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Bold in the cold

Updated: 2013-01-23 11:19
By Wu Yong ( China Daily)

Bold in the cold

Wang Jiannan has visited the Arctic region 16 times over the last seven years and taken more than 30,000 pictures ranging from daily snapshots of the indigenous people to the Arctic's unique plants and animals. Provided to China Daily

Bold in the cold

A dogsled competition in northern Canada.(2009) Photos by Wang Jiannan

A veteran photographer turns the challenge of Arctic photography into a new life's work, Wu Yong reports from Harbin.

While most of his peers choose to take care of grandchildren to occupy their retirement, Wang Jiannan is packing up his gear for another Arctic journey.

The 63-year-old photographer has visited some of the coldest places on Earth 16 times in the past seven years. He's taken more than 30,000 pictures ranging from the daily lives of the indigenous people to the Arctic's unique plants and animals.

Bold in the cold

 "I just follow my inner guidance and do things I really want to do," Wang says slowly.

 Now, he is holding an Arctic photography exhibition at the Harbin Art Museum, located on the western outskirts of Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. The show has attracted extensive attention from home and abroad.

Wang names his exhibition "Extreme Action" - reflecting both the weather conditions in the Arctic and his philosophy in life.

Wang showed his artistic talent at an early age and was admitted to the middle school attached to Lumei Art University, one of China's most famous art schools, in April 1966. If all had gone according to plan, he could have become a well-known painter in China.

Bold in the cold

Night scenery of Harbin Ice and Snow World

But the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) a month later shattered his dreams. He strived to make a living and worked as a porter, a farmer and a middle-school teacher in the following decade. But he never forgot his artistic dreams.

In 1976, he joined Harbin Daily as a photojournalist after years of preparation. Since then, photography has been a big part of his life.

As his reputation grew and opportunities unfolded in China, Wang spent 20 years with the newspaper, becoming its editor-in-chief at the age of 44.

But Wang chose to leave at the peak of his career when he was only 50 years old, 10 years before the official age of retirement.

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