NEGATIVES by Xu Yong 底片 徐勇
“Tiananmen Square protests” is a historical event in which the military used force against demonstrators demanding democracy at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, on June 4, 1989. It is famous for the large number of casualties, and is also known as the "Bloody Sunday" because it took place on a Sunday.
Xu Yong, a Chinese photographer, used to work as a photographer for an advertising company, but he encountered this incident when he was just starting to take pictures of Hutong, an old residential area in Beijing.
This unprecedented photobook, with its black, unobtrusive cover design and negative photographs, was designed to circumvent government censorship. When the color settings on an iPhone or other camera are set to "invert," the original photographs (positive images) are revealed, along with the fact that they cannot easily be published domestically.
It was around this time that he left advertising photography and began candidly photographing "records of society" and "manifestations of emotion”. Because of the nature of his photographs, they have often been subject to censorship in mainland China. However, his challenging approach to production has always stimulated the curiosity of viewers.