One of the first things I noticed in Zibo was that there were eleven-digit numbers spraypainted across the city. I learned later that they were the cell phone numbers of would-be entrepreneurs selling everything imaginable--furniture, fake documents, and even black market organ transplants. The more I looked, the more it seemed that numbers were everywhere, from the nametags of the workers in the fast food noodle joints to the identical concrete high-rises, stained by soot before they were even finished.
Of course, this series is just as much about the things around the numbers as the numbers themselves. Things like the endless rows of rusty bicycles. The complete lack of grass. The Spartan university classrooms, so cold you could see your breath in the winter. The dank bowling alley, with its squealing machinery. The restaurants, markets, and villages. The constant flux of demolition and construction.
The 100 images in "Zibo" gave me a chance to capture these small, easily forgotten details of the place I called home for two years.