Spectacular places

Some of China’s most photogenic spots

Hong Kong photographer Tugo Cheng has captured some of the most mesmerising images of China. Here he shares where and how. All images by Tugo Cheng. Interview by ANSHEL MA, text by TIM PRITCHARD

Hong Kong photographer Tugo Cheng spent a decade crossing the border for his series Discovering China. Cheng, who has a background in architecture, says he focuses on capturing unusual shapes, patterns and textures, often resulting in abstract, poetic compositions – shapes like these surreal canyons, hundreds of metres deep, carved out by a river in the Tianshan mountains of China’s northwest Xinjiang region. Shooting while the light was weak helped Cheng create the flattened look, like a painted canvas.

In the video below, we catch up with Cheng to talk to about his approach to photography, his travels throughout China and about the techniques he used to capture images that have won prizes in prestigious international photographic competitions.

Cheng believes his architectural training has been instrumental in developing his personal photographic style. ‘Both architecture and photography represent a ceaseless pursuit of aesthetics in terms of lines, patterns, proportions, lighting and colours,’ says Cheng.

Throughout all his works, Cheng says his aim is to preserve the beauty of these natural landscapes. ‘While pollution and crowds may be synonymous with China, the country also boasts stunning natural scenery,’ he says. ‘Especially in the western provinces of Xinjiang, Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan, where dramatic silhouettes are shaped by the mountainous environments.’

Unfortunately, several of the locations in China he shot have already disappeared due to land reclamation as well as natural disasters. ‘If we don’t go to these places now, they’ll be history.’

Watch the video to hear Cheng talk about some of his favourite places in China to photograph or scroll through his photos below.

China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Nyingchi, Tibet. Despite its rough weather, Tibet has a warm and colourful springtime in the southeast region of Nyingchi, where the Nyang river valley is pink with wild peach blossoms.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Changbai Mountain, Jilin. In the morning, water in the river evaporates and condenses on frozen objects. A thin layer of ice is coated on the tree branches, resulting in this heavenly tranquility.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Changbai Mountain, Jilin. In a freezing morning in northeast China, sunrise casts a mysterious light on a river under Changbai Mountain.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Jilin City, Jilin. The morning mist along the Songhua River turns red as the sun rises in Wusong Island in northeast China.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Harbin, Heilongjiang. In northeast China during winter, people in Harbin commute across the surface of the Songhua River.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan. The Nuorilang Waterfall is painted in vivid colours in the beautiful area of Jiuzhaigou during autumn.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Xiapu, Fujian. A fisherman rows between a grid of bamboo rods along the south China coast, used for growing oyster and drying seaweed.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Chakayan Lake, Qinghai.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Chakayan Lake, Qinghai.
China photos by Tugo Cheng
Location: Bipenggou, Sichuan.

EDITOR’S PICKS

Discover More

Cathay Travell Book

ABOUT

Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
Discovery Book Silkroad Book