Photographer's abstracts capture Maqiao's essence

Yang Yang
The Maqiao ruins site, which dates back to the Neolithic Age some 3,200-3,900 years ago, has proved an inspiration for former sports photographer and Roger Federer fan Zheng Xin.
Yang Yang
Photographer's abstracts capture Maqiao's essence

Zheng Xin, a fan of the Shanghai Rolex Masters for 18 years, said she developed an adoration for Roger Federer through her specialty in sports photography at Maqiao Qizhong Tennis Center in Minhang District.

Nine years ago she moved from the district's Gumei Subdistrict to Maqiao Town with her daughter and began to shoot abstract photos to capture the essence of her new dwelling.

"I've been learning photography for more than four decades," said Zheng, whose work has won awards in a number of international and domestic competitions, and been showcased in exhibitions.

In the past years the ancient culture of Maqiao nourished her greatly.

In 2014 her photo album "Vision: Art Photography Collection" contained around 500 images. Around a third were abstracts.

In July last year, she presented her first abstract photography exhibition in the Maqiao Villa neighborhood. The 70 pictures on display were selected from tens of thousands of abstract works. Among them, 70 percent were inspired by the cultural elements of Maqiao.

"Humans seem to be born with a sense of aesthetics toward abstract beauty, which is a lifestyle they can't part with," said Zheng.

The pleasing nature and culture in Zheng's neighborhood around the Qizhong tennis center inspired her multiple abstract photography works: the Camphor forest along Guanghua and Shuguang roads, the gingko tree corridor around the tennis center, the grand golf court of Qizhong, the lotus pond of Maqiao Sports Park and the Anhui-style architecture in the Aman Hotel.

Her photographic skills showed in pictures that were amazing, interesting and even weird, but all demonstrating the charm of abstract art.

The Maqiao ruins site, to the east of Yutang Village, indicates a history back to the Neolithic Age some 3,200-3,900 years ago. The site was discovered in 1959 and was followed by the unearthing of animal bones and many pieces of ancient stoneware and pottery.

"It is my great pleasure to study its pictographic and abstract cultures while practicing innovative abstract photography," said Zheng.

The "Relics from Gangshen (ancient ridge)" is a representative work of Zheng's that captured shell sand layer, terracotta patterns, primeval porcelain and bronze wares, all being essential cultural elements recording the history of Shanghai's coastal line receding and changing into land.

"I tried to express the plain, chaotic and ambivalent beauty from those primeval cultural elements," said Zheng.

Other abstract photos record the beauty of daily life lived in the peaceful and eco-friendly Maqiao.

"The Shaxi River of Maqiao, after cleansing and dredging for about two years since 2018, was selected as a well-preserved river in Shanghai. I felt honored for this, and used simplified structure to record the river, sky and some shadows of trees," said Zheng .

About six years ago, Zheng founded her abstract photography team.

Through six years of practice, the members have been able to use abstract photography to record their hometown Maqiao. Their works were displayed in an exhibition at Maqiao Cultural Exhibition Hall.

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