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
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.
“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.
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,