In pictures: Chinese photographer Ren Hang’s nakedly sexual views of underground youth culture

Ren has had his work banned in China and has been arrested while shooting nudes, but his international reputation will continue to grow thanks in part to this glossy new Taschen book

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 December, 2016, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 December, 2016, 1:05pm

The provocative, sexually charged work of Jilin-born photographer Ren Hang has been collected in a new volume compiled by boutique publisher Taschen.

In China, the 28-year-old photographer has been forbidden from exhibiting his explicit shots of both male and female models – usually his friends – but he has held solo exhibitions in countries including Italy, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

“My photos, especially the ones of naked bodies, are forbidden to be shown in Chinese galleries. Only occasionally can the ones that aren’t explicit be shown, but I still face many difficulties even with them,” Ren told the Vice website.

The skin they live in: photo show challenges stereotype of Chinese women

“One of my shows was cancelled by [government officials] on ‘suspicion of sex’ and, another time, a visitor spat at one of my photos. And those are just a couple of examples of the problems I’ve had.

“None of China’s press will publish my books and I’ve been arrested while shooting photos outside before.”

Ren, who now lives and works in Beijing, has enjoyed a swift rise in the world of photography, and the erotic images in the Taschen book Ren Hang reveal the raw sexuality of China’s underground youth culture, without any moral or political judgment.

Hong Kong’s ‘new tattoo culture’: photographer charts its evolution

“People come into this world naked and I consider naked bodies to be people’s original, authentic look. So I feel the real existence of people through their naked bodies,” Ren told Vice.