The Chinese Photobook
Newly revised histories of photography as recorded via the photobook have added enormously to our understanding of the medium’s culture, particularly in places that are often marginalized, such as Latin America and Africa. However, until now, only a handful of Chinese books have made it onto historians’ short lists. Yet China has a fascinating history of photobook publishing, and The Chinese Photobook reveals for the first time the richness and diversity of this heritage. This now available in a smaller size, more accessibly priced hardcover edition, volume is based on a collection compiled by Martin Parr and Beijing- and London-based Dutch photographer team WassinkLundgren. And while the collection was inspired initially by Parr’s interest in propaganda books and in finding key works of socialist realist photography from the early days of the Communist Party and the Cultural Revolution era, the selection of books includes key volumes published as early as 1900, as well as contemporary volumes by emerging Chinese photographers.
Martin Parr is a key figure in the world of photography; in addition to his work as a photographer, he is a renowned collector of photobooks, and the coauthor with Gerry Badger of The Photobook: A History, volumes I–III. He is a contributor and advisor to several other projects about the photobook, including The Latin American Photobook (Aperture, 2011). Parr is a member of Magnum Photos.
WassinkLundgren is a collaboration between Dutch artists Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren. They have received several awards, including the Prix du Livre at Rencontres d’Arles for best contemporary photobook and the China Academy Award.
Exhibition in collaboration with Aperture Foundation, New York