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Lu Nan
Lu Nan

Lu Nan

Country: China
Birth: 1962

Lu Nan is a contemporary photographer who was born in Beijing, China in 1962. After working for National Pictorial for 5 years, he decided to become an independent photographer. From 1989 to 1990, he shot a series of images of the living conditions of patients in Chinese mental hospitals. From 1992 to 1996, he shot a series of images about Catholicism in China. From 1996 to 2004, he shot a series of images of the daily life of Tibetan farmers. Lu Nan is known as "the most legendary photographer in China". He is also the only Chinese contemporary photographer chosen by Aperture magazine as a topic colon.

Lu Nan is constantly invited to participate in numerous exhibitions; however, he is extremely selective about the exhibitions he is involved with. Lu also refused to have his portrait taken by others, so it’s very rare to see any photo documentations of him. For fifteen years, Lu has been leading a life that is almost like a monk, spending his time working and studying, as he believes that “good stuff comes out of reticence.”

Since 1989, Lu Nan has spent 15 years completing his trilogy of photographic series: The Forgotten People, China's Catholicism and Four Seasons in Tibet. These images have allowed Nan to place himself in the international spotlight. But perhaps more importantly, he became one of the first people who exposed another side of Chinese society; people often considered outcasts. “I just respect them and care about them… They are the same as us,” said Lu as a reminder that all human beings are equal and deserve dignity. His black and white photographs depict people within their own environment by using a rather straight glance, which is yet associated with delicate contrasts and elegant compositions.

Source: Wikipedia


Correspondent for the prestigious international cooperative Magnum Photos since the 1990s, Lu Nan 呂楠 (born in 1962 in Beijing) is an independent photographer who has been documenting marginalized people in China. His pivotal series started in 1989 with The Forgotten People: The Condition of China’s Psychiatric Patients. Pursing his intentions to document Chinese people from the margins of society, his subsequent series captured members of the Catholic Faith (On The Road: The Catholic Faith in China, 1992-1996), peasants’ life in Tibet (Four Seasons: Everyday Life of Tibetan Peasants, 1996-2004), and prisoner’s conditions (Prisons of North Burma, 2006).

Source: photographyofchina.com


“In 15 years, not a day went by when I didn’t question my own work,” says Chinese photographer Lu Nan, in an interview included in his new book Trilogy. “That’s why I scrutinize what I was doing by means of reading. This mode of assessing action through thought and assessing thought through action helped me to complete these projects."

“The trilogy is concerned with human beings. I hope that by looking into real life, I’ll find something fundamentally and enduringly human.”

Lu Nan isn’t well known outside China but this book, his first in English, should change all that. It collects together three projects he shot over 15 years – The Forgotten People, a look at the lives of Chinese psychiatric patients, shot from 1989-1990; On the Road, a look at the lives of Catholics in China, shot from 1992-96; and Four Seasons, a look at the lives of rural Tibetans, shot from 1996-2004.

These microcosms are apparently very different and yet, to Lu Nan, they’re intimately interrelated. Inspired by image-makers such as Josef Sudek and Sebastiao Salgado and extremely well-read, Lu Nan says the three projects represent the three states of life – The Forgotten People is about suffering and adversity, On the Road purification, and Four Seasons about a blessed, serene state.

Source: British Journal of Photography


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One of his most famous works, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, taken in December 1971 and published a few months after the 1972 attack, drew worldwide attention to the effects of Minamata disease. Complications from his long-term consumption of drugs, notably amphetamines (taken to enable his workaholic tendencies), and alcohol led to a massive stroke, from which Eugene Smith died in 1978. He is buried in Crum Elbow Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, New York. Smith was perhaps the originator and arguably the master of the photo-essay. In addition to Pittsburgh, these works include Nurse Midwife, Minamata, Country Doctor, and Albert Schweitzer - A Man of Mercy. Today, Smith's legacy lives on through the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to promote "humanistic photography." Since 1980, the fund has awarded photographers for exceptional accomplishments in the field.Source: Wikipedia Born and reared in Wichita, Kansas, W. Eugene Smith became interested in photography at the age of fourteen, and three years later had begun to photograph for local newspapers. He received a photography scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, but he left after a year for New York, where he joined the staff of Newsweek and freelanced for LIFE, Collier's, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times, and other publications. Beginning in 1939, Smith began working sporadically as a staff photographer for LIFE, with which he had a tempestuous relationship throughout the rest of his career. During World War II he was a war correspondent in the Pacific theater for the Ziff-Davis publishing company and LIFE, for whom he was working when he was severely wounded in Okinawa in 1945. After a two-year recuperation, he returned to the magazine and produced many of his best photo essays, including Country Doctor, Spanish Village, and A Man of Mercy. In 1955, he joined Magnum, the international cooperative photography agency founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and Chim (David Seymour), and began work on a large photographic study of Pittsburgh, for which he received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1956 and 1957. Smith continued to freelance for LIFE, Pageant, and Sports Illustrated, among other periodicals, for the rest of his career. From 1959 to 1977, he worked for Hitachi in Japan and taught at the New School for Social Research and the School of Visual Arts in New York and the University of Arizona in Tucson. His last photo essay, Minamata, completed in the 1970s, depicted victims of mercury poisoning in a Japanese fishing village. Smith is credited with developing the photo essay to its ultimate form. He was an exacting printer, and the combination of innovation, integrity and technical mastery in his photography made his work the standard by which photojournalism was measured for many years. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of photojournalism, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund was established after his death to support the projects of photographers working in the tradition he established. Source: International Center of Photography
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