Qibao is an ancient “water town” on the outskirts of Shanghai, China, and it’s where Wikimedia Commons photographer Jakub Hałun (User: Jakubhal) discovered the subject matter for his photo “Birds on Sticks,” a display in one of many food stalls along a crowded market street.
“I was sent to Shanghai for a few months because of my work, and I treated this as an opportunity to see as much of China as I could,” said Hałun. “I traveled every weekend, sometimes to very remote places, but on this particular day, I didn’t want to travel far.”
The Qibao suburb of Shanghai is located in the Minhang District and was built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1126). Qibao translates to “seven treasures,” referring to the lore of the town once housing historical treasures, of which a Gold Lotus Scripture and a Big Bell remain.
Qibao has not lost its ancient fascination with crickets and cricket fighting, with two of the fiercest cricket species found in the wild nearby. The town is home to a special cricket museum, with live cricket fighting shows, and a festival of cricket culture occurs annually, in May and October.
Most of Hałun’s pictures on Commons feature historic monuments and architecture, but he especially likes to take pictures of special events and people on the street.
“I started over seven years ago,” he said. “At the beginning, it was a complement to my work on the Polish Wikipedia. We had a project in which we described my home region, its geography, town and monuments. Most of my images uploaded to Commons at the time were a contribution to this project.”
Hałun is a software engineer in Krakow working mostly with telecommunication systems. He said photography is his favorite hobby, with roots sewn as a teenager, when he used a Zenit analog Soviet camera belonging to his parents. He acquired his first digital camera just eight years ago.
“I like to think that my work is useful to others. I’m happy seeing my pictures used in the articles or outside Wikimedia projects, on various websites,” he says.
Of “Birds on sticks,” he said he hopes “maybe it will just encourage someone to travel, see some of the world.”
(See more of Hałun’s photos on his Wikimedia Commons user page.)
Wikimedia Foundation Communications Volunteer