Solidified Memories

Update on the where and what abouts of long time Drumz photographer friend Boris Austin; For the past year, he’s been in China as part of an MA in documentary photography, resulting in an indepth exploration into a town called Dalian which like the rest of the country is being affected by the forthcoming Beijing Olympics. Boris sent me an email following the private view of the Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed’ Exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery, in which has been selected as one of the winners. For those interested in China and censorship, read on. Good luck with the visa Boz.

“If you went to the private view last night unfortunately of course my book wasn’t there. I did try but this is because is really hard to send anything even remotely sensitive out of China and all material is being rigorously checked by hand. Im sitting here in a cafe in Hong Kong waiting for my visa which is due monday. I might not get it however and might be forced to come home as i think the authorities have their eye on me at the moment. This week just as ive published my book project to the internet and had an exhibition in Dalian and a lot of Chinese people have been talking about the project and photos in forums online. By the end of the week the Chinese government blocked not only my site but every site on my server. This means that anyone in mainland china cant now see the project not even me but you guys out there still can.

Its been a long time coming and so here it is, this is what i’ve been doing the last few months, living with these people hearing their stories and documenting as best as i can.

Heres the link www.borisaustin.com/solidifiedmemories ( you might have to scroll down to read the captions )

To very briefly explain…

In my MA thesis for the project i tried to illustrated that the publics perception of Dalian (see attached photo) is distorted. Dalian is being paraded as “the pride of China” for its living conditions and footage of this city is associated with the Olympics as a way of “advertising” Chinas urban development. In reality however Chinas has a drastically different “protocol” in news reporting in which “many “sensitive”” issues are censored. This gave me the desire to create a balance, to document and show what is hidden.

However people might see it, in part i wanted to tell an intimate story about the people who live there and the lives that they lead, something that wouldn’t have otherwise happened in China.
Considering that my project and site have just been censored i feel now more than ever that i want to get this story out to as many people as possible so please forward to anyone you think may be interested either for publishing or simply viewing.

Hope your well.
B
xx”

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