When I learned I had the assignment in China of photographing Chen Kaige and his lovely leading lady Chen Hong, I was excited and wanted to try and learn to speak a little Mandarin before the assignment. I purchased the Rosetta Stone's Mandarin language course and studied as much as possible before my trip to China. I wanted to be able to greet my subjects properly at the very least. I even learned how to say, "that's nice" so as I photographed them, I could say, "Henhow, henhow!"
Well, on the day of the shoot everything was going great. I ordered beautiful flowers for his wife and had the right music playing as they walked into the studio. As I went to say hello and try and speak the few phrases I'd learned , Mr. Kaige said, in perfect English "oh you know a little Mandarin?" I quickly told him I only know a few words and phrases and he laughed and said they spoke English. As the shoot progressed, what really made the day enjoyable was Mr. Kaige's enjoyment of the music I played during the shoot.