After graduating from university, my wife and I had the opportunity to move to China for two years. We taught English at Shandong University of Technology in Zibo, a city of about four million people--a small town by Chinese standards.
I was relatively new to photography at the time, and didn't set out with a definite them in mind. I had been thinking a lot about how fleeting memory can be, and how little we remember of a place only a short time after leaving it. In that sense, my initial goal was to document all of the new things I was taking in. I found myself increasingly turning to photography as a means of trying to connect to a culture so fundamentally different than my own.
Looking back, I realize that this series captures many of the most defining moments of my two years in China, both good and bad. The chaos and amazing hospitality of Spring Festival, an endless trip in the bottom of a passenger boat down the Yangzi River, the demolition of a local village against its residents' wishes, and being stuck on Hainan Island for a month are just a few examples of stories I remember because of the photos I took.