Zhang Wang
 
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The footprints of Buddha

The Chinese photographer Zhang Wang has felt drawn to the Buddhist temples and monks in his home village Tiantai, on the East China Sea, since his childhood. As a young boy this enchanting, exciting world cast a spell on him. Upon finishing his studies in art, and after gaining experience in photography, he decided to return to the mysterious place of his childhood. For nine long years he lived alongside the monks, study their religion, their customs, and their art. In the calm passage of their strictly regulated daily lives he sharpened his senses and dived ever deeper into the spiritual perspective of the Buddhists. Ultimately, he became a part of their world and their lives; a kind of monk with a camera.

Zhang Wang’s images tell the story of a place of extraordinary calmness, harmony, and unity between people. They move us because they display humanity and nature in a perfectly balanced relationship. The harmony of forms and colours, demonstrative of an extremely balanced composition, can be clearly felt. The shots are surprisingly light and natural. An autumnal forest breathing in the morning mist, a mountain stream cascading down – each element of nature has a mysterious quality. The images also provide an insight into the monks and their relationship with the nature that surrounds them. The pictures are not only documentaries, but are also unique expressions of intense participation and experience. If one may say this as an outsider; we are not looking at a world, but rather into a world. We are doing this through the eyes of a photographer who did not take off the red robe when he picked up the camera, but who is in his heart a Buddhist monk.

Stephan Reisner
Born inTian Tai County, Zhejiang Province, China
1985-1988Fine Arts College of China
2000School of Photography, Beijing Film Institute, China
Visiting professor for photography, Wen Rong Institute of Culture and Art
Lives and works in China


Awards (Selection)

2001Golden Statue Award for Chinese Photography, China
1977Trierenberg Super Circuit, Special Theme “China”, Grand Prize, Austria
1976Senior Photographer of the State, China
Gold Medaille, 2. National “Star Cup” Competition of Poetry, Calligraphy, Painting and Photography, China
1. Price, Ninth Exhibition of Photographic Works of Zhejiang Province, China


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