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Time tells the truth

By Xu Jingxi | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-16 10:55

Time tells the truth

Hei Ming shows pictures from his collection Memories of Tian'anmen Square at the ongoing exhibition in EMGdotART, Guangzhou. Zou Zhongpin / China Daily

Hei Ming's latest project attempts to write the history of nameless soldiers who sacrificed for China in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression - and others who time has forgotten. Xu Jingxi reports in Guangzhou.

Hei Ming was astonished by what he saw on his visit to the Normandy American Cemetery in France last year: Rows of white granite headstones, a cross or Star of David, flush with the vast grassland facing Omaha Beach, the scene of D-Day (June 6, 1944) during World War II.

Time tells the truth

Huang Yingkai, 97, a Kuomintang veteran, now lives in Hubei province.

The headstones commemorate 9,387 American soldiers, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. Engraved on each of the headstones is the person's name, rank, troop number, hometown and the date of death.

On the Walls of the Missing are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

"In sharp contrast, we only have monuments in China to pay tribute to the military dead in the country's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) - as a group. We may know how many soldiers died in the war, but we don't know who they are," says Hei, a documentary photographer who won the Golden Statue Award for China Photography, twice. His works have been exhibited overseas in such places as the National Library of France and the United Nations' headquarters.

"The war is a major event in our nation's history. Those who risked their lives to participate in this war are selfless heroes. Their names and stories deserve to be remembered."

The photographer is trying to write these unknown heroes into history with his photography and words. He has been traveling across the country since 2012 to interview survivors who are now living in the mainland and Taiwan. He plans to publish a book next year, which will include 100 veterans' wartime recollections and post-war experiences and photos illustrating what their lives are like now.


Photographer sees value in 1,000 words

Each of Hei Ming's projects take the documentary photographer years to finish. They are time consuming not only because of the number of people photographed - usually more than 100 - but also because Hei spends time getting to know his subjects and writing detailed mini-essays on the background of each picture. More...

Time tells the truth

Time tells the truth

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