Photographer Lahem scoops Jimei x Arles Discovery Award

By Yang Xiaoyu | | Updated: 2023-12-21 15:26
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Lahem, Modernity’s Fracture: The Odyssey of Returning Hometown, 2013-2018. [Photo courtesy of the artist]

Born in a remote Hakka village called Sibei in Ningdu county, East China's Jiangxi province in 1984, Lahem spent most of his youth trying to flee his backwater hometown.

At the age of 13, Lahem abandoned his birth name Luo Fuping and renamed himself Luo Xin as he was given an opportunity to study at a high school in a nearby county town. He studied hard and secured a place at the prestigious Fudan University in Shanghai, majoring in literature.

At university, the young adult found it hard to reconcile the two sides of his identity — one as a farmer's son and the other as a new urbane intellectual.

"I'd grown up in one of the most impoverished areas in China, but my transformative years were spent in Shanghai — one of its most prosperous cities. I wasn't taught how to deal with that transition. Photography became a way for me to explore my discomfort," said Lahem in an interview in 2021 with Sixth Tone, an online English-language media portal.

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