John Hames

“Yu Xiao, Jimingyi, China”


In the spring of 2007, I was teaching Photography at the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology, in Beijing, China. I had been invited to go with colleagues on a demo shoot to the small, walled city of Jimingyi, a few hours north of Beijing. This model, a student, was wearing a piece designed by another student. Between the formal set up shots, I had asked her to follow me down this lane. We were simply checking out the lighting situation when a local man walked past. This photo became the cover of my recent book, “China: Paradox and Progress”.  For 30+ years, photography has been a tool for discovery. From long-term projects ‘Two Sons’ (30 years), ‘The Newtons of Swanville’ (15 years), to ‘Provence Holga’ (one month) or ‘Himalayan Village Life’ (several weeks).


John is drawn to subjects that resonate with his views on existence, or his interest in historical subjects or diverse cultures; images that investigate emotional content, or reveal intimate experience. He is an observer, constantly looking, and sometimes seeing; searching for images that perhaps transcend subject matter while remaining true to the facts of this world.

Selected by Natasha Egan, Curator and Executive Director at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.