Chasing the Mountain Light

Artist Statement

Mountains are the most magnificent landforms on our planet. Since the first camera was invented over a century ago, mountains have become one of the most prominent subjects for photographers.

Photography is the language of light.

I use this language to express my deepest personal feelings, to connect myself with the natural world: I capture the color of the sky, the tide of the ocean, and the impressions of the land.

My mountain photography started in New Zealand – a country of mountains.

In July 2013, I was on a family holiday in Mount Cook in the South Island of New Zealand. A severe storm meant that my family and I were stuck in a motel room for three days, going nowhere. To pass my time, I read a book in the motel lounge room. The book was called True South, authored by Pat Barrett.

In that moment, I was inspired by Barrett’s images of New Zealand’s high places – I wanted to use my own camera to capture the grandness of New Zealand Mountains, and beyond.

New Zealand’s Southern Alps was where I gained a mountaineer’s viewpoint on peaks and glaciers; I chased the light as it painted these mountainous landscapes in mystery and splendor.

Mountains have become my good friends. I travel near and far to see them: from the Southern Alps to Eastern Sierra, Patagonia to Himalaya.

Mountain photography is part of my life journey, it reveals my creativity, unlocks my mindset, and helps me to become more self-aware.

Mountains are our beautiful, natural keepsakes of the world. I hope to use my photography works to illustrate the beauty and splendor of mountains, and to inspire the greater conservation of our land and planet.

Yan Zhang 张焰

April 2019


EXHIBITION DETAILS

Date: 18 July –  4 October 2019

Venue: Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture Gallery, Building EA.G.03, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University. Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere.

Gallery Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 10.00 am – 3.00 pm, Friday 11:00am - 3pm

Contact: Lindsay Liu, (02) 9685 9943


Artist Biography

Yan Zhang is a professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at Western Sydney University, where he leads the Artificial Intelligence Research Group (AIRG).

Zhang is also a photographer, and an outdoor and mountaineering enthusiast.

In recent years, Zhang has devoted his time and efforts to mountain and alpine landscape photography. Alongside the pursuit of capturing the sublime beauty of nature, Zhang hopes to use his photography works to inspire the conservation of our natural resources and environment.

Photography Highlight – Publications and Awards

2019 – New Zealand Geographic magazine in its January/February issue published a 12-page feature photo-story about Yan Zhang’s alpine photography, entitled “Moonlighting”.

2019 – The Climber magazine in its autumn issue published Yan Zhang’s panorama image “Chasing Glacier Light”.

2019 – Australian Photography magazine in its April issue published Yan Zhang’s photography article and works (11 pages), entitled “Night Light – How to Make Unique Mountain Sky Images at Night”.

2019 –《大众摄影》(Chinese photography magazine Popular Photography)in its May issue published a feature photo-story of Yan Zhang’s alpine photography, entitled “雪线之上”(“Above the Snow Line”).

2019 – 2018 International Landscape Photography Competition: the 101-Selection.

2019 – Memorial Maria Luisa (MML) International Mountain, Nature and Adventure Photo Contest: Highly Commended (Mountain Landscape).

2018 – Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year: Shortlist (Landscape).

2018 – New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year: Finalists (Landscape).

2018 – Australian Top 20 Emerging Photographers Competition: Yan Zhang’s Portfolio was made into Top 20 and was ranked at 17th.

2018  – 《摄影之友》(Chinese photography magazine Photography Companions)in its February issue published a feature photo-story (5 pages) about Yan Zhang’s alpine photography, entitled “激进探险者背后的平静”(“Calmness inside the Adventurer’s Mind”).

2018 – Australian Photography magazine in its January issue published Yan Zhang’s photo as this issue’s front cover page.

2017 – Australian Photography magazine in its December issue published Yan Zhang ’s photo-story and works (9 pages) about his 40-day photography expedition to Patagonia, entitled “Chasing the Light”.

2017 – 2017 Epson International Pano Awards - Top 50 (Amateur Landscape/Nature): ranked 17th and the Gold Award.

2017 – 2017 New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year: the 2nd Prize (Landscape).

2017 – 2017 International Chromatic Photography Awards: the 1st Prize (Landscape - Professional).

2016 – Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year: Finalist (Landscape).

2016 – New Zealand Geographic magazine in its September issue published Yan Zhang’s one image in a feature photo-story, entitled “First Ascent”.

2016  – 《大众摄影》(Chinese photography magazine Popular Photography)in its September issue published Yan Zhang’s image as this issue’s front cover page.

2016  – 《大众摄影》(Chinese photography magazine Popular Photography)in its September published a feature photo-story (8 pages) about Yan Zhang’s landscape photography, entitled“自然探索中的风光大片”(“Landscape Photography in Natural Exploration”).

2015 – Practical Photography magazine in its February issue published Yan Zhang’s an image in a two-page spreads.

2015 – Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year: Finalist (Landscape).

2014 – Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year: Finalist (Landscape).

2014 – Colours magazine (Garuda Airlines in-flight travel magazine) in its February issue published Yan Zhang’s image “Li River” in one page.

2014 – Memorial Moria Lusia (MML) International Mountain, Nature and Adventure Photo Contest: Highly Commended (Mountain Landscape).

Snowing Night at Great Wall, by Yan Zhang