A Modern Eye for History 康学松

ON her early summer pilgrimage to one of the most renowned antique markets in China (Pan Jia Yuan 潘家园), Q was struck by a series of black + white photos by a Beijing artist Kang Xue Song 康学松 in an almost forgotten hole-in-the-wall gallery.  The prints she brought back finally found a perfect home on the wall of our brand new tea room last weekend.  Kang is a prolific and award-winning photographer known for his documentary on the ‘Old Beijing’ and his travels through the most exotic regions of China in the early 1980’s.  From a child showcasing his precious jewelry collection around his neck in a tribal festival, to the pristine everyday life of ancient city Phoenix before the tourists invaded. From a mother who had embraced the gift of sewing + knitting all her life, to a young monk full of anticipation and maybe a little fear in his eyes. Nonetheless, it is the old Tibetan couple who not only capture the level of details we marvel and adore as designers, but also Kang’s portrayal of the simplest yet subtle joy in these very people he photographed.  It is their age, their brutal climate, their hard work, and the very few but sacred showers they could have based upon their culture and religion that is now lost.  An eye of a journalist, a page in history, a celebration of life. Through Kang’s camera lens, with the most exquisite details and immaculate contrast, we see in this series of portraits what we find true inspirations for design and creativity – the stories, details + appreciation of everyday life.


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