In the last decade there has been a major reappraisal of the role and status of the photobook within the history of photography. Revisionist histories of photography as recorded via the photobook have added enormously to our understanding of the medium’s culture, particularly in places that are often marginalized, such as Latin America and Africa. However, until now, only three Chinese photobooks have made it onto historians’ short lists. Yet China has a fascinating history of photobook publishing, and the exhibition, coproduced by the Rencontre d’Arles and Aperture, will reveal for the first time the richness and diversity of this heritage.
The exhibition is based on a collection compiled by Martin Parr and Beijing and London-based Dutch photographer team Wassink Lundgren. The Chinese Photobook will reveal much about China itself, and the country’s dramatic twists and turns during the last 100 years.