The Ethereal Photography of Zhang JingnaFebruary 26, 2016
At the tender age of 19, Beijing-born photographer Zhang Jingna published her first photobook, titled ‘Something Beautiful’. It was then that the world began to take notice of this emerging photographer, knowing that what she had to offer was indeed magical.
Fast-forward 8 years and Zhang has produced mesmerising photographs and projects of biblical proportions. She is perhaps best known as the pioneer of ‘Motherland Chronicles’, a fantasy artbook project she produces alongside concept artist and illustrator Tobias Kwan.
Formerly a Commonwealth Games medalist in air rifle, this young talent has certainly come a long way since she first picked up a camera. In her youth, she attended Raffles Girl’s School and Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore, before entering out into the big, wide world to pursue photography professionally.
Since then, Zhang’s photographs have been featured on international editions of magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Her exhibitions have shown at The Arts House and Japan Creative Centre in Singapore, while her group exhibits include “45 Frames from Photo Vogue” at Leica Gallery in Milan and “L’Art de la Radiance”, Clé de Peau Beauté’s 30th anniversary exhibition, in Hong Kong.
American artist Kris Kuksi (among many others) has showered Zhang’s work with well-deserved praise, stating:
“Her work escapes its own medium. Her photographic portraits seem to transcend, creating the soft and voluptuous color of figural forms reminiscent in symbolist painters of the 19th century. She captures a refreshing perspective of an archetypical lover with a skill free from the bonds of ‘formulation’. There is soul and pure human expression in her works that I believe everyone can relate to present in her portraiture—both the warmth and chill of emotions.”
Not surprisingly, the photographer has even gone on to win some extremely prestigious photography awards over the years, including Master Photographer of the Year by Master Photographers Association in 2007 and Photographer of the Year at ELLE Awards Singapore in 2011. She was also a recipient of the 7th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers in 2015.
As if Zhang wasn’t busy enough, the photographer also finds the time to flex her entrepreneurial muscle. She is currently teaching a course on artistic portrait photography with Learn Squared, where she shares the process of crafting a unique, creative photoshoot, including a walk-through of all the steps required in production, lighting, retouching and post-¬production.
She is also working on a start-up social platform for artists, in order to foster a like-minded, supportive, and collaborative community purely for creatives.
Viewers of Zhang’s work can’t help but feel awe-struck by each photograph’s dreamy allure. From Renaissance-inspired maidens to subjects who look as though they’ve come straight from a fairytale, this photographer loves to bring a heightened beauty to everything that she produces.
This element is also present in her landscape series, titled ‘Scotland’, where Zhang has captured a series of breath-taking landscapes including rolling green hills, moody skies, and rugged mountain ranges.
The question on everyone’s lips seems to be ‘what’s next for Zhang?’ In an ever-changing world of creative possibilities, one thing is for certain – whatever happens, it’s sure to be ‘something beautiful’.
You can see more of Zhang’s work by visiting her website.