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Contemporary Chinese Photography

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Feb 11, 2013

This is an image from Zhan Kechun’s The Yellow River, a photographic journey along that long river in China.
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Jun 8, 2011

Over the past four years, Zhe Chen “has been documenting self-inflicted activities […] while creating a series of projects focusing on body modification, human hair, identity confusion, post-traumatic stress disorder and memory.”
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Mar 24, 2010

“Adou’s portraits and landscapes do not seek to portray individuals or illustrate specific moments, but collectively represent a visual expression of his culture and, by extension, of the photographer himself.” (source, where you can also find way more images)
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Dec 9, 2009

“Tian Taiquan’s complex, constructed images use China’s Cultural Revolution as a departure point to explore, and reflect on, ‘the most severe setback and heaviest losses suffered by the party, the state and the people since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China’”. (source) More images here, and there’s a presentation of the work here.
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Oct 19, 2009

Chinese photographer Muge’s website contains a ton of great photos. Access to his website can be a bit tricky, though: Sometimes, it loads very slowly (or not at all). So bring a bit of patience if it won’t come up, or come back later - it’s well worth the visit!
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Aug 13, 2009

There doesn’t seem to be any information about the work on Zhang Xiao’s website, but there are lots of great images. (via)
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Jul 27, 2009

Done in the style of classic Chinese paintings, Yao Lu’s works actually employ photography. More samples here.
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Jul 20, 2009

“A great deal has changed in China since Mao’s regime. During that time art served only as a means of depicting the glory of communism. […] In this series I combine images with graphic text. The text follows the form used in Cultural Revolution-era propaganda posters: an image bordered with a slogan in bold text below it. The texts that I chose come from a variety of sources. Most are derived from contemporary advertising and signage as well as from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. The images depict Chinese youth in front of various significant facades wearing T-shirts with phrases in what is often called "Chinglish" […] Having divided my time equally in recent years between the East and the West, my own experience of my home country is often one of profound ambivalence. These photographs explore that ambivalence by exploiting the collision of my influences and in doing so, the series visually captures the economic and political conflicts in modern day Chinese culture, among them, the identity crisis facing Chinese youth.” - O Zhang (for the explanation of the image above click here)
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Apr 23, 2009

“Memory City is about my personal memory of Shanghai, which is real yet also full of fantasy and becoming more faint by the day.” - Sun Ji
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Feb 25, 2009

Found at Asian Photography Blog: The art work of Hong Hao (“One of Hong Hao’s best known photographic series, “My Things”, opened up a new realm of personal expression for the artist. The photographs are composed of thousands of scanned images of objects from his own life. These commonplace things are arranged by the artist using a computer.”)
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Jun 12, 2008

Being an architect and a photographer, Chen Jiagang portrays a changing China - see his book “Forbidden City” here.
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May 23, 2008

I found Maleonn’s work on Asian Photography Blog, and I quite like it. Here and there, I think I might detect similarities with or at least influences of other photographers, but the large variety makes the work very interesting.
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Dec 3, 2007

For their series “13 Months in the Year of the Dog”, Liyu + Liubo reenact scenes taken from local newspaper stories, such as the one above: “Thirteen-year-old Xiao Qian (a pseudonym), made a copy of the key to her classmate Lin Yu’s (pseudonym) house. Xiao Qian stole money from Lin’s house many times. On April 1, Xiao Qian went into Lin’s apartment again, but could not find any money. Xiao Qian was upset and set fire to the Lin’s master bedroom. Yesterday, the two families reached an agreement, according to which Xiao Qian’s family would pay Lin Yu’s family RMB 30,000 in compensation.” Notes Liyu: “How can one decide whether these stories have truly happened or not, simply relying on written words? Maybe it’s not important, at least they have truly existed in the papers.”
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May 10, 2007

Selected highlights from the 2006 FotoFest Beijing can now be found here. I have long been very interested in photography coming out of China, and if you look at the different works to be seen on that site, you might get an idea why.
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Mar 21, 2007

Peng Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao are the photographers behind Colors Magazine 70 (note that if you think you can’t see anything on that site, that’s because there’s a light-grey font on the white background).
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Aug 3, 2006

For me, some of the most exciting photography is currently coming from China. The first photo by Liu Zheng that I came across was one of the photos from Four Beauties; and when I went out to find more I discovered the diverse style of Liu Zheng. A while back, in London, I saw some samples from his large body of work entitled The Chinese. Revolution contains some amazing work, too. I have the feeling that lots of people will complain about Under the Sun - people in general appear not to like visual remixes. (updated entry)
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Aug 3, 2006

