The famed Chinese street photographer trains his lens on the bored and the dispossessed in his rambles through city streets challenged by the relentless march of progress.
“Shanghai Tian Wai №17, 2014”. The project takes its title from these two districts, on either bank of the Suzhou river: Tian refers to Tian Tong Lu, the name of a street that runs through this popular district under construction… (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
“Shanghai Tian Wai №5, 2014”. … while Wai refers to Wai Tan, which encapsulates the Bund, central Shanghai’s famous waterfront. (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
“Shanghai Tian Wai №26, 2014”. This series was an attempt to document an ever-changing city and the things it loses, as working-class neighbourhoods give way to ever-more modern urban development. (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
“Shanghai Tian Wai №24, 2014”. Liu Tao spent days and nights, traipsing through these neighbourhoods, seeking out fragments of the lives lived there, and appraising how they relate to his own childhood. (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
“Shanghai Tian Wai №3, 2014”. These images underscore how Tao has grappled with China’s relentless modernisation, and the uprootedness – both geographical and psychological – it has wrought on its people. (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
“Hungry Beijing №2, 2013”. An earlier series, “Hungry Beijing”, saw Tao stage naked self-portraits, in a poetic meditation on power and human fragility. (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
“A Weak Road №1, 2012”. Nakedness is a recurrent theme in Beijing-based photographer’s work. “When I was a kid, in China”, he has said, “I learned that to humiliate someone, you needed to undress him and to expose him in public”. (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
“A Hungry Beijing №10, 2013”. For Tao, dressing is an attempt to hide a person’s fragility, whereas undressing reconnects us with nature – it’s a return to the dust the world is made of. (Photo by Liu Tao/The Guardian)
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