He was born in Daqing, Heilongjiang, China, on September 30, 1971.For the past 26 years, he has been creating photography art.Huang became a member of the China Photographers Association in December of 1998. Steam Locomotive, from 1992 to 2002, and Family Stuff, from 2003 to the present, are two of Huang Qingjun’s most well-known works. Two unique series are Online Shopping Family Stuff and Homeless People’s Family Stuff. Huang has received numerous awards, including the 2020 London International Creation Competition (shortlist), the 2020 10th Annual International Photography Competition, the Florida Museum of Photography Arts (second place), the 2020 Tokyo International Foto Award (TIFA), (Gold), the 2015 China International Press Photo Contest, (Bronze), the 2016 MIFA Moscow International Foto Awards, and many others. These works have also been reported by worldwide media outlets such as the New York Times, Bloomberg, and Wired. Architecture Boston, Business Insider, Chinese National Geography, Discovery Cultural Geographic Monthly, China Daily, Grazia France, and other magazines have featured his work.
Featured image: Liu Jun, 33 years old, Inner Mongolia. Distribution time: 5 days. Time of the first online shopping: 2012. Liu and his family are Mongolian, whose elder generation lived a nomadic and herding life. He settled down in the town of Ulanhot and goes back to the Mongolian yurt every spring and autumn. While living in the yurt, he had to drive 140 kilometers to the town to buy necessities. Since he began to shop online in 2012, he has spent over 30,000 yuan on Taobao, mostly on the necessaries as well. To Liu Jun and his family, the greatest benefit brought by online shopping is its convenience, which saves his time and energy on the rushing road.
When and how did you begin your profession as a photographer? Can you tell us about your career’s beginnings? What were the most difficult obstacles you faced throughout that time?
I started my profession as a photographer when I met Photographer Wang Fuchun in 1992. I visited his exhibition in Beijing and saw great works and the possibilities of photography. He was my teacher. I had my first 10 years project about Steam Locomotive, recording the disappearing Steam locomotives running in China (1993-2003). The most difficult obstacle would be the financial situation at that time; freelancers photographer was very difficult to make a living on photographs.
What are your primary sources of artistic inspiration?
Mainly from society and family.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Make camera lens facing people, record the time, at the same have own expressions.
Online Shopping Family Stuff. Everyone’s life is being influenced and changed by the internet. According to Chinese official figures, internet sales increased by 49.7% in 2014, compared to a 12% increase in all retail sales across the country. In January 2015, Huang Qingjun invited people to show him everything they’d ever purchased on the internet. Huang wanted to meet people from all over the world: east, west, south, and north, in both big cities and tiny towns. The findings demonstrate the enormous popularity of online purchasing. Internet shopping is a lifeline to the outside world for people living in isolated places, providing access to a wide range of things that would otherwise be unavailable where they live. Delivery employees must occasionally exit their vans to drop off products on foot in some of China’s most inaccessible areas. Huang Qingjun’s Online Shopping Family Stuff series is a sub-series of Family Stuff series of photographs. Huang hopes to use the same approach to show how the Internet is changing people’s lives at this time in history.
How did you come up with the idea for “Family Stuff”? How did you organize it? How did you contact the families portrayed in the project? What were the biggest challenges in making “Homeless People’s Family Stuff”?
In 2003 I was asked by China National Geography magazine to find four families from 4 provinces to take their portraits with their belongings, I traveled around by car and finished the task and I began to think to develop this project with a deeper idea. I started looking for more families of different typical social backgrounds and Family Stuff became my long-term project as it is still ongoing. Viewers think I am recording an era. It is so, and in fact, in each photo, there is something that I am trying to show that is related to certain factors: for example the environment, social phenomena, the change in the economy, the change in the habits of life of people and so on … I contacted the families sometimes by random visits, telling them what I was doing, and asking their permission of being photographed. Sometimes I have certain ideas and I looked for sources who can introduce such families or people, then I visited them after communication, and I also had a few volunteer families who wanted me to make their Family Stuff photos. The biggest challenge of making “Homeless People’s Family Stuff” was the language problem, I don’t speak English, so I have to use google translate to communicate.
What do you believe photography will look like in the age of social media?
Taking photos is getting easier, so it brings more challenges to professional photographers.
Is there a particular photography project to which you feel especially attached? Can you tell us about the narrative behind it or any significant events from the past?
Please check my artist statement: Online shopping Family Stuff, created in Jan.2015, this tells the story of how the internet is changing everybody’s life.
What is your next project?
I am doing different sub-series of Family Stuff from 2014, each one tells a more specific theme, next project I plan to make “Family Stuff of Immigrants”. I guess this will be harder, I would appreciate it if there could be any volunteers.
The Stuffs of Live Streamers. Our outdoor activities have been constrained due to the unexpected epidemic in 2020. During the last two years, people’s everyday lives and spending patterns have altered considerably. We in the post-pandemic period tend to learn about society through our cellphones, making short video streaming rooms a platform for showcasing talent. By the end of 2021, Huang wanted to shoot a new branch of the series, so he turned to Kuaishou for help. Kuaishou is the world’s second-largest live streaming e-commerce platform. Huang obtained permission from live broadcasters with amazing characteristics and shot their stuff with the help of Kuaishou and days of effort to get involved and fitted. A university professor, an actor, a truck driver, activists, a bodyguard, a small company owner, a restaurant deliveryman, an intangible cultural handcrafter, and a streamer for carrier pigeon matches are among the streamers. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic’s impact, Huang was unable to collaborate with other streamers. These works offer a unique viewpoint on the live streaming industry. Streaming rooms have become the epitome for Internet alterations, personal success, productivity growth, and expenditure upgrades as IT technology advances and allows us more room and flexibility to choose from. Meanwhile, the ‘Fellowship,’ which stems from streaming rooms, distributes spiritual belongings to its members. Our attention to their stuff and living tools reflects the changes and progress of our times.