The pictures above offer a journey towards humanistic ideals and the refinement of documentary photography. Correspondent for the prestigious international cooperative Magnum Photos since the 1990s, Lu Nan 呂楠 (born in 1962 in Beijing) is one the many independent documentary photographers in China who turned their cameras onto marginalized people from the late 1980s onwards.
His pivotal series started in 1989 with “The Forgotten People: The Condition of China’s Psychiatric Patients.” Pursing his intentions to document Chinese people from the margins of society, his subsequent series captured members of the Catholic Faith (“On The Road: The Catholic Faith in China”, 1992-1996), peasants’ life in Tibet (“Four Seasons: Everyday Life of Tibetan Peasants”, 1996-2004), and prisoner’s conditions (“Prisons of North Burma”, 2006).
These astounding images allowed the photographer to place himself in the international spotlight. But perhaps more importantly he became one of the first who shed light on another side of Chinese society, on people often considered outcasts. “I just respect them and care about them… They are the same as us,” said Lu as a reminder that all human beings are equal and deserve dignity. His black and white photographs depict people within their own environment by using a rather straight glance, which is yet associated with delicate contrasts and elegant compositions.
• Lu Nan’s profile on Magnum Photos
• Nok On, “呂楠《被人遺忘的人》拍攝 25 年前中國的精神病人,” Photoblog.hk (2014)