Vincent Laforet’s Blog

Trying to Break out of the Olympic “Bubble”
August 19, 2008, 1:31 pm
Filed under: Olympics
Photo by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photo by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK


I think that I was followed by the secret police in an unmarked car today outside of Beijing… but you’ll have to read through to the end to get to that part of the story. Instead I’ve decided to take you through my day in chronological order.


12 Comments so far
Leave a comment

you made ping pong sexy!

Comment by Carson Blume

Amazing pics.

Comment by Fubiz

Very interesting story. It is great to see shots outside Olympic venues. I hope your adventure outside city will have no effect on how the officials treat you through the rest of the Olympic events.

Comment by very

i’ve watched a very nice bbc documentary yesterday made some time before the olympics. the well known bbc repoter (can’t remember the name) travelled through various regions of china with a simple olympics reporter pass. he made it very clear that he was after the problematic stuff, and although the pressure to dissuade him was very obvious he was never “seriously” threatened.

he managed to interview some farmers strongly affected by the olympics and and the wife of a political prisoner who’d allegedly been severely tortured…

he was chased a few times, one of them he told his driver to make a 180 degrees inversion – that’s the classic way to know if you’re really being followed – and after passing them the two suspicious cars also turned back. he then stopped, got out of the car, approached them and knocked on their windows until they drove off.

comparing your situation with this story i really don’t see any reason for you to worry about getting out of the bubble.

Comment by tnd

The photo with the table tennis players in motion is great. What was the shutter speed that allowed for the moition blur yet still capture the colors of the players uniforms/

There are great recent images around Beijing outside of the Olympics:
Beijing photos

Comment by Dick Jagger

I really enjoy the colder tones of the badminton image.

I also enjoyed your tale of adventure. It’s sad to see how seemingly ashamed China acts about its country now that they are in the public eye. I suppose there will be other times to document the “real China,” but it is sad when you can’t blend in and get the shots you want.

Comment by Michael George

Dick – .3 seconds on the exposure at f/11 – 50 asa – cheers – v

Comment by Vincent Laforet

Great story, I love the top table tennis shot!

Comment by Adam Leahy

I’m really enjoying reading your blog. Thank-you for posting. Looking forward to more.

Comment by Robert Matichak

Methinks the spirit of a National Geographic photographer lies within you… 🙂


Comment by Matthew Saville

Consider that the “secret police” were probably regular police in an unmarked car. By no means rare.

@tnd — The trouble, though, about police watching is not a risk to the journalist. It’s as Vincent said: It makes it almost impossible to do (photo)journalism. People know if there are police around, and may be less likely to be open if they know they’re being watched.

Comment by Graham

great shoot vincent. i like it very much

Comment by Nedelchev

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