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  • Gordon Dumoulin

Unique window of China's reform : 4 decades of train rides

A unique window of China’s social and cultural transformations pictured in 4 decades of train riding throughout the country. Renowned train photographer Wang Fuchun (王富春) , whose work attracted international acclaim, has died in Beijing aged 79 earlier this month.

Born in Suihua city (绥化)in North-Eastern Heilongjiang province in 1943, Wang rose from a blue-collar background to become one of the leading figures in Chinese photography, winning the prestigious Golden Statue Award for China Photography in 1996.

Wang’s links to the Chinese rail system date back to the 1960s, when he studied at the railway bureau college in Harbin. After graduation, he worked for the city’s railway workers’ union until finding his passion in photography while taking pictures for his job.

This was the beginning of an amazing ride with initially his Chinese-made Seagull camera to build up a collection of about 200,000 pictures, 100,000 kilometers and 1,000 train rides.

Calling himself as "professional stealer" of personal train stories, Wang witnessed the reform and modernization of China from traditional Jiefang or Zhongshan clothes in the 1970’s, long hair and boot cut pants in the late 80’s to more diverse fashion in the 90’s. He preferred black and white photography for more intimacy and imagination.

His photos have been exhibited all over the world, with his most famous work being ‘Chinese on the Train’, a photography book published in 2001.

A unique window of China’s transformation in the past decades.

#china #chinesehistory #chineseculture #chinesesociety

Sources and many more pictures from Wang Fuchun:

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