Discovery of Xie Jun
A Glance on Xie Jun’s Documentary Photography in 1990s
By Xiao Chen
The documentary photography of contemporary China was mainly transformed from the news photography of 1970s~1980s. After entering 1990s, the press photographers of news report turned to documentary photography. Xie Jun was born in 1969, and studied in Luxun Academy of Fine Art. His documentary photography in 1990s was mainly real-time snapshot, and it is possible to find Bresson’s Decisive Moment tendency from his photography.
The documentary photographers at that time inclined to shoot remote villages, minority areas and folk customs etc, but few focus on the city. Xie Jun’s documentary photography in Shenyang and other nearby cities involved many aspects and paid attention to people’s livelihood. His photography language was simple and no lack of classic sight in theme expression, incisive moment and scene structure, and a kind of “Magnum”. It is rare historical records of humanity and people’s livelihood. But his documentary photography didn’t give rise to enough attention at that time it may due to the atmosphere at that time. Today, I want to say that—— Xie Jun’s documentary photography at 1990s must be highly recommended. Please remember his name, Xie Jun and I do believe —— history will never forget Xie Jun.
By Xie Jun
The 1990s was a very important historical period for China, at that time the politics, economy and society of China was undergoing tremendous reforms. The society was deconstructed and transformed. As the development of economy, the social culture and mentality was also changed, like anxieties and restlessness about reform, worries about the unknown century. Meanwhile, the Chinese people were also undergoing the reconstruction of spiritual belief and life style…
Trace, 1990s was a photography work that recorded the figures in Beijing, Shenyang, Yunnan, Guizhou etc. by shooting the living state of common people and mutually combines with the environment in accordance with my understandings and completes my standpoint and views that I need to record, so as to reflect the historical moment in 1990s. Within the 10 ten years from 1990-1999, I have shot more than 4,000 films. I do believe documentary photography should convey some kind of appeals and the recorded things should be more meaningful than a casual photo, which should reveal the minds of figures instead of just forms.
During this period, I have read all the documentary photography books and articles that I could obtain, to learn the methods of great masters and theirs realm, so as to allow myself to have a deeper understanding about the society and better reflect the society from the surface to the centre.
“Photographers allow the photography to become a tool of social reform by the power of specific images and also promote the social reform through photography and make the man’s world a better place”. This is also the trace I always insisting on.
Xie Jun, vice-president of Liaoning Photographers Association, born in 1969, Shenyang, ancestral home Mei County, Guangdong; He was graduated from the Department of Photography, Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, member of Chinese Photographers Society. He started to learning painting in 1984 and photography in 1987, and joined the Liaoning Photographers Association and used to act as a press photographer of newspaper office.