Modernization Hub

Modernization and Improvement
中国の近代化を撮る – Photographing the Modernization of China

中国の近代化を撮る – Photographing the Modernization of China

Photography is a language to me. It allows me to think and to question. I use my work to contemplate and to
think about my relationship to the world. As well as the relationship between
reality and imagination. The city I live in is named Guangzhou. I came here for college in 1993, and I’ve
stayed in this city for over twenty years. Guangzhou is the first open city in China.
People from all over the country come here. It’s a city with an open mind. I’d like to spend the rest of my life in this city. I’m a photographer and a curator. And I’m also a publisher. This is some used film from yesterday. I dreamt of being a war
correspondent when I was in college. After I graduated from college, I worked for a newspaper, magazine,
and a few other media companies. This was in 2006, before the
Qinghai-Tibet railway opened. I followed the railway and shot
all the way from Xining to Lhasa. I worked for Cheng Shi magazine
for almost eight years. This magazine reflects
contemporary city and youth culture. It gives photographers a lot of room… …to work on projects about things like Chinese
youth culture and modernization. Our generation doesn’t
really know our traditional culture. What is tradition? What are the core values of Eastern Asian culture? That is what I wish to find out. One of my most important projects
is called Soul Stealer. There is a very old tradition
called Landplay in the city of Anshun. People put on demon-like masks,
and then sing and dance on the farmland. They sing stories of heroes in history. Those farmers stood in front of the camera
with their costumes and masks on, and I completely felt that they were from the past. I didn’t fully understand that
when I took their picture. But when I got to see the photographs,
I found it was surprisingly amazing. These people have played exactly
the same roles for generations, and I feel that their souls have
totally merged with their roles. So the pictures turned out to be a new
interpretation of our culture and history. After the Soul Stealer project, we were thinking
about how to understand our modern culture, We found a lot of “cosplay” groups in Shenzhen. “Cosplay” is short for costume-play,
which is a form of role-playing. There are a lot of similarities and differences
between them and Landplay. These groups came up with their own costumes
and put on their own make up. Then we just told them to act like themselves. The most interesting part I think is their eyes. Have you realized that their eyes are soulless? These expressions came out naturally. The aim of the Soul Stealer project
is to try to think about our culture. To think about globalization and localization. To think about tradition and modernization. Photography originated
from western modern technology. I’m trying to look at eastern culture
from that western cultural perspective. I rented this old apartment in October
last year and made it a studio. A year after the Sichuan earthquake,
I went there to shoot some pictures. The work is collected in my project named
Cool Shanshui, which means landscape picture. It’s in the form of a scroll painting, because traditional Chinese paintings
are usually scrolls. Even the way of mounting is based
on traditional Chinese scroll painting. Cool Shanshui is about environments that
have been changed by human beings. In Chinese, the character “Ku” means cruelty, but it has a similar pronunciation
as the English word “cool.” Cool is about being at the forefront
and about being fashionable. So I think it’s the best pun to describe
what is happening in China today. This is Lake Dian, in the Yunnan province. It used to be a very beautiful lake. Now it is experiencing cyanobacteria pollution. This greenish color is what it
looks like after it got polluted. It smells extremely bad. So I shot a series of pictures about it. When people first see my work,
they don’t really know what it is. They just say, “oh, these are
beautiful landscape paintings.” But once people read into my work,
they start to see the cruel reality. China today is like that. On one hand, it looks very cool and prosperous. But on the other hand, it contains a lot of cruelty. After the Cool Shanshui series, I looked into
landscape photography more deeply. The result was “Hyper-Reality China.” The concept “Hyper-reality” was introduced
by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard. It’s quite a perfect term to describe China today. Everything happening in China now
is like the game “Sim City.” You made strange stuff, and it turned out to be real. For me this is all very fascinating,
and it happens every day. It’s an idea that keeps developing. I’m still trying to shoot on this topic today. I always need to shoot outdoors. Sometimes I even need to hike to get
to where I want to take the photograph, and so I’ve always been looking for
a lighter but relatively tough camera. Finally, I found this one. My best companion. Today, we’re visiting two places. First we’re going to shoot in the Yang Jie village,
because it’s in the process of being demolished. There are only a few buildings left now. People in this city used to call it
a “city center village.” I lived in there for half a year after I graduated. I kind of miss it there. He is…Yang Changhong is
my long time working partner. We collaborated on the “Soul Stealer” project. He happened to be in Guangzhou today,
so I forced him to be my driver. – Please register here. – OK. – Thank you. What a nice day. Everyone is out to hang their blankets to dry. It’s a wonderful location for shooting. The best angle is from here. Yang Ji village is a very typical
“city center village” in Guangzhou. It sits right at the center of the city. It’s been there for quite a long time. A long time ago, farmers started building
their own houses there. But then the urbanization started. So modern buildings started to encroach it. But the land still belongs to those farmers. Farmers built many of these kinds
of small houses by themselves. And then, they cheaply rented those houses out
to people who had just come to Guangzhou. People like construction workers. Or students who had just graduated. The demolition started the year before last. And it has caused a lot of conflict
between the villagers and the government. The issue is very complicated. As the urbanization continues,
the “city center villages” like Yang Jie village will definitely not survive in Guangzhou. It’s inevitable. One of the reasons why I chose
large-format photography, is because of its quality and working process. The large-format takes a long time to shoot. Every single frame has to be planned
and thought out carefully. When I cover myself by that black blanket, I am in an isolated space, away from the outside world. It’s completely another world. The work comes from reality, but the photographs themselves are not
simply a copy of that reality. Somewhere near Ya Ji Sha bridge,
next to the Zhujiang river, a construction is in process. It’s a round building. Very weird. I saw the design in the newspaper
and was immediately interested. I want to see how funny and bizarre it is. -Excuse me, how can we reach the river? -I can’t see anything from here. -Excuse me, do you know if there is a
giant round building nearby? -Can you see that bridge?
-Yes I can. -To the left. -Oh, there it is. When we rode through the bridge
and approached the building, the feeling that the construction gave me was
different from when I saw it on the Internet. It looks like something out of Magical Realism, and it’s an unbelievable feeling
to get to stand close to it. China represents an eastern civilization. However, after the western industrial revolution,
some think of eastern culture as uncivilized. Therefore, since the period of the Republic of China, the Chinese have always tried
to find ways to modernize. China has been combining elements of Eastern
and Western civilization since the economic reform. It’s just like in the movie “Alien.” The scientists wanted to create a better species by
combining two different powerful genes. The idea is actually very constructive. But they ended up creating a fearful
and highly destructive creature. What will this modern-day China
version of “Alien” become? Will it be more productive? Or will it be destructive? Nobody can tell now. The question that people ask me the most is, are your pictures Photoshopped? Then I tell them, I don’t make changes
to any of my pictures. I take whatever is real. I “shoot” pictures, I don’t “make” pictures. Those objects I shoot, they tell the stories. Hence, my way of working is simple. I just capture whatever reflects reality. This is a golden age for photography,
that’s absolutely true. As a photographer, it would be a shame to miss it. You can see everything from the past and
from the future in China today. It’s fascinating, and it changes every day. There are also a lot of great young
photographers in China right now. But what do they need? They need opportunities. And they need to be able to show their work. In 2010, some of my friends and I started
a company called Authentic Vision. Its purpose is to support Chinese photography. Here’s the department of production. And here’s the Giclee office. The final physical material used to show
the work is very important. It’s absolutely necessary to reflect
the original work accurately. And post-production is very important
to be able to show works perfectly. Therefore, we made this studio for printing. Everything else, such as publishing and exhibition,
they all work for this sole purpose. It’s very basic in other countries,
but there’s no such thing in China. That’s what we do in Authentic Vision. We get everything started from here. We get familiar with all the processes
of production here. And we try to influence young people
who are also interested in photography. To teach them how to work in this field
in a more professional way. I hope that Chinese photographers
will find their own unique style.

