In 1967, Zhang Yaxin was 34 and working as a photojournalist at China’s state-controlled Xinhua News Agency when he was assigned to a top-secret government project. He was to be the official photographer of a new arts program led by Chairman Mao and his wife – the Model Operas. Though he was not to know it then, Zhang would spend the next seven years documenting the evolution of one of the most dramatic and elaborate attempts to redefine artistic sensibilities in modern art history.
30 days, five planes, six states, 25 Polaroids. Travel can be broken down into fragments, its broader purpose described with the broader vision of something less disposable than business card-size Polaroids (er, Fujifilm). These are not written as epics. They are individual words to be strung together to make up the phrasings of a longer prayer, an ode to the memory of things less extraordinary.