Luo Yang captures China’s Generation Z through an intimate lens

The Chinese photographer talks us through her latest series, Youth, a highly anticipated successor to a more personal series, Girls.

2 March 2020

It’s safe to say that we are huge fans of Luo Yang over here at It’s Nice That. Her series Girls, which we covered not so long ago, took our breath away with its intimacy and authenticity, capturing Chinese girls in their natural habitats. The acclaimed series exhibited internationally from Paris to her native China, exploring the ideas and desires of Chinese girls through beautiful photographic portraits. Since then, it’s been non-stop for the photographer, who has worked on a number of commercial projects, not to mention a whole new series, Youth.

In the recent series, which has been shown at the likes of Arles Photo Festival and as a solo show in Paris last year, Luo reveals her most intimate project yet. It’s been a highlight for the photographer in the past year, marking, in her words, “a smaller yet mature project” in comparison to Girls.

Youth embodies many years of thinking and self-reflection for the photographer. It is the result of Luo “getting back in the creative mood” after working on Girls, in turn, capturing the excitement of a series of photographic sophistication, even more extensive than the last.

“The new series focuses on a younger generation in China,” she tells It’s Nice That, “which is different from my own.” Unlike Girls, which echoed a female collective experience of female identity across China, Youth is more objective. Here, she attempts to understand a younger generation by working on the series and getting to know her subjects. “One thing that impresses me is their more fluid definition of gender or sex, and the possibilities in life that they are able to explore in the world,” says Luo.


Luo Yang: Youth

Each image highlights the creativity and expression of the individual or individuals pictured. Combined with Luo’s poetic lens, framing the subject’s fragility through beautifully lit compositions, Luo sheds light on the diversity of China’s Generation Z. She documents the eclectic fashion sense of the characterful bunch. In one image, a young woman is seen to be clutching a small blonde doll with sunglasses, somewhat reminiscent of David Bowie.

In another image, the photographer’s lens rests softly on a calm face framed by peroxide blonde hair. One arm rests on a bed while the other is draped across the back of her topless partner, her legs swung across his lap. While the rest of the image is slightly out of focus, central to this quiet and introspective image is the ambiguous expression of this young girl. It is the documentation of these moments which sets Luo’s artistry apart from other photographers in her field, and something that she is hoping to bring to film in the near future. Before that, however, we can only hope that Luo brings her work to London for us to finally see before our eyes. If any curators are reading, this could be your next hit show.

GalleryLuo Yang: Youth

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Luo Yang: Youth

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

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.

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