Published on: 12th May 2016
Dafen is a suburb of Shenzhen in the Guangdong province of China. It was established in the early here.)1990s by a group of about twenty artists under the leadership of the painter and businessman Huang Jiang. (Read more about this remarkable man
Dafen is less than one square kilometer in size yet it consists of approximately 1200 art studios. According to the Art Industry Association of Dafen, between 2006 and early 2008, these studios exported art worth 1.2 billion yuan a year.
There is also an official website where international traders can order paintings and art related products.
The global economic crisis of 2007/2008 also influenced this market and they started to diversify. Today many of these artists produce their own original works. Another interesting fact is that most of these original works are nowadays sold within China to property developers and Chinese corporations (contrary to popular speculations, the Chinese economy seems to still be booming).
On my upcoming trip in June 2016 to China, we will spend an afternoon in Dafen. Read here about what our plans for this trip are.
From a photography point of view this is a very rewarding place to visit. Firstly, the people are very friendly and not at all shy to be photograph (this is also true for most of China!) and because they areall artists, you feel more at ease to walk around and take photos. This is a great place for a newbie street photographer to ease into this genre of photography. Just be prepared to be photographed by them as well!
One of the problems is that you will find the place very dark, you will need to use a very wide aperture to let in enough light (I do not see a problem with that) or use a high ISO. The Fujinon prime lenses are excellent for this job. As mentioned in my first article in the series, I've used the Fujinon XF35 F1.4 lens for almost 50% of all the photos I took in Shenzhen, and this is most likely one of the reasons it was used so much.
If you did not read my previous articles about my lens usage, make sure to read them.
Footnote: I did not take many photos with the 56mm lens, as I was in Street Photography mode, and not so much into Street Portraiture. The photos shown here was also shown in my article dedicated to the 56mm lens.
(If you have read up to here and did not click on a photo yet, do so to see them in larger format and also to browse through the rest of this gallery)