Taken over the course of seven years during his daily walks, “We” is a photographic series created by Zhang Bojun (张博钧, born in 1964 in the Heilongjiang province and now based in Beijing). “We” explores the Chinese people, migration, and the dashed dreams of life in the big city, where workers, who represent the vast majority of the urban population, are unable to settle. Every day for seven years Zhang took photographs, broke them down, then reassembled them into a swarm of people who are at once identical and distinct.
This large digital photo series is open to interpretation. One can see it either as a purely formal experience or an uncompromising social commentary. Zhang’s daily walks exposed him to the anxieties of his fellow citizens. For him, “every person is a mirror in which I can see myself.” This empathy led him to understand what he calls, “the survival mechanisms and social hierarchies,” and transform them into repeating visual patterns. These gigantic patchworks show that each human life only has meaning once it has been considered with distance and relativism. This large-format series—the images are over a meter wide—is also evidence of the trend in Chinese photography for digital photography and bold montages. The repeating patterns echo the routines of daily life.
See more of Zhang Bojun’s work at Photography of China or visit his page at OFOTO Gallery.
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.