By the Water

By the Water

Wan Chaofan


My university is in Chongqing, a city that sits next to the Jialing river. After walking out the front gate of my university, within twnty minutes, you'll find yourself walking down a market street. The air starts to get moist, and, gradually, you'll hear the sound of water - then, the Jialing river jump into view.
At this point in the river, it takes only two hours to walk up and down. I started photographing in my 3rd year of university, during which I almost went there with my camera everyday, and walked this stretch of the river over and over. The Jialing is the main source of drinking water in Chongqing. The riverbank is fresh, and so a desirable space for people to congregate. Adults come to play Majiang, drink tea and alcohol, children come just to run and play. Despite these instances of joy, I have always seen people just sitting there, looking at the river, with no indiscernible facial expression. It's as if they expect the water to refresh their spirits, so they can return to their everyday lives.
I cannot document all the people I meet, nor just one person all the time - what I see is fragmented pieces of people. I believe all these pieces hold a record of the emotions from a time in one's life, and, as people are component part of a city, these common, fleeting emotions become the feeling of the city. The profiles of this city, along with the flowing water, this feeling frozen in people's face and bodies.These photographs are just appearances, but with certain transparency.

― Statement from the artist

By The Water is a collection of works by Chinese photographer WAN Chao-Fan. It won him the 5th Canon Photographer Session Award.
During his student days, WAN Chao-Fanfrequented the river Jialing near his university. He began to portrait the regulars he encountered and the stories that unfolded along the riverside.


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Book Size
256 × 187 mm
56 pages
Publication Date
Japanese, English, Chinese
Limited Edition

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