Xi Fu's story is one that tells of how strong determination and hard work overcame the difficulties of surviving in a society scant in infrastructure and support for the disabled and where they often face discrimination. Surrounded by cloth, paper, brushes and ink, the 34-year-old whose name means 'Seeking Happiness' is a common sight in the underground passes of the bustling shopping district of Xidan or tourist walkways of Houhai in Beijing. With spry dexterity, he uses his feet to mix the paint, lay out his brushes and spread the rice paper he is going to write on. Clasping the brush between his toes, Xi Fu proceeds to mesmerize a rapidly gathering crowd for the next hour with a skillful display of calligraphic art using only his feet. The Chinese characters he writes are often simple but inspirational proverbs like 'zhi zhu chang le' (knowing contentment is happiness) or 'fen jin' (to advance bravely), bringing on smiles of appreciation among his audience as he finishes each work. Since there are no platforms for disabled artists like him to showcase his art, Xi Fu took to the streets, roaming pedestrian underpasses and high traffic tourists sites performing as a street busker in various parts of Beijing. On good days, he could make about 100 RMB (12.44 euros) a day. It is not easy though as he is often hassled by officers from the urban affairs office, otherwise known as Chengguan, whose job include patrolling and removing unlicensed peddlers and beggars from the streets. His condition also limits him to work for a maximum of three hours a day; otherwise it becomes too painful for his body to withstand. His face lights up with his usual cheerful grin however when asked about his dream. 'Being a street busker has allowed me to make many friends and made me very happy. I want to have my own exhibition next and be able to keep doing what I do". (images by How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency)
Chinese disabled artist Xi Fu walks into an underground pass in the shopping district of Xidan in Beijing, China, on June 15. There were no open platforms for disabled artists like Xi Fu to showcase his art in China. He took to the streets, roaming pedestrian underpasses and high traffic tourists sites performing as a street busker in various parts of Beijing. On good days, he could make about 12.44 euros a day. Xi Fu's story is one that tells of how strong determination and hard work overcame the difficulties of surviving in a society scant with infrastructure and support for the disabled and where they often face discrimination. (How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency)
The historic 100th edition of the Tour de France came to a conclusion yesterday on the tree-lined Champs-Elysees in Paris with Christopher Froome of Great Britain retaining the overall lead to win his first yellow jersey. The second half of the race, heavy on climbing, with five mountain stages, took the riders to the top of Mont Ventoux and on two ascents of the legendary Alpe d'Huez. The final stage ended as the first, with German sprinter Marcel Kittel in front.
Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, toasts with Sky Procycling team manager David Brailsford of Britain, rear left, during the 21st and last stage of the 100th edition of the Tour de France cycling race over 133.5 kilometers (83.4 miles) with start in Versailles and finish in Paris, France, on July 21. (Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press)
A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit the city of Dingxi in China's Gansu province on Monday, killing at least 94 people and injuring as many as 1,000. Efforts have been under way to help and search for the victims in the area, home to about 2.7 million people. Most of the deaths and damage occurred in the southern, rural region making it difficult for rescue efforts.- Leanne Burden Seidel
Family members consoled a woman who lost her daughter in a 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Minxian county, Dingxi, Gansu province July 22.(Reuters/China Daily)
On Wednesday a high-speed train crashed and derailed in Santiago de Compostela, killing at least 78 people in Spain's worst train crash since 1972. The speed of the train is being questioned and the veteran driver was arrested. The train was full of passengers traveling to attend a prominent festival, which was subsequently canceled due to the tragedy.-Leanne Burden Seidel
A fireman carries a wounded victim from the wreckage of a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24. A train derailed outside the ancient northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday evening, killing at least 78 people and injuring up to 131 in one of Europe's worst rail disasters. (Monica Ferreiros/La Voz de Galicia via Reuters)
The 15th FINA World Championships are taking place in Barcelona this year, and the photography is a feast for the eyes. FINA is the Swiss-based international swimming organization that holds the championships for aquatic sports every two years. The sporting event that includes swimming,diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo, ends on Aug. 4.-Leanne Burden Seidel
Russia warms up ahead of the Synchronized Swimming Free Combination Final on day eight of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on July 27 in Barcelona, Spain.( Al Bello/Getty Images)
For this edition of our look at daily life we share images from South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, China, Cuba, Germany, Indonesia and a few others from around the world. -- Lloyd Young
Members of the band Brent Amaker and the Rodeo await their turn to play Neumos on the second day of Capitol Hill Block Party on July 27 in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Wash. (Jordan Stead/seattlepi.com via Associated Press)
On May 10, 2013 The Big Picture featured some of the thousands of images that were entered in the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Magazine Photo Contest. The winners have been chosen. Their images follow. (The winners gallery is also available here as well as the complete contest and all its entrants here. You can see the editor's picks and can download wallpaper images for your desktop or your smartphone.) The winning images will appear in the Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. (NOTE: The captions are written by the photographer.) --EDITOR'S NOTE: The Big Picture will post again on Wednesday, August 7.
First Place: Dig me river
I was in Manaus, Amazonas, during the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship. I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so much energy in these boys that I just didn't worry about that.(Photo and caption by Wagner Araujo/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)