Highly noted for his sophisticated fashion photography for the likes of Vogue Hong Kong, Miu Miu, i-D, Modern Weekly Style, GQ and Tank amongst many others, London-based Greg Lin Jiajie views photography as a profoundly intimate experience. “Photography to me is more than just a picture,” he tells It’s Nice That. “It captures memories and documents moments; reminding us where we come from and enlightens where we are going.”
Though he’s namely known for his beautiful commercial work, Greg’s self-directed projects deserve equal credit. Recently, he’s been photographing his hometown of Fujian, a southeastern Chinese province known for its towering mountains and coastal cities. “It all started last year when my identical twin brother and I went back home,” explains the photographer.
The ongoing series tells a story of this little old town through photographs, “documenting what is left there as a Chinese third-tier city.” A far cry from some of China’s more well known bustling cities, Greg’s tranquil series of Longyan, Fujian, captures the traditions and cultures of an older way of life. “This is where I grew up and spent countless summers,” continues Greg on the highly personal series, “it’s definitely my favourite place in the whole world.”
He photographs his grandfather, cousin and neighbours in the understated dusky shots. And though he’s very close to his family, this was the first time Greg had pointed the lens at them, getting to know those around him in a different light. In one expressive photograph, Greg captures his grandfather clutching a duvet in the wind. Discussing this moment, Greg further explains, “A storm was coming and you could feel it in the air. My grandpa rushed to take the laundry inside and put it away before dinner. He’s worked as a farmer his entire life and is one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever known.”
In another image, Greg photographs his neighbour’s children. Even though the same family has lived next door to Greg’s family for several generations, they know little about each other. “I met the children one afternoon outside our yard,” says the photographer. “They had just finished school and I was wandering around the neighbourhood before heading home for dinner, just like I used to when I lived there.” Upon meeting the children, he asked if it was okay to take their picture and “the two girls immediately started posing while the boy next to them felt super awkward.”
In a particularly intimate portrayal, Greg documents his cousin Han who is also one of his closest family members. “I was never alone in my childhood despite the one child policy in China,” Greg goes on to say. “Even though I have a twin, growing up with our cousin made our childhoods much more interesting. We grew up together in my grandparents’ house” the photographer adds. And looking forwards to continuously work with his identical twin brother, Greg is “super excited” to be creating a new project Summer With Us alongside an abundance of striking fashion editorial work.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.