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He paints portraits through the eye of a camera

Updated: 2024-05-04 10:07 ( China Daily )
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Wang shoots a photo of a customer surnamed Jia at China Photo Studio.[Photo provided by Zhou Jin/China Daily]

In the bustling China Photo Studio, Wang Xin swiftly changes his position, moving the camera to find the best angle, occasionally pausing to adjust the lighting and help his subject attain the "right" posture and lift his/her mood through to the decisive click of the shutter.

"Lean a bit to the left, chin up, and give me a smile," the portrait photographer's soft tone put to ease his subject, who asked to be called by only her surname, Jia. "Good, very good, perfect," Wang said.

Such words of encouragement are effective in helping people who are camera-shy to feel less nervous. Jia's slight facial paralysis can cause her mouth to skew when she is nervous, Wang said, adding that he tried to make her feel relaxed while clicking the photograph. He chatted with Jia about life in general, her daily routine, trying to put her at ease and make her smile.

"Sometimes, it's just about capturing that perfect moment when the smile is just right," he said.

Jia, 72, said the moment she saw the studio while strolling down the street, she was reminded about a photograph she got clicked here in the 1980s. "I decided to recreate the experience, take some photos and keep them as a memento," Jia said.

Jia praised Wang's skill and amiable behavior, saying she felt relaxed and confident, and was happy with the photographs.

"In fact, the photographer is the director," Wang said. "We have to guide the customers to express themselves in front of the camera." The experienced photographer has the ability to win the trust of his subjects. "I try to be their friends, because for a portrait photographer, skills are fundamental but communication is more important." By asking the customers about their lives, the purpose of taking a photo, photographers can figure out how to click their photographs, he said.

What he has been pursuing through the lens, Wang said, is capturing authenticity, natural expressions. "I'm trying to show who this person is through my photos."

Wang has been a portrait photographer for nearly 36 years. "It is interesting to translate their emotions onto the photographs," Wang said, adding that he enjoys the interaction with his subjects and the connection that comes with it.

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