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Amanda Mustard November 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Cheng Yun, 75th Anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. Nanjing, China 2012

Amanda Mustard (b. 1990, USA) is a freelance photojournalist based in Cairo. Born and raised on a Pennsylvania Christmas tree farm, she has worked on stories in Mid-East, China, and across Southeast Asia for Redux Pictures, Wonderful Machine, ZUMA Press, and Polaris Images. Amanda is a member of the Kōan Collective, Makeshift Magazine Editorial Board, and the Frontline Freelance Register Board. In 2013, she attended the New York Times Portfolio Review, Eddie Adams Workshop XXVI, and RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) Training. She is one of Photo Boite and the Telegraph’s 30 Under 30 Women Photographers for 2014.

About the Photograph:

“This is a portrait of Cheng Yun, a 92 year old survivor of the 1937-38 Japanese invasion of China’s then-capital of Nanjing. In 2012, I began a Kickstarter-funded project to track down the few remaining survivors of the ‘Rape of Nanjing’, the 6-week occupation that claimed the lives of over 350,000 civilians, 80,000 of which were brutally raped. Cheng sat on his bed in an icy one-room flat in a slum that was, ironically, across the street from the multi-million dollar Nanjing Massacre Memorial complex. Surrounded by photos of his days as a military man in the Nationalist Army of the Republic of China, he divulged the true story of his past, only after learning that my good friend and translator’s grandfather escaped to Hong Kong when the Communist party took power. Unable to escape to Taiwan with his comrades, his subsequent refusal to tow the new party line landed him in a reeducation camp for eight years, and his pension and military merit were stripped from him. Today, he’s paraded as a ‘war hero’ by the party, but agrees to the public showings out of respect to the past, and in the hope he could somehow restore his standing.”

“Cheng took a risk that gave a whole new meaning to the project I had come to work on. Publishing his candid account of the current party’s faults could have had dire effects on him and his nephew, who was his only remaining family member and full time caretaker. In the meantime, I shared Cheng’s story with my Facebook friends and Kickstarter backers, asking for donations that could be given directly to him to help with his living costs and medical bills. In less than 24 hours, we received $1,100. Two years later, I found news that he had passed quietly in his sleep. Media reports surrounding his death are surreal, tailoring, omitting, and editing his statements to the point where his last words aren’t consistent. His suffering will never be easy for me to accept, but his perseverance and devotion to justice and the truth is something I will always carry with me both personally and as a journalist.”

Jian Gao October 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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From the project ‘Red Fragments’ Chongqing.  2012

Jian Gao (b. 1987, PRC) is a social documentary photographer and staff member at Magnum Photos in New York. In 2012, he worked on a project- Red Fragments, traveling over ten thousand miles from northeastern China to the extremely far west  exploring social issues caused by Chinese government policies and their environmental impact. Jian is an alumnus of Eddie Adams Workshop and was nominated for World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2014. His work has been published in National Geographic, PDN, Communication Arts and  L’ Oeil de la Photographie. His work has been shown at The Municipal Museum, Malaga, Spain. World Affairs Council, San Francisco and DUMBO Arts Festival, New York.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of my long term project- Red Fragments, about Chinese culture and Chinese living conditions in several symbolic Chinese cities through a personal visual journal.  My goal was to capture the values, traditions and rituals of Chinese culture in these cities to mirror the reality that China is going through a the present time. I traveled through nine symbolic cities from the northeast to the extreme far west of China in this over ten thousand mile journey and focused on contemporary social issues such as the burgeoning tourism market rapidly increasing as the number of Chinese people who are eager to explore their country more than ever before. Real estate and construction are the main investment strategies of recent Chinese entrepreneurs, and at the same time it brings problems to the construction workers who cannot get paid immediately after they work. The price of homes is growing tremendously, and the gap between rich and poor is becoming even larger.”

“I took this photo in Chao Tian Men dock in Chongqing. The Yangtze River has a special meaning for most Chinese mainly because it serves as one of the mother rivers in the mainland. For me, it’s always connected to the Three Gorges Dam in some way. This huge water system project that drove so many people to move to other places and restart their lives. Newly built apartments are becoming more and more popular which indicates that the gap between rich and poor is getting larger and larger. I visited the same place five times while I was in Chongqing for around two weeks and was always drawn by the sadly romantic feeling of the Yangtze when I came across this man who was watching a kite.”

