As well as being behind the camera, Hang also published a number of books
Controversial Chinese photographer and poet Ren Hang has died at the age of 29.
Hang was known for his controversial images, which Yahoo describes as “a carnival of milky limbs and botanical beauty”. His images were notoriously censored and the artist was arrested several times in China for his explicit photographs.
Hang’s images often featured nude subjects who tended to be his friends or fans. The self-taught photographer developed a knack for his unique, provocative and powerful photography which he shoots with “no plans”.
Outdoor nudity and pornographic images have been banned in the People’s Republic of Chian since 1949. Nevertheless, Hang had always maintained that his work was not “taboo” or seeking to “push boundaries.” He once said, “I just do what I do.” Hang was even championed by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who he collaborated with.
Blouin Art Info reports that whilst a cause of death has not yet been confirmed, several outlets have reported that Hang committed suicide.
Hang had suffered from cynical depression, which he often documented in his poetry under the title My Depression. Furthermore, Hang published seven photo books including Ren Hang, Nude, Republic and Son And Bitch.
The artist’s images often drew comparisons to photographers such as Ryan Mcginley, Richard Kern, and Nobuyoshi Araki. Hang was considered as one of the most promising voices of his generation, with his work being showed in galleries nationwide.
Alexander Öberg, of Galleri Tryffelgrisen, a longtime collaborator of Hang, told TIME: “We are shocked and incredibly sad about Ren’s death. He was such a lovely person. We still cannot believe it is true. We can only speculate about what led him to end his life at the young age of 29.”
Öberg said that Hang was a “lovely person and an incredibly creative artist who had so much more to share with the world,” describing him as a “kind, humble and somewhat shy person.”