Unboxing Rian Dundon’s “Fan”

Fan: Following Fan Bingbing around is the product of 9 months that Mr. Dundon spent traveling around with Ms. Bingbing as an informal English tutor and candid, slice-of-life photographer. He had no clue who Ms. Bingbing was, and neither do I, really.

Mr. Dundon was in China on assignment for Time when he took the job, and for 9 months jet-setted all over mainland China with Ms. Bingbing, photographing her as she went about the business of being one of the biggest film and music stars in China.

Part documentary, part mythology-construction, Fan is a hodgepodge of pictures of Fan in costume, incognito, on boxes and billboards; screaming, gesticulating, wildly excited fans and sycophants; scowling managers; random buildings and street scenes; all sorts of things about and around Fan during those 9 months.

After a brief introduction from the photographer, the photographs come in a torrent, many spanning the gutter, most aligned with the book, some (mildly annoyingly) turned sideways. There might be a chronological or narrative arc, but I didn’t discern it in the first couple of flips thorough. There are a couple of brief essays at the end from Jonathan Landreth and Erik Be—a description/ discussion of the project itself and a biography of Ms. Bingbing, and a meditation on the place of icons and fandom in consumer culture—and they add both some nice background and a potential stance from which to view the work.

Modes Vu prints on demand… My copy was ordered on April 14 and bears a printing date of April 17, so they print and ship fairly quickly, and you can order up a copy at your leisure. There are some good pictures and its an interesting story.

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