Matthew Niederhauser September 15, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Ai Weiwei poses in front of his studio with one of his cats. Beijing 2012

Matthew Niederhauser’s (b.1982, USA) interest in Asia and photography emerged in high school with Mandarin courses and late nights in the darkroom. His  photography covering youth culture and urban development in China has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic, Wired, Stern, Guardian, The New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, Foreign Policy, and TIME His first monograph Sound Kapital delved into Beijing’s underground music scene through portraiture and concert photography. Otherwise he continues to concentrate on two projects entitled Kapital Creation and Counterfeit Paradises that explore harmonious cities and emerging consumer trends across China. Matthew earned his MFA in Art Practice through the School of Visual Arts which allowed him to continue his studies while remaining in the Middle Kingdom.

About the Photograph:

“I was very familiar with Ai Weiwei’s oeuvre before taking his portrait. A number of my friends work in his studio, and as an avid China watcher, I stay on top of his new creations and tangles with the Chinese Communist Party. He is always popping up in the news. This definitely put a little pressure on me before the shoot. I really admire how he holds himself and wanted to capture something that would stand out from his other portraits. Plus, I generally work in the moment, so I had to suss everything out in the hour allotted to me at his studio. Working with him ended up being a breeze, though. I spent about twenty minutes scouting the grounds before positioning him in various locations. I let him assume his own poses and offered suggestions occasionally. The only oddity was that Ai Weiwei enjoys taking photographs of photographers as they take his portrait. A number of my shots are of him with his iPhone trained on me. It became a bit of a game of cat and mouse as we took pictures of each other. This portrait was one of the last ones I took that morning. I wanted to capture him with one of the many cats that hang around his studio. I choose an orange kitten since it set off the teal of Ai Weiwei’s front gate so well. There was a tense moment when I didn’t think the kitten was going to cooperate, but it finally glanced back allowing me to get a few frames with everything melding together.”

William Eckersley February 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Boy playing, Chengdu Airport, China 2011

William Eckersley (b.1980, England) is a London-based photographer who studied at The London College of Communication and St. Martins, and recently began an MA at Westminster. His projects include Left London (2006), a review of derelict sites around his home city; U.S. 80 (2010), which focused on the landscapes and people surrounding America’s first coast-to-coast highway and Orwell (2012), which traces some of the locations of the renowned author’s life. His work has been published in The Guardian, The Telegraph and Creative Review as well as being held in the Nike and Sir Elton John collections.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken while in China filming a documentary on AIDS. Attitudes have now changed but many sufferers, as well as doctors, recalled traumatic early experiences in trying to get official recognition and help from the state. I shot a personal essay as we traveled the country with these thoughts in mind. The photos found a parallel with how people and nature were often struggling against the voracious, state-sponsored growth of the built environment. This image is of a young boy playing in the constructed pastiche of a traditional, rural landscape – euphemistically labelled as Home. He saw nothing unusual in the scene, a place to enjoy and explore; but I wondered how his parents nearby felt. Were they from a small village in the Szechuan hills? Had it, like many others, been demolished for urban expansion? Did they recognize the artifice in the modern environment their son now thought of as home?

Jonathan Browning January 16, 2014

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Tiananmen Square, Beijing 2013

Jonathan Browning (b.1983, England) earned a degree in Photojournalism from the University of South Wales in 2005. Two years later Jonathan went to China on an adventure and he has remained there ever since. He freelances for several clients including: Der Spiegel, Foreign Policy Magazine, The Australian, Financial Times and Harvard University. His work has been exhibited at the Host Gallery FOTO8 Summer show, London, Artisty Gallery, Shanghai and the AM Gallery, Brighton. Jonathan is based in Shanghai and  travels frequently throughout China documenting the massive social changes and economic growth the country has experienced during the last ten years.

About the Photograph:

“This image was shot for a story about pollution in China for Der Spiegel. It  was for the opener and I had been tasked with getting something a bit more original than just traffic jams and smog on Beijing’s ring roads. This was my second visit to the square at dawn, the previous day not resulting in a stand-out scene. For me, the daily flag raising ceremony is one of the must see’s in Beijing. It’s held at Tiananmen Square at daybreak and coupled with thick smog and the flood of red light from the large LED screens it makes for a dark and authoritarian space. I was lucky that all of the children and adults in the image wearing face masks. The assignment was in early 2013 when China suffered from particularly bad air pollution, especially in the capital where the levels of PM 2.5 were between 400 – 800. According to the World Health Organization, anything above 300 is considered hazardous.”

