No. 223/Lin Zhi Peng

In a vein of work similar to Ryan McGinley, Lin Zhi Peng/No. 223’s photographs his friends, showcasing the lives of China’s youth. He is often cited as China’s answer to Terry Richardson, capturing tense moments with overarching themes on sexuality.

© No. 223

According to this interview by Theme Magazine, Lin’s snapshot aesthetic is the outcome of a spontaneous process: “Most photographers have some idea of what they want to shoot, but I have no idea. I follow the models or my friends, then I follow my mind”. This results in images that are in your face and unforgettable. 

© No. 223

This striking image was used for the cover of 3030’s New Photography in China. I have flipped through the book in the bookstore (it’s one of my favorite pastime) and I highly recommend it. The cover kinda grabs your attention and I believe it served its purpose of promoting contemporary photography in China without resorting to the tried-and-tested methods of putting communism or Mao on the cover.

From a PingMag interview on why this particular image was chosen as the book’s cover:

…it is an aggressive kind of a Punk image that gives you absolutely no clue that this is about Chinese photography – as there are no revolutionary images, neither dragon nor calligraphy, and not even a Chinese face…a particular generation and a particular kind of art which Western audiences, or Western collectors, find quite accessible. That’s why there tends to be a lot of political pop, or, to use another term, cynical realism. 

No. 223’s blog is widely read by millions in China. Sometimes he posts images from his latest fashion shoot or just pictures of his friends hanging out. Seems like the blog is really popular and his flickr account too.[all images © No. 223]