Close your eyes and picture China.

If you were raised outside of the country, you conjured images of men in uniform, a portrait of Mao, or factories belching smoke against a matte, gray sky. These are the visual shortcuts that tend to frame the "China story" in the foreign press — a window into life here, sure, but a rather narrow one.

The Eyes on China Project, a bold new collaboration between foreign and Chinese photographers, aims to broaden that view by bringing you photography, and photographers, that might not otherwise make it over the Great Firewall.

Founded by Kevin Frayer, who works for Getty Images, and Fred Dufour of Agence France-Presse, the group now includes more than 20 photographers, from across the country and around the world.

The collective aims to challenge the way information, and images, are controlled here: Pictures are published on Instagram, which is banned in China. And it features the work of Chinese photographers who, under local law, are forbidden from working for foreign news organizations.

In keeping with that ethos, the feed is something of a free-for-all: members add pictures when and how they wish, sharing whatever work they please. They post images from across the country, sharing outtakes from long-term personal projects, or scenes from daily life.

"Our goal is for this to be a broad and objective and view on a massive country," said Frayer. "It needs to be organized chaos."

The result is a gorgeous mix that feels like China is, not how it is imagined.

Contributors share work on big news stories such as the Tianjin blast and the military parade, but do so in interesting and unexpected ways, zooming in on a grieving mother, for instance, or showing us the marching soldiers through the eyes of a migrant worker.

There are quiet moments, and quirky ones: A young man carrying a bouquet for his girlfriend, kids being kids.

March 2014 a young man who lived in an urban village prepared iPhone 5s and a bunch of Teddy Bear as his girl friend's birthday gifts. In 2014, There were over 8 million floating population working and living in Beijing, lots of them settled in tiny space apartment in urban village of suburb Beijing. 2014年三月一个住在城中村的年轻人为女友的生日准备了iPone5s和小熊花束等礼物。据2014年统计数据,北京有800多万常驻外来人口。他们中有很多居住在北京近郊城中村中面积非常狭小的房屋里。 photo by Liu Bowen @lbwsmail @eyesonchinaproject is a new @instagram collaboration of photojournalists and documentary photographers living and working in mainland China. The primary goal of the project is to create a diverse, dynamic and objective view of the world’s most populated country through the images and storytelling of both Chinese and foreign photographers. The work of each contributor is self-curated and presented the way they would like you to see it. All images are copyright of the photographer. @eyesonchinaproject 是@Instagram 上的一个全新的集体纪实项目。在中国生活、工作的一群中外摄影师将竭力以多样、生动、客观的图片讲述中国的故事。 每一组作品都由摄影师自己挑选编排。图片版权为摄影师所有。 #China #Asia #photojournalism #photography #urban-village #migrant-workers #Beijing-Population

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Zhang Lijie, who works at a Chinese magazine focused on disability issues, posts understated, intimate portraits that are part of her long-term projects on people with rare conditions, and those institutionalized because of mental health.

Lijie 22:45:33 From an on-going project about patients who live in institutions for severe mental disorders. The numbers of patients with different types of mental illnesses are more than 100 million, in mainland of China. Severe mental patients are more than 16 million, that is to say, every 13 people, one is suffering from mental disorders, less than 100 people, and one is the severe psychiatric patient. Photo by ZHANG Lijie @vincentsop

选自正在进行中的一个摄影项目,关注居住在重症精神病机构内的精神病人。我国各类精神疾病患者人数在1亿以上,重性精神病患人数已超过1600万,也就是说,每13个人中,就有1个是精神疾患障碍者,不到100个人中,就有1个是重症精神病患者。摄影:张立洁 @vincentsop @eyesonchinaproject is a new @instagram collaboration of photojournalists and documentary photographers living and working in mainland China. The primary goal of the project is to create a diverse, dynamic and objective view of the world’s most populated country through the images and storytelling of both Chinese and foreign photographers. The work of each contributor is self-curated and presented the way they would like you to see it. All images are copyright of the photographer. @eyesonchinaproject 是@Instagram 上的一个全新的集体纪实项目。在中国生活、工作的一群中外摄影师将竭力以多样、生动、客观的图片讲述中国的故事。 每一组作品都由摄影师自己挑选编排。图片版权为摄影师所有。 #China #Asia #photojournalism #photography

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She she values the chance to share off-news stories. "You can express your personal ideas and opinions about something—that's much more interesting for me," she said.

She also appreciates the exposure. "It is not easy for anybody to get their work published," she said. "And for Chinese photographers, the language barrier can be huge."

To attract as wide an audience as possible, the Instagram feed is bilingual. The next step, Frayer said, is expanding into Chinese social media. The project just launched on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site.

What's fascinating is how the feed challenges audiences who have come to expect — and really, to desire — a certain type of China picture.

"If you publish picture of Chinese man in uniform and a red star, you get hundreds of likes, instantly," said Dufour. "If you try to make a picture with some ambiance, with something they don't expect, people look and 'say, "Oh is that China?"

And that, of course, is the point.

Morning Guangzhou! Two men were fishing in the pond of Xian Village which is in the center of Guangzhou city. There was a conflict between locals and real estate developers for more than 7 years because of the uneven compensation and the corruption of Xian village leaders. Xian village is an epitome of China's urbanization. 早安,广州! 两位村民正在广州冼村里的池塘里捕鱼。冼村位于广州市中心CBD,因为村领导的腐败问题和拆迁价格的不确定,当地村民和房地产商已经争执了超过7年时间。冼村的改造是中国城市化的一个缩影。 Photo by @yuyang_liu_ @eyesonchinaproject is a new @instagram collaboration of photojournalists and documentary photographers living and working in mainland China. The primary goal of the project is to create a diverse, dynamic and objective view of the world’s most populated country through the images and storytelling of both Chinese and foreign photographers. The work of each contributor is self-curated and presented the way they would like you to see it. All images are copyright of the photographer. @eyesonchinaproject 是@Instagram 上的一个全新的集体纪实项目。在中国生活、工作的一群中外摄影师将竭力以多样、生动、客观的图片讲述中国的故事。 每一组作品都由摄影师自己挑选编排。图片版权为摄影师所有。 #China #Asia #photojournalism #photography #migrantworkers #urbanization

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