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In pictures: Photographing the old with the new in China

John Lehmann photographs the Great Wall, an enduring symbol of the Old World, with a decidedly modern, Chinese invention – the plastic Holga camera

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The Badaling section of The Great Wall of China has been heavily reconstructed and is visited by a growing number of tourists every year.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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The Jinshanling section of The Great Wall of China is in a mountainous area and has hardly been reconstructed and sees far fewer visitors.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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A portrait photographer atop the Badaling section of The Great Wall of China waits for clients.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Left: Visitors climbing the Badaling section are greeted at the top by an overflowing garbage can. Right: The final watchtower in the section open to tourists is covered by bricks to prevent damage to the next section of the wall.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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On the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, two images of the same watchtower. The first is framed by a window of the preceding watchtower. The Jinshanling section has few tourists despite having some of the best vistas.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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A Chinese tourist, left, stands on an outcrop of the Badaling section. Right: A small sampling of the hundreds of trinkets and souvenirs for sale, many of which are adorned with the face of Mao Zedong.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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An empty eating area at the midpoint of the popular Badaling section is littered with garbage, left; while, right, visitors make the final push to the top before closing time.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Students who visit the Badaling section, left, pose for a portrait photographer who works at the Great Wall; right, samples and prices of the photographer’s work.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Local tourists, left, raise their arms in triumph after finishing the long climb up the Badaling section of the Great Wall. Right: Other tourists have chosen to mark their presence by etching their names into the brick.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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The Chinese Holga film camera: a cheap, disposable black plastic box so poorly built that it’s known for its light leaks and vignetting. If you push the shutter too hard it snaps off.

Ben Nelms/The Globe and Mail

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Photographer John Lehmann and his Holga camera, which he purchased in Beijing. The camera presented a professional challenge for Lehmann because he’s no longer used to film, having used digital cameras for the last 15 years.

Ben Nelms/The Globe and Mail

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