All posts tagged: rural

Lu Nan’s insights into China – and life

“In 15 years, not a day went by when I didn’t question my own work,” says Chinese photographer Lu Nan, in an interview included in his new book Trilogy. “That’s why I scrutinise what I was doing by means of reading. This mode of assessing action through thought and assessing thought through action helped me to complete these projects. 

“The trilogy is concerned with human beings. I hope that by looking into real life, I’ll find something fundamentally and enduringly human.”

Lu Nan isn’t well known outside China but this book, his first in English, should change all that. It collects together three projects he shot over 35 years – The Forgotten People, a look at the lives of Chinese psychiatric patients, shot from 1989-1990; On the Road, a look at the lives of Catholics in China, shot from 1992-96; and Four Seasons, a look at the lives of rural Tibetans, shot from 1996-2004.

2018-11-23T10:48:47+00:00

Tales from the contemporary American farm

What happens when the landscape of your childhood starts to disappear? American photographer Alexandra Hootnick grew up in rural upstate New York, but when large swathes of farmland near her old home were sold off to property developers, she realised how little she knew about the people living off the land. These tight-knit communities, self-reliant and resilient, became the subject of The Sixth Day, Hootnick’s ongoing series exploring “the beauty, challenges and interconnectivities” of life on these small, family-run farms. Over two years, she would photograph families who had recently moved to the area, with little to no farming experience, to join the established Amish community. We spoke to her about the challenges of photographing insular communities and why she chose to frame the series through the perspective of children:   How did you come across small-scale farm life in upstate New York in the first place? Upstate New York is my home. I grew up in a rural area and agriculture is part of the visual identity of my childhood. The majority of the surrounding farms are small, family-owned and …

2016-07-29T15:43:02+00:00

Portraits of 21st century rural life, as Myanmar re-emerges from military rule

When Rubén Salgado Escudero visited Myanmar on assignment, he was struck by the stark realities of rural life. Out of an estimated 68,000 villages, only 3,000 are connected to any power grid – with roughly 73% of the population living without electricity. His project, ‘Solar Portraits’, addresses the lack of access to electricity in developing nations, as well as the benefits of solar energy in people’s lives. The work won first place in the Professional portraiture category at the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards; the latest edition of the competition is currently open for entry. What was the genesis of the project? A one month assignment for a humanitarian organisation took me to many villages in rural Myanmar, where I quickly realised how hard life was for most people once the sun fell, as they were living practically in the dark. After some weeks, I ran across a village which had solar panels placed on household rooftops. The difference in the quality of life for the families was crystal clear.       Small, inexpensive photovoltaic …

2016-01-13T14:44:25+00:00

The last gasps of Norwegian rural life

At first glance the Bjelland siblings, Edvard and Bergit, are unremarkable. They grew up along four other siblings in Brusand, Jæren – a remote village on the south-west Norwegian coast, on a farm which dates back to the 1800s and has passed through their family for four generations. On the farm, horses, cows, pigs, hens and over one hundred sheep were kept. But for Norwegian photographer Elin Høyland, the Bjellands represent something of significance, and worth preserving. When Høyland first met Edvard, Bergit has recently died, the livestock had been sold off and the land was now rented out. He was now alone, save a handful of sheep he continued to look after. The rural existence that defined the land for centuries was now slowly vanishing from sight. This view was shared by Norwegian regional arts institute Hå Gamle Prestegård. They commissioned Høyland, who was shortlisted for the Photo Folio Review Award at this year’s Les Rencontres d’Arles, to visit the Bjelland homestead and create a record of the 200 year old farmhouse (a listed building) and this lifestyle …

2016-01-13T14:32:24+00:00

The rural mythologies of English country life

It took Andy Sewell five years to photograph the fragment of green that is Hampstead Heath, and given that its “ancient trees, tall grass and thickets dense enough to get lost in” cover just a couple of square miles, it was some investigation. For this British photographer, endgame is long in the forging. Instead, he begins with “an attraction; something I feel confused about, and making the work is the process of finding some coherence within that”. For his latest undertaking, he has set about unravelling the myths, histories and impressions encircling the English countryside. Once again the venture took five years, and once again it will be published initially as a special edition book – an approach that worked well with The Heath, which won the International Photobook Award in 2012 and plaudits from both Martin Parr and Robert Adams, the latter stating that it had rekindled his dwindling faith in photography. Both bodies of work engage with landscape, but where grand, sweeping views might have been an obvious source of inspiration, Sewell hones in on the particular. …

2015-09-30T11:45:32+00:00

BJP Staff