An Instagram account sheds light on lesser-known corners of China
China is often seen through a narrow lens in the Western press. Sometimes there’s a simple reason for this: a number of outlets have their own agenda. But mostly that’s because a lot of what is relevant to audiences this side of the planet tends to happen in the nation’s coastal cities, involve the Chinese leadership or focus on the economy. In the echo chambers of global media, it’s a limited set of actors who grab most headlines.
The collective Instagram account set up by Kevin Frayer of Getty Images and Fred Dufour of Agence France-Presse, two photographers living in the People’s Republic, aims to shed light on what doesn’t make it to the front page – everyday life in a country as massive and complex as China. Through multiple lenses, their objective is to “give people a diverse and ongoing visual document of the country”.
‘Eyes on China’ now counts 34 photographers, 18 of them Chinese and 16 from overseas. All of them are clearly talented. Their pictures are as striking as they are wide-ranging: a man rides his boat to check his fishing net; a guitar player flirts with a girl in the train. Three kids, punished by their father, stand in line while holding their ears. A young prodigy plays piano in a video.
The account has 34,500 followers. It is not known how many of them live in China, since Instagram is blocked in the country. If it isn’t where you are – because you're reading this on Sunday or your office is not under too strict a censorship regime – then you should take a look. China is a fascinating place at all times, but it’s even better when it's high in colour.