From a pigeon expert to a professor, a new photo series seeks to shed light on one of China’s fastest growing communities – livestreamers.

Chinese photographer Huang Qingjun is no stranger to capturing the intimate personal lives of ordinary Chinese. In 2003, he embarked on a unique project – documenting the possessions that people across China own.

The project series – called Jia Dang, or Family Stuff – has taken him across a multitude of provinces for nearly two decades, snapping families as they lay out all their worldly possessions.

In the latest instalment of his project, Mr Huang has turned his lens on people who make their living from livestreaming.

Man dressed in a straw hat and a grey robe sits at wooden bench, flanked with items like bicycles, aluminium tins and rubber masks.
IMAGE SOURCE,HUANG QINGJUN
Image caption,
Tian Rongguo, 25, shot to fame on livestreamingplaying a comedic character called Tian Bin the Mentor
Livestreaming has exploded in popularity during the pandemic, providing hours of entertainment as millions were confined to their homes for weeks on end.

And it’s not just buyers who were hooked. More digitally-savvy sellers also began going online as a way of peddling their goods.

In February 2020, the height of China’s Covid-19 epidemic, Taobao, the platform which sees the largest number of live-streaming sales, saw an increase of 719% in new sellers across the country.

And as lockdowns continued to be imposed across provinces and cities, the appetite for livestreaming content has remained strong.

“In the past two years, people’s daily life and consumption habits have changed a lot,” Mr Huang tells the BBC.

“Now people in the post-pandemic era perceive society through smartphones, and short broadcasts and livestreaming have become a window for individuals to showcase their talents.”

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