June 9, 2023

All of Your Posessions in One Photo

Quick: think about the last time you moved.  How many boxes did you have?  How many car trips did it take to transport all your stuff?  Did you need a truck?  Well, prepare to have your mind blown by a new photo series that displays rural Asian families’ entire stash of wordly posessions.

Photographer Huang Qingjun spent nearly 10 years traveling remote areas of China with his camera for a project titled “Jiadang”, or “Family Stuff”.  Qingjun asked a number of families to drag all of their stuff outside their house and pose with it.  The photos display the lives of his countrymen through their posessions.   The resulting portraits are both awe-inspiring and humbling.



“Amid China’s tumultuous dash to become rich, one man’s photographs of families posing with their worldly goods will soon seem like records from a distant era…

…The results offer glimpses of the utilitarian lives of millions of ordinary Chinese who, at first glance, appear not to have been swept up by the same modernisation that has seen hundreds of millions of others leave for the cities.

But seen more closely, they also show the enormous social change that has come in a generation. So the photo of an elderly couple of farmers outside their mud house reveals a satellite dish, DVD player and phone.”

It surprised me how modern technology touches even the remotest of areas. 




Says Qingjun: “From the possessions each family uses in their daily lives, you get a good sense of the real levels of life for China’s people.”



Kind of makes you rethink that flatscreen TV and leather sofa that you “need”, huh?

Qingjun hopes to photograph China’s wealthiest citizens government figures (entrepreneurs and the like) next.  In the meantime, be sure to check out Sannah Kvist’s series of urban Europeans and their posessions.  What a contrast.




Photos via BBC News.

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