Contemporary Chinese photography is often associated with the nation's turbulent social and economic changes, as many photographers’ works respond to the urbanisation and transformation of their hometowns, imbued with sentiments of loss and nostalgia. We take a look at 10 talented Chinese photographers to watch below:

1. Birdhead

Tatler Asia
Above “Untitled”, 2011, cellulose black and white print (Photo: Birdhead)

Birdhead is an artist collective started by Song Tao and Ji Weiyu in 2004. Contrary to their surrealist name, Birdhead’s photographs concern urban reality and daily experiences, and have a signature spontaneous snap-shot aesthetic.

They capture their hometown, Shanghai, in fragments of time and space as it continues to grow in what they describe as a “wandering and repeated stare”. The daily snippets manifest their subjective views of the world and the themes they recognise in art—love, hatred, feeling, sorrow, life, ageing, sickness and death (爱恨情仇 生老病死). 

Find out more here

2. Chen Wei

Tatler Asia
Above "Mushroom", 2016, archival inkjet print (Photo: Chen Wei)

Theatrical. Conceptual. Bold. These are the words that come to mind when one encounters Chen Wei’s works. Recently featured in the exhibition "Brilliant City" at David Zwirner Hong Kong, his iconic photographs reconstruct memories and locations from childhood, and his daily experiences in Beijing.

Contrary to the spontaneous and dynamic quality of documentary photography, Chen’s work is about the careful handcrafting of objects, assembling sets, and meticulous composition to reconstruct urban scenes of Beijing to offer a glimpse into an alternative reality. 

Find out more here

3. Jiang Pengyi

Tatler Asia
Above “In Some Time No.6”, 2016, archival inkjet print (Photo: Jiang Pengyi)

Jiang Pengyi exhibits mastery over a wide spectrum of photography styles—from his earlier documentary works to recent experimentations with photography as a medium for abstraction.

He comments on the overlooked by-effects of urban regeneration, while exploring analogue photography and the properties of light, resulting in abstract works. In his series “Everything Illuminates”, the depicted objects are stripped of their representational and functional attributes and given a sense of vigour to be rediscovered through the use of fluorescent matter.

Find out more here

4. Yuyang Liu

Tatler Asia
Above “At Home with Mental Illness”—Zhendong Liang, 15 years old, diagnosed with epileptosis, usually stands at the road and watches people pass by. He lives in a small village in Zhaoqing with hundreds of people (Photo: Yuyang Liu)

Yuyang Liu is a freelance photographer for Getty Images, The New York Times and The Washington Post. He focuses on ethnic, health, and environmental issues in China, while also taking on assignments such as on sustainable fishery in West Africa. He won the Magnum Foundation Human Rights & Photography Fellowship, Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography and Ian Parry Scholarship, and was selected as PDN’s 30 in 2017.

His photographs tell compelling stories, at times confronting the uncomfortable truth of how society treats the mentally ill, and responding to the government initiative under growing tensions with the Muslim-Uighur population. 

Find out more here

See also: 10 Best Travel Photographers On Instagram To Stir Your Wanderlust

5. Shi Yangkun

Tatler Asia
Above “Solastagia” (Photo: Shi Yangkun)