Under the summer sun, the vibrance of youth colors in the world around us. For adults even, the summer might bring to mind a time when we felt most ourselves. But youth, like summers, are unfortunately ephemeral. Thankfully, with the ubiquity of cameras, these fleeting moments of youth can now be made to last.
This edition of Neocha Select looks at five Chinese photographers whose images offer unique takes on youthhood. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but these are photographers who we think are providing a fresh perspective on what it means to be young and Chinese in modern times.
进入八月的盛夏季节，激烈的日光让我们内心变得火辣，属于青春的那一抹亮色也变得愈加出彩。但究竟要怎样的色彩才够青春，相信一万个人有一万个答案。回忆起来，或许那些真正自我的瞬间，才拼凑出我们记忆中关于青春的乐园。手中的相机帮我们留住了一切，留住了当时的感觉。为庆祝这一美妙的季节，本期 Neocha 以 “青春” 为名，向你推荐五位国内摄影师。要说明的是，这绝不是一个详尽的名单，不过他们的镜头将为你带来极具独特的见解，一起来看看！
“When there are people and objects, there will be sex.”
223 is the badge number of the lovelorn cop in Chungking Express. It’s also Chinese photographer Lin Zhipeng‘s artist moniker. Though he claims there’s no connection to the film, his work exudes a sense of poeticism that evokes Wong Kar-Wai at his best. Lin’s work, however, is a lot more risque. Through his lens, young nude bodies tell stories of desire and intimacy. He claims that the sexuality of his photographs is unintentional, but it can at times feel like a passive-aggressive retaliation against the conservative nature of China. His work encourages the youth to be proud of their bodies and shed the taboos that have been instilled by the country’s traditional values.
“I want to capture the diversity and beauty of youth.”
Bold colors and golden sunlight are recurring motifs in the photography of Ma Hailun. Her body of work is a celebration of the beautiful vistas, palettes, and people of Xinjiang. Through her lens, she blends traditions with modernity, erecting a bridge that closes the cultural gap between different generations of viewers.
“It’s something tangible that you can keep with you.”
The internet has perpetuated lopsided beauty standards, bred bigotry, and furthered patriarchal ways of thinking. For all of our advancements, society still hasn’t quite released women from the shackles of traditions. Luo Yang, who’s been photographing female youth for the past decade, has experienced the different turmoils of being a young woman in China and unflinchingly addresses it in her work. The girls she captures are multifaceted, empowered, and fearless. With her photography, she distills the essence of femininity into a visual format.
互联网片面的审美趋同、传统的偏执与迂腐、男性的刻板印象……或许当今社会还需要为女孩们打开更多枷锁，亦会更加自我地翱翔在天空。从罗洋最早开始拍摄 “中国女孩” 这个主题，已经过去十余年的时间。而作为一位女摄影师，罗洋对女孩的内心有太多共鸣。镜头下的女孩是多元的、独立的、无所畏惧的……一切好像都在自然而然的时机下按下快门，一切都是真诚的。罗洋希望用胶片留住这份女性的真我，打造每一位女孩子自信的名片。
“Trust me. You need to experience it yourself.”
Brakeless and fearless, there are squads of young bikers who’ve laid claim to the concrete expanses of major cities. They’re fixie riders. In Beijing, photographer Hou Zitong‘s interest in both photography and fixed-gear culture has culminated in a body of work that looks at young, Chinese riders who long to be free. Through panned motion blur flicks, he presents a dynamic body of work that captures the surging speed of young Chinese fixie lovers.
城市中有这样一群年轻人，他们骑着没有手刹的自行车，凭借握把与踏板间联动的力量，飞速穿越大小街道。这种叛逆的自行车构造起名为 “死飞”（Fixed Gear）。北京摄影师侯子通便是一位狂热的死飞车手，但他接触摄影时要更早一些。专注于自行车文化多年，让他的作品看起来充满了速度与自由感。当飞速的车轮让镜头难以定焦，自行车与公路融为虚幻，侯子通的快门键留下了死飞 Rider 们的极速光影。
“Stay true to your roots. Stay true to your youth.”
Wang Wei‘s photo series Young, Wild, & Free captures the spirit of youth. Shot strictly on 35mm analog film, his work capture a longing for freedom, the rebellious spirit of youth, and the passion of the younger generation. A sense of blind exuberance radiates from each shot. The gesticulation and expressions of those he shoots seem to speak to a singular message: no matter what the future holds, the present is what’s important. When you’re young, you can do what you want, be free, and let your instincts take the reins.
“年轻的”、“狂野的”、“自由的”，这是摄影师王未的 “Young Wild & Free” 摄影系列，也是我们青春的样子。每一幅 35mm 胶片，都包含着对生活、自由的渴望；叛逆与不羁的背后，是年轻人对美好的热忱与向往。这些照片捕捉了中国年轻人成长道路上的玩乐与奔放。照片上的人们在告诉我们，无论未来怎么样，享受当下，尽情放肆，做你想做的事情，把灵魂交给天性来撒野！