Described as one of the “rising stars of Chinese photography” by Ai Wewei in 2012, Beijing-based Luo Yang is gaining international recognition for her candid photographs of women in contemporary China. GIRLS began in 2007 as a deeply personal series, for in her subjects, Luo observed emotions and questions very similar to her own. The intimate photographs that constitute GIRLS alternate between carefully staged portraits depicting an emerging Chinese subculture that defies our expectations, and snapshots that favour a raw, blurred aesthetic. The photographer simultaneously manages to convey the girls’ defiance and ultra-cool composure, alongside their vulnerability, shyness and insecurities. Luo elaborates: “I can’t say that they represent a whole new generation of women in China, but they are absolutely a group of women who represent independence and freedom”.