Nanjing Zifeng Building

People have an instinctive interest in and urge to create architecture in cities. This is evident in a large number of photographs. In contrast to the idyllic countryside, the modern city is no longer a quiet and serene home, but is always full of challenges, desires and temptations, and adventurers see it as a paradise on earth.

Nanjing Zifeng Building
Nanjing Zifeng Building

 This materialism is not only reflected in the spiritual realm, but also extensively influences the architecture and landscape of the city. It is said that many urban buildings are shaped somewhat like genitalia, or that it is the genitalia that inspires the designers and creates the landscape of urban architecture. Of course, it can also be said that this design concept foreshadows reproduction and birth.

Nanjing Zifeng Tower is a Nanjing landmark and one of the tallest buildings in the city. So people seem to be no stranger to her existence. This design style cannot be said to be necessarily pleasing to the eye, but it is definitely rich in character. In the picture formed by the Purple Peak Building and the surrounding buildings, it is clear how distinguished her presence is.

This picture was taken in backlight, and you can see the trees on the shore of Xuanwu Lake submerged in a shadow. The loss of detail in the image increases the representation of the architecture to a certain extent, creating visual tension.



Xuanwu Lake after the heavy snow

The scene presented in these two pictures is the Xuanwu Lake in Nanjing and the nearby landscape. After a heavy snowfall, the sky is as clear as a mirror after the snowfall. Xuanwu Lake, which is usually a vast lake, has also become clearer, and the mountains not far away form a beautiful and pleasant landscape painting.

Xuanwu Lake after the heavy snow

In order to avoid the picture tone too cold and dull, I deliberately included the nearby boats and water splashes into the frame. These small boats have been docked consistently due to the weather. The orange hue of their hulls forms a stronger visual contrast with the surrounding environment, injecting a touch of warmth into the picture. At the same time, the wind on the water gradually squeezes the nearby lake water into a water wave, which keeps rolling over and over, just gradually rubbing those blue lake water into a small piece of faint splash. They make the picture look more vivid.

For the second picture, I changed the camera position and perspective, and incorporated the tree branches above my head and the bridge covered with snow into the composition, in order to show the depth of field and three-dimensional effect. In fact, the branches and the bridge also play a role in balancing the picture. It makes the left and right side of the picture look more harmonious. Of course, you may have a better way of composition.

Both images express the same theme in different degrees: the tranquility and distance after the snow. For a long time, people have been familiar with this kind of subject matter, and it seems to have gradually become a pattern of composition. But nonetheless, just like the mother theme of literature, people have been trying to explore the same kind of things for thousands of years. This explains why classical literature, the literature of different peoples, can be widely interpreted.

The same is true for photographic creations, I guess!

The Republican buildings on North Taiping Road, Nanjing

The Republican buildings on North Taiping Road, Nanjing.For most people, the Republic of China is a not too distant history, but also a period of indefinable sorrow and joy. At that time, there were not only masters like Hu Shi, Lu Xun, Cai Yuanpei, Wang Guowei, Zhang Taiyan, Chen Yinque, but also talented people like Lin Huiyin, Liang Sicheng, Lu Xiaoman, Xu Zhimo.

The Republican buildings on North Taiping Road, Nanjing

In that time, on the not so wide historical stage, a scene of personal fate and national destiny intertwined family and national love, sorrow and happiness. The wave of ideas they stirred up is still very influential in China and the world more than a century later.

More than a century ago, China, under the tide of world revolution, was also experiencing the difficult test of “changes unprecedented in 2,000 years”. Intellectuals with a global vision and a civilized mind sought to save the country, to reform the past and to make a new start, to improve the nationality through cultural improvement, and to build a civilized society. At that time, people could not only talk about national affairs and criticize the reality, but also taste the piano and drink ink, manipulate flowers and live an extravagant and petty life. More than a century later, people from these Republic of China buildings, from the residual text, pondering the past, thinking about the past, it really makes people feel a lot of emotions, sighing.

Today, these preserved Republican buildings have been developed into tourist attractions and commercial use. Every day, they receive friends from all over the world to come here for sightseeing and tourism, and receive different people’s eyes and interpretations. However, they are like old people who have experienced the vicissitudes of the years, and have long looked down on honor and shame and life and death.

Rickshaw drivers in the Fuzimiao Scenic Area

The rickshaw driver’s dress and the tricycle are so prominent and unique in this picture. The main reason I didn’t make them a close-up is to convey more background information and show more of the background story. But nevertheless, I let them occupy the position of the main visual center.

