In his last series named The days with Zhiyu, the young Chinese photographer Alex Huanfa Cheng, delivers an intimate portrait of his romantic relationship and motherhood.
Alex Huanfa Cheng grew up in a small village in the Hubei province, in China. He later moved to Beijing to study engineering, before turning to photography. The medium gave him a newfound confidence, enabling him to seek connections with the rest of the world. In 2013, he was accepted into the National School of Fine Arts, in Paris, and moved to France with his partner, Zhiyu.
"I’ve been taking photos of my partner Zhiyu Chen’s daily life since 2013. We met and fell in love in 2012 while learning French in China before going to study in France. We’ve been living in Paris together since that following year. I would say it was an experience filled with conflict in the beginning. Feeling the intense melancholy of love, I started documenting her face. Her fragility and emotional sensitivity fascinated me. This series of photos is like a mirror of our intimate relationship: at first, I looked at her with both violence and love; but after living together for a year, our relationship stabilized and love trumped violence in my gaze.
I admire women. In the face of disease, pregnancy, aging and other conditions, women usually have to face more difficulties compared to men, but Zhiyu is so brave, especially in giving birth to our child. Zhiyu is not a model for me but a partner who is as powerful as me in the photos. I took a long look at myself, and I realized I’ve gradually become a feminist..." — Alex Huanfa Cheng