Lang Jingshan: Chinese photographic pioneer
Lang Jingshan, Pavilion in Fairyland, 1955, gelatin silver print. Collection of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan. © Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
In MOPA’s Out of the Shadows: Contemporary Chinese Photography, the Museum presents the first major American show to include Chinese photographic pioneer Lang Jingshan.
Called the “Father of Asian Photography,” Lang was a self-taught photographer who began his career in 1920s Shanghai. In the early 1930s, Lang developed his signature pictorialist style which he called “composite photography.”
In his own words, Lang describes that composite photography is a technical solution to the problem of photographing in the style of Chinese painting. It utilized combination-printing and other darkroom methods to assemble photographic fragments into seamless landscapes, still lifes, and portraits following the style of traditional Chinese painting.
(Left) Lang Jingshan, Spring Trees, 1934, gelatin silver print. Collection of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan. © Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
(Right) Lang Jingshan, Riverside Spring, 1934, gelatin silver print. Collection of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan. © Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
Lang’s work demonstrates that Chinese artists have long advanced the pictorial qualities of photography by drawing inspiration from their own culture. As a teenager studying in Shanghai, Lang received training in Chinese painting but fell in love with the camera instead.
See how thousands of years of pictorial traditions continue to influence the arts today. Step into Out of the Shadows: Contemporary Chinese Photography through January 2021 at MOPA. The show also includes work by artists Hong Lei, Shi Guorui, Yang Fudong and others.
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