I’ve just launched the website for my latest project, We Chinese. This project grew out of a curiosity to find out what Chinese people think about their country and their future. In 2010, I traveled to major urban centers in eastern China stopping people on the street to ask the same two questions about their country and their future: "What does China mean to you?" and "What is your role in China’s future?" The respondents filled out a one-page typewritten questionnaire that included these two questions and some basic information including name, age, and occupation. The questions were interpreted variously, and the responses range from prosaic to poetic, from rote to inspired, and from unemotional to patriotic. While it’s difficult to draw conclusions about the entire population, the people photographed here expressed a sincere love of country and optimism about the country’s future development and peaceful position in the world. The final project incorporates about 100 portraits/interviews and includes people of various ages, gender, wealth, and hometown. For each person in the project, between five and ten declined to be photographed or fill out the questionnaire. You can read more about the project here.
You can participate in the project by posting your own response here.
I did a soft launch of the project by email last week, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Plenty of tweets and facebook messages. The project was posted to Metafilter today, as well. One of my goals with the project has been to engage the non-photography audience, and it seems to be doing that, at least a little. If you’d like to help, consider buying a print, posting a tweet or message on facebook, liking the facebook page, or clicking the flattr button for the project.