Traces by Ian Teh

Deep Sleep Editions

Deep Sleep Editions is the book imprint of web-based photograghy journal Deep Sleep Magazine. It was founded in 2011 in order to exercise greater control over the publication process. This imprint is a new beginning….

Traces by Ian Teh is the first book to be published by Deep Sleep Editions. It was developed with Stephen Taylor at Heat Design to coincide with the launch of Ian's solo show at Flowers Gallery.


“... I had discovered firsthand the unforgiving fact that improvements in technology have seeded the world with lots of photographers by lowering the barriers to entry. That is all the more reason to take note of the best…. As Ian and I have worked together over the last few years—in Guizhou, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and so on—I’ve seen his work when it’s underway and again when it’s finished. He comes from the expeditionary school of photography, which is to say that when he showed up the first time, I wondered if he had forgotten his equipment. It turns out, however, that all he needs is one camera and a lens or two. If he works with lights and flashes, I’ve yet to see them. He vanishes into the scene, and the results are brilliant and ghostly. If you want to understand what China looks like—what it really looks like, in the minor moments, in places far away, when everybody else has packed up and gone home—take a look.”
Evan Osnos ‘Chronicle of a China Foretold’ The New Yorker, Aug 2010.

“Mr. Teh, 39, uses stills to create short stories with different aesthetics. Each can stand on its own, and each captures the sentiment of change. As a whole, they present a multidimensional perspective.”
Kerri MacDonald The New York Times, Aug 2010

“ This series of arresting, beautiful photographs is a chronicle of Teh’s travels and observations during time spent in covert analysis of China’s industrial and economic surge to it’s current status as the world’s second largest economy. In Traces, Teh is our soft-spoken guide through the ravages of China’s 21st century industrial revolution, bringing us up close to its environmental and social fallout. Teh nimbly straddles journalism and art with his work. I find his concepts provide a frame for which the veracity of the medium is fogged, allowing an onlooker to respond instinctively. Those portraits of miners burrow as deep as the underground shafts in which they work and quiet intensity permeates his photographs like the dust that envelopes all….Teh’s presence as witness and chronicler pays homage to those subject indefinitely to such hostile conditions. By the same measure these photographs deserve to reach a wide audience and to propel a discourse as to what really is progress… the irreparable degradation of environment in exchange for international economic distinction.”
Michael Salu Artistic Director of Granta Publications, Sep 2010.

“The London photographer’s studies of Chinese coal mines and coking plants at night have the look of scenes out of films from “Blade Runner”: They feature impossibly lurid green light, refracted through a darkness filled with particulate matter in a world of shadowy figures straight out of dystopian science fiction. But of course, this world is completely real.....The amazing thing is that his artistic vision operates so well under such stressful and restrained circumstances”
Jerry Cullum ‘Outside the Lines,’ The Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 2008.

“...Ian Teh’s heart-stopping exhibition, shows us the uncertainties, fears and squalor of a world in its death agony... His camera is candid, compassionate, searching....The subtitle of this extraordinary exhibition, ‘Altered Landscapes and Displaced Lives’, suggests that it is the Yangtze’s ghosts that haunt Teh... A great Teh strength is to capture the personal dignity of those caught up in this mass uprooting.”
Rosemary Righter ‘Before the Deluge,’ The Times, Jan 2004

“Teh’s final, mesmerising images, which capture the gorges’ last spring, are a testimony to loss on a colossal scale.”
Tara Pepper ‘A Disappearing World,’ Newsweek, Feb 2004

“Viewing this exhibition is rather like looking at a photo album from a bygone age. You know that the scenes depicted no longer exist but, oddly, it’s the landscape that has died while the faces live on. Only time will reveal the true impact of severing entire communities from their roots and memories.”
Carolyn Fry ‘The Vanishing,’ Foto 8, Winter 2004


Ian Teh's Dark Clouds - The hidden side of China’s miracle economy by Panos Pictures.
Vu Agency
[EV +/-] Exposure Compensation
New York Art World
Junk for Code
Ian Teh website