Ren Hang: China’s softcore photographic prodigy

Written by Sara Black

Photographed by Ren Hang

High-brow nudity your thing? Beijing photographer, Ren Hang, might be the nude for you.

Born 1987 in Changchun, China, Ren Hang’s upbringing was mostly unassuming. Nothing remarkable happened.

In his 20th year, he was studying advertising, he was bored and he bought a point-and-shoot camera. Hang began to take snaps of his roommates naked and, eventually, his work took off and revolutionised nude photography.

Although arrested several times by Chinese authorities, Hang simultaneously became a beacon of softcore-porn light, exposing (literally) a heavily censored and conservative China to playful provocation.

Also, he was a poet. And a depression sufferer who lamented on lost love and loneliness. Anyway, back to the book. An, erm, hardcover, it’s a visual smorgasbord of nudes. Erections are abundant and limbs are contorted into highly performative positions.

A month shy of Hang’s 30th birthday, his life was cut short by suicide and so, editor, Dian Hansen (of Juggs, Outlaw Biker and Leg Show magazines fame) released the tribute book, Ren Hang.



ren hang
ren hang
ren hang
ren hang

“I’ve wanted a book that explores sexuality in China for years, and Ren Hang exceeds all my hopes. His playful photos of young friends, male and female, open a fascinating window on sexual freedom in an otherwise conservative society.” — editor, Dian Hansen.

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