The Door Opened: Adrian Bradshaw Street Photography Reveals China in the 1980s

The Door Opened: Adrian Bradshaw Street Photography Reveals China in the 1980s

British photographer Adrian Bradshaw arrived in Beijing in 1984, going on to spend three decades documenting China’s changing culture.

In his new book, The Door Opened: 1980s China, Bradshaw shares scenes of everyday life in China, drawing from his archive of almost two million photos.

The early 1980s in China were a time of optimism, experimentation, and discovery. Arriving as a young student of the language and culture with a particular interest in ancient philosophy Bradshaw found a place in ferment. Thoughts of Laozi and Mengzi were put aside to take in the present. Emerging from decades of isolation the overwhelmingly youthful population was finding its feet. The tiny number of visitors from the West who chose to live there shared a special moment in history. The decade long Cultural Revolution and before that the Great Leap Forward among other political upheavals had left China in a state of colorless stagnation, tired of suspicion and paranoia as a way of life. Everyone was ready for 改革开放 (gaige kaifang – reform and opening up), climbing back on the stage to look outwards and forwards. Personal expression was tentatively allowed then encouraged. Clothes started to change from the narrow palette of green, blue and grey.

As China looks back on 40 years of reform and opening up it’s time to look back and see how far the country has changed. The youth whose energy and optimism seized the moment with experimentation and invention back in the first decade of the new era built the foundations of an outward-looking, successful and confident China today. Consumer goods, food, clothes, hair and much more were beginning to get a lot more interesting in both the cities and the countryside.

British photojournalist Adrian Bradshaw came to Beijing in 1984 to study Mandarin just as everyday life was in flux. He would go on to spend three decades living in, experiencing and recording this transformation. Bradshaw settled and married a Chinese and would stay longer than any other overseas photojournalist, bringing empathy and understanding to his subjects that is rare.

In his twenties in the 1980s, Bradshaw was in the company of the young people who drove the reform era and built many of the features of 21st Century China: the artists, farmers, entrepreneurs, and industrialists whose enthusiasm and positivity made things happen. This energy that made history is still bursting forth.

About the author

Adrian Peter Bradshaw is a British photojournalist who specializes in the photography of China.
A BA in Chinese at SOAS University of London, and for the second year of the course he went to China to study at the Beijing Languages Institute from 1984 to 1985. He did not return to England to finish his degree course but stayed in China to pursue a career as a photojournalist.

Bradshaw spent the next three decades living and working in China, based in Beijing (1985–1997 and 2000–2014) and Shanghai(1997–2000). He mainly worked as a freelance photographer, but in 2003 he set up an office in Beijing for the European Pressphoto Agency. He returned to England with his wife and two children in 2014 and is now based in Oxford.

More info on:
https://apbphotoblog.wordpress.com/
http://www.impress-publishing.com/

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Impress; Standard edition in slipcase edition (12 Dec. 2018)
Size: 37 x 24 x 4 cm
Publisher: Impress; Standard edition in slipcase edition (12 Dec. 2018)
ISBN-10: 1999782577
ISBN-13: 978-1999782573

Adrian Peter Bradshaw is a British photojournalist who specializes in the photography of China.
A BA in Chinese at SOAS University of London, and for the second year of the course he went to China to study at the Beijing Languages Institute from 1984 to 1985. He did not return to England to finish his degree course but stayed in China to pursue a career as a photojournalist. Bradshaw spent the next three decades living and working in China, based in Beijing (1985–1997 and 2000–2014) and Shanghai(1997–2000). He mainly worked as a freelance photographer, but in 2003 he set up an office in Beijing for the European Pressphoto Agency. He returned to England with his wife and two children in 2014 and is now based in Oxford.

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