A (Real) Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

一张 (实际的) 图片胜过千言万语

When exploring the world of China and learning Chinese, seeing is believing and this goes along with an idiom we like a lot: 百闻不如一见 (bǎi wén bù rú yí jiàn) meaning it’s better to see it once than hear about it a hundred times.

At HANYU.CO, we believe that learning Chinese isn’t just about learning phrases and remembering characters, it’s also about discovering cultures, people’s stories, and making connections with them. Carefully collecting and curating real photos to match the topic of each lesson is something we take very seriously at HANYU.CO because we believe they might help you to better visualize the stories and adventures woven into our lessons.

We have a lot of positive feedback about the photography we showcase with our lessons on HANYU.CO, and we are grateful to the amazing photographers who’ve made their beautiful images discoverable online under the Creative Commons license. This gives us the opportunity to share them with you so that your experience with the lessons on HANYU.CO could be even more meaningful and vivid.

As you know, every single lesson is designated with a special image that we have searched high and low for on the web. While this might seem like a simple task, the search for images requires that we ask ourselves some questions about best fit before they get selected, re-sized, and applied for a lesson.

1) Is the image relevant to the topic we’re teaching where you can envision the context of the language?

2) Is the image visually curious, compelling, eye-catching, or mesmerizing? Would you want to frame it and put it up in your home?

3) Is the image public domain or creative commons, meaning can it be used for re-posting everywhere by anyone, even for commercial purposes.

4) Is the image size big enough so that it looks amazing when altered for different frame sizes that we use across all our platforms (a little trivia fact about HANYU.CO is that we have to make 12 sizes for each of our images so that the viewing experience on the web and on all of our mobile devices, in portrait and landscape views are beautiful!)

We were inspired to share beautiful images representative of China from the very beginning. This is one way of inspiring those of you who might not be able to visit China to see the life, energy and color of an amazing culture and language. When our founder first started learning Chinese he didn’t find inspiration in generic images that represented the concepts, so when he first built the foundation for HANYU.CO, one of the first things he did was start curating a collection of large, high-quality real-world photos that would motivate not only the development of the courses and lessons, but his own study.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the images that you see on HANYU.CO and that it adds a splash of color and real-world inspiration between every line of dialogue that you practice. Here, we wanted to share a few of our favorite, most striking images we’ve used on HANYU.CO. We commend the talented photographers who were able to capture the essence of the location, mood, interaction, or objects in these photos. In the caption below each image, we share some information about the photographer and encourage you to also take a look at their online photo albums.

We hope these images have motivated, mesmerized, and helped make your experience learning Chinese even more real.

Guangzhou Chicken Man by Kevin Poh This man in chicken costume actually sell traditional sweets and candy. Kevin is based in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia and here is a link for his photo albums on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinpoh/albums
Conola fields in the Tibetian region of China by Matt Ming. Matt is based in Beijing. You can check out his photo stream on Flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/matianming/
Inside the 深圳 (Shēn zhèn, Shenzhen) concert halls taken by William Lu who currently lives in Shenzhen. Check out his Flickr album for great China pics here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/luzhaohui/
Bells are from 天坛 (Tiān tán, Temple of Earth) in Beijing taken by Nikolaj Potanin. Nikolaj lives in Russia and you should definitely check out his beautiful Beijing picture albums here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ahenobarbus/albums/72157634856902591
Traditional Chinese 帆船 (fān chuán, junk or sailboat) in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor is seen from the deck of an American aircraft carrier photographed by Hong Kong photographer See-ming Lee. See-ming is based in HK. You can browse his many albums from Taiwan, HK, and China here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/albums. Also follow him on Twitter @seeminglee
On top of the Lupu bridge over the Huangpu River looking towards 浦西 (Pǔxī), the western side of Shanghai taken by Jakob Montrasio who is from Germany (Tweet to him @yakobusan). Check out his Flickr album for lots of cool high dynamic range (HDR) images like this one: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yakobusan/albums He also has a neat website of his work here: http://jakob.montrasio.net/

Inspired by China Photography?

We’d love to see some of your work and would equally love to feature it on one of our upcoming lessons on our site www.hanyu.co. If you have a photo you’d like to share, want to ask a question about this post, or make a comment about HANYU.CO, Chinese and/or China, send a shout to our Product Manager, Tanny - tanny@hanyu.co

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