Amid China's tumultuous dash to become rich, one man's photographs of families posing with their worldly possessions will soon seem like records from a distant era. Huang Qingjun has spent nearly a decade travelling to remote parts of China to persuade people, who in some cases have never been photographed, to carry outside all their household goods and pose for him.
Who says we live in a materialistic age?
The results offer glimpses into the utilitarian lives of millions of ordinary Chinese who, at first glance, appear not to have been swept up by the same modernization that has seen hundreds of millions of others leave for the cities.
Huang Qingjun, born in 1971, joined the Chinese Photographers’ Association in 1999. His works have been exhibited at 798 Photo Gallery, Beijing, China (2013); Photoquai Photography Biennial, Paris (2013); Conceptual Renewal-A Brief History of Chinese Contemporary Photographic Art, Beijing, China (2013); National Communication Museum, Germany (2007); National Train Museum, Nuremberg, Germany (2006); and Steam Locomotive Photo Exhibition in Beijing Dazhong Photo Gallery (2001).
His photographs have also been published and reported on by many media outlets, including BBC, The New York Times, Guardian Weekly, GEO, CCTV-2, CCTV-9, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Bloomberg News.
More details can be found on Huang Qingjun's website.
The initiative was spontaneously born during late 2013 when three people discussed the possibilities of opening a Parisian soup kitchen to feed anyone at all who wanders the streets—adventurous local residents, the homeless, lonely tourists, and individuals associated with Samusocial de Paris, an NGO specializing in emergency social aid.
The result was the three day event, À Table, that brought together a wide range of people to join in eating. Guests were seated across from strangers, whom they otherwise would never have met nor shared an intimate moment with. The initiative was spearheaded by Juliette Chrétien in collaboration with Random Institute, chmara.rosinke, and Maurice Maggi.
Juliette Chrétien runs her own photography studio and is well known for her photographs in the fields of interior design and fashion. In addition, Juliette is highly acclaimed for a new style of culinary books.
The mobile kitchen, which includes a large table and stools for 12 people, was hand-crafted by the renowned Austrian design duo chmara.rosinke. For this modular kitchen, they won the 2012 Outstanding Artist Award from the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture in Austria.
Maurice Maggi is a guerrilla gardener from Zurich, Switzerland, who is known for his subversive seed-sowing "attacks," as well as his cooking skills and food knowledge. Maggi’s passion for food has taken him as far away as New York, where he ran his own restaurant. During his days in Paris, he found ingenious ways to cook tasty meals with ingredients from the local market.
In March 2014, Juliette Chrétien published the associated publication in a limited edition (4 handmade publications).
The initiative took place from December 27th to 30th, 2013 around Cité des Arts Paris.