Ryan Harding: Old People in Parks

A celebration of stretching, dancing and dozing in China’s urban parks.

Old People in Parks《公园⽼⼈》is a newsprint photobook celebrating the largest demographic of park-dwellers in China: the elderly. There is no greater joy in life than being part of a community passing their days exercising, socialising and relaxing together without a care in the world.

Harding writes: “While the younger generation’s eyeballs remain glued to their smartphones, there is simply no feast for the eyes quite like witnessing the elderly thumping their backs against trees; clapping and punching themselves while simultaneously walking backwards; and stretching with the flexibility of a contortionist— all in the name of keeping fit. But exercise is just the tip of the iceberg. Whether they are pampering their dogs, sleeping in awkward positions, or singing and dancing the night away, there is seemingly nothing age prevents them from doing. Even in retirement, they remain a testament to one of the hardest working nations on Earth.”

This project was conducted over a period of 5 years and is a love letter to all the park-dwelling elderly folk encountered along the way. Ryan Harding’s photo-book is separated into 3 chapters representing the advice given by the older generation to the younger generation in China:

注意身体 – take care (of your body/health)
过⽇⼦ – pass the day / live your life
好好休息 – rest well / relax

Ryan Harding is a British filmmaker and photographer based in London, UK and Shanghai, China. Since graduating from University of the Arts London in 2012 as a cinematographer, his films have screened at a range of internationally renowned film festivals and institutions including BAFTA, Cannes Festival Short Film Corner and Raindance Film Festival. In 2017, he directed his debut feature film “The Hostel” and recently finishing a 6-month artist residency at The Swatch Art Peace Hotel. His latest directorial effort “Two in the Shadow” is currently in post-production and is set for release in 2019.

View more of his work on his website or Instagram. The Old People In Parks book can be published here.