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BoMu (Gao Bo)
BoMu (Gao Bo)'s penchant for multimedia techniques is highlighted in his "Sketch Portrait" series; the pieces look like sketches, but are actually photographs covered nearly completely in emulsion, ink, and pastel. The base photos were taken in Tibet, where locals wear cloth masks to defend against the cold and dust. In the "Duality" branch of the series, the wooden masks represent dualities in Tibetan religion. The completed piece represents a duality of its own, a mix of earthly and transcendent concerns.
"Beat Kuert's images are born from the performances of the group Dust & Scratches; they lose their physical aspects and the realism of the performances from which they originate – a kind of body-art – and acquire a valence that reveals the same artificiality as paintings and sculptures..."
Chen Jin's poetic, meditative images also seem to fit within the literary tradition, as the series is printed on traditional rice paper and features muted, wash-like tones. However, under this apparent calm lies chaos. "The Inspiration" depicts the ruins of Buddhist temples after the devastating Sichuan Earthquake of 2008. The landscape has been disrupted by natural forces, but amidst the destruction, Chen finds moments of peace, and perhaps, hope.
Chen Yaqiang has captured the human and natural aspects of western China in glowing black and white images. In "Daliyabuyi," he focuses on the daily life of a rarely-photographed community living in a harsh desert environment. In his next series, "A Portrait of Time," Chen photographed an important element of that environment: the poplar tree. These high-contrast images are portraits of these ancient trees, symbolizing the passage of time.
Chen Yewei is not a name widely known in the Chinese photography community. He is a true professional photographer and explorer. For the last decade, Chen has traveled to nearly every mountain peak and glacier stretching from the Himalayas to the Karakoram, taking magnificent images of these geographic features with his Alpa camera.
"There is something strongly and spontaneously filmic about Chen Zhixian’s visual writing and direct 'snap-shooting' style. The un-cropped pictures by Chen Zhixian presented constitute an extraordinary and vivid documentation of China’s recent transformation into a major economic and cultural powerhouse. They also illustrate how photography remains such a relevant and powerful tool in the observation and understanding of history. Especially when recorded with great passion." --Robert Pledge
David Burnett is a photojournalist with more than 5 decades of work covering the news, the people, and visual tempo of our age. He is co-founder of Contact Press Images, the New York based photojournalism agency, now entering its 40th year. In a recent issue of American Photo magazine Burnett was named one of the "100 Most Important People in Photography." (That made his mom very happy.) In a world gone mad over digital photography, his kit includes a 60 year old Speed Graphic press camera, and a plastic $30 HOLGA. Each has a place along side his digital cameras, each camera a tool to find the right look for the right moment.
In the "Labyrinth of the Self," EMI's sensual self-portraits give viewers a window into her vision of sexual experience and desire. While some viewers may feel voyeuristic looking at this series, EMI consciously chooses the poses, lighting, and garments that she uses to present herself, giving herself agency.
"Guo Peihe used the method of photographic symbols to “deconstruct” history and search for its meaning and value. He trained his lens on these real people, which implies a shift in the flow of time and space. What he has left out represents unmoving historical symbols that are outside the focal plane. In contrasting the figures and the setting, Guo Peihe seems to say that life will always move onward."
A chance meeting between a performance artist and a photographer allowed them to fulfill a long-held wish. Through the lens, they listened to the stillness, and through poetic movements, they perceived the distance between them and their inner selves. They soundlessly moved through this overwhelming world to find their true selves. This was not simply a photo shoot; this was a spiritual pilgrimage.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Jia Yuping was the hottest of the calendar photographers; throughout the 1990s, his calendar beauties were popular across China. Some have called his work vulgar and a bit sexual, but it cannot be denied that, in a culturally closed time without the internet, these calendar beauties influenced the Chinese public’s visual aesthetic and imagination for nearly 20 years.
Jin Ping's work is characterized by an experimental approach to older photographic techniques. In "Apocalypse", he photographed the devastation wrought by the 2008 earthquake on his native province of Sichuan. In "Glacier", Jin continued his experiments, this time with cyanotypes, to capture a very modern issue, glaciers melting in western China as a result of climate change. The crystal blue of the cyanotypes complements the contours of the glaciers, ice, and snow. Humans are entirely absent from the pictures, but the melting process shows their impact on nature even when they are not physically present.
Ju Duoqi takes pictures of vegetable sculptures composed of cabbage, potatoes, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, pumpkins, onions, ginger, garlic, chives, lotus roots, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. In these collages, she replicates world-famous paintings and traditional Chinese images. Ju’s cleverness and creativity is truly amazing. How did this former cartoonist become inspired to construct this legendary “Kingdom of Vegetables?”
Lu Beifeng (Vice Chief Editor, Beijing Youth Weekly) Lu worked as a photo journalist at Beijing Youth Daily since 1992, later he became the deputy director of photography department. In 2004 Lu joined Beijing Youth Weekly. Lu’s publication includes Jianzheng (2015), Born in 80’s (2011), Talk Through the Lens (2003)
For the last decade, Lin Ran has led a reclusive existence outside of Cheng-du. While ascetic scholars of the past may have chosen brush and ink, Lin chooses large format photographs. Lin’s multi-photograph works are not simple panoramic landscapes. When he goes to shoot a location, he photographs an area from all perspectives, then assembles the prints to create a landscape that appears panoramic, but might actually be two different localities, or the same place from two different angles. Lin has also experimented with platinotypes and cyanotypes.
