How do we make sense of images?

American photographer Fritz Hoffmann, moved to Shanghai in 1995 to chronicle change in China and stayed for 13 years. With Shanghai as his base, the respected international photojournalist traveled throughout each of China’s provinces and municipalities while on assignment for international media. Hoffman’s impactful photographic reportage behind China’s ‘bamboo curtain’ has made an important contribution to world understanding of modern China.



The China Portraits project was produced on assignment for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Magazine’s May 2008 CHINA SPECIAL. For this assignment Fritz Hoffmann traveled across China with 2 Leicas and Fuji Provia film to create a contemporary portrait of the country he came to know during 13 years as a resident photojournalist there. The Gallery displays a few of the many unpublished images from that project. See Fritz Hoffmann photography in, “SEARCHING FOR SHANGRI-LA”, published May 2009 in National Geographic Magazine or visit

When viewing the images taken by Hoffmann, carefuly consider how he brings the principles and elements of design into play – contrast, colour, usage of perspective with strong diagonal lines, impact, repetition, flow and a storyteller’s ability to see images to get a message across. While looking at the foreground elements, study the background environment – for there is another story going back there; more often then not, it provides an answer to the search for the frequently intangible truth.



About ranman

Design educator with a Masters of Design degree. 32 years of design experience. View all posts by ranman

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