Go Takayama August 12, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Kyrgyz- Chinese family. One Year Death Anniversary of their Child.  Xinjiang, China 2012

Go Takayama (b.1982, Japan) grew up in Japan and spent most of his twenties in U.S.A. Over the past three years, he has been pursuing his own ethnic passion working on several personal projects in China. Go received a BA in visual communication and political science in 2008 from Ohio University. He attended Truth With a Camera Workshop (2007), American Diversity Project (2008), Missouri Photo Workshop (2009), Angkor Photo Workshop (2010), and the Eddie Adams Workshop (2011). He received Best of American Society of Media Photographer in 2012. His work has appeared in Prestige Hong Kong, ElleMEN, Aera, Casa Brutus and the Wall Street Journal.

About the photograph:

“This photograph was taken on the first day I met an ethnic Kyrgyz Chinese family, now the subject of my first series of The Edge, about the resettlement and urbanizing community as a result of the completion of the Kayi Expressway in Xinjiang Autonomous region of China. The parents of the family are retired nomads. Now only three out of six of their children carry on a nomadic life up in the mountains. When I arrived and saw their mud-and-thatch house, the family was having the first annual anniversary for their lost son, who died of poor health at only six years of age. The family members and their relatives were visiting the lost son’s grave as they cleaned and prepared a meal. The Kyrgyz Chinese are one of the Islamic minorities in China and transforming generations from nomadic herdsmen to fixed community residents. This is an on-going project to observe the changes imposed as their new town urbanizes after China’s completion of the world’s largest highway network.”

How Hwee Young February 8, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China, Mongolia.
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Shaman brothers, Ulan Bator, Mongolia 2012

How Hwee Young (b. 1978, Singapore) joined The Straits Times in 2001 as one of the few female photojournalists. In 2004 she joined the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) to cover Singapore and Southeast Asia until relocating to Beijing in 2010. She is primarily drawn to covering events involving the human condition like the 2004 Asian Tsunami or the 2009 Indonesian Padang Earthquake. She earned an Award of Excellence by Communication Arts 46th Annual photography exhibition in 2005 for her work on the Asian Tsunami. Her photographs have been published in: The International Herald Tribune, LA Times, The Sydney Herald, The Telegraph, New York Times, TIME magazine, Der Spiegel, and GEO Magazine among others. Young is based in Beijing.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of a series about a pair of Shaman brothers in Ulan Bator, Mongolia as they prepare to talk to me about their Shamanistic lives. Shamans are priests or mediums that act as vessels for spirits, gods and demons to communicate with the human world. In Mongolia, they adhere to the ancient beliefs of Tengrism, where spirits live in all of nature, in the sun, moon, lakes, rivers, mountains, and trees. This ancient faith predominated the land in the 13th century during the time of Genghis Khan or Chinggis Khan but was brutally suppressed under decades of communist rule from 1924 to 1990. Lately, this ancestor worship has seen a resurgence, as many sought to fill a spiritual void in a fast-urbanized landscape dominated by the burgeoning mining industry.”

 “Gankhuyag and his brother Batgerel became Shamans only two years ago where before they were only ordinary construction workers. Illnesses and misfortunes plague them and their family members, causing them to seek the advice of a Shaman. It was revealed then that they had been chosen by spirits to serve as Shamans. Only by doing so will their lives improve and avoid further miseries. Batgerel said ‘When I first heard that I have been chosen to receive the spirits, I did not believe it and was angry and ignored the calling. But my life became worse and I began to believe. After receiving the spirits, my life and health became better and now I live in happiness. I am very thankful to the spirits and this way of life’. The two brothers do not charge a specific amount for their Shamanic services which range from channeling advice from spirits to ‘curing’ diseases. Worshippers are asked to donate any amount they please. However, they warned that not all Shamans are genuine and many fake it for the money. For Gankhuyag and Batgerel, living with the spirits and their rituals, celebrating a connection to nature unique to their culture, is a way of life in the vast changing grasslands of Mongolia.”

Fabian Weiss November 19, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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From a project about the gay community in Beijing, 2011

Fabian Weiss (b. 1986, Germany) received his undergraduate degree in journalism and diploma in photography in Vienna. In 2011 he moved to Denmark for a workshop based course in  Advanced Visual Storytelling and 2012 to London for the postgraduate program Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. His work has recently been recognized internationally by Getty Images, the Lucie Foundation, the Ian Parry Award, the Pride Photo Award and the Austrian Press Award. His photo series have been featured in different media including Sunday Times Magazine, Private Photo Review, Photojournale and Le Journal de la Photographie and has been exhibited in the Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Fabian is currently based in London.

