Migrant memorabilia

Source: The World of Chinese (3/22/18)
Migrant Memorabilia
Objects and memories left in the suburban rubble
By Alexander Cecil McNab

There are few real residents left in Beneficent Temple slum. Aside from a man smoking his cigarette outside, a woman who hasn’t yet signed the relocation contract, and a few stragglers with the security guards (bao’an) knocking on their doors, it’s mostly just people like me—vultures, scavengers here to collect the ruins. I see a woman walking away with a cart full of scrap metal.

I talk to a man wrapping old electrical wires that he says he’s going sell. I am here, however, to collect something of a different sort of value: the stories of the residents that were and the objects that they’ve left behind. Continue reading

Roundup of best photojournalism

Source: China File (2/20/18)
When You Give a Kid a Camera: A Roundup of China’s Best Photojournalism
By Ye Ming, Yan Cong, David M. Barreda.

This dispatch of photojournalism from China cuts across a broad spectrum of society, from film screenings in Beijing for the visually impaired to an acrobatics school 200 miles south, in Puyang, Henan province, and from children in rural Sichuan to the elderly in Shanghai.

An Yi Village through a Child’s Lens | Caixin Media
Various photographers—Caixin

Liangshan, a region in Sichuan Province populated by members of the Yi ethnic minority, is often depicted in Chinese media as poor and underdeveloped. We’ve previously recommended a photo story about a group of migrant workers from Liangshan working in the coastal city of Shenzhen. Photographer Jiao Dongzi and other volunteers gave cameras to children in Liangshan and taught them photography courses, encouraging them to photograph their lives. The images provide a lively, laughter-filled view into childhood in a barren, mountainous environment. The image above is captioned with a quote from the photographer: “My family’s apple tree blossomed during lunchtime. I’m happy. My little brother is happy. My parents are happy. My older brother is happy.” The photos also show, perhaps unsurprisingly, an absence of parents, most of whom have left for work in the city. One of the child photographers wrote: “I play with my friends every day, but sometimes I’m sad because Dad is not at home. Mom has to chop firewood by herself. I’m still too weak.”

View the gallery… Continue reading

Zhang Kechun, the subtle provocateur

There’s an accompanying video to this piece that you can watch at the link below.–Kirk

Source: Sixth Tone (2/20/18)
China, Captured: Zhang Kechun, the Subtle Provocateur
The photographer captures the beauty and sorrow of China’s Yellow River and how it represents a changing society.
By Ming Ye [Ming Ye is a writer and curator who aims to bring Chinese photography to a global audience.]

This article is part of a series on some of China’s most renowned photographers.

‘Between the mountains and water,’ 2015. Courtesy of Zhang Kechun

No natural landmark carries as much cultural significance to the Chinese as the Yellow River. From its remote source in the Tibetan plateau, the country’s second-longest river runs 5,500 kilometers through nine provinces. Thanks to its vast, fertile floodplain, the river is frequently invoked as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Today, it supplies water to 100 million people, 190 million acres of farmland, and thousands of factories in northern China. Continue reading

Photographer documents left-behind kids

Source: CNN (2/4/18)
Photographer documents the plight of China’s left-behind kids
By Nanlin Fang and Katie Hunt, CNN

Photographer documents plight of China’s left-behind children For more than a three years, photographer Ren Shichen has traveled around China taking portraits of the country’s left-behind children. Each child poses in a classroom with a message for their absent parents on the blackboard behind them. Here, Gou Lingyu, 6, from Gaomiao Elementary School, Balipu County asks: “Mommy, where did you go? Mommy left home when I was six months old. Daddy cooks for me every day and works in the field and takes me to school. On the left hand side of the board is written: “Mommy, are you coming back?”

(CNN)For more than three years, photographer Ren Shichen has traveled across China taking portraits of the country’s left-behind children — some of the estimated nine million young kids that are currently growing up without Mom or Dad in China.

His goal is to shed light on the psychological costs of China’s economic boom — the ones borne by rural children whose parents have left their villages to work in China’s cities, often for years at a time, leaving them in the care of grandparents or other relatives. Continue reading

The eco-conscious photography of Duzi

Source: Sup China (12/14/17)
The Big Picture: The Eco-Conscious Photography Of Duzi
“Science can help us understand the facts, but art communicates them in a way that gets people really talking.”

