Li Zhensheng (born in 1940 in Dalian) – who worked as a photojournalist for the Heilongjiang Daily in the 1960s – become the premier documenter of a crucial moment in Chinese history: the Cultural Revolution launched in 1966, which aimed to drastically enforce socialism by removing capitalism, traditions and culture from Chinese society. This odyssey forced him to wear two hats, serving both as official photographer of the Red Guard and as independent photographer of his own rebel group. When most of his colleagues were obliged to destroy all “negatives” images, Li managed to preserve them all at his own risk so that to deliver them almost 40 years after to a press images office in New York. In the end these photographs are more than mere historical images, they convey the incredible courage of a photographer who followed a unique path. Aesthetically speaking, his photographs are notably striking in the manner they render the flow of human crowds.
View more of Li Zhensheng’s work here.
Photography Friday is a regular feature from Shanghaiist in association with Photography of China, Marine Cabos’s fantastic trilingual blog about photography and photographers in China.