Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part VII)

After the Mongolian Buddhist temple, we were taken to a Mongolian school for young children. The principle met us and showed us around, and everyone was wearing traditional robes much like the ones we were given in our ceremony.


This was a reading class, and the kids all read together, out loud. They were very excited to have us there and seemed to be reading extra loud to impress us. I loved it.BryCox_MongolianSchool_02

There were classes teaching Mongolian dance, Mongolian guitar, and many others. This class was for learning Mongolian writing. I loved the robes, the hats, and the bright colors. This young man was in full concentration and didn’t look up at me at all.
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They had me try my hand at Mongolian writing. It was pretty hard, but I copied the squiggles on the chalk board, not knowing if what I was writing was amazing or completely illegible. So then my government friend wrote my name on the chalk board in Chinese for me to try, knowing it would be much easier. So here you can see I have a column of Mongolian and a couple columns of Chinese.



This little girl was stunningly adorable. She caught my eye as she was coming up the stairs and I had to stop her. I pointed to my camera and she did a curtsy. I can’t explain why I immediately just loved her so much, but I really like the photo and feel I captured her inner beauty.BryCox_MongolianSchool_05

This is the teacher for the Mongolian guitar class. I liked his outfit and entire manner. I stopped him right in the hallway as he was leaving his class.BryCox_MongolianSchool_06

Outside in the cold winter wind, I saw this little boy in the cool red jacket. I liked his style and got a photo of him and his two friends.BryCox_MongolianSchool_07

There were boys outside practicing archery, and I had to get a picture of them.BryCox_MongolianSchool_08

This young man was gathering up the bows from class and taking them back inside the school. I liked his mixed clothing, and the fact that he was standing by the doorways. Often doorways in town were covered with these blankets to keep the heat in, while allowing people to come and go.BryCox_MongolianSchool_09

This little girl caught my eye and I thought she was adorable. I singled her out for her own portrait.BryCox_MongolianSchool_10

We also visited a market street in town, which was a walking street of shops, and I was able to finally buy a winter cap for my ears. We were leaving the next morning and so I only wore it for a few hours, but it was worth it. Along this market street, all of the shops were almost identical in size. I saw these two little baby kids playing, both in yellow with their mothers close by.BryCox_MongolianSchool_13BryCox_MongolianSchool_12And these ladies, all in pink and black working at their shop.

Here, I started to photograph this dog in the image below, because it was framed nicely by the door behind it. As I did, this little child came up to the window and pressed her mouth and nose against the glass. I quickly shifted my focus and got the shot. I’m guessing that it’s a little girl, and you can see her mother working in the store behind her.BryCox_MongolianSchool_14Then as if on cue, her little friend came up to the other window too, both framed by windows, and the dog turned and looked. It was quite a thrilling moment that me and my photographer friend from Malta that I was walking with, talked about for a while afterwards.
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That evening we had our last big dinner. We were leaving early the next morning and I had heard about people doing “sword gymnastics” in town each morning. I told my government friend that I was going to get up early to find some people doing sword gymnastics that I could photograph. It meant leaving the hotel at 5:30 am, and I asked about where some places might be nearby. He insisted coming early and taking me which I thought was extra kind. I told him I didn’t want to impose and that I would be fine, but he insisted and drove me to a couple places.


The sun had not yet come up and I was pushing the limits of my camera’s ISO settings to get a decent exposure, plus the temperatures were incredibly cold, even with my hat and gloves purchased from street vendors the day before. But it was worth it and I was able to get some great images. BryCox_MongolianSchool_18 BryCox_MongolianSchool_19

There are so many images that I could post, but these last few postings cover some of my favorites. As you can see, I had a wonderful adventure and met some very great people. I’m very grateful for these opportunities I had and for the people that made it happen for me. And I hope all of you that have been following these posts have enjoyed these images too.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part VI)

Having a few hours to photograph the Mongolian temple alone was really nice and serene. Eventually as the sun rose, the sky turned blue and the place warmed slightly. The air become less frigid and more comfortable, and monks began to appear and prepare nearby, opening the Buddhist temple doors and getting in their robes.







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Once the main monks were ready, they rang the gong outside the front doors, signaling more monks to come and chant, and letting the local people know that the temple was open.


As more monks arrived, each took their spot inside, kneeling and beginning their group chant. These two monks watched over as the younger monks read and chanted together.




They normally don’t allow photography and because there were making a special exception, I moved quietly and slowly, not wanting to be a distraction. I picked my angles and shots carefully, shooting slowly and waiting for the right moments. I tip-toed to a few spots to create a variety of angles, mostly crouching behind pillars and objects for concealment and for a low camera angle that matched the height of the kneeling monks. I would sit crouched, absorbing everything in, and just wait for the right moment to shoot. Then I’d absorb some more, look around for another angle, then when I was ready, slowly move to the next spot.

