Patrick Zachmann first visited China in 1982 while reporting on the Chinese film industry, and has spent more than 30 years documenting the complexities and vastness of a nation in constant flux.

During his first trip, Zachmann wrote in his diary; “It is my first trip to China. I have prepared it for months. I feel attracted by this country and its culture, not knowing exactly why. I have fantasies and clichés in my mind, bound to this millenary culture, its strangeness, its mystery. Bound to unreachable things.”

Pictured here, Beijing, China. 1982.


Photography allows me to reconstruct the family albums I never had, the missing images becoming the engine of my research.

Patrick Zachmann
© Patrick Zachmann | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson made their first forays in China in the 1930s and '40s, respectively. Since then, Magnum’s global roster of photographers has made in-depth visual investigations, resulting in a vast Chinese archive that documents the country and its people, as well as the changes they have witnessed over the last nine decades.
Patrick Zachmann was born in 1955 in Choisy-le-Roi, France, and became a freelance photographer in 1976. For more than 40 years, Patrick Zachmann has produced acclaimed, long-term projects that use photography and film to explore themes of memory, identity and immigration. He has documented the Chinese Diaspora, Jewish identity and the plight of migrants in Marseilles, all the while pushing himself to subvert his ‘style’ by working with both analogue and digital, colour and black and white, and using multimedia formats. One of his most significant bodies of work is , So Long, China (1982-2016), which explores the daily lives of the Chinese, living both inside and outside of their home country. As well as stills photography, Zachmann has directed several films. Zachmann joined Magnum in 1985 and became a member in 1990.
© Patrick Zachmann | Magnum Photos

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