Samantha Culp

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival / 中秋节快乐!


Flying Bird from Samantha Culp on Vimeo.

Great Strides in Sino-Islamic Cultural Exchange


Lunar Neue Jahr in Berlin


The start of the Year of the Tiger was icy but beautiful in Berlin… Full set here.

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Free Lighters

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At Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport, there are now baskets of free lighters to greet arrivals passengers who undoubtedly had their lighters confiscated before their flight. I had a hard time choosing, but finally settled on a hot pink clear one inscribed with the legend, “punchtobacco”.


(Daido Moriyama, “How to Create a Beautiful Picture 6: Tights in Shimotakaido“, 1987)

Before I headed to Tokyo, I did a Google search for “Shimotakaido,” the neighborhood where my friend Patrick Tsai lives and where he was graciously allowing me to crash. One of the first results was this awesome 1987 photo-series by renowned Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama – fitting, as Patrick is also a photographer and a big Moriyama fan.


Escape from Beijing

[Tokyo, Japan]


Since Beijing was preoccupied with military parade mania over the October holiday, it seemed like a good time to escape to Tokyo.

Full set here.
Bonus: learn Chinese from an animated panda on Japanese television.

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midnight at 10am


Where was I during the longest and most complete solar eclipse of my lifetime? On the Bund, in a rainstorm. If we didn’t see the sun, at least we saw the darkness.




Taken from the window of a passing taxi a few weeks ago. Near impossible to believe, but somehow I had never passed it since moving to Beijing last summer (there was the requisite tourist visit years ago, of course). I kept expecting it to happen on some gloriously mundane day, and by the time it did, I had almost forgotten. But suddenly one evening, I looked up and was struck by a sight so familiar, so unreal, that I knew what it was before I knew.

It still seems stuck inside my mother’s little pink TV on the kitchen counter that summer. Like all things from the past, tiny and infinite at once.

The Races

(Hong Kong)

Wandered around ART HK 09 (lamely attempting to play paparazzi for Scene & Herd), saw friends, drank on rooftops, went to the track… the usual.


Full set here.

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Relational Picnic

Spring picnic in Chaoyang Park with friends (including visiting HK artist Lee Kit, who graciously supplied one of his beautiful cloths for us to feast upon).

Just in case you weren’t aware, it is not possible to enter Chaoyang Park at West Gate 1 and walk north to West Gate 3 within the park. Well, it is possible, but only if you are willing to scale chain-link fences and sneak through restricted horse stables and climb over the padlocked metal gates at either end of a decommissioned bridge…


Life is a Struggle


Words of wisdom from the Carrefour check-out girl. With my abysmal Chinese, I was unable to ascertain whether she had written the slogan on her register herself, or it was someone else’s graffiti… pretty great regardless.

Back to Bass-ics


Words of Caution for All Us Dilettantes


“No Dabbling.”

[Sign on decorative waterfall/pond, PVG Airport, Shanghai]

Bronchial Pneumonia Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be


“See all this cotton-woolly stuff? That’s the pneumonia,” said the doctor. When I asked her if I could take a picture of my x-ray, she seemed nonplussed and just said, “Sure… do you have a blog or something?”

Happy Niu Year (牛年)


Lunar New Year in Beijing.

At first it sounded (especially to the Californians) like random drive-by shootings…


Happy New Year 2008


Happy New Year 2007


Happy New Year 2006