In Beijing, the capital of China, thousands of cleaning workers look after the megacity of over 21 million inhabitants. Each of the workers cleans the same street seven days a week, twelve hours a day. Although expected to be as inconspicuous as possible, the cleaning workers are an inseparable part of the Beijing cityscape. They are seemingly everywhere and truly indispensable, yet nobody appears to care about their predicament as if they are tools. With Johannes Frandsen’s direct and close portraits Orange Street presents the people in working clothes, not only their well-known orange outfits.
“In China, most of the people see ‘cleaning worker’ as a shameful profession fit only for the inept and talentless – a view that completely disregards how important such work is for the city. Chinese cities have almost no cleaning workers who are younger than 40 years. Most are upper-middle-aged or older men and women with a rural background, who continue in the line of work for twenty, thirty years. Because of the inadequacy they feel, they instinctively assume an air of humility and self-deprecation in public. Johannes never looks down on these workers. Under his lens, they are reduced to individuals, equal to one another.” (Chilly Chin)
About the Author
Made in Sweden 1983. Photographer, artist, and publisher from Sweden currently based in Stockholm. He is the founder of Ark Produktion.
Johannes Frandsen’s work ranges from close-up portraits to still life, from empty spaces to radical landscapes; he entrusts the picture to assert his point of view, calmly and without effect. He is a collector and intermediary of expressions, with a wide-open eye for emotions and the quiet drama between people.
Besides personal projects, he does editorial work for a number of newspaper and magazine clients.