Lin Zhipeng

"In China's tradition-laden environment, it may seem as if we of the younger generation already have freedom, but it is freedom that we seek." – Lin Zhipeng

By 2003, bloggers had become very popular on the internet; running your own blog became a kind of status symbol. I started my own blog then, and started publishing short texts and everyday photographs: different subjects near my school, the old Guangzhou airport, the lives of friends, how they amused themselves, their parties, eccentric habits, sex, temperaments… all these I laid out on the blog, sometimes accompanied by a short text. Gradually, the blog attracted more and more visitors; what attracted them were the sensitive and unusual subjects, but they were often also sexually interested in me. Some who followed my blog became friends; some I photographed, some were surfing and checked out the pieces I'd put up, and others were like chance encounters on the street: you greet each other and move on.

The internet has created a dependent generation. The web started to break the chains of traditional media. It became easier to discuss taboo topics. Gradually, it also became possible for me to reach out by more traditional means, organising exhibitions and self-publishing photo books.

Since the internet gives you greater freedom, I was less inhibited in my choice of subjects. I photographed youths and loving couples at parties, people wandering naked through nature. I photographed close friends, myself, people, things, events, emotions.

Sexuality and gender have become a central theme for me: the ambiguous; the frivolous; wet kisses exchanged between men; female fetishism; bodily closeness; sexual lust… some viewers flock in, curious, delighted; others snort in derision at the decadence and decline. But I just want to find a freer expression in my photo art. In China's tradition-laden environment, it may seem as if we of the younger generation already have freedom, but it is freedom that we seek.

I admit that the contents of my work are not at all representative of the new young generation, barely even for five per cent of it. I amplify their lives with my camera. I'm not looking for the exotic and have no predetermined plan or thought behind what I do; I just want to document and photograph my daily life, express myself with images, not words.

The series In Existence [that Secret Love chose to exhibit] concerns the relationship between time and existence. A snapshot of objects, without people, followed by an image containing a person – the human being and time, time and space, space and the human, it all hangs together. For every photo, I have carefully noted the time it was taken; two interlinked images might have been taken just a few minutes apart, or it might be hours or days. The small separating details indicate what time has changed, the processes of growing and ageing.

Text: Lin Zhipeng (No. 223)

Lin Zhipeng (No. 223) 林志鹏

1979: born in Shantou, Guangdong
2000: graduated from the Financial English dept., Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Lives and works in Beijing and Canton