"Shanxi" by Zhang Xiao

Jan 15, 2018

Zhang is a Chinese photographer who portrays local stories that attempt to reclaim traditions beyond Western lifestyles. In his series 'Shanxi' the artist documents with a picturesque style the age-old rituals of the annual lunar new year festival in China's Shanxi province. Using a Holga camera, Zhang presents in an exquisite way a collection of evocative and melancholic images that refer to ancient customs that originated in pagan beliefs,  and which nowadays reflect the tension between the traditional and the modern.

am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?

ZX - I was born in 1981 in Yantai, Shandong Province, China. I studied Architecture at the Yantai University, Art Design & Architecture Department. I was a photographer for the Chongqing Morning Post and am now based in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.


am - How did you start in photography?

ZX - After graduation from high school I found a camera at home and tried it. That was the first time I used a camera, and since then I became obsessed with photography.


am - What inspires your work?

ZX - Everything I see inspires my work.

am - What is “Shanxi” about?

ZX - 'Shanxi' is the name of a province in China, where these pictures were shot. The content of this work is about “She huo”. “She huo” in this area has a history of thousands of years. It is about an ancient sacrifice and blessing activities.


am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?

ZX - Too many, almost everyone could affect me, I can not say only one name.


am - How would you describe your visual language?

ZX - I go from using the camera to using the image.

am - What are your main interests as an artist?

ZX - To be free and have fun.


am - What’s your favourite movie?

ZX - Forrest Gump.


am - What is your favourite photo book?

ZX - "Until death do us part" by Thomas Sauvin.


am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

All images © Zhang Xiao

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