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Yuan Yao: A matter and/or two

Born in 1988, Chengdu, China. Currently lives and works in Shanghai, China.


The model Nagakura Nami was a peripheral friend of photographer Yuan Yao when they met in Tokyo. Through the photographic project A matter and/or two, they began to form a close relationship, share affection and common values during the time Yuan Yao lived in the city while Nagakura Nami was pregnant. A unique connection was established as they would end up on a spiritual journey together,  the series is a visual and visceral journey through the landscape of Japan, for example Fuji, the birthplace of the future mother, and tells the narrative of a momentous and magnificent experience motherhood. All human beings have been carried in a mother’s womb. A mother can be present or absent, thoughtful or disruptive, supportive or dominant. as a homage to the beauty of pregnancy and motherhood, the series illustrate a mother’s care and resilience and a bit of sadness, in symbiosis, mixed into a mysterious combination of traditional storytelling and cinematic experience. With penetrating strong colours, Japanese landscape scenarios, naked beauty and the use of blurred out imagery, A matter and/or two becomes an intimate inward look into human existence. In his photographic practice, Yuan Yao is inspired by Japanese folklore and mythology, and hope to underline female empowerment and compassion with the narratives he conveys. In the process of this particular photographic series, he expedites mystery and awes, while underlining duality in human life portraying happiness and melancholy.

The photographic series on Nagakura Nami is one among others, that will be featured in his forthcoming photobook. We highly recommend everybody to follow the career of the emerging photographer, who we are sure to hear much more about in the coming years.

Click here to follow Yuan Yao on Instagram.

Edited by Nikolaj Ahlefeldt Andersen