The main reason why I was looking for Weng Peijun’s work is his series Great Family Aspirations. I find it very interesting how quite a few Chinese photographers use these staged photos to re-interpret imagery from the country’s past, be it the most recent or the more ancient one, to comment on political or sociological trends. (updated and corrected entry)
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Jul 25, 2006

You can learn more about Chinese performance artist Zhang Huan’s work by reading one of the articles/interviews on his website. Also see this article/interview (and you probably want to treat the cyber-ad that features Add Coulter on that page [provided it shows up] as a kind of absurd, unintended performance art [often mistaken for actual politics]).
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Mar 2, 2006

Yang Yankang’s photography follows classic b/w photojournalism traditions.
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Mar 1, 2006

“The compelling pictures of coal miners […] are by Song Chao, a 24-year-old amateur photographer from China, but you’d be right to make a connection with the celebrated American photographer Richard Avedon. […] Until two years ago, Song had been unfamiliar with Avedon’s photographs, indeed much of Western photographic history. But, as Alain Julienne, curator of Song’s show at the annual International Photography Encounter at Arles, where these portraits were shown for the first time, points out, Song already possessed a plate camera and had initiated his series before discovering Avedon’s oeuvre.” (source)
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Jan 25, 2006

It’s interesting to see how Danwen Xing’s portfolio has been evolving from gritty b/w photography towards computer-enhanced photos of architectural models. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to be found on her site.
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Dec 15, 2005

Miao Xiaochun comments on the changes China is undergoing by appearing as a spectator, dressed up in an ancient costume, in his images. See more samples here and here.
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Nov 29, 2005

Like many other Chinese photographers who I linked to recently, Chi Peng’s work is more like a mix between photography and performance art. See more examples here and here.
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Nov 23, 2005

Hong Lei’s photography is very conceptual, and Westerners - with their somewhat embarrassingly limited knowledge of China - might be left quite baffled by some of the imagery. Also see this brief overview. This page has a very short introduction of some of the background.
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Oct 2, 2005

I revisited Chinese photographer Wang Qingsong’s website and was - again - quite impressed with his work. His more recent tableau pieces are excellent, and I especially like the simple statements that go with them. His elaborately staged scenes remind me of Gregory Crewdson’s work. In any case, make sure to look at the two masterpieces China Mansion and Romantique. I think those must be some of the most creative commentaries I’ve ever seen on Western culture entering another culture. Also don’t miss Night Revels of Lao Li, made available online by The First Post. (updated post)
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May 19, 2005

“In 1979 Tseng Kwong Chi put on a thrift store Mao-era suit to enter a ‘coat-and-tie’ restaurant in New York and was mistaken by the maitre d’ for a Chinese dignitary. The next year he successfully crashed the opening of the Ch’ing dynasty exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - posing with the rich and famous as a Chinese Communist official. Tseng realized then that he had tapped into a profound theme - one that would drive his artistic career for the next eleven years - ‘the pervasive ignorance of Westerners regarding Asia generally and China specifically.’” (source; more samples)
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Apr 11, 2005

Cao Fei is a Chinese multi-media artist whose photography, especially the Cosplayer series is quite interesting.
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Jun 10, 2004

Don Hong-Oai - whose photography incorporates elements of traditional Chinese painting - died on June 8.
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Aug 13, 2003

Have a look at seascapes by Dodo Jin Ming.
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Aug 10, 2003

Don Hong-Oai’s photography follows classic Chinese imagery.
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Aug 4, 2003

“We do not know how we become unaware of the unbearable heaviness of inbustry and industrialization. What wealth can they create, what a wonderful world-we tell ourselves. What we do not see is this: In many of the industrial seators, what people have been doing is not only physically demanding. […] When labour is a source of pride, material return is less of a concern for the labourers. When this pride wears out in the course of time and as money sneaks in to be a standard measure, the glory is lost and survival instincts take over.” Zhou Hai’s The Unbearable Heaviness of Industry is one of the finest works of photojournalism I’ve seen in a while.
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Jun 30, 2003

Chien Chi Chang’s photo project The Chain - photos of inmates of a mental institution in Taiwan who are being held chained together - is online at Magnum.
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