The lighting was extra difficult, being very dark inside with the only light source being a very bright sun-lit door. In relation to the dark room, the door was incredibly bright, and would have created a big washed out area, so I had to pick my angels carefully to not show the door, but also use the light on an angle on the monks’ faces.
BryCox_Mongolia2015_336Soon local guests started to arrive, dropping money and saying prayers. I felt I had the images I had hoped for, so I stepped outside the temple. The room was very small inside with very little room to move, and having guests arrive, I didn’t want to distract or be in anyone’s way.

Waiting outside, I photographed a few local people that visited the temple, like this man. I loved his clothing and layers, and his expression didn’t change a bit as I raised my camera to quickly photograph him.


I found these two men very interesting, they way the stood, studying me, partly in shade, the colors of their coats, their faces – it was too interesting not to shoot.


Out in the courtyard, this woman lit an incense rod and placed it in the alter.


As the locals each finished and came out of the temple, they gathered by the doorway, watching me, some even photographing me with their phones. I liked the personality and balance in the way they all stood.



It was time to leave and I had a walk ahead of me, back through the outer gates, down the steps, and through the terrain and many trails. This is the door to the outer gates at the top of the steps. It was too dark to photograph first thing in the morning, but as I was leaving the sunlight came in at the right angle, casting the right shadows to give this pop and dimension.



Along my walk out, I kept seeing things I had to photograph, like this bench for meditation and tree covered in prayer ribbons.



I took a different trail on the way out than I took on the way in, and it was nice getting a different view. For instance in my last post you’ll remember that I first arrived, walking underneath this large stone structure in the distance. At this point in the day, the sun was up, the clouds were out, and the sky was blue. It was a great way to end my trip to this beautiful place.


Later I photographed a market street full of people and a Mongolian school for young children, all in traditional dress. I’ll share some of those images in my next post.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part V) Buddhist Temple at Sunrise

Early the next morning, we were taken to a Mongolian Buddhist temple. We arrived before sunrise, even before the monks themselves were up. The entire place was empty, quiet, and incredibly cold, especially to me since I was only wearing a t-shirt and light sport coat. The only sound in this serene place were the numerous prayer ribbons flapping in the wind. BryCox_Mongolia2015_301BryCox_Mongolia2015_302


There were trails that led off in all directions through the trees. Some led to this large stone structure held up by four pillars. All of the pillars were covered with prayer ribbons coming in from all directions, all flapping in the wind.



Continuing on through some trails, I found this monk getting up and coming out of his yurt. He saw my camera and waved me off as if to say, “no pictures.” But the government official that was walking with me said some stern words to the monk, and then turned to me and said, “You may now photograph him.” The monk smiled and I was able to get this great portrait.

The government official had become a friend at this point. We had many interesting conversations while I was there, and he also knew that I loved to photograph people and faces, not just locations. I don’t know what he said to the monk, but I was very grateful to get the man’s portrait.


The trails wound their way through the terrain and eventually led to these stairs, going up to the Buddhist temple. I loved that the place was empty, even void of local temple visitors because of the early hour. Having the place to myself to photograph was superb.


Once getting up to the temple and seeing it was closed, I hiked on, looking for more vantage points and ways that I could photograph it from a distance. There were trails in various directions, that led up and down mountains and through small canyons. And some trails were laced with these prayer ribbons that seemed to go as far as you could see.


A short hike up some steep rocks let to a great view of the temple and the sun rising behind in the mountains.

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I continued hiking higher and realized that I had very few pictures of myself on this trip. Most of the time after visiting a place, I come home to realize that I have lots of photographs of the things I’ve seen, and no images of me there. I took a moment to shoot a self-portrait using an outstretched arm and my Lumix point-and-shoot. After looking at the image on the back of the camera, I realized I had forgot to remove the shemagh I was wearing to keep my head and ears warm from the cold, winter wind.


I had packed light and was unprepared for below freezing temperatures. I was only wearing my t-shirt and light sport coat because it was all I brought, knowing that on the past trips to Beijing, I was able to pick up good knock-off NorthFace jackets for $15 when needed. But on this trip I was nowhere near the silk markets of Beijing while in China, and when I got to Mongolia, it was far colder.

I did however buy some knit gloves in Mongolia that had the words, “MAN” printed on them, and I almost always travel with a shemagh for its versatility. It’s handy as a scarf, but can be a tourniquet or sling in an emergency. On this trip I wore it often as a face mask to filter the common cigarette smoke or dusty air, I used it as a sunshade on long drives, and here at the temple I wore it as a head wrap to keep my ears and head warm in the wind.

