Chinese photographer uses safety pins instead of real models

The 'Safety Pin Series', by Hangzhou artist Chen Jun, has been attracting attention online

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 2013, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 11:39am

A Chinese photographer’s photo series has recently been re-discovered and shared on the internet, and fans are praising the pictures for their affecting imagery and unusual models.

The models, in this case, are safety pins.

Hangzhou-based photographer Chen Jun, who goes by the internet nickname Jun.C, is the creator of the pictures, which can be viewed in full on his website. The series shows subtly bent safety pins perched on trees, ledges and benches in a manner that makes them appear strikingly human. Every image represents human emotions such as loneliness, and the entire “Safety Pin Series”, as Chen calls it, has been interpreted by some netizens as a story, where a single safety pin meets another and starts a “family”. 

The photos quietly began to appear online in 2011, but were re-discovered in early August by international fans who have been praising them for their creativity.

“Never thought that a safety pin could leave such an impression,” one internet commentator wrote after the images were shared on eMorfes, an art design photo blog.

The pictures have also gathered eyes as far away as Japan, where one Twitter user wrote in Japanese that it was "amazing that the safety pins felt incredibly human ... when all [Chen] did was place them side by side."

Chen’s safety pins have won less recent praise amongst Chinese internet users, presumably because of their age. One Sina Weibo netizen did share the photo series on 14 August, however, and said the pictures had “moved him to tears”.

Chen has yet to comment on the sudden international attention. Aside from anthropomorphic pins, the artist normally shoots images of human models.