In 2008, Wang Liuyang was admitted to Ziamen University of Technology to study graphic design. After enrolling in college, he began learning plane design, landscape, photography among others. Drawing inspiration from books that don’t have anything to do with photography, Wang talks about his first attraction to photography back in high school. Documenting daily life of fellow classmates, he recalls photography as a kind of accident, one that seemed to survive from a variety of hobbies. This project shows the exploration of happiness in loneliness, through abstract images of people in the mountains, touching on minimalistic styles and painting.
Please describe your creative approach when photographing “People on Mountains”
This project originated from Nanchang, after I graduated from university in 2012. In my photographs, you always see mountains and rivers, especially Nanchang, a place isolated from the rest of modern society. Throughout the landscape, this place has a special cultural atmosphere. During day to day life, I used to exaggerate the way I documented my friends. The edge of the mountain or the field are great backgrounds of my pictures. Mountains and rivers have spirit, also the existence of people depends on landscape. People who are only in the wild is one of the most simple and beautiful things.
The pictures you have shared show a minimalist approach, showing single individuals standing in different locations, and the composition of the images are very balanced, like the one with the tea pot and plate. How do relate to this specific photographic genre?
The minimalist aspects may have originated from my painting experience. I am willing to make the performance of the photo more direct, most often, a simple composition of a picture can help you to highlight what you want to express.
You mention your favorite camera is the Leica M4P, mainly because it was your first camera. Besides this, why do you use this camera and what can you say of its performance when compared to other cameras?
I like simplicity and utility experience, and the Leica M4P met the requirements I needed. Compared to the Leica M3 and Leica M2 I have used in the past, the coiling of the Leica M4P is more convenient and it is more low-key. Quietly pressing the shutter, you know, that is the kind of enjoyment I feel.
Technically speaking, how were these images created? Was there any post-production or effects applied to them?
Most of my pictures are black and white film, then after scanning, I use Adobe Photoshop to do some shading as post processing.
You are coming from the fine arts and graphic design field; as an up-and-coming photographer, how do you see your photography evolving?
In the process of photography, I treat photography as a kind of spiritual practice, a mirror of personal growth. If my photography skills improve, then my inner world also grows. At present, I think that if you want to grow you should have your own style. Just like learning how to paint you learn from copying to sketch then to creation. (First copying, then sketch, finally creating).
Are there any other projects you’d like to talk about?
I remember the first time I took a sunflower mini-scape, waiting for leaves falling off completely, then putting it on the table with a beam of light. Its shadow reflected on the table and the wall and I adjusted the position over and over again. Although the result was unromantic, the process was a very happy one. Sometimes things I do can seem boring, however, there is nothing wrong with happy, right?. Standing up to loneliness and finding the happiness in the loneliness can help you constantly grow.
To know more about Wang Liuyang’s work, please visit his official website.