Thirty years ago, Hangzhou, like the other cities in China, was small in size. People could travel around the whole city by riding bicycle in only half a day. We would never think that the railroads in city suburb may enter into our lives. With the expansion of our city, railway made its way into the urban area and became a “pass” of city life. Each day, as we go outside and face a train standing in the way, our temper turns from anxiety to irritability, and eventually, we can do nothing but to obey. These railroad crossings will be modified, but the more outlaying railways will be absorbed into the city’s new map with urban expansion.
I started to take picture of these railroads crossing in 1988, because my friend’s wife became one its victims. The railroad crossing was originally installed for the purpose of safety, but it turned out to be a threat to people’s life. Each day, the train passes a railroad crossing every seven minutes on a highroad with thousands of commuters. How can people and train fight for a crossing not be a dangerous thing? Many city dwellers say, "I would rather wait for 10 red lights, but to pass through a cross.” Sometimes, the threats we see during the day will turn into our nightmares.
Nowadays, the pace of life is much faster than 30 years ago. From the steam engine to the internal combustion engine, from electric locomotives to high-speech railway, we can often feel the surging of life. Now, I am also one of those anxious crowds who put the bike over the head or in anxiously waiting. I take picture of the urban railroad crossings, not only to record the changes in the city, but also to record people’s mood and feeling in transition of our society.