Han Lei 韩磊 (born in 1967 in Kaifeng, Henan province, China) graduated from the Department of Bookbinding of the Central Academy of Craft and Design in Beijing in 1989. First imbued with the documentary approach in the late 1980s, he has become known for his dramatically lit scenes with low saturation, featuring contemporary models acting out classical narratives or Chinese legends. His works attempt to unveil the sublime in the mundane and ordinary within the extraordinary.
Han Lei easily shifts from straight street photographs to sophistically staged still lives and landscapes, from conventional studio portraits to manipulated negatives creating impressionistic images. While Han Lei's art practice employs many diverse media, including sculpture, installation and painting, photography has been the most consistent and pervasive vehicle for his creations.
"I guess the main thing about my work," recounts Han Lei, describing his creative process, "is that each piece is very specific to the individual I am shooting. Also specific to my particular way of looking at and making sense of the world around me, is attention to certain kinds of details, each person's view is different. (…) I don't actually like looking at my own work. (…). There are always traces of discomfort there alongside the sentimental, the nostalgic elements that exist simultaneously in the images."