I grew up on the island of Dongshan in the southern Fujian province of China. These photos were taken in and around my hometown.

The rapid and inevitable urban development in this area has given people amnesia—few of us remember what it was like here before. I use my camera to fight against the changes I see in my town.

My hometown has influenced and shaped me since I was born. For the first image in my book, I dressed in clothes that I found in my grandmother’s room.

The resulting series is an investigation into both my town and myself. I see what I want to see. Shooting the place where I grew up feels like a journey in reverse: it has led me to vague memories that sit in the dark at the bottom of my heart.

In my work, I use Bachimen (the bridge to Dongshan), my home, food, land, God and the sea as clues to help me reconstruct my home. I created a book with these fragments. In book form, these spaces, objects, and people condense on the paper. As I turn the pages of my book, a picture of my hometown starts to float to the surface.

I created this book as a guide to where I grew up—to maintain my image of it even in the face of urban development. Our sense of where we grew up starts to shift and fade as soon as we leave. This book gives me the opportunity to stop and recall my home while allowing me to reflect on what “home” really means.

—Zhu Lanqing

Editor’s Note: A Journey in Reverse Direction is a beautiful handmade book. Visit Lanqing’s website to learn more about it.