Remembering Ren Hang

April 21, 20172 min read

Photographs inspire change, they evoke possible uncomfortable thoughts, they have the power to start a conversation. Ren Hang did all of the above in his pictures, even when he lived in a country where censorship did not allow for controversial topics to be discussed. His pictures often showcased homosexuality, gender roles, and the a new take on the human symmetry.

You may recognize his work for Frank Ocean’s “Boys Don’t Cry” Magazine. He also had exhibitions at many renowned museums,  Fotografiska Museum in Stockholm and at the Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam.



Ren Hang captured his emotions, whether photographs or words.  He wrote on his depression “I am also afraid to go out to hear those who care and doubt, “you look so happy, how could you be depressed?”, His pictures are new.

Hang unfortunately decided to end his life, however his work lives on. The emotion, the reflection and the inspiration in his provoking artwork remains on this earth, circulating the web and starting that conversation.

Hang challenged his culture by photographing bodies in a way that confused eyes, in a quote to Purple he said, “People are more bound by traditional and conservative attitudes toward the body. They think it’s a degradation, even a demoralization, to show what they think should be private. They generally abhor nudity here. We hide the body in our culture.” 

Even though he was arrested by Chinese government officials many times because of the obscene nature of some of his photographs, Hang remained devout to the Chinese culture and beliefs. He never meant his work to be political. He said to Taschen, “I don’t intentionally push boundaries. I just do what I do.””  


View More Work: http://renhang.org/

If you are feeling any suicidal and/or unhealthy thoughts please call Call 1-800-273-8255 (US), or online chat with National Suicide Prevention Line. 

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Julie Jaipati

From Michigan! Love Photography!