“The most banal clichés attached to China describe it as unknown, inaccessible, remote, and exotic. But the world of second-tier cities, small towns, and villages in Rian Dundon’s Changsha is unknown not because it is inaccessible or remote, but because no one has thought to look; not because it is exotic, but because it is full of ordinary people piecing together lives in a vibrant, scarred, unstable social landscape. Dundon’s subject is provincial China, far from the glittering and more familiar scenes of Beijing, Shanghai, and other coastal cities. The world he makes visible is neither the mainline east coast success story, nor the rural left-behind story, nor even the hidden-scenic-China story. It is something else altogether — people in marginal but not isolated places, aware of a world beyond their experience but reworking and inventing local versions of it according to their own imaginations and desires, constrained by material difficulties but in no way intimidated by their status as citizens of a purported backwater.” — Gail Hershatter
This new paperback edition of CHANGSHA is slightly modified from the original 2012 hardcover. A handful of alternate photographs have been introduced, along with image titles and a new introductory note from the author.
Authored by Rian DundonForeword by Gail HershatterEdited by Erik BernhardssonPublished by Modes Vu
Digital printPerfect binding5.5" x 8.5" (13.97 x 21.59 cm) Black & White Bleed on White paper 208 pages ISBN-13: 978–9187829260 / 9187829266
$25 incl. worldwide shipping
“At first, when I didn’t speak the language, I would hang out in pool halls and practice counting balls in Chinese. I couldn’t hold a conversation but I knew how to play and I knew how to smoke cigarettes. Later my Mandarin came and I could go to dinner with people or hit the karaoke clubs. Mr. Tian was a whiskey wholesaler and one of our first friends. His brother owned The Red East — a popular nightclub and karaoke house in Jishou where I got my first taste of provincial nightlife.
I began to develop an idea for the kind of pictures I wanted to make, but I knew it wouldn’t be possible in just one year. It was important that I avoid typical imagery — the Mao posters and military, the futuristic cityscapes — and remain true to an experience separate from national narrative. I wanted to make pictures that didn’t necessarily read as China. Personal photographs. Private photographs.”
— Rian Dundon