Award puts photographer's career into focus

By Fang Aiqing and Sun Ruisheng (China Daily)

Updated: 2019-10-10

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Zhuang Ling (left) and his wife, Chen Xiasheng, at his solo exhibition in Pingyao, Shanxi province, in September. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A photographer from Taiwan, Zhuang Ling, received a lifetime achievement award at the 19th Pingyao International Photography Festival on Sept 21.

The award honors Zhuang's dedication to cross-Straits exchanges in the field of photography and his contribution to Taiwan's photographic undertaking, according to the organizing committee of the festival, which was held in the ancient city of Pingyao in Shanxi province.

In an exhibition entitled Eternal Mountains Fixed in Photographs: A Tribute to Zhuang Ling, which ran from Sept 19 to 25, a selection of works spanning his 60-year photography career-including his early series Father and Family and Art Teachers and Art Friends-was displayed in a renovated former textile mill.

Na Risong, the exhibition's curator, described these early works as "photographic portraits of two generations of literati in Taiwan".

"Honestly recording his life, these works also combine the documentary and the abstract, the traditional and the modern. With diverse styles, they have conveyed profound thoughts," he says.

Zhuang was born in Guizhou province in 1938 and followed his father to Taiwan in 1948.

His father Zhuang Yan, a renowned calligrapher, educator and museologist, evacuated some of the ancient treasures from the Forbidden City to Southwest China during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Zhuang Yan later served as deputy director of the Palace Museum in Taipei.

In 1953, Zhuang Ling took his first ever photo with a camera borrowed by his father. It was a picture of his classmates who were hiking with him.

He was greatly encouraged by the result, and the picture was also welcomed by his friends, igniting a passion for photography that continues to burn within him to this day.

Turning the lens on his father, Zhuang Ling poured his love for his paternal parent into the pictures.

In one, his father looks out of the window at the trees and mountains, a pipe in hand, with a smile on his face and sincerity in his eyes.

There's also a photo presenting his father learning tai chi, and another shows his parents, wife and eldest daughter on a mountain with the distant Palace Museum in Taipei in the background.

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