Xinfa Yan

Xinfa Yan - Xiaoguan 2002

Xiaoguan – 2002, photography copyright of the artist, Xinfa Yan 

This is a follow up to my overview of the M50 photography gallery area of Shanghai that Miguel posted for me on Exposure Componensation while I was in China this January. I would like to provide more information about Xinfa Yan, the photographer who was exhibiting at OFOTO Gallery in January. Regretfully, I do not have a web site link for more of Xinfa’s photography.

In fact, I’m going to defer to review by Xiaoqi Chen;

In the past 30 years, Yan Xinfa has walked through villages one after another in Henan Province, which he considers as his area, and has never stepped out of it. Sticking to the villages in central China, he developed his own vision, found his spiritual home and established his unique photographic style.

With a calm attitude, Yan Xinfa has been focusing on common people’s life in villages of central China. In his works, there is neither overwhelming sensations nor dramatic   visual impact but records of ordinary scenes and life in the countryside which, in his eyes,   contains the nation’s roots and historical inheritance. And thus he indulges himself in it.  In the visual sense, the images of the countryside for him are cultural specimen and in sense of subject matter, are his wonderlands. As a result, we can feel in his lively photos the settling of times and cultural development. We can also detect the emotions of the land, nation, culture and history from the gentle and unadorned folk ethos, which make us feel at home.

Yan Xinfa is sincere and mild and not demanding. His photographic work is as calm and simple as villagers’ daily life. What’s more, he is persistent and earnest. In the past 30 years, he has been working alone and has never diverted his direction once the destination was settled. The simple and natural images reflect his attitude and character as much as his artistic style. These photos of central China unfold the reality of his life as a photographer and portrait his stance as a man who holds onto this land.

Sediments that I fully agree with. BTW, in a conversation with Xinfa, he stated that this photograph is at the new worship shire built to replace the more elaborate older shrine that was destroyed during the earlier Cultural Revolution. A very peaceful place.

And my one regret was not purchasing one of Xinfa’s softcover books (he has four publications) while I was in the OFOTO gallery. I had intended to be back in Shanghai the following weekend to return to the gallery, but I had to stay in JiaShan instead. Oh darn.

Best regards, Doug

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