Ren Hang: Tokyo
Ren Hang's photography tickles a sweet spot between instant I-dare-you snapshot aesthetic and staged art-inspired fashion story sans clothes. His quick rise from an exotic young talent, hailing from—as if in a well-plotted PR stunt—censorship-friendly China, effectively bypassing common landmark museum/gallery exhibition route to prominence, is a certified Internet success story in itself. With a love 'n' survival movie in the works which he writes and is set to direct next year, Hang is clearly not intent on playing by the book.
Notoriously tight-lipped—What do you enjoy the most besides photography? “Write poems.” What does sex mean to you? “Sex means sex.”—we asked his models to share their experience of working with him instead.
—What were your expectations of modeling for Ren?
MahitoThePeople (GEZAN), Musician, 27: “I wanted to feel something I couldn't express in words, and to see the lines of my own body I've never seen.”
—What was the most exciting part about the shooting, is there anything new you have discovered about yourself?
sac (Ms. Machine): “It was a challenging experience to expose myself with no guise. His work made me face scenes I'd never come across in my everyday life. He creates his world by using motifs people would avert their eyes from, so his photos feel otherworldly.”
Usamaru Manami, Nude Model, 24: “His idea of beauty is bold but delicate, so incredibly demanding like taking unbelievable postures or standing on the verge of falling to death. I found myself excited with his thrilling requests. Everything was pleasure. Being naked in front of Ren Hang felt very natural. It was a joy to liberate myself from the guilty feeling I had with nudity so far.”
All photos © Ren Hang
Special thanks to Kenichi Nakahashi for helping to prepare the material.