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Scott Conarroe May 28, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Beijing, China 2008

Scott Conarroe (b. 1974, Canada) has a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute and an MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design.  His study of North America’s rail infrastructure is a touring show organized by The Art Gallery of Windsor.  He has work in the Canadian pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, and he is one of PDN’s “top 30 emerging photographers” of the year.  Upcoming events include a residency at Villa Strauli in Winterthur, Switzerland and a trip to the arctic as part of the Canadian Forces Civilian Artist Program.  Scott is represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto.

About the Photograph:

“I admire how the residents of Beijing use vacant space. Every evening ping-pong nets get stretched across the concrete landings of daytime shops, and each night a CD player draws dozens of people to the plaza above Shuangjin subway station where they waltz and jive and do jumping jacks and just enjoy the sensation of prancing around to music.  I especially love how the city is littered with pool tables; any few yards of waste ground where nobody has planted a micro-crop or parked their business seems fine for hanging out in Beijing.  This photograph was taken in a village on the city’s northern fringe in October, 2008.”

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Tomasz Gudzowaty April 14, 2010

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Wuqiao Circus School, China 2008

Tomasz Gudzowaty (b.1971, Poland) obtained a degree in law at the University of Warsaw. For the last few years he has been focusing on developing a style for shooting sports photography. He is particularly interested in non-commercial sports, and also those that are not present in the media, sports that are exotic, atypical or somehow outside the mainstream. His photos have been published in Max Magazine, L’Equipe, The Guardian, Newsweek, Forbes, Time and Photo and he is also the author of several albums. He is a multiple winner of the most important photography contests, among others the World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year, NPPA Best of Photojournalism. He works with Focus Fotoagentur in Hamburg and Warsaw’s Yours Gallery.

About the Photograph:

“The Wuqiao district in Hebei province is considered the cradle of Chinese acrobatic art. The tradition, dating back to the 5th century AD, is a way of life for the locals, but for some it’s also their main source of income. There are more than a hundred circus troupes and acrobatic schools here, with about 20,000 of Wuqiao’s 270,000 inhabitants working or studying there.  Parents send their children to these schools for the rigor and responsibility associated with this kind of education. The day begins at 5:30 a.m. with morning training just before breakfast. Students warm up by walking on their hands and standing on their head before moving on to more difficult postures. Each motion of an acrobat has to be repeated hundreds of times. Acrobats who finish four years of education can join local circus groups, but only the best will be accepted into the prestigious Wuqiao Circus School where graduates prepare for very promising careers.”

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Stefen Chow March 12, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Tiananmen Gate, Beijing, China

Stefen Chow (b. 1980, Malaysia) is a photographer based in Beijing and Singapore. Stefen is currently represented by Aurora Select, attended the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2008 and nominated for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass twice in 2009 and 2010. Stefen has worked with publications and organizations including Geo, Time Magazine, Associated Press, Cartier, Nikon and Shell. His works have been exhibited in  Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore and Beijing. His versatility has garnered  awards in cross genres including documentary, corporate and fine art. An accomplished adventurer, Stefen has summited Mount Everest in 2005, becoming one of the rare individuals to climb and photograph the mountain.

About the Photograph:

“I have been trying to sum up my feelings about Beijing after being based there for the last 18 months. On this particular day, Beijing had one of the biggest snow falls, and I knew the picture I was going to get. I made my way to the Tiananmen Gate, and there were Chinese soldiers standing in front of the iconic giant Mao portrait. I stood there in the snow for more than an hour waiting for an expression that humanizes the whole situation. In the end, the instant captured spoke to me about bureaucracy, hardship, respect, beauty and humanity.”

Sheila Zhao September 7, 2009

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A Chinese child extra waiting for filming to start. Yixian, Hebei Province, 2008

Sheila Zhao (b. 1983, China) grew up in the United States and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University in 2005. Immediately following graduation, she relocated to Beijing, China, and began a career in photography in 2007. That same year, Sheila was selected to participate in the Angkor Photo Festival’s workshop for young, emerging Asian photographers. Since then, she has worked on a variety of projects around China, including a three months stint as a stills photographer on a Chinese movie set. Most recently, Sheila just completed a six months photo editing internship with TIME Magazine’s Asia photo department in Hong Kong.

