Pengpu-based photographer shares his global vision
Pengpu Town in Shanghai’s Jing’an District is one of the city’s most well-developed areas and where photography booms as an art form. The first town in the city with GDP exceeding 100 million yuan (US$14 million), Pengpu provides strong support for the development of photography and establishes cultural ties at home and abroad.
Pengpu Town has been included in the list of “Chinese Folk Culture and Art Town” during 2018-2020 period.
Vivid pictures by Pengpu photographers introduce a diverse China to the world. At the same time, some photographers set off from China for a worldwide watch and capture the most exciting and memorable moments. Their works win the hearts of people from different countries and build bridges to different cultures. One of the best photographers is Steve Zhao, who just opened his studio in the Pengpu International Photography Center to tell more stories with his camera.
“How to look at the world is a very important proposition. What kind of values we take to see the world, how to interpret our values, how to communicate with the world, in fact, is a thing we need to think about,” Zhao said.
In a recent solo show, “Encounters with Europe,” more than 200 works by Zhao were on display. The photos were taken over the course of a decade.
“My wife and I rode hundreds of thousands of miles to take these photos. With the support of the European Union, we toured around Europe, produced 15 books and quite a number of derivatives,” Zhao said.
What Zhao took include a sculpture outside a museum in Riga, capital of Latvia, the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, a wedding in Ghent, Belgium, Dominic’s Convent in Rabat, Malta as one of the “Game of Thrones” filming locations and a hanging ship in Germany’s Lübeck.
“We were trying to understand the history of Europe and found every city had its own story,” said Zhao.
“When you look at this picture, there is a kind of piety in medieval oil paintings, which makes you feel that this person is talking to you … a blacksmith hammers a hot piece of iron while making a tool.
“So when taking this picture, I tried to make it feel like an oil painting.,” Zhao told Shanghai Daily.
Zhao and his wife also visited Macerata in central Italy where Matteo Ricci was born. The Italian Jesuit priest was later a forerunner in East-West exchanges.
“Encounters with Europe” is a long story about 28 European countries.
Zhao’s works were once exhibited in the EU headquarters and visited by heads of state including Vladimir Putin during the Euro Summit.
Earlier this year, a letter from Dario Mihelin, ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to China, wrote, “… these colorful and romantic pictures Steve made while he visited my homeland will become again real moments for all of us soon.”