ChinaFile Presents Documentary Photos of Yuyang Liu and Souvid Datta at Photoville


Note: This article was originally published on September 12 but was lost after our site was hacked.  The text was obtained through an archived version at Google Web Cache.

At this year’s Photoville, ChinaFile presents the documentary photographs of Yuyang Liu (刘禹扬) and Souvid Datta, 2015 Fellows Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography which ChinaFile administers with the Magnum Foundation.  Like last year’s Fellow, Ian Teh, the two photographers present unique perspectives to aspects of China which are more nuanced than is usually reported or known.

Yuyang Liu’s Kashgar’s Workers on the Move dispels the impression that China’s migrant workers are all Han Chinese from rural parts of the country by highlighting a little-known group of Uighurs from Kashgar, China’s westernmost city and the administrative center of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who have traveled to work in Guangzhou.

Liu was born in Ziyang, Sichuan province and is currently based in Guangzhou.  His photography work focuses on urbanization and immigration issues in a rapidly changing China. (excerpted from here)

A waste-pipe dumping toxic water containing heavy metals into a river nearby a residential area in Baoding, Hebei province. Photo by Souvid Datta.

Déshì Guirong, 46, a farmer, looks out over the vast open-cast mining ground that once used to be his family’s pasture lands outside of Qian’an, Hebei province, 135 miles east of Beijing. Since 2013, the Chinese government has directed millions of dollars towards cleaning up the environment and tightening regulations on polluting companies. In response, many private firms have moved their operations into village lands where labor is cheap and resistance to corruption is minimal. In Beijing, and other cities in Hebei and Tianjin provinces, factories that could be found within the city limits even a year ago have been shuttered. Yet, air pollution levels continue to rise, contributing to an estimated 1.6 million deaths nationwide every year,, according to a recent scientific study. Photo by Souvid Datta.

The air in China’s cities is notorious for its pollution. While the government has shown that it can achieve blue skies in the capital during important events, other cities like Baotou, Inner Mongolia, seen here, do not get similar reprieves. Photo by Souvid Datta

Nizaji Yusun, 19, sits in his dormitory-style bedroom in Guangzhou. Born in Kashgar, on China’s far western border, he came to work in a factory that manufactures refrigerator compressors. He earns about 3,000 RMB ($470) per month. Photo by Yuyang Liu.

On his last day in Kashgar, Turghunjan, 25, sits on a motorcycle in his wheat field. He would leave for Guangzhou the next day. He first worked as a migrant laborer in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in 2008 and 2009. Photo by Yuyang Liu.

Workers walk atop the Gwadar Port-Kashgar Highway Project in Kashgar. In April of this year, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sheriff signed an agreement pledging $46 billion towards infrastructure and energy projects aimed at establishing a Pakistan-China Economic Corridor between Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and China’s western Xinjiang region. Photo by Yuyang Liu.

For China: The Human Cost of Pollution, Souvid Datta visited Wu’an in Hebei province, Baotou in Inner Mongolia, and the outskirts of Beijing to see how China’s notorious environmental pollution has affected the lives of her residents.

Datta was born in Mumbai and moved to London at age 10.  He was raised between the two metropolises, and developed interest in the fields of multimedia journalism and social justice.  He has worked on photography projects on Sonagachi slums in Kolkata, India; gangs in London; pollution in Xingtai and Ningbo, China; and drug addicts in Kabul, Afghanistan. (excerpted from here)

On Sunday, September 13 at 1 PM, ChinaFile will host “Reporting Inside the Great Firewall: Photographers on Covering China”.  Veteran National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita and Muyi Xiao, a former staff photographer for China’s news site Tencent, join a panel moderated by ChinaFile Visuals Editor David Barreda to talk about the challenges of reporting from China.   From the event page:

Many photojournalists rely on the basic protections of freedom of speech and freedom of the press to move freely, to access their subjects, and to bring their images to the public. But what is it like to photograph and report in the People’s Republic, where censorship is the norm and journalists often face more restrictions than regular citizens? How do journalists and the organizations who support them navigate this system in order to continue sharing complex, comprehensive stories from within China?

Kashgar’s Workers on the Move and Kashgar’s Workers on the Move are on view at Photoville in Brooklyn Bridge Park through Sunday, September 20.  Check hours of operation here.

Photos courtesy of ChinaFile.