“Because China’s economy is moving so fast, the pollution is incredibly severe,” [Lu] told us Wednesday through a translation by Orville Schell at the Asia Society. “As I became aware of the pollution as China opened up the western area, I felt that people needed to know about this.”
Mr. Lu was born in 1961 in Zhejiang Province and was taking pictures before his 20th birthday, when he worked in a factory. He studied at the fine arts academy at Tsinghua University in Beijing from 1993 to 1995 and has concentrated on social and economic issues in his work since then. In 2003, his pictures of peasants in Henan Province who had been infected with HIV after selling their blood won the first prize for a story about contemporary issues from World Press Photo.
The photographer, who went to work in a silk factory in the central Zhejiang Province when he was 19, says he became interested in photography “by accident” after he toured a beautiful mountain region with a cousin and the scenery left “a deep impression.” Seeing postcards of the mountains, he decided then and there that wanted to learn photography.
After some success in photography, he told an interviewer earlier this year, he was dissatisfied with his pictures so he decided to return to post-graduate studies at the Central Arts and Design Academy in Beijing. Developing a new style of his own, he said, he decided then to dedicate himself to documentary photography, focusing on “social phenomena and people living at the bottom of society.”
In 2003, World Press Photo recognized his work for a series of pictures about a scandal in a village in Henan province where people who had been selling their blood were infected with the HIV virus.
See the original Lens Blog link for more stirring images.