Two Homeless Boys, Beijing

Two Homeless Boys, Beijing


Zheng Liu

(Chinese, b. 1969)

Gelatin silver print

Paper: 45.7 x 45.7 cm (18 x 18 in.); Matted: 71.1 x 66 cm (28 x 26 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2012.113



This work is part of a group of photographs representing the rebirth of more independent photography in China. Here we see two homeless boys, both looking straight into the photographer’s lens; one appears desperate, the other looks expectant. Traditionally, the social status of Liu’s orphans would not make them worthy portrait subjects.

Liu started his career as a photojournalist for the Workers Daily in the 1990s, a time of rapid social change, burgeoning individual prosperity, and increasing openness to the West. In 1994 he began with his series The Chinese, to chronicle and portray contemporary Chinese society from all walks of life.

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