Luo Yang is a photographer living and working between Shanghai and Beijing capturing the lives of Chinese girls in their own private spaces or in places they feel comfortable. Here at It’s Nice That, it is a rare to hear a comment like, “I don’t know Western girl culture very well” from a female creative. In turn, Luo Yang’s photography offers a refreshing perspective of the lives of young women on the other side of the world.
In the photographic series Girls, Luo explores the confusing age that encapsulates young womanhood. The photographer has developed a sensitive visual style over the course of a decade long career, explaining how “at first I simply shot things that I was interested in, and gradually I found topics that I became really concerned with that are truly relevant to myself. These images then became a series of works.”
Luo arrived at the subject of contemporary Chinese girls through personal, unresolved feelings of “confusion and loss at a young age.” She sought out “a group of mavericks who live their true selves and have their own pursuits” in life; likening their experiences with Luo’s own: “we all live in this time and place and have all sorts of problems.”
All in all, the photographic series intimately “presents the most authentic side of modern Chinese girls, their ideas and desires.” One portrait captures the effortlessly fashionable Gelaicuomao who Luo met during a tour of China last year.
Gelaicuomao caught the photographer’s eye instantly with her personal sense of style and “dreams of going to New York to study design.” Her life was dramatically altered after the 2010 Qinghai earthquake when she decided to travel the country and explore how others live in big cities. Her travels have led her one step closer to her dream as she is currently studying design in Shanghai.
Another portrait documents Xu Xueying and Xu Wanying, twins trying to start their own business in Shanghai. However, due to “huge workloads and complications with their living situation, they chose to move back to their hometown of Chongqing.” Since the move back, Luo reveals that the twins have slowly started to find balance in their lives and the younger sister (on the left) now has a one year old child.
Finally, the portrait of the girl in the green dress shows Chen Yujie, a “sweet and quiet girl”. At the time when the picture was taken, “she was struggling in a painful relationship. In order to save the relationship, she used her lipstick to write on her boyfriend’s car with apologies for days but he refused to see her for no reason”, explains Luo. On a more positive note, she is currently happily married to a long-time friend. With these stories in mind, Luo’s photographic series become a transportive insight into the lives of these young women making their way in the world.
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.