© Kirk Crippens.
“Traveling ten thousand miles is better than reading ten thousand scrolls” is a Chinese proverb that speaks to the heart of Kirk Crippens’ recent portrait project. He was hungry for knowledge of China that he couldn’t get just by reading, so he traveled from his home in the East Bay area to the small city Chinese city of Lishui. With just two words of Mandarin (Ni hao, which means “hello”), he managed to meet hundreds of people who allowed him to photograph them and who took him into their homes and into their confidence. Crippens is one of three photographers (along with Maggie Preston and David Wolf) participating in the 2012 RayKo artists-in-residence program. A joint exhibition is currently on view at the RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco through December 14th, 2012.