The Window

Zhou Na


Four years have passed since an explosion rippled through one of China’s busiest seaports, claiming 173 lives and injuring countless more. Before the catastrophic evening of August 12, 2015, residents of Tianjin’s Binhai New Area district were unaware that they were living near a warehouse haphazardly storing toxic chemicals and corrosive materials. The explosion caused  an estimated $1.1 billion in damages and injured nearly 800 people.

Since the tragedy, much of the area has changed. A brand-new park sits atop the disaster site; in 2016, a new primary school opened nearby. Binhai has largely moved on, as traces of August 12 fade from memory and government censorship on the topic leaves little room for public discussion. However, life will never return to normal for the survivors and families of those affected.

I have spent three years collecting accounts and examining how survivors and families have coped since that traumatic event. I document the lingering pain, to resist public forgetting and indifference. Hundreds of photographs bear witness to the broken windows, scorched facades, and environmental contamination, attesting to the mass destruction and disruption of the private spaces that were once called home.


Zhou Na is a photographer and multimedia storyteller from China. She based in Beijing as a freelancer for most of the time, and recently work as photo editor. She gets the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography in 2018. And She was chosen as one of nine fellows of Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice Program in 2017. She also selected to participate in the Angkor Photo Workshop in 2016.