Rickshaw drivers in the Fuzimiao Scenic Area

I am not a pandering person, nor am I very good at catering to the tastes of others. It was in the spirit of being true to my heart that I picked up my camera and went on my photographic journey. But this also means that my photography may be full of more uncertainty. In fact, an adult should be good at making trade-offs between reality and ideals, and must know how to make them. Admittedly, they do make it difficult!

Everyone has a different perspective and aesthetic orientation towards the same picture, which causes different people to interpret the same picture differently. From this picture, you may get what you want. Just as an optimistic person will be glad to see half a glass of milk on the table, a pessimistic person will complain about the reason why there is only half a glass of milk. Of course my analogy is not too exact. Interpreting this example through the lens of pessimism and optimism inherently contains preconceptions about personal values. But what I am saying is that the perspective people use to see things is the main difference in perception.

In fact, you can also see in this picture how difficult it is to make a living. The pedestrians and the rickshaw driver are dressed for a cold winter day. The pale white light reflected on the ground also seems to deepen this visual experience (the sunlight is miserable and weak and does not give warmth). The use of the wide angle of the lens creates a sense of isolation and visual tension between the subject and the surroundings, expressing the isolation and helplessness of the rickshaw driver. And indeed it does. In this dripping cold weather, there is naturally not a single customer, nor any person who comes to talk to him. They had to stay here for an hour, two hours, or even more, compared to those who worked in the warmth of the office.

Cruise on the Qinhuai River

Although this is a close up photo of a cruise ship without much background information, we can still capture some additional information from it to satisfy our visual interest. The ripples on the lake and the water splashes at the stern of the boat indicate that the boat is in motion. The words “Parked in Qinhuai 15” on the hull of the boat indicate that this is a cruise boat of the Qinhuai River scenic area. The overall light and dark shadows in the picture show that the sunlight is shining from the right side at a low angle. In addition, the remaining snow on the top of the boat indicates that it is winter.

Cruise boats running on the Qinhuai River

Indeed it is! At the end of the year 2020 in the solar calendar, a rare heavy snow fell in Nanjing. The Fuzimiao scenic area was covered in silver, and heaven and earth looked so pure and solemn. It was not uncommon for people to come here for sightseeing and photography in the morning after the snow had cleared.

Because the cruise ship is in motion, so I can not think too much must seize the moment in time to shoot. The shooting process went pretty well. What I wanted to convey in this picture – my motive – was mainly from a modern person’s interest in history and retrospection. Of course, the light and dark tones and color contrast in the picture also satisfy my visual interest to a certain extent.

Traditional architecture along the Qinhuai River

These two pictures were taken in Nanjing Fuzi Temple Scenic Area. The common theme they present is traditional architecture.

Traditional architecture along the Qinhuai River

It didn’t take me much time to take these two pictures, they were done almost in a flash. It was probably because the air was clear after the snow, and the photos turned out quite satisfying. This deepened my understanding of photography: a good environment is half the success of photography.

Qinhuai River is one of the most important attractions in the Fuzimiao Scenic Area. It used to be a place of love and sex in history, where many flirtatious gentry and talented women performed a scene of love stories. It is said that during the heyday of the Six Dynasties, a layer of grease was floated in the Qinhuai River.

With the help of photography we can only imagine, and through imagination to make up for those long-dusted historical details, so as to further restore those living human landscapes.

The pavilions in the picture still retain the traditional architectural style, but the things are long gone. To be precise, these buildings are only the result of renovation over the years. However, I don’t regret it. For photography, I have already gained a lot from these historical buildings.


A mountain village at dusk

The story in the photo takes place in an unknown mountain village in Jiangning, Nanjing. Here surrounded by mountains, rolling, the mountain is not high, there are immortals are famous. Nearby there is an abandoned quarry and some scattered pear orchards. They gave the pear garden a very beautiful name: pear valley.

A mountain village at dusk
A mountain village at dusk

Quarry abandoned barren mountain is the above-mentioned “bald mountain”. So these scenes together constitute the entire landscape of this mountain village.

When I photographed these scenes, the afterglow of the slanting sun was gently sprinkling on this large area, thus forming the effect of shadows of varying intensity and density. Although it is still far from the oil painting-like texture, it expresses the tranquility and serenity of the mountain village to a certain extent.

