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He Chi­nese na­tion ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral mag­nif­i­cent mo­ments in the 20th cen­tury such as na­tional lib­er­a­tion, the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy, along­side the con­stant pur­suit for pros­per­ity

China Pictorial (English) - - Culture -

civil­ians. Th­ese wood­cut works were widely em­braced by the pub­lic and achieved a high level of artistry.

In 1945, the U.s.-based Life mag­a­zine pub­lished some wood­cuts by artist Yan Han with the ar­ti­cle “Wood­cuts Help Fight China’s Bat­tles” to en­cour­age Amer­i­can sol­diers in the Pa­cific The­ater through in­spi­ra­tion from heroic Chi­nese sol­diers.

Com­bin­ing the des­tiny of in­di­vid­u­als with that of the Chi­nese na­tion as a whole and link­ing in­de­pen­dent works of art with the re­al­ity of the Chi­nese rev­o­lu­tion, this method of cre­ation and style greatly af­fected the CAFA in later years and re­mained the core prin­ci­ple for the school’s progress.

De­sign­ing China’s Icons

Oc­to­ber 1, 1949 brought the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China. Be­fore that, the de­sign of the na­tional flag and the na­tional an­them were an­nounced one af­ter another, but con­spic­u­ously ab­sent was a de­sign for the na­tional em­blem: No sat­is­fac­tory de­sign was found dur­ing the process of open so­lic­i­ta­tions from home and abroad.

Even­tu­ally, a plan from the CAFA, fea­tur­ing pat­terns of the na­tional flag, Tian’an­men Rostrum, a wheel gear and ears of wheat, was cho­sen. Tian’an­men Rostrum is lo­cated at the cen­ter, sym­bol­iz­ing the long his­tory of the Chi­nese na­tion and the found­ing of New China.

The CAFA also won the bid to o de­sign the em­blem of the Chi­nese e Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­n­fer­ence and the art vis­ual de­sign of f the found­ing cer­e­mony of the Peoople’s Repub­lic of China.

The acad­emy has won many hon­onors over the years. Its de­sign of the e jade-plated gold medal for the 2008 8 Bei­jing Olympic Games won rave re­views from around the world.

Tak­ing pho­tos not only freezes im­ages, but cap­tures time­less mo­ments. Da Bei Photo, a nearly cen­tury-old photo stu­dio, has pre­served pre­cious mem­o­ries for thou­sands of house­holds with vivid pic­tures, which are also valu­able vis­ual records of China’s de­vel­op­ment.

Old Glory

“For quite a long time, peo­ple liv­ing in south­ern Bei­jing would go to Da Bei to take a photo af­ter sav­ing up some money,” says Wang Don­gru, pres­i­dent of Da Bei Photo, ex­pound­ing on the past pop­u­lar­ity of the photo stu­dio.

Da Bei Photo opened in 1921 in Shi­tou Hu­tong near Qian­men Street in Bei­jing. It was founded by Zhao Yanchen, an ap­pren­tice of Hong Ji Photo Shop on Longfu Tem­ple Street.

Sur­rounded by the­aters and tea­houses, Shi­tou Hu­tong was a bustling lane at that time, at­tract­ing many Pek­ing Opera fans and am­a­teur per­form­ers. Zhao Yanchen came up with the idea of of­fer­ing a spe­cial ser­vice to shoot pic­tures of peo­ple wear­ing Pek­ing Opera cos­tumes. Da Bei also pre­pared var­i­ous other cos­tumes such as the Chi­nese and Western wed­ding dresses and doc­toral aca­demic dresses, many of which couldn’t be found in reg­u­lar photo studios. Da Bei be­came a sen­sa­tion across town. The six dress­ing rooms in Da Bei were usu­ally all full on any given day.

Af­ter the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in 1949, Da Bei was trans­formed into a state-owned en­ter­prise and moved to the pros­per­ous Qian­men Street. Dur­ing the “cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion” pe­riod (1966-1976), the cos­tume pho­tog­ra­phy of Da Bei was banned, but the other ser­vices such as por­trait and ID pho­tog­ra­phy kept it among Bei­jing’s top photo studios even then.

Af­ter the im­ple­men­ta­tion of China’s re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy in the late 1970s, tak­ing pic­tures changed from a lux­ury into a ba­sic ac­tiv­ity of daily life. Color pho­tog­ra­phy for chil­dren, fam­ily and artis­tic por­traits even be­came fash­ion­able, as con­tin­ues to this day. Be­fore or dur­ing hol­i­days, so many peo­ple streamed into Da Bei that cus­tomers had to get a to­ken.

when they meet del­e­gates to the Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) and the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC) and mem­bers of the Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence (CPPCC).

Wang Don­gru was left with a deep im­pres­sion of the pho­tog­ra­phy mis­sion her team com­pleted re­cently for more than 2,000 del­e­gates to the 19th CPC Na­tional Congress.

As early as Septem­ber 2017, more than a month be­fore the congress, Da Bei or­ga­nized a 14-per­son team com­posed of three gen­er­a­tions. To en­sure the high qual­ity of their pho­tog­ra­phy mis­sion, the stu­dio drafted a shoot­ing plan with more than 20 pages and pre­pared four Swiss­made Seitz Round­shot panoramic cam­eras with im­age qual­ity of one-bil­lion pix­els.

The stu­dio also worked with the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Bureau of the Great Hall of the Peo­ple to jointly de­sign a five-me­ter-high light­ing sys­tem with 27 sets of lamps that is easy to as­sem­ble and doesn’t emit that much heat so del­e­gates would not get un­com­fort­able un­der the light­ing.

“Af­ter two on-site re­hearsals, the real event was a to­tal suc­cess,” Wang ex­claimed.

Af­ter work­ing for so many years, Wang still feels ner­vous when lead­ing a team to take a group photo on such an im­por­tant oc­ca­sion. “In the cen­ter of a 35-me­ter-di­am­e­ter cir­cle, I see only five Da Bei staffers busy shoot­ing, with more than 2,000 pairs of eyes star­ing at us,” she grins. “How can one avoid feel­ing ner­vous?” Still, her nerves are to­tally dif­fer­ent from those of a novice. “Ex­pe­ri­enced work­ers know that the longer you work, the more care­ful you are, which re­quires years of cau­tion and hu­mil­ity.”

“Over the decades, I’ve been lucky to wit­ness ev­ery im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal mo­ment of the coun­try with Da Bei, which is our great honor,” she added.

Strong Skills

A top-notch prod­uct sells it­self. Over the past cen­tury, Da Bei has pro­vided cus­tomers with di­ver­si­fied and qual­i­fied ser­vices through con­stant tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion. In 2006, it was awarded the ti­tle of China Time-hon­ored Brand by the Min­istry of Com­merce.

Wang be­lieves that the ma­jor ad­van­tage of Da Bei lies in the fi­nesse, vivid­ness and exquisite­ness of the pho­tos it took. “Ac­cord­ing to the sub­ject’s char­ac­ter­is­tics in age and com­plex­ion,

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