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Jian Gao October 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.

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.”