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Daniel Traub April 19, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Guangzhou, China 2012

Daniel Traub (b. 1971) is a Brooklyn based photographer and filmmaker. Since 1999, he has been engaged with long term photographic projects in China including Simplified Characters which explores the transformation of China’s cities, and Peripheries which looks at the border region where urban and rural China meet. Daniel’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, the Print Center in Philadelphia, and are in public and private collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has appeared in publications including Aperture, European Photography and The New York Times Magazine. His first monograph, North Philadelphia, was published in 2014 by Kehrer Verlag.

About the Photograph:

“Xiaobeilu is a immigrant neighborhood in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. It is home to internal Chinese migrants as well as tens of thousands of Africans, primarily Nigerians. The Africans, in particular, work largely as traders buying fabrics, electronics and machinery produced in the Pearl River Delta, and selling these products in Africa. Since 2009, I have been photographing the people and activities on a pedestrian bridge that runs through the neighborhood.

“On this bridge, I also came across a group of Chinese migrants with cheap digital cameras selling their services as photographers to Africans who might want a souvenir of their time in China. The Africans would hire them to make a portrait for 10 RMB ($1.50), which were then printed on a portable printer. I approached one of the photographers, Zeng Xian Fang, to have a look at the images and found them compelling. Zeng was taking the photographs purely as a means of survival, he would erase the camera’s memory cards at the end of each day. So I asked Zeng, and later  another photographer Wu Yong Fu, if they would be willing to allow me to collect the images and put them together in book form. They agreed so I bought them both portable hard drives. To date, I have collected over ten thousand of their images. The project as a whole, which consists of my photographs, the collected images and a film, offers insight into the complex and deepening relationship between China and Africa. Little North Road will be published in Fall 2015.”