But forgetting that I had it on the photo, I pulled it down around my neck and asked my new photographer friend from Malta to take a few shots of me. He and I got along great and we found ourselves often hunting for very similar images. I liked his eye, and he also shot the same Nikon D800 that I had with me. So with my Nikon, he shot these two images of me.



I was very grateful to get some photos of myself on this trip, and now that I’m home, I prefer the first image with the shemagh tied around my head. Though the scarf isn’t oriental, it does give the image a more exotic look.

Hiking up to the highest point on one mountain, there was a fence of prayer ribbons surrounding a very large rock on a cliff. I shot this panorama and it became one of my favorite images from the trip. I’ve already made up a small 30″ print of it for my home.


Also, my briefcase from Saddleback Leather has become one of my favorite travel items. I use it as an airline carry-on for my iPad, laptop, headphones, and books, and then at my destination I change the contents and straps and it becomes my backpack and camera bag. I had the thought that perhaps if I photographed my cool looking bag in this exotic location, maybe the company would want to buy some images or give me some trade.  So with that in mind, I shot these two images as if for an ad for Saddleback. I haven’t yet contacted them or shown them these images yet, but I really like how they turned out.



At this point, then the temple opened its doors and the monks began to come for their daily chant. I have a lot of images of them worshiping that I’ll share in my next entry. They are some of my favorite images of the trip.


So until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part IV)

After lunch in Mongolia, we were taken to see “a village” where the farmers lived. They had been given notice that we were coming and they were ready for us, dressed and ready to give us a parade down their main road.

As the women danced, there was a little motorcycle trike-type-vehicle with a flat bed that drove down the middle carrying a drummer. Next to the motorcycle walked a cymbal player and a horn player.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_49

Of the entire crowd, I was drawn to the most interesting face, the cymbal player of the parade. I photographed him a few times, and at the end, he removed his gloves and shook my hand with a big smile.


During the parade, these beautiful local ladies came out to see us and the parade.
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And this little boy came out of his house to show me his puppies by holding them out by their tiny paws. His mom, excited by him getting photographed went to get more puppies for him to show me. Interestingly, the puppies didn’t whine or squeal at all from being held this way. They seemed to like the attention from their little owner.

After seeing the village, we went out to the farm were workers were hustling to bag corn. I found myself shooting a lot of horizontal portraits that showed the local environment. Here you can see the brown empty corn cobs in piles, ready to be hauled off, and bits of corn kernels that didn’t make it into bags get swept up with a homemade broom.

Running and moving quickly as the sun was setting and these guys were working and didn’t want to be bothered, I would wave to people and smile. I love how big their smiles were back to me.

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This last woman was sweeping spilt corn kernels into piles, then separating the dirt by throwing shovelfuls into the air, allowing the dirt to blow to the side.

That night, me and the other foreign ambassadors were given custom Mongolian clothes that were made for each of us, and then honored at a dinner. One nice touch for me was when they played the theme song from “The Magnificent Seven” as I walked up on stage to receive my award. Being a cowboy at heart, I’ve always liked that movie but it also has Asian roots being a re-make of the 1950’s movie, Seven Samurai. I’m not sure anyone else was aware of the connection, but it made the moment more meaningful to me, especially dressed as I was.


As you can see, each day was an adventure and I was treated royally, for which I’m incredibly grateful. Coming up, I’ll share with you the images I created the next morning at a Buddhist temple at sunrise.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part III)

After Beijing, I was taken to Inner Mongolia as a photographic ambassador. There was a photo convention there too, and myself along with some of the other foreign photographers from the Beijing round table were the guests of honor. The drive was a long but beautiful 12 hours.


The next morning a local government man who became a friend of mine over the next few days took us on a tour of his city. Being foreign guests, he was in charge of our well being and he also worked as our pseudo-translator. One of our stops included a desert area where he said, “You can photograph ships over there.”

I walked, looking for what didn’t make sense – perhaps some giant, land-locked ships deserted in the desert. But instead I saw a sheep herder and his sheep a ways off. “Oh SHEEPS!” I said in my mind. And being raised in farm country of Utah, I was less interested with photographing the sheep but instead enthralled with the sheep herder. I love faces, especially when I travel and I ran up to this man, waved, and pointed to my camera to signal that I wanted to photograph him.

I wasn’t prepared with my pro gear this morning. I thought we’d be shaking hands or something, so I was actually in my suit and only had my small Lumix LX100 point-and-shoot camera around my shoulder. But I love that camera for it’s dials and manual controls and I was quickly able to get these portraits of this man, shot just as you see them, un-cropped.