People who are tired of urban life have always longed for an idyllic life, where they can spend the rest of their lives in peace and settle their hearts. Some of them have spared no expense to buy properties in the remote countryside, and they have made a lot of extravagant construction. For those peasants who were born and raised in the mountain villages, perhaps they are tired of the comfortable life in the mountains, and escaping from the ravine to work in the city is their biggest dream. Just like what Qian Zhongshu described in his novel “The Siege”: people inside the walls want to go out, and people outside the walls want to come in.

A young man from Maanshan talked to me about his hometown. He said his hometown is full of mountains, more mountains than here and higher. But he didn’t want to stay there for the rest of his life. He said that life is too comfortable. From his words, we can detect that he seems to be very satisfied with the current life of the city to fight.

I only silently said: comfort may not be bad.

Minimalist photography: Factory Series

I seem to be quite interested in the minimalist style. From the attention I paid to minimalist photography in earlier years, and the deep impression those minimalist style works left on me, I cannot help but say that it reflects my aesthetic tendency to some extent. One’s aesthetic taste may be inborn, just as one’s taste in food is more or less fixed, which more or less indicates the great influence of biological genetics on one’s spirit.

Minimalist Style: Factory Series

But it is not as if cultural factors do not play a role either. Perhaps on the contrary, acquired education and cultural practices may be decisive for one’s spirit and thinking. In fact, many of my aesthetic ideas cannot even completely exclude the influence of reading experiences cultivated early in life.

These images may be the product of such aesthetic perceptions. I do not want to express the cultural characteristics of the post-industrial era, but in fact I may have been doing so. However, my aesthetic interest may have always been limited to a limited area of comfort, and instinctively rejected those areas of expression that were painfully uncomfortable.

The picture as a whole presents a calming blue tone, and a little white, without much color rendering, which can be called minimal. Minimalism represents purity, and purity is the closest to God’s will. This is the philosophical proposition of Taoism. And the fashion culture that has transmuted from Japanese Zen culture is stirring up a trend. I don’t know if minimalist photography has been influenced by these trends, but I think they all go the same way for art.

Perhaps every photographer is trying to explore the more essential things. I am ashamed to say that I still have a long way to go in my pursuit of photography.

Bald Mountain at sunset

The place shown in this picture is a bald mountain somewhere in Jiangning, Nanjing, a unique landscape formed after years of quarry mining. The mountain is full of rocks and slag, naturally there is no grass, and it has the feeling of desolation in the desert.

Bald Mountain at sunset
Bald Mountain at sunset
When I arrived at Bald Mountain, it was dusk, and the setting sun in the west put a touch of afterglow on the craggy rocks. The mountain is uneven and undulating, so it creates a mixture of light and dark light on it. The bright parts show a charming warm tone, while the shadow parts deepen the sense of visual depth and appear very mysterious.

Although the entrance gate is posted with a notice to remind visitors that the mountain is soft and prone to landslides. But still, it could not stop the visitors from coming to the neighborhood to take photos and sightseeing. I saw that the beautiful young female photographer was already returning with a few people who were ready to call it a day. I thought am I too late?

Bald Mountain is not very tall, so the visitors came to go up and down easily. In order to achieve my desired effect, I was going to let the sunlight act as a side light source in order to create a three-dimensional effect, so I had to stand at a suitable vantage point for shooting. However, because of the narrow space and the dense woods that obscured the light, I had limited options. But thankfully, after a few tosses and turns (changing lenses and camera positions), I was able to take a few pictures while the sun was still setting.



The woman walking to the street corner

If left unnoticed and uncaptioned, this image would quickly be lost in the mass of images that flood social media. I think the highlight of this image is the way the woman is walking. Other than that, it’s not unlike the proliferation of commercial images.

The woman walking to the street corner
The woman walking to the street corner

I’m not sure I was aware of this at the moment I pressed the shutter, namely the dramatic stance of the woman. But now, I must add, she (the woman) is the visual interest of the image. Compared to similar figures in commonplace images, her appearance is dramatic, uncertain, oscillating, and constitutes a reverse tension to previous experiences, constituting another narrative of the image.

Paying closer attention, we find that her walking posture is not firm and strong revealing a certain rhythmical nature of urban life; certainly not the softness and youthful energy of a young woman. How different she is! She seems to be immersed in her own world, unconcerned with the eyes of others, and content with this. She also seems to reveal a little bit of uncertainty and ecstasy. In short, her appearance fills the narrative of the picture with more imagination and uncertainty.