A Day In Chongqing, China With Lu Gen


The following feature has been created in collaboration with HTC who went on a quest to engage in mobile photography and its wide spectrum of possibilities. They were aiming to find a completely different take on the subject, stepping away from the usual snapshot-taking to discovering and revealing a foreign culture in its everyday aspects with Lu Gen’s elaborated images that were taken with ‘just’ a smartphone camera. All images were captured with the HTC One M9, featuring a 20 megapixel camera.

Based out of Chongqing, China, freelance photographer Lu Gen (卢根) captures the beauty of his hometown and its inhabitants in raw, candid images. He studied art in high school before working as a photo intern for a local newspaper during college where he discovered his passion for photography as a means of telling stories about his everyday surroundings and the people he lives with.

He finds his subjects in dark corners, cluttered local shops, on busy alleys and looking down at his hometown from high above the skyline. They are naturally framed by colors and patterns while they appear both beautifully cinematic and deeply real. His work mixes classic street photography with intimate portraits that he creates within the context of the city. Lu Gen succeeds in discovering his own city in new and unexpected ways, giving unique insights into the stories of random strangers he meets on the streets. You can follow Lu Gen via his VSCO Grid or Instagram.

[08:00 am] I left home and start a new day. The weather today seemed to be not good. Heavy fog. Overcast and rainy. A local grower wheeled his bike along the road. He needed to sell all of the vegetables which were wired to the bicycle.

[09:00 am] I went to a clinic. Because of the changeable weather, I had caught cold. I needed to take some pills to make myself better. A nurse sitting near the door was putting on make-up. Two sick old people were put on a drip by the other nurse.

[09:30 am] I was going to take photos for a press release. This was part of my job.

A new bridge across Yangtze River which could ease traffic jams.

A deserted passenger ropeway over Yangtze River in Chongqing. It was substituted by the new bridge.

[10:20 am] I arrived at a wharf on the Yangtze River. A peddler sold his wares cheap on the way.

The fishing enthusiast had started a new day.

When the rain stopped, a girl was closing her umbrella.

[11:00 am] After it stopped raining, the people who lived near the river came out for a walk and looked at this familiar river. The riverside was the place that people around there usually chose to stay and play.

[12:00 am] I went to a busy business district to have my lunch. The man in the picture is called a “bangbang” in Chongqing they earn their living by carrying goods with a stick and ropes. Chongqing is a mountain city, which is why they are indispensable.

On my way I meet a father who had to take care of his son in his working time. The father was tying the shoelace for his son who was disabled.

[2:30 pm] After the rain when it was sunny again, I was driving to another business district to take some photos for my work. Because of the urban development, the city seemed even more choked with traffic.

[3:30 pm] I arrive in the city centre — Jiefangbei. The weather improved, and only a few days in a year we can enjoy the clean and blue sky like this.

So many shutterbugs and photographers had arrived there to start their work.

I felt a surge of pride when I stood on the roof and overlooked my hometown.

[5:30 pm] After finishing my work, I was on my way home. I lived a little bit far away from the city centre where so many commercial residential buildings were built. So many peasant-workers who came from different cities in China worked here for 2-3 years. They won’t go back home until eventually those buildings were finished.
A peddler was copying out music, movies or even some blue films into their smart mobile phone and the charges were from 1RMB to 30RMB.

Someone else came to this area to find commercial opportunities, such as haircut, drugstore etc.

A man was having a shave.

A simple clothes shop was necessary to the people who worked here. Based on the market-set price, the purified cotton t-shirt cost only 25RMB (approximately 4 euro).

[11:00 pm] Tonight the final of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup was running. My friends and I were ready to stay up late to watch the game. The game would start in 3 hours, we were having a stoke of midnight.

[1:00 am] This was a coffee studio which was converted from a garage by one of my friends. We were going to watch the game here.

[2:00 am] The coffee was absolutely necessary for us to stay up late.

[2:55 am] Everyone was drowned in the game all night.

All images © Lu Gen

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