Since late 2019, a pandemics has taken the world by storm, forced billions of people into lockdown and is profoundly reshaping our lives. For many this is a novel experience, but for those who have survived leprosy outbreaks of the last decade, this may feel like a déjà-vu.
From 1956, the PRC government took large-scale segregation measures to contain the leprosy spread, sending hundreds of thousands of patients to be isolated on far-flung mountains and islands. Hundreds of leprosy settlements, called “lepers’ villages”, were formed across the country. During the decades-long isolation, while their inhabitants bore the stigma associated with the disease and suffered from injustice according to historical factor. When the segregation was finally lifted in the late 1980s, many of them had died, whereas few among the living found opportunities to leave, cause severe population ageing problem in most of the villages today. This historical chapter is now nearing its end.
How to avoid the repetition of history?
Our land is full of differentiation between rich and poor, but even in poverty, there are inequalities. How to heal the pain? Is it possible for humans to move on in ruins? I intend to use photography to find out.
JT, Chinese photographer, lives and works between France and China. His photographic practice has long been concerned with marginalized groups in the society and devoted to exploring the relations between social issues such as poverty, urbanization, new immigrants and special ethnic groups.
In 2015, a private photography project on Chinese orphanages started to be produced. It spanned more than a dozen counties and cities and villages in several provinces in China. The project recorded the unofficial adoption mechanism and the living conditions of those abandoned children. In the same year, his another long-term photography project was started: Curse of the Wind. A History of Leprosy in China. The project adopted two methods to separately record the living environment, social structure, and pathological features of the last group of leprosy villages and communities. This item is still going on.
He received the prize IPA Award China on the Gold-Category Photo Documentary in 2016. In 2019, he received the Bourse du Talent Award. His work was selected for the annual night of the 2020 Arles Photography Festival, also reported by the fisheye magazine, Art TV and other media.