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Glories of a hidden world

Updated: 2020-11-04 08:26:17


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The photos of sea creatures that he has taken over the years. [Photo provided to China Daily]


Zhang spent his childhood in the south, in Haikou on the island province of Hainan and developed a fascination for the ocean at a young age. Most days were spent in and around the water. At the age of 6, he drew a picture of a boat and two divers ready to photograph nearly 50 marine creatures in the water. He knew then what he wanted to be.

"The ones marked with stars are the marine varieties that I wished to encounter when I was a boy and I have since recorded all of them with my camera," Zhang says and smiles. A graduate from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing with a bachelor's degree in illustration, Zhang took various odd jobs, such as that of a video game concept designer or a 3D artist, before earning a living as a photographer.

Zhang's secondhand Olympus Stylus 1060 camera cost less than 1,000 yuan ($149).

His breakthrough came when a friend invited him to dive in waters surrounding the Xisha Islands in Hainan. Although the trip was expensive, Zhang agreed and borrowed money to buy equipment specifically for underwater use, including a Canon G12 and an Inon underwater strobe. It came to nearly 10,000 yuan.

However, with everything ready, the trip was canceled due to bad weather. The bad luck didn't stop Zhang, who used the opportunity to learn scuba diving in Sanya, Hainan, during which time he was able to take a photo of his first deep-sea creature-a mole cowry.

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