About the Photographer
Chinese, b. 1979
Song Chao began working as a coalminer as a teenager in the Shandong province of China, one of the largest consumers and producers of coal in the world. His uncle was a community photographer and Song often assisted him in taking portraits and documenting local events. It was this experience combined with his work in the mines that inspired him to start photographing his coworkers in 2001. Using an aesthetic reminiscent of famed portrait photographer Richard Avedon, Chao’s portraits utilize a white backdrop to create straightforward portraits of his subjects. Chao notes that he wants to portray his subjects as not only workers, but as people. After gaining success for his portraits of coalminers, Chao began photographing their families and daily lives, further exploring the community and impact of the difficult work on the lives of the individuals.
Song Chao has no formal training in photography. His work has been exhibited both in China and internationally. Selected exhibitions include: Galerie Paris Beijing, Paris, France (2012); Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, China (2011, 2010); Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2007); Photo Gallery International, Tokyo, Japan (2007); Musee de la mine, Saint-Etienne, France (2006); Aperture Foundation, New York, USA (2006); Elysee Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland (2005); MK2 Bibliotheque, Paris, France (2004) and 798 Photography Gallery, Beijing, China (2003). A monograph of his work, titled “Song Chao,” was published in 2012 by Thircuir Books.