The invention of photography and the visual impact of an image has given us a greater understanding of the passing of time and the lives of the people living during that time.
A photograph exhibition, on the 40th anniversary of Shanghai’s reform and opening up, exploring the visual image, has been open to the public at the Xuhui T20 Art Space since September 21.
More than 250 photography works and a dozen vintage cameras are being showcased, offering visitors a step back in time to see how life was and is now.
Shanghai Daily has chosen several photos from the exhibition that particularly caught the eye. These black and white images highlight memories of the city’s daily life from the 1980s and 1990s.
All works at the exhibition were taken by teachers and graduates from the Xuhui Yuren Photography School. The school was built in 1981 by famous Chinese photographer Chen Huaide (1915-1988).
At that time, visual art had not yet been taught as a subject in most schools or art academies. However, the active period of China’s artistic creation in the 1980s called for a specialist education to meet the needs of the students.
As one of the earliest officially recognized part-time schools in Shanghai, Xuhui Yuren offered two years of college with 18 courses in photography.
In the school’s heyday, between the years 1981-85, more than 100 students graduated with a degree each year. Many of them became professionals in the fields of photography, contemporary art, cinema, fashion, journalism or publishing.
With cameras, they created a large number of precious images of people, daily life, urban constructions, natural scenery and historical moments in accordance with the economic growth and social development in China over the preceding four decades.
Some of their works were exhibited overseas and won international awards. Among the “best of the best” are Yang Yuanchang, Lu Yuanmin, Chen Haiwen, Deke Erh, Gong Jianhua, Hu Yang, and many more, whose creations have been collected by the world’s major museums and art institutions to represent the progress and advancement of Chinese photographic arts and business.
A program of presentations, discussion evenings and guided tours will accompany the exhibition through October 7.
The opening ceremony also saw the launch of a photo album titled “In the Flow for Truth” in memory of Chen Huaide, a pioneer in Chinese photography, as well as a review of a great era.
Date: Through October 7, 11am-6pm
Venue: Xuhui T20 Art Space
Address: B1, 20 Tianyaoqiao Rd