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CULTURAL EVOLUTION – CHINA 2005 – 2010 / photography by Lionel Derimais / Text by Mary Kay Magistad

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This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified), French

Hello again dear Nicely Made in China readers, 

It’s been a while, I know.  I do hope you are all safe and well as the whole world is in the middle of a second tumultuous year.  Like many of you, I’ve used my time to complete a project close to my heart.  Some of you may know that besides producing the NMiC blog since 2009, I am first and foremost a working professional photographer. 

Today I am pleased to announce that after years of preparation, I am launching a book of photographs called “Cultural Evolution China 2005-2010”.  It is now available for sale via my website – please click on this link to buy the book. Texts in the book (essay, biographies, captions) are in 3 languages: English, Chinese (Mandarin) and French.   

In 2004 as I was looking around for a new challenge, a friend suggested that I consider going to China to witness the preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as it would surely become one of the biggest stories in the world. Not long afterwards, on a hot day in August 2005 I landed at Beijing International airport, minus my suitcase, which had not managed to make the flight transfer at Heathrow as successfully as I had. And so it started – life, on the building site that was to become modern Beijing, indeed a lot of China – quickly turned into my biggest professional adventure. 

I immediately started taking pictures on the streets of Beijing. The photographs in the book have at their heart, China and the Chinese people who I count myself lucky to have lived and worked with for 5 fascinating years. The 88 pictures of the book were taken at a time when “China changed the world and the world changed China”, as American journalist Mary Kay Magistad writes in her 2500-word essay, written specially for the book. Her experience of more than 15 years reporting from this part of the world adds the often hidden context for the pictures.  She offers a broader view and a deep understanding of the country’s realities and challenges as China very consciously turned towards the outside world and moved into the 21st century. 

Producing this book has been a collective and multicultural effort. For the picture selection, I worked with Marie-Anne Méhay, a Paris-based picture editor and friend. We chose the final 88 pictures from the thousands I had taken during my time in China. Marie-Anne’s sharp eye and sound judgment ensured a continuity of story and meaning to the collection.

For the book design, I turned to British art director Martin Colyer hailing from another ‘Far East’, the East End of London.  We have worked together many times in the past.  I hope you will agree, thanks to Martin, we have produced a stylish and evocative book.

To help me with the French text I called upon Paris-based writer / journalist Jean-Michel Masqué. Jean-Michel, always a voracious reader has a way with words that is unparalleled.

But nothing could have happened without the generous and enthusiastic help of Ms Zhao Jia, from Hangzhou. Jia has supported me through the production of the book, but she was also present when many of the photographs were taken.  Her calming presence and professionalism meant that I could quickly grasp a situation and guarantee a story’s successful outcome.  Additionally, Jia translated the text into Chinese and shared the all important Chinese perspective.  

Finally, it is my hope that you will see through my pictures a refreshing and appreciative view of this extraordinary country at an historic time, and that you will enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed the making of it.

The price of the book is €35 (Thirty Five Euros) and depending on the exchange rate more or less US$42 or £30 + postage and local taxes when applicable.

Some images of the book are available as fine art prints. If you would like to know more about those prints – size, prices, type of paper – please contact me directly at lionel[at]lionelderimais[dot]com


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