35 comments on “中国の近代化を撮る – Photographing the Modernization of China

  1. photography has a new place in my heart… and i have nothing to do with it, and watched this with no caption, meaning, i didn't understand much of it…

  2. 近代化するにはそこを通過しなきゃ、日本もかつてそうだったろ。それがあったから、今の日本があるんじゃないのか?

  3. 数十年前の日本は今の中国と同じようにな状況だったが、中国は日本のように変われるかな

  4. あなたの心がそのまま作品としてここに残される。
    感性を持った人間であれば共感を覚える。 是非頑張って下さい。

  5. i like his approach and work ethic. i guess he doesn't have an IG account because he would find it offensive to what he does professionaly but i would definitely follow him. absolutely love modern/urban architecture and besided China is an extremely interesting country. they're building a fucking star gate!

  6. viceの視点で話題を取り上げドキュメント化し映像を作り公開する・・・。

  7. 中国農村部の近代化状況や生活状況などをもっと紹介してほしいですね。何故かビルやアパートが立ち並ぶ風景ばかりとか環境汚染のものばかりです。昔から都市部では昨日と今日で大きく風景が変わることは大して珍しいことではなかった。それから都市部では新しいビルなどが建ってもすぐに薄汚く色褪せて陳腐に見えくるのですね。不思議です。

  8. VICEにしては、つまらない内容でしたね。別に中国嫌いだから言ってるのではないです。内容にパンチがないというか、惹きつけるものがない。不細工なおっさんが自分の作品についてブツブツ言ってるだけ。

  9. 「中国がすごい」と言う。スマホ決済、監視カメラ、無人コンビニ、ロボット宅配、全自動洗濯機、あ、ごめん、全自動自動車、空飛ぶ泥~ン。しかし、幸福な中国人がどんどん増えているとの記事が見当たらない。

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *