These photos were mostly taken in the city of Chongqing, and some other towns nearby. Chongqing is located in the southwest of China, among the Yangzi River, where the Three Gorges Dam is being constructed. In 1997 the city was upgraded to a municipality directly under the central government and has been experiencing rapid financial development, making Chongqing an economic hub on the Yangzi River.

“They”, in reality, are just a group of ordinary people. They all have their own careers and lifestyles. But they seem rather bizarre, absurd and quite surreal. Economic growth is changing their lives, deeply affecting them spiritually. In the shadow of all the beautiful surfaces of the city, there are always grief and tears and cruelties. I met them randomly by coincidence; I desperately wonder how each of them experience their lives.

The moments I captured, in which all these faces appeared in my photos, I wondered: what are their real thoughts behind those expressions? Perhaps everyone has a different answer; perhaps there is no answer at all. But I question myself also: what was my doubt while I was holding my camera at that specific moment? I don’t think I will ever have a proper answer, because simply, I am one of them, I am also careless. Maybe our daily life is just absurd, like everyone else. That is why I am seeking the meaning of “to be”

Zhang Xiao