Welcome to the Jing is a photobook project shot by French photographer Laurent Hou between 2013 and 2017. Hou, who’s based in Morocco, took the photos during his last few years living in Beijing, when he got to witness a special moment in the city’s history: after the Olympics and before the citywide demolition of illegal buildings that began in 2017, Hou snapped around 100,000 shots, mostly of quirky people and happenings inside the city center.
《Welcome to the Jing》（《京城欢迎你》）是始于 2013 年，止于 2017 年的摄影书项目。摄影师是来自法国的 Laurent Hou，目前生活在摩洛哥。这个项目创作于他在京生活的后几年，却正好见证了北京历史上的一个特殊时刻：在奥运会之后，在 2017 年开始的“全城拆违”前。Laurent 的镜头对准了北京三环内的人物和景色，按下了约 10 万次快门。
“Although central Beijing is already overphotographed, this project brings a different vision,” says Hou. “Other series focus either on the traditional aspects of the hutongs or the modern architecture in the business district. And pictures aren’t merely a description of Beijing, because the photographer’s vision plays a crucial role.”
“虽然人们可能会认为，北京市中心已经被拍滥了，但这个项目带来了与所有系列照片不同的视角。” Laurent 如此说道，“这些照片要么侧重于胡同的纯粹传统方面，要么侧重于中央商务区的现代建筑方面。且图片并不仅仅是对北京的描述，因为摄影者的视野发挥着至关重要的作用。”
Hou has chosen to make a photo book of the series because he thinks that’s the best way to present the work. He hopes to publish it soon. “The recurring motifs, the variety of the subjects, the tangle of different narratives, and the quantity of pictures called for a book rather than an exhibition of 20-30 pictures,” he explains. “The book form is also more intimate, and turning the pages mirrors the act of walking through the city. I want readers to look at the stream of pictures as if they were wandering the streets of Beijing and running into all these quirky situations.”
而之所以用摄影书的形式，则是展示这些作品最有趣的方式之一，Laurent 希望能早点看到它出版成册。“反复出现的话题，主题的多样性，不同叙事的纠缠，以及图片的数量，都要求制作一本书，而不是做个 20-30 幅图片的展览。书的形式更为贴切，翻页反映了在城市中行走的模样。我想让读者看到一连串的图片，就能联想到自己在北京的街道上漫步，遇到所有这些有趣或离奇的情况。”
Since he started the project, almost six years have gone by. Hou says his vision for the project didn’t come into focus until long after he’d been taking pictures of his surroundings. Only once he made some preliminary selections did it start to take shape. “The vision developed during those six years, which was also a period when I learned a lot about photography,” he says. “And I don’t mean the technique, I mean getting to know the works of great photographers, emerging photographers—understanding different styles and trends, thinking about authorship in photography and the meaning of the photobook as a form.”