From “Marine Reclamation”

The 2017 Lishui Photography Festival 丽水摄影节 in Zhejiang Province was held in November with the kind of razzmatazz one has come to expect from a large-scale Chinese event bearing the official seal. Festivities began with the obligatory opening ceremony comprising predictable song-and-dance routines punctuated by vaguely jingoistic speeches from local honchos. The pomp set the tone for a festival gigantic in scale: More than 1,500 exhibitions infiltrated all quarters of Lishui 丽水, from North American exhibitions curated by New Yorker Jim Ramer to community photography projects peppering the alleyways of the old town. Legions of volunteers equipped with high-school English were on hand to point lost festival attendees in the right direction, while public buses were free, ensuring visitors could get from photo seminar to workshop to bar with as little bother as a third-tier Chinese city might otherwise cause. Continue reading

TAP fall 2017

The fall 2017 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available at tapreview.org. You may need to refresh your browser to see the new contents. Addressing the theme of “Art and Vernacular Photographies in Asia”, this issue features the following articles and book reviews:


  • Russet Lederman, Then and Now: Japanese Women Photographers’ Books
  • Shuxia Chen, Departing from Socialist Realism: April Photo Society, 1979-1981
  • Joanna Wolfarth, Lineage and Legitimacy: Exploring Royal-Familial Photographic Triads in Cambodia
  • Lee Young June, Photography as a State Apparatus: Resident Registration Card Photography in South Korea
  • Ajay Sinha, Iconology in Transcultural Photography
  • Marine Cabos, The Cultural Revolution through the Prism of Vernacular Photography

Continue reading

TAP “Voyages” issue–cfp extension

The Trans Asia Photography Review seeks proposals for articles and projects relating to the theme of “Voyages”.

New deadline for proposals: November 5, 2017. Full projects due December 28, 2017, when they will be sent out for peer review. Final selections will be published in our spring 2018 issue. Please to go the style guide on the TAP websitefor details on how to format submissions.
The term “voyages” here includes the voluntary and involuntary movement of individuals and groups, as well as the movement of photographic ideas and technologies, from one city, region or nation in Asia to another. How and why do people, ideas and technologies move about, and what are the aftereffects of these voyages?

Questions? Contact editor@tapreview.org.

Sandra Matthews
Editor, Trans Asia Photography Review

Luo Yang smashes stereotypes of Chinese girls

Source: The Beijing (9/27/17)
Beijing-Based Photographer Luo Yang Shoots to Smash Stereotypes of Chinese Girls
By Tom Arnstein

Beijing-Based Photographer Luo Yang Shoots to Smash Stereotypes of Chinese Girls

Luo Yang

The first work that I saw by Luo Yang (pictured above) was a portion of her near decade-long and ongoing GIRLS series exhibited in Beijing as part of the Elimination of Violence Against Women Art Exhibition. In it, she documented Zhou Yan, the victim of an acid attack perpetrated by her former boyfriend. Scars mark the areas of skin where the acid splashed and sketched onto Zhou in that singular horrific and selfish attempt of ownership and destruction. Luo Yang’s skill lies in her ability to document that pain but also to coax out a playful side to her subjects, and through the short six-photograph collection we go from a reticent Zhou, a forearm pulled back to hide her face, to her legs outstretched and swinging playfully in a chair. Continue reading

Sha Fei exhibition

Source: China Daily (9/19/17)
Exhibition focuses on work of noted army photographer
By Lin Qi

Exhibition focuses on work of noted army photographer

Sha Fei, Chinese photographer [Photo provided to China Daily]

Two gunshots were heard at the Bethune International Peace Hospital in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, in December 1949. A Japanese doctor was shot dead by Sha Fei (1912-50), a patient of tuberculosis and a noted photographer of the People’s Liberation Army.

Two months later, Sha was sentenced to death by a military court in China.

A retrial in 1986 acquitted Sha posthumously saying he was in mental distress as he was reminded of the cruelty of war scenes when seeing the Japanese doctor, and he thought the doctor had attempted to poison him.

Sha took up photography in the 1930s and became the first full-time photographer of the Eighth Route Army led by the Communist Party of China around 1937.

But, Sha’s career as a photographer was short lived, and his work was not studied or presented until in recent times.

A Tower of Light, an exhibition now on at the museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy, sheds light on Sha’s contribution to 20th-century Chinese photography. On show are some 100 images from Sha’s oeuvre, which are printed from the negative plates owned by his family. Continue reading

TAP “Voyages” issue–cfp

The Trans Asia Photography Review seeks articles and projects relating to the theme of “Voyages” for possible publication in our spring 2018 issue. The term “voyages” here includes the voluntary and involuntary movement of individuals and groups, as well as the movement of photographic ideas and technologies from one city, region or nation in Asia to another. How and why do people, ideas and photographic technologies move about, and what are the aftereffects of these voyages?

