Photography of Jiwei Han

Edited by Odeta Catana, Photo Editor.
Jiwei Han

Could you please tell us something about yourself?

My name is Jiwei Han. I am a freelance photographer; I live in Beijing, China.


How did you start taking pictures?

For the photography, my first experience of photographing was in 2004. At that year, I met my girlfriend. In order to snap some pictures for our first date, I borrowed a compact digital camera from a friend of mine and took my first picture in my life — A photo with a beautiful daisy. Suddenly, I found I followed in love with photography and began to study by myself.


Where your inspiration does comes from?

Books and other photographer’s’ works.


What kind of relationship do you have with your subject when you shoot?

If I want to take some portraits for a person, first, I would like to talk with him/her in order to build a trusting relationship between us. So, we will become a friend at first and then, take photos.


In a portrait, what is important for you?

This is a big question and hard to answer it. For me, being trusted by my subjects are most important and a good portrait should be able to let viewers can feel it.


Do you think it’s important to follow a school to learn how to shoot?

I am not sure, because many great photographers are self-taught.


What’s the photo you want to take and you never did?

The pictures, that are taken by large format cameras.


What’s your photo-mission?

For me, I think photography can be seen as a way of communication with people. I hope my pictures can be used as a kind of medium, to allow people to communicate with each other.


Can you please tell us more about your project “Laundrette”? How did you start it?

The project — ‘Launderette’, I started to practice it in November 2011, while I was studying MA documentary photography in Newport. I am a Chinese and we do not have any launderettes in China, and people normally wash their clothes at home with washing machines or by hands. The second think that encouraged me to undertake this project is a British movie ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ (1985). The film makes me consider why the director would set the story background in a launderette, instead of other places, such as pubs or supermarkets. Both reasons made me very fascinated about the launderette and want to understand it in depth.


Do you consider it the most important project up to now?

I am not sure because every project is very important for me. For each project, I have to focus on it, dedicate a lot of my time, effort and enthusiasm to promote it further.


What project do you have ongoing for the moment?

Yes, some personal projects are in progress. But some of them are not good enough to be published until I think they are ‘good’. One exception, I am doing a project called ‘Strangers in Beijing MTR’, that is a series of 15″ videos recorded via Instagram to focus on the Metro passengers in Beijing undergrounds. You can see them on my Instagram: jiweihan (

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