/ 100

Gao Shan: The Eighth Day

Born in 1988, China.
Currently lives and works in Anyang, Henan Province, China.


“It was the eighth day after I was born. I was taken home by my adoptive mother. We live in an 70 square meters apartment together. Although we lived together for a long time, I neglected her and did not pay enough attention to her. Recently, I began to re-examine the mother who was instantly present in my life, as well as the things going on in her daily life.” — Gao Shan 

The Eighth Day (2019) was born out of his mother’s simple request to be photographed and his own desire to connect emotionally with her — a relationship that, beforehand, was distant. In the series, he uses the camera not for cold observation but as an active tool in their relationship. The series depicts Gao Shan’s mother’s life, the space they share, and their relationship – an intimate, emotional photographic document that involves its viewers’s heart and mind. In them, there is an intimate, existential, visual dialogue wrestling with loss, pain and regret, as much as embracing love, compassion and reconciliation. 

Gao Shan is a self-taught artist who took up photography in 2007 as a street photographer through a growing interest in the nuances of human behaviour and life. Gao Shan received recognition for the photobook The Eighth Day (2019), through which he won the 2016 Color Shadows New Award’s “Photographer of the Year” Award. His photographic practice has subsequently earned Gao Shan several prizes, including XITEK New Talent Award and the Paris Photo—Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards, and his work has been exhibited worldwide, including Power Station of Art in Shanghai and Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography, among others.

Click here to follow Gao Shan on Instagram 

Edited by Nikolaj Ahlefeldt