This month, National Geographic Magazine featured the work of Mark Leong – a fifth genration American Chinese photographer who was awarded a George Peabody Gardner Traveling Fellowship to spend a year taking photographs in China.
His photos accompany a piece highlighting the steady erosion of civil liberties in HK as the 15th anniversary of the Handover approaches. It will no doubt be the first of many similar articles as the world’s news organisations focus upon HK and ‘take a reading’ of how Fragrant the city remains under the SAR system.
It is said that, since 1997, ‘everything changed and nothing changed’. However, like in the above article, expect to read a lot more about tycoons, gini coefficents and out-of-control property markets as the LEGCO clusterfuck continues and we count down to the July 1st ‘inauguration’ of CY Leung.
In 1992, he returned to China as an artist-in-residence at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, sponsored by a fellowship from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation. He subsequently decided to make his long-term home in Beijing, where he has lived since, observing what changes and what remains the same in the world’s most populous country.
Leong’s photos have appeared in Time, Fortune, the New York Times, Business Week, the New Yorker, Stern, and National Geographic. He has received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Fifty Crows International Fund for Documentary Photography. His book China Obscura won a special citation from the Overseas Press Club for photographic reporting in magazines and books in 2004.