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People's Daily Online>>China Features

Individual focus

By Xiao Xiangyi  (China Daily)

14:58, February 19, 2012

In his Chinese Pool Portraits, German photographer Roland Fischer finds contrast in the surroundings and the human condition. (China Daily/ Feng Yongbin)

When German photographer Roland Fischer first visited China 15 years ago, the "massive concentration of people" he encountered overwhelmed him.

The images made him think about the question of individuality among such a large, homogeneous population.

"Under such circumstances, how can one man still develop his own individual thinking, feeling, life and career?" Fischer wondered.

Those questions became the trigger and background for "Collective Portraits" series, his first project that lasted five years in China.

Born in 1958, Fischer has some stature in contemporary German photography.

The influential Photo Technik International Magazine named him one of Germany's top 10 photographers. His work has been the subject of many national and international exhibitions and solo retrospectives in places like Germany, Spain and the United States over the past three decades.

Fischer met his Chinese wife in 2006 and decided to live in Beijing since 2007.

China's large population continues to feature prominently in Fischer's work.

His series consists of four population groups - steelworkers, farmers, students at the elite Peking University and soldiers in the People's Liberation Army.

"These figures represent the four pillars of Chinese society for me," he says.

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