About the Photograph:

“During my stay in Beijing documenting the habits of finding love in modern China, I came across a strong community of lesbian women, living their sexuality relatively secretive under the public radar. I spent one month following four lesbian women and met Xi, a 21 year old bisexual woman from Beijing, belonging to China’s rebellious post 90s’ generation. On one arm, she has tattooed Maria as symbol of the mother, who still plays the most important role in a Chinese family. On the other arm, she has incised her nickname – Vner – with a razor blade. Even though she is more open about her sexual orientation, being lesbian or bisexual still signifies harsh living conditions in modern China. Expectations of marriage towards a generation of single descendants are now stronger than ever and support for homosexuals is widely lacking. Xi is dating a lesbian at the moment, but to please her mother she will probably get married to a straight guy.”

Daniele Mattioli March 19, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Chongqing, China 2007

Daniele Mattioli (b.1964, Italy) is a self taught photographer who began his career in Asia and Australia where he was based for five years. Since 2000 he began focusing on China and has since relocated to Shanghai for the past seven years. He is represented by the Anzenberger Agency and his reportage on Chongqing was featured in the book East edited in 2008. His photos from Shanghai were included in Inside China produced by the National Geographic and in Shanghai: a History in Photographs, 1842 – Today published by Penguin. His editorial clients include: The New York Times, National Geographic, Newsweek, Vanity Fair Germany, Marie Claire, GQ, Amica, Focus, Brigitte (Germany), Panorama, Corriere Magazine among many others.

About the Photograph:

“I made this photo of office workers in downtown Chongqing jogging during a break from work. Chongqing is considered the largest mega-city in the world. Endless suburbs, speckled with fallow land of concrete. Chongqing is intended to adopt its share of the 150 million Chinese who are part of the economic giant’s largest rural exodus in history. My approach to photography has always been graphic, interested in people in their environmental, to translate society into colors, shadows, graphic elements. Photographing in China is very difficult, rarely can you see truth photojournalism here. Most of the foreigners who visit are following western editorial needs: the same stories over and over. Living here, I see the complexity of a such vast country. China is like an onion for me with many layers, each time you remove a layer tears come down.”

Philip Gostelow February 16, 2012

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From the Series: Shanghai Zeitgeist, China 2005

Philip Gostelow (1962, Australia) has worked with some of the world’s leading magazines including TIME, The Independent on Sunday Review, Figaro and Conde Nast Traveler – while shooting for corporate clients including HSBC and RBS. His photographs has been honored with awards in Australia and exhibited internationally  at the  Noorderlicht Photo Festival. His project Visible, Now – The Fragility of Childhood was published as an e-book in 2006 and his Black Christmas Bushfire Series (2001) is in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. In addition to photography, Philip has written articles for Cathay’s Discovery, South China Morning Post and The Australian Financial Review, and is currently involved in the production of short film and documentary projects. He is currently based in Shanghai.

About the Photographs:

“These couple images are from my first series on Shanghai. It was also my last time using the beautiful square format of my beloved Hassleblad. I’d never been drawn to China – either culturally or geographically, though on this trip to Shanghai I was fascinated at its vastness and it’s somewhat over wrought attachment to Western style and materialism. The bicyclist caught struggling across an intersection just north of the Suzhou Creek in the Hongkou district, a hodgepodge of traffic and the city’s high-rise looming in the distance, epitomizes Shanghai’s frantic energy and development. The gyrating retiree on the Bund engaging in his early morning exercises shows that, for the moment at least, not all ritual and tradition has been lost to the headlong rush to modernize and develop.”

Andrew McConnell January 2, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Guangzhou’s main Square, China

Andrew McConnell (b. 1977, Ireland) began his photographic career in Belfast, working as a press photographer during the closing stages of “The Troubles” in the north of Ireland and the transition to peace. Since then he has worked on stories worldwide including the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, e-waste in Ghana, surfing in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara. McConnell is a double World Press Photo Award winner and a recipient of the NPPA Best of Photojournalism Best of Show Award, his images have appeared in the many of the world’s top publications.

About the Photograph:

“The image was taken in Guangzhou’s Railway Station Square, in China, and even for the most populated country in the world this place was busy. It always seemed to be thronged with at least a few thousand people and whether they were coming or going it was hard to tell. At regular spacings these Chinese soldiers kept watch over the public, always standing in threes, two looking forward one looking back. Their faces were grave and expressionless and it was obvious they wouldn’t be agreeing to any photographs. So I walked up to these three and made one frame before they exploded in angry condemnation of my act, I held my hands up, made my excuses, and left quietly.”

