12th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Honorable Mention, Views Beyond the Peninsula


"China Past"
By Susan Neville

About Susan Neville

Besides knowing how to operate a camera, a photographer should know the art of discretion. At least that's what Susan Neville demonstrates in her up-close snapshot of an elderly Chinese woman's rough, but strong hands.

Click on photo for larger image.

While visiting her son this past spring in China's Yunan Province, Neville discovered a pleasant hub at the center of a village called Lijiang. A village with the largest population of minorities, many senior citizens congregate over tea, song and musical instruments. Being very careful not to disrupt their gathering, Neville considered how to portray the woman whose colorful blue and white outfit first caught her eye. Most importantly, she wanted a photo that would provoke people's feelings.
"I usually look for some gesture that would communicate an emotion that you can kind of relate to," Neville said. "All over the world, it might be a different language, but people usually understand gestures."

Neville first got into photography 22 years ago, when the first of her four kids was born. While two of her children have entered the Weekly's photo competition, this marks Neville's second win.

A graduate of Stanford's Business School, she divides her time between her family and acting as a facilitator in an interpersonal dynamics course at her alma mater. Meanwhile, Neville still maintains a Web site that she and a friend created in 2000. Postcards2.com allows travelers to e-mail postcards from all over the world and the images on there include some of Neville's own pictures.

A recent digital camera convert, Neville finds the speed and light weight ideal. Aside from not having to tow film rolls around, she can use the view-finder to get different angles and perspectives.

"I had my camera down on my hip when I was taking this picture," she said. "I can interact with people and have my camera just be out of the way and still get some good pictures. I don't have to have it in front of my face the whole time."

-- Terry Tang

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