Photographer Chen Man, a national Chinese (albeit NYC-based) symbol of independence, success, style and precision-vision. With a penchant for the occasional gender reversal visualization. Watch closely as Sixth Tone Photo Editor Ding Yining unfolds the Chen story before our very eyes.
Temper Magazine’s Trending segment casts a net upon all that is throwing tantrums within the world of China Fashion across a variety of global sources. This very necessary segment makes for a collection of largely non-Temper Magazine-original content dipping its toe into the deep indigo-dyed pool that is the ocean of Middle Kingdom fashionable astonishment. This time around…
We head on over to Sixth Tone where Photo Editor Ding Yining chronicles the major undertakings of the ground-shakers and -breakers in Chinese photography over the past decade, clicking things off with Chen Man, the famed Beijing-born visual artist who believes she “should help more people recognize the face of modern Chinese beauty with greater confidence”. Ding tells all.
Chinese fashion magazines only became popular nationwide around the turn of the millennium. For years, they mainly aped the styles and beauty standards of their Western counterparts, either by directly publishing covers featuring white Caucasian models or imitating the cute, more playful aesthetic of Japanese or Korean magazines.
Chen Man changed all that.
Since emerging in 2003, Chen has become one of China’s highest-profile fashion photographers. Her work regularly appears on the covers of the Chinese editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle. She is known for her bold, vibrant style that merges Chinese tradition with high fashion; she has shot Chinese models in Tiananmen Square and at the Great Wall, complimenting them with folk symbols like candied hawthorns on a stick and old men carrying bird cages.
Chen, who grew up in a Beijing hutong — one of the capital’s historic courtyard residences crisscrossed by narrow alleys — cites the lives of ordinary urban Chinese as a source of inspiration. “I would ride my bike through Tiananmen Square on my way to school, carrying my backpack. That was a snapshot of my childhood,” she tells Sixth Tone.
To further educate yourselves on photography pioneer Chen, read the full feature right here on Sixth Tone!
This trending topic was originally written by Ding Yining for Sixth Tone 2018. All rights reserved
Translated by Katherine Tse. Edited by Ming Ye and Matthew Walsh for Sixth Tone
About Sixth Tone: There are five tones in Mandarin Chinese. When it comes to coverage of China, Sixth Tone believes there is room for other voices that go beyond buzzwords and headlines to tell the uncommon stories of common people. Through fresh takes on trending topics, in-depth features, and illuminating contributions, Sixth Tone covers issues from the perspectives of those most intimately involved to highlight the nuances and complexities of today’s China.
All images: Copyright@ Chen Man Photography
Temper Magazine does not own any of the above English content. All featured English content was re-published under the “fair use” approach and belongs to Ding Yining for Sixth Tone, 2018. All rights reserved.
After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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