I’m no photographer, but I always have my 70D with me. I like to capture life as I see it.

I lived in Xi’an, China for almost 7 years, amassing thousands of photos. 2020 came as a shock to the world, but unlike the rest of the world which had time to process the information before things started “happening”, people in China, such as myself at the time, had no warning before their world was turned upside down.

The day of the Spring festival (Chinese new year) was normal. That evening, though, bar owners and restaurant owners were ordered to close immediately. Without warning. The public hadn’t been told yet. The very next morning, communities were told to bar all entrances save for one, and to strictly control entry and exit. That afternoon it was announced that only ONE member of each household was allowed out every SECOND day, ONLY for necessities. Large parts of the city were banned completely. Never had I seen an organization on such a large scale, so fast.



#1 One Of Many Streets Usually Packed With Traffic

I know many will say negative things about China and the Chinese, but I can say that this cooperation and people actually listening to regulations is because this was for the greater good. Yes, many complained, but complied willingly, for the country. This was unique for me, as a South African; my countrymen, like most, just think about themselves and their family.

#2 One Of The Small Gates Through The City Wall

#3 Haz-Man

You can google photos of Xi’an and see it during normal times, absolutely jam-packed streets and landmarks. The photos are the only time I have seen it so absolutely empty. What’s worse is that before this, I had only seen masses of hazmat-wearing people in movies. It was a scary time, and facts on the virus were only slowly just emerging.

#4 A Cleaner With Nothing To Do After He Cleaned The Day Before

#5 Dayanta, When We Were Finally Allowed Near It Again. A Week After Lockdown Ended

If you took the time to read this, you may ask how I got these photos after I just mentioned most of the city was off-limits and people could only go out at certain times, every so often. I managed to get out every day as I was living alone, and on the days I wasn’t allowed out, I volunteered to help at the gate.

#6 Peeky Husky

#7 Hard-Working Escalator Gets A Holiday

#8 The Drum Tower. Never So Quiet

#9 Usually Thousands Of People Are Here On A Quiet Day

#10 Possibly The Busiest Intersection In The City, Now Just Delivery Guys And Bored Police

#11 Deliveries Had To Be Passed Over Fences And Gates. At The Time It Was A Crime To Even Step Foot Outside When It Wasn’t Your Day Allowed Out

#12 Uhm, I Don’t Think That’s How You Wear It, Officer

#13 Spoilt For Choice. On A Normal Day You Have To Squeeze In And Hope That All Your Extremities Are Clear Of The Closing Doors

#14 Muslim Street/Quarter. Google This One. It’s Never Like This

#15 On My Little Ebike, Looking Towards The Bell Tower

#16 Never Imagined The Subway Being Quiet Enough To Hear My Own Steps

#17 Lone Duck

#18 The Famous Bell Tower Of Xi’an

#19 Haz-Man 2

#20 Lockdown Started Easing, Can’t Slack On Dance Practice

#21 People Weren’t Allowed Into Any Restaurants, So They Had To Queue Outside The Few That Were Allowed To Open

#22 Empty

#23 Dayanta (Big Wild Goose Pagoda) Where Usually Hundreds Of People Are Milling About

#24 Out For A Smoke

#25 Walls Put Up To Block Entry/Exit To Communities/Complexes

#26 Some Damas Out For A Stroll

#27 The Sleep-Anywhere Champ

#28 A Week After Lockdown Ended

#29 Policeman Checking If Drivers Have Permits To Be Out

#30 Out Cycling On A Shared Bike

Photography – Bored Panda