Ren Shulin’s Adolescence, Innocence & Idealism in 80s China

Kevin WY Lee Photo Books, Photography Leave a Comment


八十年代中学生 The Innocent in the 80s

One of my favourite photo books exhibited at the IPA Photo Books Show 2013 was a sensual, quiet little book from China titled 八十年代中学生 (The Innocent in 80’s), by Ren Shulin.

八十年代中学生 The Innocent in the 80s was taken between 1979 and 1989, spanning the entire 1980s when Ren Shulin was twenty-five, at the end of adolescence. He took photographs in a Beijing middle school for ten years, leaving behind a complete photographic record of youth in the 1980s, the end of an idealistic era.






Ren Shulin was an important member of the April Photography Association. He was born in Beijing in 1954, and graduated from the Photography Department at the Beijing Broadcasting Institute, now the Communication University of China.

In 1976 he began to take photographs with Di Yuancang as his teacher. His important works from the 1970s include Model Worker. In the 1980s, he shot The 1980 Beijing Gaokao and Innocent in the 1980s.Ren’s most influential works from the 1990s were Miner and Twenty years of a mountain girl. The works Air, Two Women, and Yunnan Landscape were taken in the last decade.





The Innocent in the 80s was part of a Special Photo Book Selection from Inter Art Center & Gallery, Beijing curated by Na Risong exhibited at IPA Photo Books Show 2013. Established by Jin Ping and Na Risong in 2006, the Inter Art Center is the most authoritative photo collecting organization in China. Since its founding, the Inter Art Centre has been devoted to collecting, conserving and exhibiting classic photography, also presenting contemporary arts, new media and experimental arts.

More like this


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.