Gilles Sabrié August 5, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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From the Series “Mingongs”  Beijing 2005

Gilles Sabrié (b. 1964, France) is an independent photographer based in Beijing. After years working in television, he switched careers to embrace documentary photography. Since then, he has focused on documenting social changes in China where he settled three years ago. Besides documenting major events such as the Beijing Olympics, and the Sichuan earthquake, Gilles has produced several stories such as 175 Meters (about the Three Gorges Dam) and the traveling opera. He has contributed to National Geographic’s “Inside China”, “9 days in the Kingdom” celebrating Thailand, and is the author of the web documentary Zhang, une jeunesse Chinoise for the French  broadcaster France 5. His work has been published in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Focus and L’Espresso. He is a regular contributor to the French daily Libération and runs a photo blog Un oeil sur la Chine.

About the Photograph:

“This picture is part of a series I did on the migrant-workers, the millions of people who migrate each year from the impoverished Chinese countryside to urban centers in search of a better life. The image was taken in a phone shop in a suburb of Beijing where low rent shacks are home to hundreds of them. A group of migrant workers on the phone and lining up to call relatives back home hundreds of miles away, where perhaps they will return to visit once a year at most.”

Stefano De Luigi July 15, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China, Tibet.
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Qinghai Province, China 2009

Stefano De Luigi (b. 1964, Italy) is a contributor to international magazines including Stern, Paris Match, Le Monde Magazine, Newsweek and The New Yorker. His long term projects include “Pornoland” (winner of the Marco Bastianelli Prize in 2005) and “Blanco,” visions of blindness, published by Trolley in 2010. Blanco has been produced with support from World Health Organization, Vision 2020 and the 2007 W.E. Smith Fellowship. In 2006, he started a new project called “Cinema Mundi,” which was transformed into a seven minute short film that screened at the Locarno International Film Festival. Stefano has won the World Press Photo three times in different categories (1998, 2007, 2009), the Moving Walls of Soros Foundation in 2009 and Days Japan International Photojournalism Award 2010, Getty Grant for editorial photography 2010. Since 2008 is represented by VII/Network.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was was taken on the road along Koko Nor lake known in China as Qinghai Hu in the Qinghai Province. I was traveling from Bejing to Lhasa on a reportage about the ‘sky train’ and wanted to stop in Xining, the town that is the door to the Tibetan Plateau. This lake is considered sacred by Tibetans and is the largest lake without a river outlet in central Asia. It’s 3,200 meter above sea level and very cold and windy. When I saw this car on top of the pole I was quite amused that in a place like this somebody could have an idea to advertise his own business in a such strange way. My interpreter explained that the car was put as a warning. There are traces of false blood all around the car to alert drivers of the many car accidents that occur on the highway.”

Ferit Kuyas July 1, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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“Chinese Smokers” Chongqing, China 2005

Ferit Kuyas (b. 1955, Turkey) studied architecture and law in Switzerland and graduated in jurisprudence from the University of Zurich in 1982. Working mainly on personal projects, he published several books. After visiting Shanghai for commissioned work, Ferit’s travels brought him often back to China. His most recent body of work is City of Ambition with large cityscape’s from the megalopolis Chongqing, China published in October 2009. Ferit’s photographs have been shown in museums, galleries and festivals in Europe, America and Asia. His work is represented in private, corporate and public collections in the United States, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Turkey. He received a number of awards, among them the Kodak Photobook-Award, the Guatephoto Award and the Hasselblad Masters.

About the Photograph:

“In 2005 I started photographing the City of Ambition project. I used a 4×5 camera on a tripod. Sometimes there was waiting involved when making a photograph. I often walked around and looked for interesting artifacts on the ground. Doing this I discovered Chinese cigarette packages. They were everywhere and looked very beautiful. I found them in all conditions: mint, crushed, withered, etc. One day after lunch I found an interesting pack on the road in front of the restaurant Tang Sifu (Soup Master) in Chongching.  The man in the photo interfered by saying: ‘Don’t photograph that one, it is dirty. Photograph my fresh pack of cigarettes.’ I told him that I would love to but only if I could portray him together with his pack of cigarettes. At first he didn’t want to but I convinced him saying that I would position him in front of the characters of Sifu, which has a very positive meaning in Chinese. The picture you selected is the initial photograph of what later became the Chinese Smokers series.”

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