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The Art of Taboo – Ren Hang<br />
Being a radical artist in China is a pretty tricky prospect. Considering censors banned paradigm of inoffensive banality Katy Perry from the country&#8217;s airwaves for supposedly being too vulgar (and not forgetting that time authorities made Ai Weiwei disappear for posting seminude photos of himself online), you would have thought that Chinese photographer Ren Hang would lay off filling his portfolio with gaping buttholes and models pissing on each other, or sustaining his unparalleled level of dedication to photographing erect penises.<br />
But he hasn&#8217;t, which is a good thing, because his photos are great—somehow managing to desexualize naked bodies and turn them into sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful, sometimes gnarled, hairy, human-shaped sculptures that make you want to get naked with all your friends, paint your dick red, and hang out on a roof in Beijing. Which is basically the end game all photographers are going for, right? I wanted to talk to Ren about his work, so I did. Here&#8217;s that conversation.<br />
VICE: First off, why is everyone naked in basically every single one of your photos?Ren Hang: Well, people come into this world naked and I consider naked bodies to be people&#8217;s original, authentic look. So I feel the real existence of people through their naked bodies.<br />
Is that why the bodies aren&#8217;t presented in a kind of conventionally &#8220;sexy&#8221; way, even if the photos are sexual? No, I don&#8217;t take photos with any particular purpose or plan—I just grasp whatever comes into my mind, arrange that in front of me and take a photo of it. I don&#8217;t pay too much attention to whether a scene is sexy or not when I&#8217;m taking photos.<br />
Yeah, a lot of the bodies end up looking more like kind of grotesque sculptures.That&#8217;s not really intentional, although I do consider bodies as sculptural—or, as you say, grotesque sculptures—so I suppose the sculptures exist because the bodies exist.<br />
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The Art of Taboo – Ren Hang

Being a radical artist in China is a pretty tricky prospect. Considering censors banned paradigm of inoffensive banality Katy Perry from the country’s airwaves for supposedly being too vulgar (and not forgetting that time authorities made Ai Weiwei disappear for posting seminude photos of himself online), you would have thought that Chinese photographer Ren Hang would lay off filling his portfolio with gaping buttholes and models pissing on each other, or sustaining his unparalleled level of dedication to photographing erect penises.

But he hasn’t, which is a good thing, because his photos are great—somehow managing to desexualize naked bodies and turn them into sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful, sometimes gnarled, hairy, human-shaped sculptures that make you want to get naked with all your friends, paint your dick red, and hang out on a roof in Beijing. Which is basically the end game all photographers are going for, right? I wanted to talk to Ren about his work, so I did. Here’s that conversation.

VICE: First off, why is everyone naked in basically every single one of your photos?

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Reddit user D3cker posted this amazing photo of an electronic billboard showing a gorgeous blue sky in a smoggy Beijing square. No idea if the photo is original to D3cker or whether it's been shooped, but it's pretty sweet contrast, and plays neatly into the China-is-collapsing narrative.

Beijing Tv Sky.

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They keep things out or enclose them within. They're symbols of power, and a means of control. They're canvases for art, backdrops for street theater, and placards for political messages. They're just waiting for when nobody's looking to receive graffiti. Walls of all kinds demarcate our lives. -- Lane Turner (41 photos total).
Note: You can now follow @bigpicture on the social network App.net, where you own your own data. If you'd like to try it out, we've also got some free invites for our readers.
Workers clean the curtain wall of the 40-story National Bank of Economic Social Development in Rio de Janeiro on December 12, 2012. (Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)     

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Kim Kyung-Hoon

When I heard that the rate of recycling PET plastic bottles in China is almost 90%, I was surprised. Because I have noticed since moving to Beijing that the Chinese have no real concept of separating...

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Ken Lyons

A tornado touches down near El Reno, Okla., Friday, May 31, 2013, causing damage to structures and injuring travelers on Interstate 40. Another series of deadly tornados swept across Oklahoma injuring hundreds and causing multiple fatalities including a team of storm chasers. Smoke rises from the International Red Cross building after a gun battle between [...]

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Jason Lee

It took more than 12 hours by plane and long-distance bus to travel from Beijing to what is believed to be the last community authorized by Chinese government to keep guns.

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Last weekend, Reuters photographer Carlos Barria traveled to Zheijiang Province, China, to photograph some of the 1,000 Harley Davidson enthusiasts who attended China's 5th annual Harley Davidson National Rally, part of the company's 110-year anniversary. Harley Davidson only began official sales in China in 2005, and its bikes are considered to be luxury items by Chinese tax authorities, so they are taxed at extremely high rates -- a 2013 motorcycle might sell for 200,000 yuan ($32,500), approximately four times the average annual salary in Beijing. Transportation authorities have also placed Harleys in the same category as electric bikes, horses and bicycles, so they cannot be ridden on highways and major avenues. [18 photos]

A couple rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle during the annual Harley Davidson National Rally in Qian Dao Lake, in Zhejiang Province, China, on May 11, 2013. Around 1,000 Harley Davidson enthusiasts from all over China met at the rally, as part of the company's 110-year anniversary. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)     

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WSJ Staff

In this week’s pictures, a soldier takes part in Victory Day commemorations in Moscow, a graduate dresses casually at a commencement ceremony President Obama attends in Ohio, a woman in a wedding dress gets muddy in England, and more.

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"Hutong" is the Chinese word for typical old town districts in Beijing. You'll still find many of them in the very center of the city.
While Beijing is moving fast, developing new districts and constructing massive infrastructure projects, there are still some Hutongs which provide daily life which you would expect only in villages far away from modern metropoles as Beijing. The density and the warm and friendly atmosphere feels like entering a parallel universe.

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