Camera Transcending Art Space——Art History Change in Material
Source:Artintern.net Author:Zhai Yongming Date: 2014-01-03 Size:
Since I posted comments on amateur photography in my blog and got widely acknowledged, I have been trying to compose my ideas into a whole passage on the topic. I have been able to find the time to do that. I’d like to take the opportunity of opening of photography exhibition of Zhang Jun, to state my ideas on the topic

  I

  Since I posted comments on amateur photography in my blog and got widely acknowledged, I have been trying to compose my ideas into a whole passage on the topic. I have been able to find the time to do that. I’d like to take the opportunity of opening of photography exhibition of Zhang Jun, to state my ideas on the topic:

  “Amateur” comes from Lain, which means people doing things out of love, not for real interests and purposes. The antonym “professional” refers to employed specialist.

  This is a time when professions merge, resulting in comprehensive art. Merged cooperation is amateur, where all artistic boundaries are demolished. “Everybody is an artist” is prevailing with digital camera. Numerous amateur photography works make the art return to its basics—recording the truth.

  With simplification and convenience of photography equipment, it is now harder and harder to distinguish professional and amateur photographers.

  When it is harder to answer “what is art?”, the aesthetic standard for photography has become wider and more popular. Nowadays, personal experiences and reality charms are mixed together, waiting for camera to find and highlight them, including those neglected parts in daily life and clichés in history. When photography becomes popular and daily, photographers become freer in professionalism and soul.

  In the age of internet, amateur photography is connected with all sorts of art problems, for example “oriental images in occidental history”. This is because the first batch of priests and adventurers in China were amateur photographers, which demonstrates the shift between amateur and professional photography. They constitute oriental images in occidental history, whose aim, standard, and application all surpass aesthetic purposes. I saw a photo of rural fair in a photography exhibition about Chengdu. It is the amateur photography of western priests and adventurers that stores the scenes in last century in China.

  Today, numerous sightseeing photos provide western images from oriental perspective. What’s interesting is that the oriental images in occidental histories are poor, underdeveloped, rural and folk, while sightseeing photos from Chinese tourists are all beautiful, shining, urban and fairy-tale like. Nobody would go to Harlem in New York or immigrant settlement in France because it doesn’t conform to fixed images of Western in Chinese mind.

  We can have access to a great number of photos about tour, food and scenes, a lot of which are well composed with advanced technology. However, few photographers can pursue genre and style, and go deeper into the photo to discover social views. Such photographers will be distinct from most professional ones in vision and perspective. With advances in equipment, unique background and education, such photographers will become specialists with distinct visions and forms, inferior in no way to professional ones.

  Zhang Jun is such a photographer.

  II

  Zhang Jun was quite popular in art circle in Chengdu, who won prizes in oil painting and attended numerous exhibitions. He drifted away from art for a few years and returned. He fell in love with photography and spent all his leisure time in shooting and processing, posting photos and interact with photography fans.

  Zhang Jun’s photos can reveal his professional background, artistic vision and living conditions. He likes to take photos of his artist friends, events in art circle, and tours. His photos are casual and yet with clear intention. His processing is combined with oil painting technique, which is a unique advantage. He can process photos in brush-like way, combining the use of oil paint, composition concept and photographs, to make his photos both realistic and fictional.

  Most photos in this exhibition were shot in Arles and Avignon, during Arles photography festival. Zhang Jun considers it as an art journey, where artists trace the art route. This is because they elaborately designed a route related to art history.

  Some of the photos are about Arles Photography Festival and others are about Avignon—another art town. Zhang Jun pays more attention to the relation between these art location & space and artists & arts, as well as the relationship between Chinese artists in this journey.

  Arles and Avignon are renowned for Vincent Van Gogh and Picasso. Later artists come here to trace the locations in their paintings and remember their idols. At the same time, photographers combine these realistic scenes into art pictures with transfer and shift—a sign of modernization. The integration of tranquil Morning light in Toledo and magical & twisted Toledo Scene of Greco in the same vision, is basically a tribute. The contrast between these two works are especially interesting, with certain artists, scenes and dialogues gone. However, nature and art history will be here for every generation of artists, with possible next Picasso, Van Gogh or Greco. These artists come here for remembrance and inspiration. This makes local tourism a boom and offers special artistic nature for photography.

  Zhang Jun captures, extracts, extends and emphasizes certain moments of this art journey, with shifts in various art scenes and art space (different museum and different artists in different museums). At the same time, these moments are located in the deep end of history. This is not only the thickness of modern art history, but also the thickness of an art photo.


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