Born in 1993, Hangzhou, China. Currently lives and works in Yunnan, China.
I spent little time with my parents when I grew up. Poor communication and a long time of being alienated gave rise to a feeling of staying in the middle of nowhere. Every time I was confronted with the built-in family issues, I would intend to shun away instinctively. In March 2020, I moved to Hangzhou to get rid of the anxieties as well as a flee for career. There, I got well paid and gained inner peace eventually, but later the routine of job bored me beyond bearing. Out of the basic instinct as a photographer, I decided to explore the similar void of mind state among young people like me scattered in different cities to see their faces as well as check over my deep self-doubt. Therefore, I posted the personal photo project “New Comer” in Weibo, twitter-like social media in mainland China, and received more than 40 applicants. Before shooting, I predicted their inner drives to different cities: career, money, emotion issue, or just escaping family. In the process of shooting and communicating with them, I found my predictions well fit, but the point is that even though I share a lot with most of them, I am still touched by every each individual, his or her willingness to thrive, trying to gain redemption in ways positive or negative. In the end of March 2021, I decided to leave Hangzhou. I had thought over many reasons of leaving, like this damn damp weather, type of cuisines, and so on. But when I was about to leave, I found out nothing mattered; I had well adapted to the local culture and diet. If I had one line to drop for an excuse, I would say “ I belong to nowhere”. It sounds desolate, but for me it is a cheer-up. I will carry on this subject in next city I move to, as a tool of escaping as well as pursuing. – Ziyi Le
Ziyi Le is an independent photographer capturing the heart and soul of Chinese youth who leave home in search of a better life. He was nominated for BarTur Photo Award in 2021 and has exhibited his works at Banshan Gallery in Tokyo – not to mention his self-published photo book Well Forever (长寿水井) (2018).