those pictures are my favorite. Even though they are not always the best ones on a technical level.
- What are the main difficulties of being a photographer in China? In terms of logistics, government censorship or other difficulties?
I haven’t encountered any. I am not doing business in China as a photographer. I am based in China, but my business is in Europe. As for traveling around China, it’s very easy to travel with a lot of gear. I have never experienced any problems.
And for the censorship, it is more difficult to get on Internet in China than in Europe. But it is not impossible, so far censorship is easy to overcome.
- Many travelers have a hard time with China as a travel destination. What are your favorite parts of China and what are your experiences been of traveling in China?
China can be complicated country to get hold of. Language and cultural barriers are huge. Luckily I have been studying Chinese for almost 15 years now. So I can get to those more distant places in China. I am able to talk to locals and solve problems very easily. That is a big advantage in China. I think it is more important in China than in any other country.
I love those remote places of China. I have explored south of China more deeply that north of the country. A specifically love Yunnan, Hunan, Sichuan, Guangxi, and Guangdong province. They are very diverse not only by their country but with minorities and all different people living there.
- You’re promoting a Photo tour in 2019, I’m wondering if you can tell us about the tour and what guests should expect to see, do and experience?
I have two tours which will be guided in English next year. All my other tours are guided only in Slovak language and they are promoted specifically for clientele from my country. One is a photography tour in some of the most picturesque places in China. During this tour, we will visit some remote off-the-beaten-path places, and some big-name spots as well. It is a good tour for people coming to China for the first time. And of course for photographers.
The second tour is much more challenging. It is in Tibetan areas of Sichuan province. I have designed this tour with my good friend Frank Hitman from Zouba tours. There will be horse festival, amazing landscapes, hiking, outdoor activities and we will experience a nomadic culture of Tibetan people. It is a much longer tour but I can’t wait to visit these places next year. Because they are truly breathtaking.
- Lastly, what does the future hold, for you or for China?
For me hopefully more travels and more content. I have been doing travel vlog and travel movies in Slovak language for some time now. They are regularly on Czech national Tv and one has even won a prize on International movie festival. My plan is to begin redoing them in English. I have been planning to do it for some time, but I still haven’t managed. Hopefully, 2019 will be the year.
As for China, it will be more and more developed, modern country. Those remote places untouched by modern life are disappearing with enormous speed. The Chinese government wants to eliminate poverty in the whole country by 2020. That is a good thing, all people deserve a decent life and good living conditions. But many places with original culture will disappear as well.
For more information on the 2019 tour of Tibet and Yunnan: asiaarttours.com/tours/under-the-tibetan-stars/
Or email Matt@asiaarttours.com