I started to understand what it meant for this city in Mongolia to have us foreign photographers visit as “photographic ambassadors.” They were proud of their city and wanted to show us everything, from museums, to farms, to their cultural heritage of schools and Buddhist temples. They fed us great food each meal and wanted us to get great images of their part of the world which they hoped we’d go show the rest of the world. All of this was seen as good publicity for their city. Plus they mentioned multiple times what a great honor it was to have all of us from so many different countries, there to visit their city in Mongolia.

At this point we took a lunch break and returned to the hotel and I was able to change into my casual clothes and refit my leather shoulder bag with my larger, pro camera gear. I was also able to go on a short photo walk around the hotel in search of some gloves as it was below freezing there and all I had packed for clothes besides a suit was a couple t-shirts and a sport coat. I found some great gloves and also captured these abstract moments.

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After lunch we were taken to see a village where farmers were working. I shot so many images there. The local people heard we were coming and were dressed for a parade down their main road when we arrived.


It was quite an experience and I have a lot of those images to share coming up. But as you can see, each day was an adventure, and I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of this event.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part II)

Before leaving Beijing for Mongolia, I took a few hours between meetings to walk a few miles around my hotel. I quietly photographed people and the scenes around me. Here are some of my favorites, starting with some older men flying kites, something I hadn’t noticed in my previous trips to China.

©, Bry Cox

©, Bry Cox

And with Beijing being a city of 20 million people, there is a lot of variety in city life in just those few miles around my hotel. I hope you can feel a sense of what it’s like to visit this city from these photographs.

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©, Bry Cox

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©, Bry Cox

©, Bry Cox ©, Bry Cox

©, Bry Cox

©, Bry Cox

©, Bry Cox

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©, Bry Cox©, Bry Cox

The complexity of the newsstands are interesting to me. And in this first image, you may not notice right off the bat, but the salesman’s face is behind the glass in the upper left corner.©, Bry Cox©, Bry Cox

After this photo walk I had a big dinner to attend. Then early the next morning we traveled to Mongolia, a long 12 hour drive. It was much colder up there and I had to make due with what little I brought with me as you can see in this self portrait overlooking a Mongolian Buddhist temple at sunrise. Some of my favorite images of the trip were created in Mongolia, and I’ll share some of those in my next posts.


So until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part I)

I just got back from speaking in China at Photo Beijing, 2015 where I was treated like a king. It was such a great experience and I’ve been anxious to share more about this trip. My hosts also asked if I’d be a photographic ambassador and visit Inner Mongolia as well, and I took a lot of great images there of the most interesting faces. I’ll share more about that later. For part 1 of this trip I wanted to start with Photo Beijing 2015.


I wrote an article on street photographer Vivian Maier, which is getting compiled with other articles into a book being published later. Because of that article, I was asked to travel to China to speak on Vivian Maier. (I’ve also posted that article online for paying members of my photography training site for it’s insight into posing and reading people’s personalities.)

After speaking on the opening day, they had a big ceremony complete with red carpet where they had me walk while being photographed by a huge crowd of people. While walking amongst the camera clicks and flashes, they had television cameras too from CCTV, and I could even see myself projected on the huge screen in the distance as it cut from camera to camera. The whole thing was quite exhilarating.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_02 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_03

I was so excited that I made this iPhone video at the top of the carpet, still on a high from the walk.

They also had these models wearing dresses made of photographs, walk the carpet the opposite direction.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_04 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_05

At the top of the carpet, there were welcomes and speeches from government and photographic dignitaries.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_06 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_07

And I had to get a photo with me with my friend Bing, who invited me over to China, and who I got to know years ago when I first went to China to speak in 2009. Her father is one of the most well-known photographers in China and was in charge of the event.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_08

After the red carpet ceremony, we were taken to a television theater and asked to sit on the front row for another opening ceremony event, this time we were entertained by amazing local dancers and singers. Again, this was all filmed by cameras from CCTV, which continually cut to cameras on us. Sometimes, the cameras were awkwardly close to my face, so close I couldn’t see over them to see the dancers.
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All of these images I’m posting were shot with my small Lumix point-and-shoot camera, which I love for it’s manual controls, retro look, and very small size. It was the best camera to take on a trip like this, giving me both control as well as a very small size and weight.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_11

The next day, me and the other speakers were part of a roundtable discussion. I was the only one from the US, and other countries represented included Bangladesh, Malta, France, Germany, UK, Indonesia, and many others. We all wore headphones with receivers capable of receiving various channels of audio from the translators. It was incredibly interesting to see so many people with so many backgrounds and languages, all connected by photography.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_12

Somehow when my name was translated from English to Chinese and back into English, it came out as “Bry Cox’s Bio.” So a few times throughout the event I saw my name written this way.