About the Photograph:

“In the summer of 2008, I spent some time photographing on a Chinese movie set. The story line was a period drama that involved love, mystery, and of course, kung-fu. Hundreds of extras old and young were cast during filming and one day, I saw this girl [pictured]. She was part of a group of child extras drafted from a nearby martial arts school. I noticed her right away because of her big, sad eyes, and kept an eye on her for the rest of the afternoon. At one point, while waiting for the rest of the cast and crew to start filming, she picked up the prop assigned to her – a dry gourd shell – and stood in a such a way that I thought accentuated her melancholic demeanor. Fortunately, I was close enough to capture this moment.”

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Stephen Voss August 12, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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First look at their adopted daughter, Nanchang, China 2007

Stephen Voss (b. 1978, United States) is a Washington DC based photographer. His clients include The Smithsonian, Business Week, Time, Stern and National Public Radio among others. He received the Creative Visions Foundation Grant to document homelessness in Portland, Oregon, with his photos subsequently featured in a national exhibit that continues to tour the country. His documentary work covers environmental and globalization issues worldwide, and U.S. politics. He is currently working on a project about his native state of New Jersey exploring the intersections of development and environment.

About the Photograph:

“Karen and Bob are a couple from southern California who allowed me to document their trip to China to adopt their daughter. The process of adoption is arduous and often is delayed for months at a time by the Chinese government. The little girls all have been abandoned by their birth parents, usually within the first few months after birth. This photo came on the day we flew into Nanchang where they would officially adopt their daughter and meet her for the first time. All of the adoptive parents gathered outside the hotel meeting room where the women from the orphanage held each baby. Once the doors were open, Karen and Bob were the first to be called and they both reached out to this small, crying 13-month old named Gan Xin Tian who they decided to name Kailee.”

David Degner July 15, 2009

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Xinjiang, China 2008

David Degner (b. 1983, USA) graduated from Western Kentucky University with majors in philosophy and photography in 2007.  He has interned at The Augusta Chronicle, The Press-Enterprise, and The St. Petersburg Times. His won awards in College Photographer of the Year, Hearst, and the American Diversity Project Fellowship.  His work has also been published in TIME magazine. David is currently  photographing weddings in Florida, saving up money and researching for his next project on Sufism.

About the Photograph:

“I was interning at the St. Petersburg Times when I stumbled across the story of Uighurs.  I knew the Olympics would be an ideal time for their separatist movements in Xinjiang to make a statement.  So, when my internship ended, with no jobs on the horizon, I flew to Beijing and took the long route to Xinjiang.  I lived there for about six months learning the language and exploring the oasis towns.  As the Olympics approached there were rumors of arrests, crackdowns, and protests. While confirming one of these rumors of a protest in a small village the police picked me up and kicked me out into Kazakhstan.  This particular photo is from the southern border of Xinjiang where it borders Tibet.  The teen was at a dried-up levee drinking with his girlfriend and screaming at the world.”

Stephen JB Kelly March 30, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China, Macao.
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From the series “Sin City”,  Macão, China

Stephen JB Kelly (b. 1983 , England)  spent his early childhood in Africa and the Middle East before moving to Hong Kong where he lived for ten years. He graduated in 2006 from the University of Wales, Newport. Stephen recently received a nomination for the 2009 World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass and has won a number of awards for his work, including the 2008 Gareth Jones Memorial Traveling Scholarship (University of Wales) and a 2008 ‘Made in China’ award at the International Festival of Photography in Lodz, Poland. His work has been exhibited in galleries such as The Guardian/Observer Newsroom and The Getty Images Gallery in London and the Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande in Bologna, Italy. His work has been published in The Observer Magazine, D di Repubblica and The FADER Magazine among others.

About the Photograph:

“During the month of November 2008, I worked on a story documenting life in China’s self-styled ‘city of dreams’. Situated on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, this semi-autonomous region of China is the sole territory within the People’s Republic that permits gambling. In 2008, Macão is reported to have topped US $13 billion in gambling revenue, doubling that of Las Vegas. For the majority of my time I worked within the vast casino districts, photographing the huge explosion in wealth and trying hard not to get kicked out of every casino I walked into!” (more…)

Muge Tang February 25, 2009

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From the series “Silence”. Chengdu, China

Muge Tang (b.1979, Chongqing, China) graduated from Sichuan University in 2004. He began to seriously photograph the same year and is currently freelancing in Chengdu. His work has been exhibited in Japan (Mio Gallery, Osaka), England (Photo Cinema Gallery, Derby) and Germany GIM-Gallery, Bremen).

