PHOTOINTER-Hosted by China Photographers Association

Hector Pei |“邑” an architect searching borders of cities

2016-08-12 12:02:24  source: Photointer [Original]  author: Photography: Hector Pei/Editor: Zhuozi  editor: suyuezhuo
 Share: 

Photointer: How long have you been living in China? Why did you decide to come to China and what do you do now?

Hector Pei: In 2007, I came to China for the first time for travelling. I found it a fascinating country with a mixture of interesting things and many others that I could not understand. Then I decided to come back in 2009. And I have been living here ever since. My academic background is architecture. I am always interested in photographing topics on architecture and urbanism.

Photointer: What is your major concern and theme of photographing during your stay in China? Which part of Chinese culture interests you most?

Hector Pei: My photography mainly focuses on urbanism and the social consequences it brings about. Urbanization, in which China is immersed during the past 30 years, is an unprecedented phenomenon that would not happen again in human history. Such an achievement is enormously positive to the Chinese people. Yet at the same time, it also brings about new social environments, conditionsand cultural shocks.

I am quite interested in culture. In many of my works, you can see people occupying and transforming places that are dull and mundane. Their presence, customs and traditions transform social environments, which in turn offer them a new identity. What makes it possible is the strong cultural background that people have. As an architect and urbanist, I take interest in this transforming society and the relationship between different cultures, rather than those buildings that seek to incorporate natural environments or to connect with the past with ornate decorations.

Photointer: I believe you have some knowledge of Chinese photographers’ works. In your opinion, what is the major difference between Eastern and Western photography?

Hector Pei: Yes, I have! There are a lot of amazing photographers here in China; and I have already witnessed their development ever since I was here, many of them creating fresh and excellent works. We foreigners have so much to learn and to know about China. I would say that the major difference is the attitude towards reality. We, through photographing, try to interpret what we know about China from various perspectives, including its culture, society, economics, etc. While Chinese photographers, obviously taking a quite different angle, usually create new worlds and visions for the future in a much more dreamlike approach.

Photointer: Could you please talk about your series “End of Line?” What do you think is the difference between architectural photography and documentary photography?

Hector Pei: I am extremely fascinated by cities, and of course cities in China are no exceptions. In ancient Chinese language, the character for city is 邑. The upper part represents a closed area and the lower carries the meaning of being extensive and open. In Chinese culture, the borders of cities are always a very important element.

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

_newsnow_page_break_tag_

In my series “End of Line,” I try to search for the borders of cities. I encounter various urban structures and try to know how these urban and cultural borders are defined. Besides, I am also interested in the in-between spaces. Between the borders, these non-places (in the way as Marc Augé defined) are usually unable to generate any kind of urban value.

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

"The end of Line" of series

_newsnow_page_break_tag_

Therefore, these spaces are basically occupied by a unique group who, with their presence graduallyadapted to the new environment, brings new life to these areas and decorates them in a way that urbanism and architecture are not able to.

I will say that architectural photography, which focuses on the buildings and their surroundings, is a branch of documentary photography.

"Buildings" of series

"Buildings" of series

"Buildings" of series

"Buildings" of series

"Buildings" of series

"Buildings" of series

"Buildings" of series

"Buildings" of series

_newsnow_page_break_tag_

Photointer: Through what channel do you get to know the development of Chinese photography? Do you often attend some certain foreign photography groups in China? Could you please share some information with Chinese photographers who hope to communicate with foreign photographers?
Hector Pei: I know many foreign individual photographers, rather than groups, that are working on excellent creations here in China. Last year, the curator Susana Sanz held an exhibition named “Input” which gathered us together. This collective exhibition covered lots of interesting works photographed in China by a group of photographers, including Carlos Sebastia, Jorquera, Gisela Rafols, Pilar Escuder, and Diana Coca. Recently, I get to know the works of Jonathan Leijonhufvud. This Swedish-born photographer shoots constructions from a highly personal perspective, which interests me a lot.

"India Song" of series

"India Song" of series

"India Song" of series

"India Song" of series

"India Song" of series

"India Song" of series

BIO

Hector Pei, a Spanish photographer, obtained his Master Degree in Architecture at Technical University of Madrid, and then finished his two-year study at Peking University in China, with ICO Foundation Scholarship. His works, which are published in magazines such as Arquitectura Viva, Europaconcorsi and Metalocus, aim to explore the relationships between cities, and between cities and societies that inhabit them. In addition, he is also in charge of the photography of the book A Map of Hutopolis, focusing on the urbanization process in China.

His first solo exhibition “End of Line: An archaeology of Silence” was presented at the 2014 Beijing Design Week, which was sponsored by the ICO Foundation and the Spanish Embassy in China. His works were also included in “Input: 10 years of Spanish Photography in China,” a collective exhibition curated by Susana Sanz that were presented in many cities of China. He was also invited to participate in Photo Beijing 2015.

He has been living in China since 2009.

Personal website: www.hectorpeinador.com


 Share: 
[Allow reprint, reprint please indicate the source and the author]

More Article