Home / Lifestyle / News

Time tells the truth

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

Time tells the truth

Gao Zhiqiang and his family members in Xinyaozi Village, Shaanxi province. Hei Ming

Hei says his choice of subject is born out of his curiosity, but it always turns out to be of public concern as well.

He says he lived at Shaolin Temple because he wanted to know whether it's true that monks don't eat meat. Of course, he was also able to offer readers of his book, Shaolin Monks, an honest exploration of Buddhism in China.

Time tells the truth

He went to the small village of Xinyaozi in his childhood province of Shaanxi more than 30 times, from 1996 to 2004, to create a book about the transformation of the 100-year-old village. Bumpy journeys on tractors and sleeping in a cold, deserted room didn't bother him. The Beijing-based photographer enjoyed the escape from city life and made good friends with the simple, honest villagers.

Hei's focus on people comes from his belief that "historical changes and the characteristics of an age can best be reflected in people rather than natural scenery."

This is true in Hei's latest publication, Memories of Tian'anmen Square.

He invited people from across the country who took a photo in Tian'anmen Square, from 1949, when the republic was founded, to the 1990s, to Beijing and took new photos of them, from 2004 to 2009. They stood in the same place and struck the same pose as they had done decades ago.

While time hasn't washed away the magnificence of Tian'anmen Rostrum, it grayed the hair of a young man and took away his mother, who was beside him in their photo taken in 1969. In the photo Hei took for the man in 2009, there is just an empty chair next to him.

"People's appearances have changed, but more importantly, their inner mindsets have also undergone transformation. They become more relaxed and free as the country develops," Hei writes in the book's preface.

Hei's book is not only a collection of memories of 316 people, but also a showcase of China's development in the past 60 years, which is "the collective memory of Chinese citizens".

Chen Xiaobo, a photo critic and the chief photo editor of Xinhua News Agency, praises Hei as a "persistent rescuer of historical memories".

"Hei Ming is one of those who believe in and act according to the principle that each person's fate is worth recording and each endeavor to resist forgetting about history deserves respect."


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

 History in images

Photos depict 'Chinese Brady Brunch' living the American dream 

Previous 1 2 3 Next

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349