“I believe that my photography is literary; I am attempting to write an entire period’s memory.” – Han Lei
Han Lei has been documenting urban life in China since the 1980s. Like Zhang Haier, his photographs insert a sense of authorship and intent into the documentation. He presents a distinctly individual perspective on reality. A man facing off with a canine, a parade of clowns through town, a father burdened by two bundled babies – the dramatic black and white images are full of the absurd, the satirical, and the sympathetic. “There’s a monotonous story inscribed on everyone’s face,” notes Han Lei, “I know that this constitutes the whole foundation of my imagery.” Often compared to the work of Robert Frank, the resulting photographs are a striking personal commentary on modern society.
Han currently lives and work in Bejing and Zhengzhou, China.