Proposals due October 6
Please use the following formats to submit proposals:
Article (length open). Your proposal should contain an abstract and the author’s CV.
Curatorial project (10-15 images with introductory text). Your proposal should contain up to 5 thumbnail images in a pdf file, not to exceed 50 MB in total. Please send your images to editor@tapreview.org via www.wetransfer.com or a similar service. Images should be accompanied by a brief introduction and your CV; these may be included in the pdf or sent separately via email.
Translation (from an Asian language into English) of historical or contemporary articles about photography. Your proposal should contain information about the work to be translated and the translator’s CV.
Interview. Your proposal should contain background information about the interviewee and the interviewer’s CV.
Book/exhibition review. Your proposal should contain the title of the book or exhibition and the reviewer’s CV. (Note: An exhibition being reviewed must have a catalogue.)
Authors are responsible for obtaining picture permissions; forms for these are available on the TAP Review website.

Proposal deadline is October 6, 2017.
Questions? Contact editor@tapreview.org.

Sandra Matthews
Editor, Trans Asia Photography Review

Cultural Revolution Selfies

Source: NYT (8/19/17)
When Self-Criticism Was an Order, These Portraits Were Revolutionary
查看简体中文版  /查看繁體中文版

Wang Qiuhang in Beijing in 1966. A new book of Mr. Wang’s photography is called “Cultural Revolution Selfies.” CreditWang Qiuhang/New Century Press

BEIJING — China’s Cultural Revolution, the decade-long campaign remembered for its fanaticism and upheaval, began in 1966 and was enforced by radicalized students who pledged to put the Communist Party ahead of self.

Mao Zedong’s army of young cadres was encouraged to suppress individuality in favor of a greater communal cause — no matter how dangerous the mob became.

At a time marked by forced confessions known as self-criticism, one young photographer, Wang Qiuhang, turned his camera on himself, subversively celebrating the self rather than suppressing it. Continue reading

Fan Ho, poet with a camera

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
How Fan Ho, Hong Kong’s poet with a camera, found his calling – in his own words
In one of his last interviews, Fan Ho, who died a year ago today, aged 84, recalls how he rediscovered his passion for photography – and some old negatives – to finally gain the recognition and respect he longed for

Tiananmen protest photos see light of day

Source: NYT (6/1/17)
Hidden Away for 28 Years, Tiananmen Protest Pictures See Light of Day

Protesters aboard a truck near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in May 1989. One appears to be in a police uniform. It was not unusual then for police officers to join the demonstrators. CreditDavid Chen

For nearly 28 years, David Chen hid away a treasure chest of black-and-white photographs that he took of the protest movement that erupted at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the spring of 1989. Continue reading

TAP spring 2017

The spring 2017 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available at tapreview.org. You may need to refresh your browser to see the new contents. Addressing the theme of “Technologies”, this issue features the following articles, projects and book reviews:

Kelly M. McCormick, Ogawa Kazumasa and the Halftone Photograph: Japanese War Albums at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Dengyan Zhou and Zhimin Shi, Photography and the Appropriation of Kodak Dye Transfer in Socialist China

Shahidul Alam, My Unseen Sister

Amandine Davre, Seeing Nuclear Issues in Daguerrotypes: An Interview with Takashi Arai

Monique Gross, Ways of Looking: Studying the Architecture of Hanoi’s Ngoc Ha Neighborhood via Drone Photography

Procheta Mukherjee Olson, More than a Collection: Photography in the Asia Art Archive

Clare Harris, Photography and Tibet, reviewed by Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa Continue reading

9 photographers you need to follow

Source: Time (4/17/17)
Nine Chinese Photographers You Need to Follow
By Ye Ming

The unprecedented economic boom in China since the early 1980s has also sparked an explosion of interest in photography.

Despite the government’s tightening restrictions on media, young photojournalists and documentary photographers continue to push the limit, investigating issues central of a society under constant transition. The fine arts, a market in general on the rise in recent years has offered a new voice for visual artists looking for new modes of experiment and expression.

This list features the new generation of Chinese photographers and visual artists, all under 35, who were born and raised in a time of sweeping change. As China continues to diversify and assert its influence around the globe, these artists offer a glimpse into the ever-changing country and what it means to be Chinese today.


A young man tries to stand on his head in iced Xiaoyalang Reservoir. Kashgar, Xinjiang. 2016. Yuyang Liu

Yuyang Liu 

Yuyang Liu is a young but accomplished photographer, winning the prestigious Ian Parry scholarship only a year after taking up photography professionally. Continue reading