Fangbin Chen, a young Chinese photographer from Qilu University of Technology, presented his project, “Guardians”, as part of the Sustainability Now category at the Sony World Photography Awards 2020. The contest, one of the most important events on the international photography scene, has reached the 13th edition this year.
Chen’s work is inspired by the spread of a new type of coronavirus in China now declared a pandemic by WHO. Shortly after the Spring Festival, when the epidemic began to spread and change people’s habits, the photographer realized that the topic could not be ignored. The artist wants to bring attention on the crisis involving the Earth, which is being mistreated by human beings who limit its resources: “We must protect and respect nature”, he states, “only a harmonious coexistence between various species can lead to the sustainable development of human society”.
Chen’s photographs depict the emergency through the work of policemen, doctors and farmers in his hometown, all called up to deal with the epidemic. Guardians, precisely: the human species described in the photographs protects itself and becomes the species to be protected against extinction. The masks serve to protect that biodiversity which is too often threatened and which includes everything from wild animals to humans.
“We have been warned by nature. Think of forest fires, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and melting glaciers”, the photographer reminds us. “We must take urgent measures to protect the earth, improve the moral level of citizens, prohibit the killing of wild animals to balance the ecosystem”.
Regarding the current situation, Chen also recalls how “it’s important that everyone does their part. Isolating yourself from the virus is the best way, the rest is believing in the country and the doctors”. In progress, the thesis “everything is silent like a mystery”, in which he addresses, among others, the life-death binomial.
- Fangbin Chen
- Sony World Photography Awards 2020
- Sustainability Now