Wang Wei – Eastern Punk

Wang Wei is still in his 20’s, and lives in Beijing, China. He got into photography by the back door. Let me explain. In high school he began shooting,…with his cell phone! He got so good, he thought, “It’s time to make the leap.” And so, he got his first 35mm camera.

 

Leica Minilux

 

Wang Wei and 35mm Love

But, he feels no limitations and loves Beijing. He feels it’s explosions of color and yummy food make up for any downsides. And 35mm is the truest medium for capturing the unique realities of China and it’s youth culture.

 

Leica Minilux Zoom

 

While the first 2 cameras he owned were a film Samsung and a wide angle Konica Lexio70, he learned a lot. Next step? A Leica Minilux Zoom. While many Americans would frown on such a choice, (being a zoom), this is China. Actually, even the zoom version is quite good. And his talent overcame any obstacles a less talented photographer might encounter. That was just a few years ago.

 

Konica

 

Natural Light

Although he does use flash, he really likes natural light portraits. And his extensive body of work has become a true recording of the underground youth of China. An artistic mission of pretty punk and sensual goings-on. Whether the politico likes it or not. The real reveal is,…youth is the same everywhere.

 

35mm

 

The Sexy Youth of China

He loves using his camera just to “capture the freedom, reality and creativity of youth in contemporary China.” His photos are like a jar of marmalade,…moist, sweet and colorful. He was selected to shoot the Unif campaign for Autumn. All on 35mm! His work is always original in compostion,…and sexy. Whether he’s trying or not. I think the delicious youth of a 21st century China just add the right amount of spice to an already spicy dish.

 

analog cameras

 

We are expecting him making inroads with a Western expansion so commercial on. Galleries are interested, magazines are calling, and success and wider recognition is just a matter time.

WW on Flickr

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Here’s what I’m seeing is happening with this wave of ‘youth” oriented imagery going on these days in general, and in China in particular. This whole youth culture thing coming from China started with the late Ren Hang, and Wang Wei is just a copy cat who decided to capitalize on what Ren Hang was doing since Ren is now dead. He wants to be the new Ren Hang. And I’m not convinced. Hang was actually a TRUE artist. He was actually REALLY good, but a lot of his images were just so silly and ridiculous, but he managed to really put out some really cool stuff. And Wang Wei’s work, as well as Ren Hang’s work to an extent, is just copying the Western youth culture aesthetic and it’s really corny. Not to say that the youth culture aesthetic is a Western phenomenon, but it is uniquely an American aesthetic. Photographers in China are copying Ryan Mcginley and Sandy Kim (Sandy Kim copied Ryan McGinley) and they just want to have a Youth culture thing going on in China. That’s fine, but copying other people, especially Western photographers is just not cool. It’s pretentious. And Wang Wei’s work is very pretentious. The other thing I wanted to mention is this occupation with the 35mm format as a the “perfect” medium for capturing the youth culture aesthetic. It’s so annoying. Why does it have to be the 35mm format for that kind of photography? It’s so silly. I’m so tired of this association of youth culture with the 35mm format. It seems that we are living in a world where quality is no longer appreciated. What ever happened to Medium format? And why is it that only young photographers are being celebrated on this site? Just remember that this whole youth culture aesthetic stuff (with the35mm format I might add) started with Terry Richardson who is actually a much older guy. It all started with him. And the only reason why he was using point and shoot cameras was that his eye sight was just so bad. He used to use the Contax 645.

  2. Here’s what I’m seeing is happening with this wave of ‘youth” oriented imagery going on these days in general, and in China in particular. This whole youth culture thing coming from China started with the late Ren Hang, and Wang Wei is just a copy cat who decided to capitalize on what Ren Hang was doing since Ren is now dead. He wants to be the new Ren Hang. And I’m not convinced. Hang was actually a TRUE artist. He was actually REALLY good, but a lot of his images were just so silly and ridiculous, but he managed to really put out some really cool stuff. And Wang Wei’s work, as well as Ren Hang’s work to an extent, are just copying the Western youth culture aesthetic and it’s really corny. Not to say that the youth culture aesthetic is a wholly Western phenomenon, but it is uniquely an American aesthetic. Photographers in China are copying Ryan Mcginley and Sandy Kim (Sandy Kim copied Ryan McGinley) and they just want to have a Youth culture thing going on in China. That’s fine, but copying other people, especially Western photographers is just not cool. It’s pretentious. And Wang Wei’s work is very pretentious. The other thing I wanted to mention is this occupation with the 35mm format as the “perfect” medium for capturing the youth culture aesthetic. It’s so annoying. Why does it have to be the 35mm format for that kind of photography? It’s so silly. I’m so tired of this association of youth culture with the 35mm format. It seems that we are living in a world where quality is no longer appreciated. What ever happened to Medium format? And Just remember that this whole youth culture aesthetic stuff with the35mm format started with Terry Richardson who is actually a much older guy. It all started with him. And the only reason why he was using point and shoot cameras was that his eye sight was just so bad. He used to use the Contax 645.

  3. Sorry for the typos, and I made some changes. BY THE WAY, THIS WEBSITE IS AWESOME!!!!!!

  4. “Why does it have to be the 35mm format for that kind of photography?”

    It doesn’t. But I think for “younger” photographers, it’s just a matter of cheaper cameras and cheaper film/processing, and the shooting from the hip lifestyle. I’ve never seen Terry Richardson with a Contax. Nikon film camera, yes. (plus Yashica, of course) And anyway, he shoots 100% digital now. The great thing about Terry is he leaves all the EXIF data in his “Diary” pictures. So you can see all his Nikon, Panasonic and Ricoh cameras right there.

    And why is it that only young photographers are being celebrated on this site?

    Over 50% of the photographers on this site are either over 50 or dead. It’s not that easy finding talented young film photographers. The biggest complaint I’ve had is I feature too many females. But, I really don’t care about gender. So while that may be true, it’s not a planned bias. I’m a male.

  5. Thanks. Coooooool! 🙂

  6. Thanks for your replies!!!! And sorry if you think I’m being judgemental towards these photographers. My opinions about them has NOTHING to do with this amazing blog. I’m just such a critic who is sometimes ridiculous. But yeah, I figured out that it was because the 35mm cameras are cheap that is why they use them instead of MF.

  7. That’s fine. Discourse and opinion is valued by most. Actually, I assume people like Ren Hang used a $29 Minolta because a Chinese worker makes that in a month. Never seemed to discourage or affect his work. In fact, that just makes it all the more amazing.

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