A DAY IN THE LIFE
All images copyright Barnaby Jaco Skinner
China - A day in the life sets out to explore often under-exposed realities in the lives of the People's Republic of China.
Shot over four years (2011 to 2015) in all four corners of the global powerhouse, the subject matter edges towards the under privileged, those whom are not on traditional tourist routes, with the photographer often taking inspiration from the ideology of China's struggle through darker times and on to the global stage. From Beijing to Kashgar, Shanghai to Shangri-La, China - A day in the life explores often sobering realities behind China's global rise to fame, interacting with citizens whose ancestors helped galvanize a modern China, yet who rarely travel further than the borders of their home province.
As the photographer explains, this is not an expose of shock and awe, rather it's a celebration of the DNA that propelled China through the fog of the late twentieth century...
"I wanted to focus on an aspect of photography in China which all photographers and tourists are exposed to, yet is often overlooked and misunderstood; what does it mean to be a citizen living outside the modern cities and under the radar of this global powerhouse? Shooting in China for this project was primarily about looking through the eyes of the less economically privileged who makeup a vast majority of the people of the republic. I aimed to navigate some of China's most isolated locales, with the intent of meeting the very DNA that built this grand nation. Yet, with hindsight, looking through their eyes and being present through their struggle of making ends meet on a daily basis, and subsequently shooting it, well, it made me question many aspects of the project. In the end, however, to understand just a few of the intricacies of this dynamic culture, this helps us to understand the people on a new level, and in turn can act as a gateway for allowance, understanding, acceptance and change.
None of my images are paid for or set-up, they really are slices of life where the subjects are initially unaware of my existence, it's just how I prefer to capture honest moments in time. Afterwards I'll go and talk to the person or people, explain what I'm doing, offer a Facebook portrait shot for free, buy a round of beers or pay for dinner, exchange emails and move on. It can be quite a nomadic lifestyle, but one which allows a depth of penetration into a society otherwise impossible to attain."
As part of a longer term project, Barnaby Jaco Skinner has shot for a series of exhibitions exhibiting key locations across China, exploring citizenship, socio-economic issues, and the daily way of life.