Kenny Rogers Hits the Road to China and Returns with a Lovely New Album—His Own Photos
The art of the cultural crossover was scarcely new to rocker turned country and now pop star Kenny Rogers, 42. Also, he has about run out of road and real estate in the States, having just traded up from a Bel Air manse he bought for $2 million to a 10-acre, $14.5 million spread in Beverly Hills. That represented a U.S. record sale price for a private home. Nevertheless, it didn't prevent him from also scouting property from Shanghai to Peking recently—and recognizing China in his own fashion.
Stalking the mainland with wife Marianne, four friends and his camera, an Olympus OM-2 and zoom, Rogers spent 10 days among the Chinese people. Kenny often rose early to catch his subjects in first light. The traditional belief among some older Chinese that photographs are somehow soul-snatching presented a problem. "They were afraid my taking their pictures was like surrendering to death," Kenny reports. But his hosts survived, and he prevailed. "I had been fascinated with China since high school," says the native of Houston. "I just had to see it with my own eyes." On these pages, Rogers shares his sensitive insights and latest form of expression.
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