‘It made me think of decorations on a Christmas tree’: Arianna Genghini’s best phone picture

Arianna Genghini’s first stop on her family road trip through four US states was San Francisco. While they went on to travel through Utah, Nevada and Arizona in a rented minivan, it was the California city’s expansive Chinatown that captured the Italian photographer’s eye most powerfully.

“I was exploring with my sister Sofia, and we spotted the Dragon Gate at the entrance to the district. It’s one of the largest Chinese communities outside China, just like a little city inside a bigger one. Stepping inside, I fell in love,” she says.

“The next day, I went back and came across this grand ivory building with a yellow and pink sign. It was flooded with golden August light, and I saw a grey-haired lady standing on the balcony, slowly hanging up washing. The clothes and blankets clinging to the facade made me think of joyful decorations on a Christmas tree.”

Related: ‘You think you’re immortal’: Dmitry Markov’s best phone picture

Genghini took the shot on her iPhone XR, having decided to leave her heavy professional equipment at home and save the rolls in her analogue camera for other parts of the trip. She applied a subtle filter in Photoshop, “to pop up the colours a little”, but stresses that the finished image is just as vibrant as in real life.

“I don’t speak Mandarin or Cantonese, but I love the culture, particularly contemporary Chinese literature. I’ve never been to China itself, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. How could it not be?”