China / China

Zhejiang photographer still dedicated to his 'first love'

By Li You (China Daily) Updated: 2017-04-01 07:56

For Yao Dingfan, a versatile artist, photography remains his "first love".

"Passing through the storm of life, I have finally become one of the elderly," the 61-year-old said. "Many things in life have begun to fade out, but the affection for photography is still like my first love."

Yao was born in Tonglu county in Zhejiang province. He grew up in a literary family, giving him a good grasp of literature, poetry and music lyrics writing, as well as calligraphy.

"But for me, photography is the love of my life," Yao said. "Connecting the sorrow and happiness in my life, once the camera's shutter is pressed, my heart begins to sing."

Yao started to take photos in 1978, working as a journalist in the army. The only camera in his working unit was in his charge, though there were not too many chances for him to use it.

His real work with cameras started in 1998 when, due to a serious flood, the Yangtze River levee in Jiangxi province was compromised, flooding nearby cities. Yao's pictures captured the disaster's power, earning him prizes and recognition.

"After that, I was determined to be a photographer and never thought about giving up," Yao said.

Temple's Dawn is one of his most satisfactory works. The picture was taken in 2007 at the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Xigaze's largest temple, during his travels to the Tibet autonomous region.

In the picture, it was a clear morning and the sun had just come out, with its glow shining in every corner of the blue sky. A beam of sunshine illuminated an alley in the temple. At that moment, a monk appeared, stepping into the light beam. He bowed his head slightly, his pace steady. He seemed to be reciting the scripture with a focused look.

"That was a heaven-sent chance. I pressed the shutter endlessly," Yao said.

"Beautiful work is not born in shooting, but in the pursuit of art," Yao said. "If a person can pursue what he is keen on, then he can be happy."


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