Zhang Xiao started his journey from 2009-2013 along the coastline of China. China has long coastline which from the mouth of Yalu river in Liaoning province in the northern to the mouth of Beilun river in Guangxi province in the southern. Totally, it is continuous eighteen thousands kilometers. There are great changes every day in China since it began opening up 30 years ago. The cities are like big construction sites speeding their construction pace to catch up with the rest of the world. All of this appears particularly outstanding in China’s coastal areas. A multitude of countrymen leave their native place to go there. Urbanization drive continually accelerate growth while people’s spiritual life stay.
In China, every year hundreds of millions of people find work in other places. During the Spring Festival, hundreds of millions of people return home during a very short time, so the whole family can be reunited. They come from everywhere, North to South, East to West. People often lose their way during this process, losing the feeling of a real home. Lacking a sense of belonging, perhaps this is a symptom of being Chinese during this time.
Zhang Xiao was born in 1981 in Yantai, Shandong province. He now lives in Chengdu, Sichuan province. He won Houdengke Documentary Photography Award (China) in 2009, won Three Shadows Photography Award (China) in 2010, won The Photography Talent Award (France) in 2010, won MIO Photo Award (Japan) 2011, won The PRIX HSBC POUR LA PHOTOGRAPHIE (France) 2011.
“Carefully and quietly, Zhang Kechun waits for the history itself coming in his view. His pictures are so calm that there’s no arrogant human or angry river. Everything goes to quietness, which is actually enduring power.”
—— Ou Ning (Curator, Art Critic)
In late June, Jiazazhi Press released “The Yellow River”, a poetic photobook created by Zhang Kechun. The Yellow River, known as “the cradle of Chinese civilization”, is the longest waterway in China. Inspired by the series “Sleeping by the Mississippi” taken by Magnum photographer Alec Soth, Zhang Kechun start “The Yellow River” project from 2010.
Carried a Linholf 4*5 camera on his back, Zhang walked more than ten times upstream westward from the estuary of the river, through Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Inner Mogolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Sichuan, heading to the river source near the Bayan Har Mountain in Qinhai. As Zhang said: “While along the way, the river from my mind was inundated by the stream of reality. The river, which once was full of legends, had gone and disappeared. This is kind of my profound pessimism. Nevertheless, as a vast country with a long history, its future is always bright. There is a descent in the matrix; there is her own nutrition to feed her babies; there is the power of creation to cultivate them strongly. The weak moaning finally will be drowned by the shout for joy. From this point of view, it seems, all shall be optimistic.
Zhang Kechun, born in 1980 in Sichuan Province. He currently lives and works in Chengdu. He won the National Geographic Picks Global Prize in 2008, was nominated by Three Shadow Photo Award in 2012, nominated by Sony World Photography Awards in 2012 and 2013, nominated by the Prix HSBC Pour la Photographie 2014.His works were exhibited on 2012 CAFAM-Future Exhibition, 2013 Beijing Photo Biennial, 2013 PHOTOQUAI World Photography Biennale, 2014 Arles Photo Festival, 2014 Beijing +3 Gallery solo exhibition.
Two years ago while I was planning to contribute an article for Art Bank, which introduce Chinese photographers who took their hometown as the theme. Through a friend’s recommendation, I started to get to know about Muge’s set of work called ‘Going Home’. The photographic language his work gives out deeply touched me. In 2014, Going home was published by JiaZazhi Press and came back into the sight of the audience. Going Home is Muge’s photographic work from his route home, also around the cities and villages near Three Gorges Dam. In this piece of work, everyone, including a single woman, a single man, couples even an object, has a quiet but enormous power.
Muge was born and raised in Chongqing, China and now he lives and works in Chengdu. He graduated from Sichuan Normal University with a degree in Broadcasting and Television Directing, and been working as photographer, photo editor and lecturer after graduation.
Muge’s work titled Going Home is perhaps the most autobiographical series. Muge has an unique point of view. Unlike the hundreds of western photographers who have tried to represent the region, Muge drifts through the city and countryside mapping people and place, he can relate directly to the dislocated people of the Three Gorges region along the banks of the Yangtze River, because it is where he has spent all his life. Chinese people respond differently to a westerner with a camera but Muge can pass unnoticed or at least his presence does not cause a local reaction. He is able to look people in the eye on literally level terms, in so many ways he is part of the people he represents.
– Louise Clements, Art Director of FORMAT Photography Festival
Going Home | Photography by Muge
Jiazazhi press (JZZP), is a small publisher based in Beijing, devoting to publishing / distributing books of small edition for Chinese photographers and artists.