Userful Photography

Useful Photography

Get the most use out of any given object, this is an attitude from old time when the goods were always in a shortage. However, along with a wealth of materials, people no longer holds this view. Our relationship with the photography is the same, just because it is easily at hand , we may actually forget it’s usefulness , try to pursue it useless.

Why do we take pictures? We tend to avoid talking the practical purposes , we are turning blind eye for the irrepressible joy while reading our own family albums, as if this is not photography. We don’t believe photography can make a change anymore. But in fact, in the pursuit of so-called profound photography , our purpose and utilitarian heart as much as the practical photography, or even worse .

The practical use of photography I am talking about, is the nature instinct when people can’t resist taking a picture, for example, the photo for the love one, the photo of the passing moments. People make photos to compensate for memory loss, resistance to the passage of time and more often, they want others to share their vision precisely, which is only possible because of the photography.

The feeling of in possession of the world , who can resist ? I spent more than a year working in a urban-village to teach women migration photography, when the workshop finished , they had been inseparable with the photography. For these workers who lived in urban fringe, even rejected by the city , when they are photograhying they get connected with this city, own the world, and finnaly confirm their existence.

This exhibition include passport photos, family photo album; there is professional photographer devoting her skills to help poor mountain family shoot portrait; father documented his son’s growth , oversea Chinese photographers rethink their blood, family and personal identity throuth the lens . These photos are very private , people shoot the photos only to use for themselves, but their topics are universal, so that beyond the individual can generate response.

The so-called fully utilized photography, may also contains such an attitude, making a picture is not the end of the photography, photos may has a post life which by using them to be inspired. For example, in the exhibition” The Beauty of Biodiversity ” , these beautiful photos are different with scenery photograph is that the photographer take pictures for scientific purposes. The photos have very detailled caption such as species , geography, so that the whole project can be shared by scientists , used for research, not just limited for viewing.

Sometimes, we put too much burden on a photographer, because to prove a photo’s truth need further researching and archiving by all kinds of people with different background. The exhibition ” Shanty Town ” is showing an unfinished project, photographers has done the first step and these photos need to be further used by sociologist or historian. Sometimes, we have to give up photography in order to get more. The photos, we use them more and we give them more value . To this end, I hope you can stay in this exhibition and read these photos carefully, when you communicate with them , they will become more useful .

Photography is no longer just belong to  “photographer”, ordinary people , artists, poets, historians …… anyone can use photography, no doubt , photography will become a kind of language for human beings, which means that we will be more in-depth understanding it. So let us celebrate the victory of photography, for it’s usefulness, it’s fun, it’s important, it’s mysterious, and it’s unlimited expansion of the border.

Curator/Yue Ren Assistant Curator/Xiaoyi Nie Design/ Wenjing Wang

Yue Ren is a Beijing-based curator, writer, and educator.  She is an associated professor of photojournalism at Renmin University of China, Beijing.  She was a visiting scholar in New York University from 2008 to 2009. She holds a PhD in Communication.

Ren’s curatorial projects include Eyes on china at the 2008 Pingyao International Photography festival, NextKunst.licht at the Kunst.Licht Photo Art Gallery (Shanghai, 2011).  She was the master curator of the 2011 Pingyao International Photography festival. In 2008 she received the Howard Chapnick Grant from the W. Eugene Smith Fund for her project New Topographics: Beijing’s contemporary urban landscape, which encourages young photographers to document the change of living spaces in China.  She was the finalist for the 2004/2005 Magnum Foundation Inge Morath Award.

Ren has given speeches, presentations, and workshops throughout China. She is the member of the advisory board of the Committee of Photography Theory of China Photographers Association. She worked with numerous photo agencies and art organizations, including the World Press Photo, the Open Society, the Asia-Europe Foundation among others.


{List of Works in Useful Photography Exhibition}

Photographer: Women Migration Workers From Magnolia Community Center
Curator: Xiaoyi Nie

2, Not Yet Mature
Archive Photos
Curator: Chong Fu

3, Shantytown
Photographer: Jianhua Shen, Qiumin Tan, Weiwu Ma, Jianjun Ke, Zhongmin Zheng, Gaoxing Ye

4,Personal Stories
Photographer: Jin Hua, Yee Ling Tang, Xiaoxiao Xu

5, Kara-beauty
Photographer: Jie Yuan

6, Familial Excerption
Archive Photos
Curator: Chong Fu

7, Note of A Ghost Town
Photographer: Huiyuan Wu

8, We are Together
Photographer: Dongzi Jiao

9, My Son
Photographer: Weiwu Ma

10,The Distance Between Us
Photographer: Chris Capozziello

10, The Beauty of Biodiversity
Photographer:Imaging Biodiversity Expedition(IBE)Photographers
Cutator:Jian Xu

11, Emergency
Magnum Emergency Found
Curator: Emma Raynes

12, The Lams of Ludlow Street
Photographer: Tomas Holton
Curator: Sean Corcoran

13, Crossing by a New Time
Photographer: Richardo Yui, Pharoah Marsan, Samuel Bouaroua, Charlotte El Moussaed
Curator :Eric Aupol

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