I was also given some translators at this event, local college student volunteers that followed me around everywhere and made my life easier.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_14

When they asked if I’d come speak on photographer Vivian Maier, I had no idea how big of an event it would be. They had beautiful signs like this printed around town inviting the public to an exhibition of original prints shipped from New York.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_15

And here I am at the exhibition after I was done with my work and meetings, wearing more relaxed clothes. It was an incredible show. They had 50 original images on display, and they had made wall paper based on her negatives. It was all quite beautiful.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_16

Before this, I had only seen Vivian’s images in books. It was quite an experience to see them up close and in person, looking at real silver halide prints. The detail that close was incredible and the images were even more beautiful and inspiring.

Of course in Beijing I went on some photo walks where I did some of my own street portraits that I’ll share in my next post, images like this cute little boy driving his motorized trike through the busy streets of Beijing.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_18

And later in Mongolia I was presented with custom made traditional clothing in a ceremony which I’ll get to in a later post. And while there, my hosts took me to photograph a Mongolian primary school where kids wrote in calligraphy with giant brushes, to a Buddhist temple at sunrise, and to a local farming village where the residents put on a parade for us. During all of this I created some photos that I’m really excited about, and I’ll share them in the next posts.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_19

So until next time, America.

New 11th Gold Bar Degree Awarded to Bry Cox

I’m happy to announced that I was awarded my 11th ‘Gold Bar,’ which is the equivalent of earning my Master or Craftsman degrees eleven additional times. Less than 1% of professional photographers are Certified, and even fewer have all three credentials, Master, Craftsman, and Certification.

For those unfamiliar, photographers wear their credentials to conventions. It’s a quick way to recognize someone’s rank and level of service to the industry, and it also encourages others to earn their credentials. The yellow ribbon and Master medallion is for the Master degree, blue ribbon and medallion is for Craftsman. Someone who earns both gets a yellow/blue combo ribbon. And every time you earn one of of those again, you gain a gold bar.

Each degree represents many years of continual learning, competitions, and service. Additionally, some of the pins show I’ve been Certified for over 10 years, a PPA member for over 15 years, and the triangle pins are ‘National Photographer of the Year’ award for Bronze and Silver levels. I also have two pins for speaking at big events in China, PPA China many years ago, and Photo Plus about a year ago.

Master of Photography (M.Photog.)
Awarded for superior photographic skills—demonstrated through the PPA International Photographic Competition, advanced education and service to the industry.

Photographic Craftsman (Cr.Photog.)
Awarded for service as an orator, author or mentor. This degree shows a photographer has gone beyond the creation of images, dedicating time to move the industry forward and encourage education.

Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)
Assures a photographer’s knowledge, experience and continuance to develop new skills and techniques. It is a declaration of professional competence and quality assurance because certification is a credential consumers and businesses understand.

If you’re a photographer wanting to continually enhance your knowledge while working towards earning your credentials like Master Photographer, Photographic Craftsman, and/or getting Certified, you should absolutely join PPA. Part of being a degree holder is teaching, so also check out my live workshops as well as online training videos and resources at to help speed up your learning process.

And if you’re someone looking to hire a great photographer, give me a call at 801-728-3317. I’d love to hear from you.

And until next time, America.

Last Call for 8x10s, 11x14s, Ornaments, & Art Pieces for Christmas

Need some last minute gift ideas? There’s still time to get some 8x10s and 11x14s from your past shoot to give as gifts to grandparents and loved ones. A few other sizes can also be finished in time for Christmas, plus we can always do a gift certificate to let your loved one come in and get a new portrait created.

Call me soon at 801-728-3317 and I’ll get your order printed and shipped directly to you to save time.

And her are some other fun Christmas ideas, like these fun framed Christmas ornaments. Hang them on your tree for the holidays, then hang them on the wall afterwards. Images are coated, framed, ready to hang and shipped for $79.


Printed right on wood, this unique art piece will look great in your home.

Art Piece: Pointing Heavenward, Salt Lake Temple on Maplewood. Available in 3 sizes from 8×12 up to 16×24. Shipped to you, ready to hang.

Art Piece: Buddhist Temple Prayer Ribbons, printed as a coated metallic photo on a standout, 10×30″. Shipped to you, ready to hang.

Inner Mongolia art book now available. 9×7 horizontal design in full color.

Call me if you have any questions or if you’d like to get something last minute for Christmas. 801-728-3317

Until next time, America.