Rest In Peace, Michael Wolf. It was reported Monday that the Hong Kong-based German photographer had died at 65 years of age. His passing is a shock.
Wolf was already an accomplished photojournalist living in China in the early 2000s when he started to turn his camera lens toward the city he had made home for nearly a decade in an effort to document the city’s spectacular urbanization.
He captured the lives of its residents who lived in severely cramped quarters in a densely populated metropolis dominated by soaring residential skyscrapers.
In doing so he presented a distinct visual and aesthetic perspective on contemporary life in Hong Kong in the context of China’s hyper-rapid economic growth and overwhelming urban density. This culminated with his renowned and iconic images of tall and colorful high-rises packed together in a series titled the “Architecture of Density.”
The graphic on this t-shirt is a cute mashup of one of modern China’s greatest political leaders Mao Zedong (sometimes written as “Tse-Dong”), a.k.a., “Chairman Mao,” and one of America’s most popular modern presidents, Barack Obama. Thus “Oba Mao.”
“ME TV” is a photography book collected and edited by Thomas Sauvin and Erik Kessels that presents an obscure, mysterious collection of found photos in the format of an actual, ordinary photo album. The book has been published in a limited edition of 300. The photos in the book show a Chinese woman in her sixties standing next to a TV somewhere in China in the 1980s. In each picture, the TV, the setting, and her pose (her left pinky always sticking out ) remain the same, but her clothes are different and there are slight variations in saturation hue and the angle and distance of the camera to the subject. Why these pictures were taken and who took them is a mystery. The publishers have spent years hunting down and publishing found photography (also called “vernacular photography”), images found in the personal photo albums of strangers and amateurs discovered at flea markets, libraries, garage sales and on the Internet. These are mostly photos never intended for aesthetic consideration by a wide public audience.
We love this photo by influential British photographer Martin Parr. The image is part of a series of photos shot in China. It shows a Chinese military officer taking a photo of a car and model at the Beijing Motor Show. Parr has recently had an exhibition of his recent work at Pekin Fine Arts, a major gallery in Beijing. We caught some of this work at the gallery’s booth at the recent Armory Show in New York City.