Two new projects: dissertation and Returnees 海归


Hello from locked down London, in the spring of COVID-19, 2020. I hope that you’re all healthy and limiting social content while waiting for things to improve out there. With everything that’s going on, it’s been a challenge to stick to any kind of normal routine, especially to someone as organisationally-challenged as I am.

During the lockdown, I’ve decided to dedicate a couple of hours every day to long-neglected personal projects, and the first thing I’ve done was to finish preparing two projects that have been on the backburner for a while.


Wan Ying and Snow Ying, from “Girls”, 2017 © Luo
Wan Ying and Snow Ying, from “Girls”, 2017 © Luo Yang

The first project is the dissertation that I wrote for my MA Photography degree at the Royal College of Art in 2018. It talks briefly about the post-war history of photography in Japan and in China, and explores the work of two photographers, Nagashima Yurie and Luo Yang, and the connections between their two styles.

It’s called Luo Yang × Nagashima Yurie: Contemporary East Asian photography and the portraiture of the common ground. Check it out!

Returnees 海归

From Returnees 海归
“I used to fight with my parents all the time about politics, but now, having been abroad, I understand that China has a specific path it needs to follow.”

The second project is a weird one. In the summer of 2018, I was in Beijing, interviewing and photographing Chinese citizens who had just returned home after a long time abroad. I took many photos, and recorded over 20 hours of interviews, but after I came back, the project got stuck: I didn’t have enough material to produce something meaningful – the story was just not told the way it deserved to.

This eventually led to a collaboration with a writer friend, Hengtee Lim, who graciously wrote a short story to match the photographs and the interviews. The story is called “Different Worlds”, and it’s included in this project alongside the photographs.

(Hengtee has a collection of short stories, “Something Like Hope” that would make for a fantastic read in these complicated times. You should get a copy!)

The other thing that’s included alongside the photographs is quotes taken from the interviews. The quotes are included under pictures, but out of context: those things were not necessarily said by the person in the picture.

I hope you enjoy these two projects. Please stay safe out there, and wash your hands :)