News, views and reviews of exhibitions and books of photography, interviews with and about photographers, and information about photographic gear and smartphone photography. 

Life on China’s low-speed trains
China introduced its first high-speed railway service in 2008. But instead of following the “bullet train” craze, photographer Qian Haifeng, a former blue-collar worker, set out to document the country’s old, slow trains.  “I went in the other direction,” says Qian, “Treading the opposite path from the way the nation was supposedly heading, on the slow, obscure services, the cheap old trains without air conditioners – the ‘green trains’.” The green trains are cheap and often delayed. They sometimes have no air conditioning or heating.  The third-class-carriage tables are piled high with sunflower seeds and peanut shells, Qian says. Some long-distance commuters are trying to sleep, heads prop
This ‘Tank Man’ video got Leica censored in China
German camera maker Leica has struggled to contain a Chinese social media backlash over a commercial dramatizing the story behind one of the world’s most iconic photos. The video depicts the making of a photo of the “Tank Man,” an unidentified demonstrator who stood in front of a column of tanks leaving the Tiananmen Square after the Chinese government’s bloody suppression of pro-democracy protests in central Beijing in 1989. Leica sought to distance itself from the commercial, saying that it did not officially sanction the video. But F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, the Brazilian agency that created the video, said Leica was involved in the making of it and the agency would not release any work “
The face of a transforming megacity
Photographer Tim Franco first arrived in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing in the mid-2000s to document a city that was exploding. In the late 2000s, the city’s population of some 30 million was overwhelmingly rural, with only about a third of the population living in the urban areas. The government set its sights on reversing the trend, aiming to double the city’s urban population to 20 million by 2020, investing huge sums in construction to lure people to the city. Franco’s project, Metamorpolis, documents six years of a changing Chongqing, Check out our gallery, above, to see how this Chinese megacity transformed in less than a decade. In Hong Kong? Franco’s photos are showing at
Paper for the dead
April 5 is Ching Ming or Qing Ming, China’s annual tomb-sweeping festival. On this day, Chinese people visit their ancestors’ graves to tend to the sites and perform rites of remembrance. Part of the process is the burning of paper effigies, which the Chinese believe will “transfer” to the afterlife. Reuters photographer Jason Lee visited a wholesale market selling paper effigies in Mibeizhuang, China’s northern province of Hebei. Check out our gallery, above, to see more.
From China’s first Coke, to tanks in Tiananmen, to Dior in Shanghai
Photojournalist Liu Heung Shing moved home to China after the death in 1976 of Mao Zedong. He sensed a shift on the horizon. Over a 40 year career as a news photographer for media organizations including Time, Life and the Associated Press, he captured the fall of the Soviet Union – for which he won a Pulitzer Prize – and China’s own tumultuous opening up to the outside world, from economic development to the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown. Liu is set to release A Life in a Sea of Red, a book of his award-winning work from China and Russia, in Hong Kong during the Art Basel fair this month. Check out our gallery, above, for a glimpse of his spectacular work. See Liu’s work through April 1
An artful new life for an old Hong Kong factory
Textile manufacturing was the backbone of Hong Kong’s economy in the 1950s. But as China opened up in the ’80s, the manufacturing industry returned north of the border. Hong Kong transformed itself into a financial center, and most of its factories shut down. Family-run business Nan Fung Textiles once owned the largest yarn-spinning business in the city. Now as part of a revitalization project, three of its former cotton mills will be transformed and re-opened to the public, under the name The Mills.  The site will maintain much of its industrial heritage, but will now feature an art gallery,  textile industry museum, start-up incubator and neighborhood shops.  South China Morning Post photo
A new view of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a goldmine for street photographers. Every corner, angle and street is ripely photogenic. A new exhibition at the city’s Bamboo Scenes gallery, titled “Made in Home Kong,” displays the work of 21 photographers, both local and international, who have found something special in the city. A portion of sales of the artwork will go towards ImpactHK, a charity which works to support Hong Kong’s homeless. Check out our gallery, above, to see more. In Hong Kong? The exhibition launches on March 16 at Bamboo Scenes gallery, 13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong.
Behind the scenes in Beijing
With China’s “Two Sessions” parliamentary meetings underway, the’s world photographers are in Bejiing. And it’s not all about halls full of delegates in dark suits. Here’s a selection of the most interesting behind-the-scenes snaps from the week. Interested in in-depth analysis and news from the Two Sessions annual legislative meetings? Check out the South China Morning Post’s detailed coverage.
When an optimistic China opened itself to the world
The 1980s is known internationally as the decade of MTV, big hair and even bigger shoulder pads. But in China, the country was only beginning to open to the outside world. The decade arrived just two years after former leader Deng Xiaoping set China on its course of opening up and economic reforms, dragging the country out of decades of isolation and giving its people their first glimpses of the outside world. There was a new-found sense of optimism, particularly among young people, according to photojournalist Adrian Bradshaw, who has collected a number of his striking images from the decade in the photo book The Door Opened: 1980s China. “The 1980s was when Chinese people could start to t