Lomo Yuanmin

Far ahead of 2010¡¯s World Expo, from September to November 2009 the Beaugeste Gallery has chosen to present the most Haipai of Shanghai photographers, universally recognized and respected by his peers (*), Lu Yuanmin (born in 1950) and his most creative work so far : his vision of Shanghai through the viewfinder of his Lomo camera.
Starting in 2006 and for two years Lu Yuanmin, the most humanist and most classical, the most intimate photographer in China, who has been relentlessly photographing his Longtang fellowmen and his beloved Suzhou Creeks, has given up his old Seagull camera for a small Lomo. He then set out for a unprecedented creative exercise, carried away by the ease and the freedom brought by this semi gadget. He only stopped the Lomo shooting after he had used up his stock of over 500 rolls of China-made negatives and could no longer find any supply as the factory had closed down.

The exercise resulted in an astonishing ¡°film noir¡± rich in tension and intensity, a very ¡°black¡± vision of Shanghai in the sense of a thriller ¨C (we remember Lu Yuanmin first job was projectionist in a cinema in 1968).

In this movie all sorts of characters form a strangest parade: mysterious Shanghai girls hiding their identity behind fancy sunglasses, couples in love or in fight, an elf-like girl picking her nose, an angel-like girl spread her wings, a bunch of dogs take part in this parade: two of them compete in lifting legs, a giant poodle threatens to devour the lens of the camera, a grand-ma lost in translation talking to a plastic doggie¡­the multiple faces of our microcosm revealed through the Lomo¡¯s dark rings.

Lu Yuanmin was born under the sign of the tiger, says Professor Lin Lu, famous critic, but he is kind and gentle as a lamb. What we see in his Lomo series are the claws of a hungry wolf, the eyes of a lynx on the prowl, and the mocking irony of an alley cat that is watching us from above yet with a touch of tenderness.

To paraphrase Jack Kerouac¡¯s introduction to Robert Frank¡¯s The Americans, we can say: ¡°the humor, the sadness and joy, the EVERYTHING-ness, the Shanghai-ness, it¡¯s all in these pictures¡±.
Lomo Yuanmin
, it is so Yuanmin.

Jean Loh

(*) Lu Yuanmin was awarded the Shafei Prize in 2008, the most authoritative photography awards in China.

Lu Yuanmin - LOMO Yuanmin
4 color printing
13 pieces