Jing Huang Jing Huang - 2 HG Esch HG Esch Castell-Rüdenhausen 1 Castell-Rüdenhausen 2

Leica Camera is partner of the art fair "Photo Shanghai"

Leica Camera AG will be represented at Photo Shanghai in China for the first time. Last year, the international art fair, which focuses on fine art photography, celebrated its première. Because of the resounding success, it will return to the Chinese metropolis from 11 to 13 September 2015.  In the Shanghai Exhibition Centre (SEC), under the theme “China through the Leica lens”, Leica will present historical aerial photographs of China captured by the Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen in the 1930s, contemporary images of Chinese landscapes by HG Esch, and a personal documentation of China entitled “Traces of Humanity” by up-and-coming photographer Jing Huang.

Approximately 80 years ago, German aviation pioneer Wulf-Diether Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1905–1980) was the first European to document China from a bird’s-eye view. He gave viewers a better understanding of the imposing mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the orderly chaos of boats on the Yangtze River, and the austere geometry of the Forbidden City. To a large extent, the China of the 1930s that the Count documented from his aeroplane with a Leica camera no longer exists.

Allowing viewers to compare now and then, these photographs are exhibited alongside contemporary images by renowned architectural photographer Hans-Georg Esch. The contrast between the two bodies of work reveals the extreme transformation of China. Esch’s large-format photographs, which were taken with the Leica S pro camera and the help of a drone, show aerial views of China’s current boom cities. Esch was able to successfully photograph some of the landscapes captured by Castell-Rüdenhausen in the 1930s, offering viewers the opportunity to see how the landscape has changed over time. With his pictures, Esch builds on his famous series “Megacities”, “City and Structure”, and “Cities Unknown”, which depict the rapid growth of urban cities – particularly in Asia – from high vantage points such as mountaintops or the rooftops of high rises. 

In “Traces of Humanity”, Chinese photographer and winner of the 2011 Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award Jing Huang shows poetic impressions of everyday situations in his homeland with a certain degree of melancholy. His paintings mainly include elements of classical Chinese landscapes. In the style of traditional Chinese painting, the expression of emotional moods is in the foreground. Jing Huang transfers this principle to his work in order to create a more poetic form of photography – a kind of visual poetry. For this, he uses a black and white colour palette, which helps him to transform his observations into multifaceted compositions. The images featured in his series were created in 2014 and 2015 using cameras from the Leica M series.