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.
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
“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