Because Strangers Make Me Nervous
Self-taught photographer and poet Ren Hang first began taking pictures of his roommates and friends in 2007 mainly to deal with the boredom of studying advertising in college. In an early interview he explained that he photos his friends “because strangers make me nervous”. His erotic, playful and casual yet provocative photographs gained him worldwide fame. The British Journal of Photography quoted him as once saying: “I don’t want others having the impression that Chinese people are robots… Or they do have sexual genitals but always keep them as some secret treasures. I want to say that our cocks and pussies are not embarrassing at all.”
Especially between 2014, when he started to appear on the radar of the international photography community, and his suicide in 2017, he grew out to be China’s most wanted and loved photographer. But even within these years of growing fame, when models were lining up to be photographed by him, many would unexpectedly meet a rather shy and introvert person still a bit more comfortable around friends. In memory of Ren Hang we like to highlight some of these friendships. Highlighting the people with who he often created the works together, the ones that open up for him, carrying the props, running around naked and with who he could be who he wanted to be.
Ren Hang (b. 1987 – 2017, Changchun, China)
Ren Hang was a poet and photographer. He started taking pictures of his friends from 2007 while studying at the Communication University in Beijing. He is widely regarded as one of China’s top young contemporary photographers known mostly for nude photographic portraits of his friends and fans. Ren’s erotic, playful and casual yet provocative expression gained him worldwide fame. He suffered from depression and commit suicide on 24th of February 2017.