Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Images of China.


China is becoming the new hot spot to photograph, but, as I notice, the subject matters are somehow very limited to a few, things like the new high-raisings (many times contrasted with old houses), giant factories, and the mountains of Guilin has been photographed frequently. Certainly, many of them are striking and beautiful, I especially liked the Stephen Wilkes’s China project. But among many of those architectural oriented photographs of China, there is one thing is missing – life. Photographers seem look at China from a distance above, sometimes very much on the surface, as if they wish not to see the reality of the country. In another hand, many local Chinese photographers who are popular in America are very much keen on the political themed (staged) drama. That makes me wonder why people are so obsessed on the past and (near) future of China and simply ignored the real current.

Recently, I received an email from Zhuang Yan (Chinese:庄严), a 22 years old sophomore law student from Heilongjiang University which located in the northest province of China, who is a photography lover saw my website (now in both English and Chinese) and wrote me an email expressing his frustration of the difficulty (rare and expensive) of purchasing 120 film in China, he also sent me some photos of his that he described “just play for fun”. I indeed was very much moved by his photographs. For me, those images may not be the best photographs I've seen, but they remind me of life in China more than any of those stark images of skyscrapers and empty streets. I feel the warmth and emotion, consideration and care from them. I like them because they are come from someone who is experiencing China, not just touring it.


luke said...

i'm in southern india now, studying for a few months and trying to document this part of india as much as possible. getting 120 film here is also next to impossible (i brought 100 rolls with me), developing is possible but a major exercise in patience.

india is probably one of the most photographed places in the world, which makes for lots of opportunity but also a challenge in thinking of new ways to photograph. much like china, this place seems to be developing but also stays in the past. india has loads of huge technology firms, but also has loads of people who make a living making gravel by hand. i posted some pictures recently of people making gravel by hand at recently ... assuming i can get stuff processed, i'll have a lot more up soon.

- luke

robert said...

nice post shen wei. poignant observations. have u
seen any of robert polidaris work ?

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