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Li Shaobai: Make Each Day Count

2017-08-28

On Aug 27, in the 8th session of Photo Beijing 2017 Masters’ Monthly Talk, the famous photographer Li Shaobai gave a speech with the theme “make each day count”. He explained his understanding to the theme “photography: Origin and Future” of Photo Beijing 2017, and told his decades of photography experiences to the audiences.

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The key of photography is to look, to look by combination of eyes and camera.

The master of art Rodin ever said: There is no shortage of beauty in life; instead, there is shortage of eyes that can see beauty. Photographer Li Shaobai thinks that we are living in an age in which everyone can take photos. If one wants to be a successful photographer, he needs to put the efforts into discovery. He summarized his photography experiences, shared the thoughts about “discovery”, for example, “discover strangeness from familiarity”, “discover inspiration from plainness”, “discover unification from abundance”, “discover richness from simplicity”, “discover connection from disorders”, “discover poetry from things” and etc.


Give up the whole, refine the part

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△Photographed in Upper Antelope Canyon

Chose part of the canyon to shoot, which makes people associate with Mo Yan’s book “Big Breasts and Wide Hips”.


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△ Photographed in The Forbidden City

This picture was shot by long focus at a place far from the gate. Long focus can compress the image, which compressed a lot of snowflakes on the plane. Choosing part of the gate, the point, line and plane in the picture produce a unique sense of form.


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△ Photographed in China World Trade Center Tower 3

Good pictures are not produced by camera, but produced by walking and discovering. When arriving at the top floor of China World Trade Center Tower, many people were taking pictures by cameras. I wanted to shoot something different, so I left the highest floor, and walked downstairs. I found these steel beams on the sub-high floor, and shot them by long focus.


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△ Photographed in Summer Palace

I found this painting on the window in a small yard of Summer Palace. The best exposure is not necessarily the right exposure. I finished my own conception by using parts and details, and via proper photography languages.

 

Looking for strange viewpoints

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△ Photographed in Pamirs of Xinjiang

When shooting in Pamirs of Xinjiang, people that I traveled with mostly shot some Tajik nationality’s folk customs indoors. I saw this piece of light and shadow in the yard, and chose a very low viewpoint to shoot this picture.


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△ Photographed under the bridge pier

At that time I wanted to shoot a picture that indicates the changes of Beijing. I walked around some places and found the viewpoint of this bridge pier.


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△ Photographed in the Forbidden City

This picture is shot in Zhongcui Palace of the Forbidden City. This viewpoint presents a picture of crossing roofs, implying intriguing against each other.

 

Capture and make strange shapes

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△ Photographed in Horinger County of Hohhot

At that time I was invited to take pictures in local Garden of Hundred Pavilions. There was never a scene that made me feel excited. While having a rest at a stone table, I found the table was as smooth as a mirror, with the refection of pavilions on it. So I captured this image.


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△ Photographed in Badain Jaran Desert

They were photographed by burst shooting. One picture was blurred, but has the strongest feelings of fluctuating sand sea.


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△ Photographed in Qinghai Lake

At that time, I was taking pictures on the yacht on Qinghai Lake. Spindrifts kept flapping up. I fixed the aperture at f16, trying to shoot in different light sensitivities, and finally shot this picture of Qinghai Lake that makes people feel different. It is speed that changed the familiar shape into a different shape.

 

Discover relation from disorders. Capture and make unique relations

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△ Photographed in Sanlitun

Beside a shop window, two girls are passing mobile phones to each other to take pictures. The models in the shop window, the hands reaching out from the block, and the girls bowing to get the phone formed a kind of wonderful relation.


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△ Photographed in art gallery

In an exhibition, an audience stood close to observe the painting. The girl in the painting, the view of the male audience’s back and the glasses on his head formed a kind of relation worthy of thinking about.


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△ Photographed in Tiananmen Square

The picture reflected the Tian'anmen Rostrum by the body of the bus. By controlling the camera, a kind of unique relation was captured.

 

Photography is a choice, and it is control. For photography, seeing is not important, using photography languages to express the thoughts you can’t see is important.



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