• Images
The Colorful Modernization of Beijing
Text and photographs by Laurent Hou


An old man passes by a wall covered with graffiti (the artists were entitled to use this wall and therefore took their time to create very nice pieces).


I have been living in Beijing for almost five years, and my passion for photography was greatly stimulated by this city. Since I found it a fascinating place, I spontaneously started photographing its streets and the people. Beijing has a vibrant street life, very different from what I experienced in France before. France has lots of cafes and bars where people meet, but these are semi-public spaces. In Beijing (I think this applies to China in general), some people seem to simply live on the streets all day long: exercising in public parks, eating on the street, spending hours sitting on an old sofa in front of their home……

When I look at pictures of Beijing by other photographers, I find that most fall into two categories: scenes of the hutongs and the people living there— trying to show them in an authentic and most traditional way; pictures of high-rise buildings or of the many highways (especially at night). Both of these approaches make sense and can produce nice pictures.


Different rides. Girl posing in front of a wall painting in 798 Art District.  Mind the gaps between people.


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