About the Photograph:

“This series of photographs were taken between 2006 and 2008. I don’t know how many persona’s a person may have, as I don’t know what the future of the life is. When I met those people, the only thing that I can relied on was the realities around me and my own intuition. Pressing the shutter release button became a ritual of understanding human beings and their lives. This is the epitome of people in society. This is my heart. A kind of reflection, understanding and contradiction.”

Scott Brauer February 9, 2009

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Duwei, drummer for the Nanjing-based punk band Overdose. Shanghai, China.

Scott Brauer (b.1982, Landstuhl, German) is currently based in Nanjing, China. He graduated with honors from the University of Washington with dual degrees in philosophy and Russian literature and language in 2005. Scott interned at Black Star and VII New York in 2005 and worked for daily newspapers in 2006 and 2007: the Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago, and the Flint Journal in Flint, Michigan. He is represented by Invision Images for European sales. Brauer’s stock archive is available at the Photoshelter Collection. His pictures have been published internationally and exhibited in London and Kosovo.

About the Photograph:

“This is Duwei, of the Chinese punk band Overdose, formerly of Nanjing, but now relocated to Beijing.  The band, especially Duwei and his girlfriend, the band’s lead singer Ruan Ruan, were one of the first bands I got to know while working on the punk story, and they’re pretty deeply connected to the entire country’s underground and independent music scene.  This picture was taken on a trip to Shanghai with the band. We spent a few hours just chilling behind the club, which opens out onto a beautiful big park in the middle of Shanghai.  The park closes to the public in the evening, but the bands use it as an unofficial green room, a place to get away from the mania inside the club.  Duwei’s covered with tattoos on his torso.  Like a lot of punk fans and musicians, the aesthetic is an important part of participation for him, and he’s particularly drawn to the Rockabilly or Psychobilly style.”

Justin Jin January 23, 2009

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Garment factory in Zhongshan City, China

As a child Justin Jin (b.1974 in Hong Kong) yearned to see the world. He left for boarding school in England and went on to study philosophy and political science at Cambridge. Reuters hired Justin  as a correspondent in Beijing, giving him an entry into journalism. While working as a reporter, he became fascinated by photography and taught himself, soon after leaving the wire service to produce in-depth photo reportage. In 2002  Justin was selected for the World Press Photo Master Class. Some of his stories are self-initiated, others are commissioned. Having spent the previous seven years in Amsterdam, in 2006 Justin moved to Moscow.

About the Photograph:

“Workers take a dawn break after scrubbing jeans all night using a sanding machine in Mr Huang’s factory in Zhongshan city, China. The blue dust from the jeans is a heavy irritant to the lungs. China, the “factory of the world”, is also the major producer of blue jeans. To meet production demand, thousands of workers sweat through the night scrubbing, spraying and tearing trousers to create their rugged look. At dawn, workers bundle the garment off to another factory for packaging and shipping around the world. The workers are among the 200 million migrant laborers criss-crossing China looking for a better life, at the same time building their country into a mighty industrial power.”

Christian Keenan September 1, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China, Tibet.
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Christian Keenan (b. 1973, England). ” After leaving school I joined the British Army for several years. It gave me the travel bug and an interest in the world around me. After leaving the army I spent  a few years figuring out what to do with myself.  A family member gave me a camera and once I developed my first film I was hooked. I suppose the only thing that really interested me with regards  to photography was the ability to tell a story. So after a while of teaching myself how to use a camera I got a job with a local paper for a few years after which I moved to Hong Kong and spent several years documenting China. During this time I won a world press photo award for my work on the Uighurs of Kashgar as well as a few other awards. I am currently working out of Jersey, Channel Islands.

About The Photograph:

“I wanted to document the old Tibet and not Tibet as we know it today, I had heard about this place called The Labrang Monastery in Xiahe and how it was a bit off the beaten track and not frequented by hoards of tourists. The Monastery was a delight to document and it seemed as though I was the only foreigner there, which was great as it opened so many doors. Pictured here are a Tibetan family preparing to offer scarves during their pilgrimage to the Monastery. Many Tibetan families travel for days to visit the Monastery.”

