Photographer Xu Yong took 500 portraits of Zi U – a sex worker in Beijing. He accompanied her on a normal working day to continually take close-ups of her face, often right after a customer had said goodbye. Together with Zi U's diary entries, Xu recorded her life and mood. The result provides realistic and intimate insights into the lives of sex workers in China. On page after page, the book shows how a Chinese woman observes and reacts to the world. Zi U's face reflects her personal feelings about life as well as the longings of present-day China. The series is banned there; this illustrated volume makes it accessible.
XU YONG (b.1954) studied at the Henan University of Technology before starting his career as a photographer in the marketing and advertising sector. Best known for his documentary work, he is a cofounder of the 798 Art Zone Beijing. The artist lives and works in Beijing.