Friday, 4 November 2011

56 family portraits

Between 2008 and 2009, Shanghai based photographer Chen HaiWen led a team of 14 photographers all across China to photograph the 56 official ethnic groups that make up the country. They took 570,000 photos and the final compilation was made into a book called 'Harmonious China – Silhouette of China’s 56 Ethnic Groups' (translation).

Here are some of the family portraits that were taken of each of the 56 ethnic groups. I love that they are all wearing their traditional costumes (amazing colours and accessories!). I also love seeing how in those groups which live near borders with other countries, you can see the mix of bloodlines in their facial features, some look distinctly more Middle Eastern or Eastern European, depending on where they are. So much culture and history is evident from just a photograph.

Each photo file also has the name of each person in the photo plus the location and latitude and altitude points of where the group lives. It's all in simplified Chinese though, very glad I looked through them with my mum as she helped to orientate me a bit.

I can't do justice to the photos as posting the large formats of all 56 here would kill your page loading time. Here are 12 of them. Do click through to see the full album of 56 as a slideshow, it's absolutely fascinating.

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