In training his Nikon lens on the possessions of ordinary Chinese during the past 16 years, Huang Qingjun has borne witness to China’s changing real estate landscape. His sweeping yet intimate portraits of families amid their household items — furniture and flasks, electronics and heirlooms, clothing and cosmetics — chronicle the layers of modernization that have settled over this vast country of 33 provinces. The series, called Jiadang (“Family stuff”), has driven the Beijing-based Huang to respect minimalism. “We own too many unnecessary things. Home is where I can rest, recharge my energy, and gain inspiration.” He laments that China’s rapid economic development has been a boon to citizens in urban areas while leaving behind those living in remote swaths of the country. For his part, Huang, 45, says that if a camera were to focus on the contents of his own abode, photographs and books would dominate the frame.
Photographs by Huang Qingjun