Seeing people using a tripod to take self-portrait mightn't surprise you. However, if you see a naked man taking pictures of himself, while at the same time doing a single push-up on the street, won't you be shocked? So what drives Ou Zhihang (歐志航) to take pictures in the nude?
Ou Zhihang (歐志航) is a Guangzhou-based artist, TV producer, and anchor. He took up photography in the 1970s and won the title of “China’s Best Fashion Photographer” in 2003. In the same year he began to work on his conceptual performance “Ou-styles Push-up”.
People may wonder why he has to take pictures in such a unique way. Is he an exhibitionist? The real reason is, he wants to draw the public’s attention to different social issues. His pieces are full of metaphors as his naked body represents the quest for the naked truth. He selects national landmarks as the locations of his photos such as the ruins of the May 12, 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China.
After solving the question of “why” a naked body, then the question about his pose arises. Why a push up? Well, it’s not only because the private parts of his body won’t be exposed, but also it looks like a caterpillar at first glance, building up a link between him and society!
Feeling amazed by Ou Zhihang’s works already? The most inconceivable part is what’s to come! Ou works alone and his pictures are all self-portraits! He’s able to complete a shot within 8 seconds. He is often patient in waiting for the best moment to capture his shot. Once the ideal moment arrives, he takes off his clothes and runs into the scene!
Other than just appreciating Ou’s bravery, we can actually learn from him. Oh, don’t get me wrong! I am not asking you to take a naked picture of yourself, like what Ou Zhihang does. What we can learn and strive towards is the idea that photography isn’t only a way to capture what has happened but as well as expressing your ideas towards certain issue.
Ou Zhihang has his own way of presenting his thoughts, so do you! There is no right or wrong in the area of creativity, so, just go for what feels right!
This article is inspired by a China Daily feature.