Katharina Hesse August 20, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Katharina Hesse holds a graduate degree in Chinese & Japanese studies from the Institute National des Langues et Civilizations Orientales in Paris. She initially worked as an assistant for German TV and later freelanced for Newsweek from 1996 to 2002. In 2003 and 2004 she covered China for Getty photos. Hesse is self-taught in photography and her work has  appeared in Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Marie-Claire, Stern and Vanity Fair among others. Hesse participated in the ” A day in the Life of the American Woman ” project in 2005, and won a NPPA 1st prize award in 2003. Her work has been featured at photography festivals including Visa Pour l’Image, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Angkor Photo Festival  in Cambodia and LOOK3 (USA).

About the Photograph:

“I took a small number of portraits of the Beijing petitioners in late December 2007 as I thought they’d certainly not be allowed to stay around during the Olympics due to China’s obsession with ” keeping face” and showing off as a perfect host city. Many of these people have struggled for years in their native provinces to seek justice, therefore Beijing’s petitioner’s offices are their last recourse. Sadly, most are detained and then sent back to their native provinces. In the days leading up to the Olympics, houses were still being demolished. Recent news from a petitioner describes his situation as follows: ‘our neigborhood has been dismantled… more than 10,000 of us including homeless people live on one bowl of vegetables a day. Some of us have been beaten by officials dressed up as petitioners.’ “

8.8.88- 8.8.08: Twenty Years On August 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma, China, Tibet.
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Cyclone Nargis , Burma, 2008

Editors note: Today is both the anniversary of 8.8.88 as well as 8.8.08, the opening of the Beijing Olympics. Twenty years ago the Burma military junta killed tens of thousands of innocent Burmese on the streets of Rangoon. Unfortunately we are not in a position to name the photographer for the reasons above.

About the Photograph:

“Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home in the Swhe Pyi Tha township, near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon), on Sunday, May 11th, 2008.  Cyclone Nargis struck southern Myanmar a week ago leaving millions homeless and has claimed up to 100,000 lives.  Experts have warned that Myanmar now runs the risk of a public health crisis that could take an even greater toll, as the country’s military government has been slow to allow in international aid.


Tibetan Monks. Kathmandu, Nepal

Brian Sokol was born in the late 1970′s in the American Midwest where he grew-up pouring over back issues of National Geographic.  At university he studied writing and education before heading overseas.  After being awarded a small grant from the University of Wisconsin, Brian purchased his first camera and 100 rolls of slide film a few days before heading to Nepal for a year that elapsed into a decade.  In July 2008 Brian moved from Kathmandu to New Delhi, India in to better cover South and Southeast Asia.  He work appears regularly in publications including The New York Times, Time, Stern, l’Espresso and Der Spiegel.  He is the recipient of National Geographic Magazine’s 2007 Eddie Adams grant and was recognized as one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2008.

About the Photograph:

A Tibetan monk, rosary beads hanging from his hand, covers his face while sitting in solidarity during a hunger strike at a Tibetan refugee camp in Kathmandu, Nepal on 18 March 2008.  Eleven hunger strikers have been fasting in the Nepalese capital since 11 p.m. on 16 March in protest against conditions in Tibet.

Kosuke Okahara July 8, 2008

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Abandoned Leprosy Village. China, 2007

Born in 1980, Kosuke Okahara began his professional career at age 23, after his college graduation. Since the beginning of his career, he has been devoting himself to the theme of “Ibasyo” which refers, in Japanese, to “People’s physical and emotional space where they can exist”, or “Inner-peace of the people.” His  recent work  deals with people who are involved in illegal activities at the bottom of society in Colombia, and young Japanese people who are struggling with self-injury. He has covered stories in Asia, Africa, and South America. His works have been published in TIME.com, Newsweek Japan, PHOTO, AERA, Playboy Japan, Photografica, ASAHI Camera, among others. His photos have also been exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Nikon Gallery, Tokyo, and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand. He is a member photographer of Agence VU.

About the Photograph:

“This is a photo story of the daily life of former leprosy patients who exist in the shade of China’s recent economic boom. Though leprosy is an old disease that is 100% curable by medicines, there are over 600 leprosy villages in southern provinces of China housing over 40,000 ex-leprosy patients. In the villages, some people remain disabled but they are not effected by leprosy anymore. When multi-drug therapy became available in China in the 80′s, people recovered from the disease. However, these people still live in villages isolated in remote areas because of the long-lasting discrimination against the the disease. In many villages people do not have an access to clean water and electricity, and live in very difficult conditions. They earn between nothing and $50 per month from the government. Like the poor farming villages they remain outside of China’s recent visable economic growth.”

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