Teach you how to capture the artistic conception of Chinese style

“The spirit of Chinese painting is not only vivid, but also conveys a realm, a poetic flavor, a touch of loneliness, and a kind of sadness in peace.”

This sentence, excerpted from Mr. Zhu Liangzhi’s “Wind and Lotus in Quyuan”, is a high generalization of Chinese art aesthetics.

When appreciating a painting or photographic work, we often can’t help but evaluate: “Wow, it’s so artistic”, “it’s so feeling”. The word “feeling” is actually a kind of profound artistic conception that conforms to Chinese aesthetics. What is “artistic conception”? Today, we will talk about the word “artistic conception” with some insights from photography.

In traditional Chinese aesthetics, poetry and painting are integrated. Poetry is an invisible painting, while painting is a tangible poem! For example, for plum blossoms, “knowing from afar is not snow, so there is a faint fragrance”. The realm of many paintings is to show the fragrance of flowers. A good picture of plum blossoms seems to be able to smell the fragrance of plum blossoms, and this fragrance is a subtle expression, rather than a perfume like flavor. This is the relationship between poetry and painting. So we say that artistic conception is interlinked in poetry and painting.

Another important aspect of Chinese painting is that it emphasizes personification. Paintings not only reflect the shape of things, but also reflect the mind and mood. I have a solitary heart and bright moon, then the picture is pure and clear; I am indifferent to my ambitions, and the picture is far away from me.

Let’s talk about my ideas from several dimensions.

1. Aroma

What is the relationship between aroma and aesthetics? Artistic conception is a kind of personified existence, similar to synaesthesia in rhetoric. The beauty of the picture is not ordinary beauty, but the beauty representing a certain kind of good character, which is a very important point of artistic conception. For photography, when shooting an object, such as plum blossoms, it is necessary to first understand the personality significance of plum blossoms in Chinese aesthetics. All shooting purposes, including composition, light, color and later stage, should focus on this personality significance, For example, to express the loneliness of the plum blossom, you can select a single plum blossom in the composition, and the shape should be able to show the stubbornness of the plum blossom.

2. Tranquil

The aesthetic appreciation of Chinese art is based on Taoist philosophy, which emphasizes the inaction of emptiness and quietness, and quietness is the king of noise. Philosophers talk about stillness, not stillness, but more about peace and tranquility of the mind, even no desire and no desire. For photography, how can it be easier to express “stillness”? On the one hand, color composition should be as few as possible, without complicated colors, which is also one of the subtraction methods of photography. The composition leaves more space for people to imagine. The so-called quiet Zhiyuan is far from being far away. It is a psychological concept that makes people imagine more widely and far away. Finally, sometimes quiet needs to be embellished and set off by movement. For example, “when people are idle, osmanthus flowers fall, and the night is quiet, spring mountain sky is quiet”. The osmanthus flowers fall is moving, but this movement can more set off the author’s expression of quiet.

3. Implicit

Implicitness is the most distinctive feature of Chinese culture, right? We are always tactful and don’t like to be straightforward. When we look at Suzhou gardens, we can either set up screens, rockeries or go through winding roads once we enter the door. In short, we won’t let you see everything at a glance. This is the beauty of implicitness. We like to see flowers in the fog, we like to be ethereal, we like to be hazy. Implicitness makes people unpredictable and imaginative, so as to achieve the goal of deep aesthetics. There are many ways to express implicit and hazy in photography, such as blurring the front and rear scenes, multiple exposures, etc.

4. Cold silence

Cold solitude is cold solitude. We always say that it is “high cold”. It is very cold at high places. People in high places are cold, and people in high places are also cold. In fact, the main color of Chinese painting is also cold. Ink painting itself is cold, which is quite different from the warm color of western painting. For photography, the cold tone is always closer to the artistic conception. Of course, it does not mean that all cold colors must be used. Even if there are warm colors, they are also used to serve or set off cold colors.

5. Loneliness

Loneliness is a little close to coldness. Life is lonely, and the noble soul is always outstanding. There are many ways to express loneliness in photography, but not in a single way. For example, we can use the image of “less” and “lonely”, match the minimalist composition, or set off loneliness through noise.

6. Ethereal

Being ethereal is a very unique existence in Chinese aesthetics, as if Western painting does not have this concept. This also has to say about Taoist culture. Taoism believes that “nothing” generates all things, and “emptiness” plays a greater role than “reality”. The blank in traditional Chinese painting is actually a kind of “emptiness”. If it is empty and accessible, then the spirit will appear. The empty spirit pays attention to the meaning of words and the charm of pictures. As far as photography is concerned, leaving blank is one of the ways to express the spirit of emptiness, and so is the reality.

7. Incomplete

Many painters like to paint residual lotus and dead branches, and these images are related to the incomplete. The West also has the beauty of imperfection, such as Venus’ broken arm. The beauty of fragmentary flowers is particularly common in Chinese aesthetics, which may be a reflection on the cycle of life. The beauty of fragmentary flowers lies in the strong contrast with flowers. The purpose of disability is not to be incomplete for the sake of disability, but to sing praises of life, samsara and self sacrifice, which is another realm.

8. Harmony

Chinese culture is a harmonious culture. The beauty of harmony not only makes readers feel balanced and comfortable, but also can be a good means to express the artistic conception. The golden section point of Westerners is a kind of beauty of harmony, which is more harmonious from the composition. The balance of the picture is the psychological harmony, and the harmony of the soul is attributed to nature and the unity of heaven and man. For photography, balance plays a great role in harmonious artistic conception.

9. Recluse

Every Chinese scholar has a back garden in his heart. Some people live in seclusion, such as Tao Yuanming, some people live in seclusion in lakes, such as Fan Li’s fishing seclusion, and some people live in seclusion, such as Suzhou private gardens. Seclusion is the last spiritual refuge, and seclusion is the last spiritual home. Plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum are reclusive, and a boat is also reclusive. For photography, the selection of these images representing seclusion is itself a manifestation of this artistic conception.

The original intention of writing this article is because many friends have communicated with me in the past two years, saying that their photos are good in composition, lighting and color matching, but they just lack feeling. So I want to write an article about artistic conception, hoping to make a simple explanation with photography. My photography level is too difficult to interpret the broad and advanced Chinese aesthetics, so these photos really do not match the beauty of China’s artistic conception. However, in view of the copyright, I have to put it forward and hope to take more photos with real artistic conception in the future. Let’s encourage each other here.