Tranquility arguably ranks among Beijingers' most sought-after luxuries as the metropolis always buzzes with energy.
But the coronavirus outbreak starting in late January has temporarily put a halt on life in Beijing. Then tranquility descends upon the Chinese capital as millions hide in a cocoon of comfort, boredom, as well as anxiety in their homes.
Few can really have the chance to see a rare side of the big city.
Pierre Alivon, a photographer from Paris, is among the few who are free from the runaway cabin fever and he set out to capture Beijing's street scenes in a fresh light.
Despite the risks, the photographer sticks to a daily routine – carrying his Leica to shoot in the streets, hoping to "make a daily report of life in Beijing", a project he's been doing since September 2015, one month after he moved to China.
"These days with this silence, very few people are circulating in the streets, as if the Beijing dragon fell asleep," Alivon said.
In one of Alivon's photos, Sanlitun, one of the capital's most dazzling fashion and lifestyle quarters, has also temporally shed its hustle and bustle — shoppers are few and far between, with the towering glass and steel department stores standing against the azure sky.
Aside from the city's amplified magnitude and also bleak street scenes in the time of the coronavirus outbreak, Alivon also captured those souls that are working to keep the city on track.
Through his lens, delivery boys braved the snow riding their electric scooters around the city to make sure hungry stomachs are filled in time; sanitation workers toiled away on the roads to clear away the snow and keep the streets tidy; medical workers walked in a grave and hasty manner to hospitals.
"I'm impressed with all the Chinese who are taking risks for the community – those who continue to work for public transportation, food supply and especially those who work in the hospital environment – so that people can live properly in their cities," the photographer said.
Regarding street photography as the crossroads between reportage photography and humanist photography, the Parisian said his photographic work is a testimony to his life in Beijing. Meanwhile, his work, though personal, "depicts a social reality, testifies to the times," the photographer declared.
On his recent visit home in Paris, the French noted there is a climate of fear now in Europe toward the population of Chinese people who live there.
"I feel very sad about that. In this difficult time, I am a Chinese citizen and I am proud to love China," the French man said.
Yang Xiaoyu contributed to the story.
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