In the last decade there has been a major reappraisal of the role and status of the photobook within the history of photography. Newly revised histories of photography as recorded via the photobook have added enormously to our understanding of the medium's culture, particularly in places that are often marginalized, such as Latin America and Africa. However, until now, only a handful of Chinese books have made it onto historians' short lists. Yet China has a fascinating history of photobook publishing, and "The Chinese Photobook" will reveal for the first time the richness and diversity of this heritage. This volume is based on a collection compiled by Martin Parr and Beijing- and London-based Dutch photographer team WassinkLundgren. And while the collection was inspired initially by Parr's interest in propaganda books and in finding key works of socialist realist photography from the early days of the Communist Party and the Cultural Revolution era, the selection of books includes key volumes published as early as 1900, as well as contemporary volumes by emerging Chinese photographers. Each featured photobook offers a new perspective on the complicated history of China from the twentieth century onward. "The Chinese Photobook" embodies an unprecedented amount of research and scholarship in this area, and includes accompanying texts and individual title descriptions by Gu Zheng, Raymond Lum, Ruben Lundgren, Stephanie H. Tung and Gerry Badger.
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Martin Parr is a key figure in the world of photography, recognized as a brilliant satirist of contemporary life. He has published over seventy photobooks of his photographs, including The Non-Conformists (Aperture, 2013), Black Country Stories (2014), and We Love Britain (2014). His work is also in the collections of museums worldwide, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; and Tate Modern, London. Parr is a member of Magnum Photos.
WassinkLundgren is a collaboration between Dutch photographers Thijs groot Wassink (1981) and Ruben Lundgren (1983), who live and work, respectively, in London and Beijing. Their works have been exhibited in museums worldwide and they are the recipients of numerous awards, including the China Academy Award in 2010 and the Prix du Livre at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2007 for their publication Empty Bottles. Their photography and film projects shift mundane, often unnoticeable, everyday occurrences into visually compelling and gently amusing observations of the world around us.
Gu Zheng is a photographer, critic, historian, curator, and associate professor in the School of Journalism at Fudan University, Shanghai. He also serves as vice-director of that university’s Research Center for Visual Culture.
Raymond Lum recently retired as librarian for the Western Languages Collection at Harvard- Yenching Library, where he also served as Curator of Historic Photographs. He is currently the book review editor for the online scholarly journal Trans-Asia Photography Review.
Stephanie H. Tung is a PhD candidate at Princeton University. Prior to her studies at Princeton, she worked as a translator and junior curator for the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing. She is currently based in Shanghai as a Fulbright Scholar.
Gerry Badger is a critic, architect, curator, and photographer. His published books include The Genius of Photography (2007); The Pleasures of Good Photographs (2010); and The Photobook: A History, volumes I–III, coauthored with Martin Parr.
An ambitious survey of China's rich and diverse history of photobooks represents a turning point in narrowing the comprehension gap between East and West.--Maurice Berger"The New York Times, Lens" (07/30/2015)
The photobook, the show proposes, offers a vernacular story of art, untold by academics and art historians.--Noelle Bodick"Art Info" (02/26/2015)
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