Photo Exhibition: City Album – Wang Lujia, Xiamen 1986 – 1996

    Wang Lujia

    Date(s) - 28/04/2018 - 27/05/2018
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Three Shadows Photography Art Center

    Location Address 301, Building No.2, Xinlinwan Yinyun Center, Jimei District

    City Xiamen



    Speaking of the photography in 1980s Xiamen, I was initially impressed by the “five-ones” in Xiamen.


    At that time, they tried many ways to photograph. Later on, according to my limited knowledge, Mr. WANG Jialu becomes one of the documentary photographers that keep shooting the daily scenes in Xiamen.


    In 1986 WANG Jialu started to photograph consciously. He has focused on people more often from the very beginning. His daughter was only 3 years’ old at that time. While watching her growth and changes, he took lots of photos for her. We can say that his photography begins at taking pictures for his family. Then he turned his camera lens to Xiamen, where he lived. He cherished the city itself and the people that he met there. He said, he took photos by predestination. Family, friends, colleagues, teams at work and even homeless men were all photographed equally by him for ten years. He gradually stopped after 1996. At that time, he had already more than 60,000 films. This is of course a very huge amount. Looking back at these photos, due to his identity, skills, natural instincts, profession and large social connections, WANG Jialu made an extremely rich record of that time. The photos he took by instinct have grasped the essence of the era.

    We can see that the people in his photos are sometimes far and sometimes near. He wandered in this city, walked through different crowds swiftly, sometimes gentle, but sometimes with a little preference. He saw everything freely and recorded them as if his hand was like a shutter. He said, he wanted to record things and people honestly and warmly. If possible, he wanted to autotype the times and the history of a city by photos. His long-time observation and records of the daily life in this city are doubtlessly not very common. These photos are definitely precious records of the development in Xiamen, a special economic zone. This is a great contribution to Xiamen. His observation of people accomplished his photography and made a lively cultural value, which is different from other local film archives.

    WANG Lujia used photography to get along with this city. He said, if he didn’t take photos of these things, they were gone forever, what a pity! He went to streets and buildings to take photos. Then it became his way of living. If he didn’t take photos, he felt uncomfortable. I classified his photography into City Album, just like what AN Ge did for Guangzhou, YONG He for Shanghai, Josef Sudek for Prague and Vivian Maier for Chicago. A photographer needs to be enthusiastic, curious, calm and concentrated to treat a city and the people there for a really long time, just like doing a religious daily lesson.

    Man may not have unusual feelings when watching these photos, because they can be photographed everywhere. However, time flies and things are gone forever without coming back. They can only exist if photos are made for them. With the power of time, they become special after 20 or 30 years. The uncommon thing is not the time itself, but the spirit of people. This brilliant spirit of one generation can be felt especially from the group photos and individual portraits in the inner hall.

    WANG Lujia said, he took many photos in foreign countries as well. But when he made comparison of these photos, the ones he took in this city were more impressive. It’s a kind of nostalgia, deeply connected to breathe and blood. He viewed these photos modestly as both the evidence of development and the way of looking back the history in this city. It’s a kind act from a photographer if we re-think it now.

    By organizing this City Album Exhibition, Three Shadows also wishes to present a very small gift in form of photography to Xiamen.

    文/ 钟林春
    Author: ZHONG Linchun


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