Photography: Chinese Mao-Doubles

Wireds Raw File hat ein schönes Posting über Tommaso Bonaventuras Fotoserie mit chinesischen Mao-Doppelgängern. Bild oben: „Mao doubles Yang Hui Ming and Zheng Jiang, actors in soap operas and patriotic movies.“

In perfecting their acts, Mao doubles train their voices, mimic body language and undergo plastic surgeries. They can even be booked for personal appearances at family celebrations. Photographer Tommaso Bonaventura has set out to create a portrait series of these Zedong doppelgangers.

“I spent a lot of time … getting in touch with them and convincing them to be photographed,” says Bonaventura. After a journalist friend told him about the specialist lookalikes, Bonaventura traveled to Changsha, capital of Hunan province, where most of the Mao Zedong doubles are based. Mao, who never mastered China’s dominant language Mandarin, is Hunan’s most famous son; his revolution began with its rural peasants.

“They don’t belong to real agencies.” says Bonaventura. “The one double from Beijing works alone. They often work in patriotic stage productions with a theater company based in Shaoshan [Mao's birthplace].” The Mao ersatz also work a lively circuit of banquets, holiday celebrations and weddings, at which they deliver famous Mao speeches in his dialect.

Chinese Mao Impersonators Are Devoid of Irony, Satire