on lu beifeng's works


Born in 1980s

Lu Beifeng


This photography project is about the portraits of those born between 1980 and 1989 who studies, works or lives in Beijing. This is a rather special generation. 

The year of 2010 has a special meaning; to those who born in the year of 1980, this is the time they have stepped into their thirties where they would become parents, experience the happiness and the bitterness of the families and carry on more responsibilities than before. Yet to those who born in the year of 1989, in this year, they are 21 years old ? it is the time to jump into the great whirl of the society and to experience the cruelness of this world.

This generation in China, is a group of people whose bodies and minds are seduced by countless lusts created by the newly born consumerism society, simultaneously, they are seriously suppressed by these lusts. The generation shares special identities; a generation that is born and raised in the peaceful time of opening and reform; a generation of one-child policy. These people has their unique value systems that never occur in other generations (eg. 50s, 60s, 70s or 90s). In a society that changes severely they are under great pressures from life, and experiencing the deep gaps between ideology and reality through which their strange life philosophies are originated. They are so young that their voices can be barely heard, so the choose to focus on their own individualism, wishing there is an ultimate answer to the world we are living in. This has made them so identical, and this has also made them misunderstood by the public opinion.

Nevertheless, this generation is getting older and having more autonomy in shaping their own value system, finally they become highly motivated in solving the problems that belong to their own.
I can still remember, that when I was a child, I was taken by my parents to photo studios. It was just like the Chinese New Year ? you shall always wear the smartest clothes you have, although I didn’t have any clothes that can be called smart at the time. When taking a photograph, I always looked so serious. In the time of Cultural Revolution, taking a photograph in the studio is a experience of a ceremony, I borrowed this concept in my works today. I asked all of my subjects to have a deadpan face and look into my lens. They brought their own outfits and their own make-ups or not, at this point I attempt to approach my project within a documentary mean. On the other side, I asked my subjects to bring one or two things, these ‘things’ could be a pet, a toy, an object of one’s memory, a book that influential to oneself, or, an object that represents one’s great dream of his/her life. It would be even better if this ‘thing’ is an unique object. When my subjects appeared in front of my lens, each of them is playing a performance.

This is a project has a strong individuality. I am not paying any complimentary to anyone else. These photographs are the facets of this group of people, which belong to a special Chinese generation. These images could have appeared to be not so aptly depicted a generation’s picture, however these images would be the most precise pictures of the generation. At the same time, these facets are also my personal comments to the Chinese society of today. 

It is a great thing to work with the “special generation”. Each one of my subjects are so creative, so do I, then ‘BOOM’ , we have these pictures done so well. This is an enjoyable working style for me indeed. I would say thank you to all the boys and girls who have joined this project, I do appreciate your inspirations and generous helps. Thank you all for sharing your stories with me!