China

Playful Portraits of Chinese Beachgoers Wearing Surreal “Facekinis”

Artist Peng Yangjun, one half of duo Peng & Chen — the creative directors and editors of The Outlook Magazine — documented a recent fashion craze along Eastern China’s seaside city Qingdao. Many beachgoers (mainly women) have started wearing what the public dubbed “facekinis” — protective head masks. The result is somewhere between luchadore, Spring Breakers, and Pussy Riot’s neon balaclavas. The colorful full-face masks protect the swimmers from the sun. They are often paired with long-sleeved bodysuits. It’s said that the women prefer to maintain their natural complexion, because bronzed skin has traditionally been associated with those who do physical labor in many Asian countries. Apparently the masks also help repel insects and jellyfish. The masks are surreal compared to American beach fashions, but Yangjun’s portraits show the women in proud and playful stances donning the bizarre facial accessory. … Read More

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Surreal, Overwhelming Photos of Chinese “Megacities”

At first glance, these photos by German photographer Michael Wolf look like abstract studies in color and texture. But look closer, and you realize what you’re seeing is people’s homes. Wolf’s series The Architecture of Density, which we discovered via our friends at ANIMAL New York, examines the urban landscapes of Chinese cities, where millions of people are crammed into ultra-high-density housing blocks. The whimsical colors and striking patterns make for images that are as surreal as they are kinda terrifying. … Read More

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Voyeuristic, Ghostly GIF Portraits of Beijing Subway Ennui

Subways and trains are fascinating conduits where intimate and public gestures meld. Most people are disengaged from those around them, engrossed in their own internal dialogue. Vacant expressions create invisible walls, and the jostling of the train car adds a hum to the ennui. Chinese filmmaker Kit Chung, who Animal introduced us to, tapped into Beijing’s subway malaise with his series of GIF portraits. Line 2 is one of the Chinese capital’s oldest rail systems. That fact, coupled with Chung’s goal to set his passengers in an infinite, black-and-white loop where “people exist in the train forever,” makes the artist’s Line 2 compellingly creepy. See more of the Chung’s ghostly and voyeuristic GIF narratives in our gallery. … Read More

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