Matthew Niederhauser’s involvement with Asia and photography first started in high school with four straight years of Chinese courses and late nights in the darkroom. Greatly inspired by his language teacher’s own dramatic background during the Cultural Revolution in China, he became fascinated with the country’s expansive history and philosophical traditions and spent a year living with a host family in Beijing in 2000.
After his first year in Asia, Matthew commenced his studies at Columbia University where he immersed himself in the anthropology department and drew strongly from his first-hand experience in China. It led to many more trips across Asia and, eventually, thesis research on urban development and the role of cultural tourism in integrating rural communities into central economic systems in western Tibet. During this period Matthew also began taking classes at the International Center of Photography in New York. After graduating from college in 2006, he split time between researching for the National Committee on US-China Relations and assistant teaching at the International Center of Photography before heading back to Beijing to fully commit himself to long-term documentary projects and photojournalism.
Since then Matthew’s work covering youth culture and urban development in China has appeared in the New Yorker, Washington Post, Le Monde, New York Times, Guardian Observer, Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine amongst others. He also just published with powerHouse Books a 175-page, hardcover book entitled Sound Kapital consisting of his portraiture and concert photography of Beijing’s underground music scene. Otherwise, Matthew concentrates on two projects entitled "Visions of Modernity: China's Gilded Age" and "Counterfeit Paradises" that investigate megablock urban development and concomitant consumer trends. This is his main outlet for exploring the rapid socioeconomic changes in China.
Matthew is based in Beijing and finds writing about himself in the third-person rather disconcerting.