Entry Title: "Red Fragments "
Name: Jian Gao , United States
Category and Expertise: Deeper Perspective, Student
Entry Description: Red Fragments— is a long-term project that shows Chinese culture and Chinese living conditions in several symbolic Chinese cities through a personal visual journal. My goal is to capture the values, traditions and rituals of Chinese culture in these cities to mirror the reality that China is going through a transition. I hope that my images can draw interest from people who want to know more about today’s China.
Story: Red Fragments— is a long-term project that shows Chinese culture and Chinese living conditions in several symbolic Chinese cities through a personal visual journal. For the past two years, I have been travelling to cities like Shantou, Chongqing, Kashgar, Beijing, and Shanghai to photograph life in the streets of mainly the first, second and third generation of Chinese families. My goal is to capture the values, traditions and rituals of Chinese culture in these cities to mirror the reality that China is going through a transition. Working on this project is quite meaningful both for my country and myself, and I hope that my images can draw interest from people who want to know more about today’s China.
I travelled through nine symbolic cities from the northeast to the extreme far west of China on my own. Before I started this project, I intended to capture some positive changes. After beginning my project, I found things were not what I had thought. I threw myself into a freer way of photographing what I was interested in and what I wanted to show to the world. I focused on the contemporary social issues during my trip, such as the aging tourism issue- a rapidly increasing number of Chinese people who are eager to explore their country more than ever before. Construction sites issue- real estate is the main investment strategy of the Chinese, and at the same time it brings problems to the construction workers who can not get paid after they work, usually a few months later. The price of homes grows tremendously, and the gap between rich and poor becomes even larger. Migration issues in China are a widely discussed topic currently. Every year, large numbers of people who live in poor rural areas move to cities to purse better lives.
China is growing rapidly in terms of economy, and at the same time, developments bring negative effects. My purpose is to reveal what I see, what I feel, and what I want the world to see of contemporary China. I enjoy photographing in a thematic way, which I think is quite suitable to my photographic style.
Red not only refers to the Communist Party, but also traditional Chinese culture. Fragments refers to my photographic contents, they are not a specific narrative story, and can be regarded as fragments. By putting these fragments together, I feel like the audience can feel what is going on in today’s China. I want my viewers to think about the images for a while, and ask themselves questions, which are related to my work. I am not trying to judge what I saw in my viewfinder, I am trying to simply show those who are interested, what is going on in another corner of this world.
Currently, I am still working on this project, and I will be back China in August 2013 to continue this project.