Li Jie's "At Sea" series was shot over the course of eight trips to the eastern coast of Malaysia from 2009 to 2012. In contrast to Li's previous, strongly narrative work, his "At Sea" photographs are calm, expansive, and somewhat cold, reflecting his inner world. "In depicting the ocean, there are no terrifying waves; there are only the rhythms of a simple life. The sheer ordinariness warms your heart"...
Over his two-decade photography career, Lü Nan has created four impressive series, "The Forgotten People: The State of Chinese Psychiatric Wards", "On the Road: Catholics in China", "The Four Seasons: The Daily Lives of Tibetan Peasants", "Prison Camps in Northern Myanmar". For each project, Lü spent anywhere from three months to eight years acquainting himself with his subjects, and it is this immersion in his stories that allows him to create such expansive yet intimate bodies of work.
Liu Yuan has also shown his pictures in museums and festivals. He has held more than 40 exhibitions in China and abroad, sharing with audiences his unique view of the world. His artwork and catalogs have been collected by many foreign and Chinese museums and libraries.
Martin Hill’s international award winning photographs of ephemeral environmental sculptures made in collaboration with Philippa Jones, utilise the transformative power of nature’s design principles to awaken the human spirit towards a transition to a cyclical restorative human economy.
Ouyang Xingkai's "Hongjiang" captures an ancient Hunanese city that has remained relatively unchanged since its peak as a river trading village during the Song dynasty. Ouyang depicts the people and architecture of this unique place, challenging the viewer to find the modern touches amidst a seemingly pre-modern world. Ouyang's next project, "People's Road," focuses on the lives of migrant workers in one building on People's Road in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. Part photography project, part sociological survey, "People's Road" captures these men and women in their urban living environ-ments and gathers information about their lives. Though their stories are diverse, these migrant workers have two goals in common: contented, secure retirements for themselves, and prosperous, happy lives for their children.
Ou Zhihang's practice incorporates a mixture of performance and photography. He does "Ou-style push-ups" in front of many national monuments, on city streets, and at natural sites. He has extended this gesture through two photographic series, "Seen and Be Seen" and "The Moment," which won an Honorable Mention at the World Press Photo Awards in 2009. His nudity represents the vulnerability of the lone individual; his nakedness is surprising, and it is his way of calling attention to places and events of social importance, landscapes that seem innocuous unless you know the reason for the artist's presence.
Ren Shulin has been active in the Chinese photography world since the late 1970s, and he was an important member of the April Photography Society. Ren is best known for his portraits of teenagers in Beijing. In "Innocent in the 1980s," he evokes a bygone era. In the 1980s, Ren was a middle school teacher, capturing the optimism of a period of time and a stage in life. With the rapid changes that have taken place in China over the last two decades, these photographs carry a strong sense of nostalgia.
History is forever a frame of reference for today. The Chinese village in the 1970s captured by Wang Shuzhou's camera is so remote from us, yet we will not forget it. A China that reforms itself and opens itself to the outside world starts from then.
Wang Wusheng was born in the city of Wuhu in China’s Anhui Province and was graduated from Anhui University’s School of Physics. Currently he works as a fine art photographer in Tokyo. His photographs are represented in numerous public and private collections, including those of the National Art Museum of China in Beijing and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Yann Layma is a French photographer who spent twenty years traveling throughout China and recording the overwhelming changes that have taken place in this country since reforms began in the 1980s. His photographs cap-ture customs and daily life in rural areas of China that have since been lost.
In February 1976, Yang Zhongzhen established the Shanyin News Photography Public Display Window. 2006 marked the thirtieth anniversary of this ongoing project, in which he has exhibited 1444 editions of the newspaper. This well-loved local display is regarded as a social service, and it has so far presented 1,940 columns, 35,203 photographs, and 422,500 individual characters. These sign boards are an excellent historical reference, tracking the changes in this county over the last 30 years.
In 2014, Yang Yankang finally finished his series on Tibetan Buddhism, a body of work he has been shaping for ten years. At the Seventh Guizhou International Photography Festival, Yang's "The Reflections of Soul" was awarded the Jury Prize for Photographer of the Year. When they gave the award, the jury said, "The scenes he has captured are full of religious meaning, but they also represent his life philosophy. He places his emotions into a classic photographic language and visual rhythm. He quietly depicts the spiritual core of these people and the purification of his own soul. Perhaps these images are simply the by-product of his spiritual journey, but he does not concern himself with the transcendental aspects of religion. He simply observes real life, showing simple truths through photography."
Yi-ping PONG (Peng Yiping) graduated from the Department of History, National Taiwan University, and holds a Ph. D. from the Department of Cinema and Television, Institute of Plastic Arts, Universite Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne. She specializes in screenplay, documentary making and film study, and has conducted interdisciplinary artistic creation as an artist, photographer, author, curator, documentary, director, etc.
Zhong Weixing's "Lost Paradise" was shot in the summer of 2007 in the Ejin Desert in Inner Mongolia. The series deals directly with the relationship between humanity and nature. By placing nude models in nature, Zhong highlights human vulnerability in the face of nature, as represented by China's northeastern deserts. Instead of focusing on desertification from a document-ary standpoint, he expresses his admiration for the desert by highlighting the contrast between the various textures of wood, sand, bone, and skin.
In some ways, Zheng Weihan was like many revolutionary photographers from the 1950s through the 1970s. They interpreted staged pictures as the truth. Zheng was somewhat different, in that his own creative ideas were embedded deep within the ideology of the Cultural Revolution. Zheng lost himself in the fervor of the time, but this "loss" gives his images a very contemporary intensity.