I met Mr. Zhang and his family quite accidentally when they came to borrow a five star national flag, which impressed me a lot. And I gradually knew about their story in later communication.
At the very beginning, it was rather difficult for me to understand for what reason on earth that the couple gave up their jobs, traveled thousands of miles, and invested all they had to engage in photographing in Brazil for a decade. Not knowing the local language in such downright unfamiliar surroundings, they were faced with various difficulties and dangers. Then what was the impetus propping them up in so hard time?
Sitting down on a loft in the setting sun, I looked at the shootings and was deeply moved as the couple narrated their experience. They came here only because of their dream and crazy love to the Brazilian culture. They were auspicious for they embraced dreams and were in pursuit of the dreams.
Brazil, as a country of immigrants, has multiculturalism and integrated characteristics fused here. In addition to local samba, soccer, there is German-styled Oktoberfest, the traditional Dutch flower festival and the Swiss-flavored pine nuts festival, which contributes to a colorful and dizzying atmosphere. Brazil has tantalizing natural scenery, embodied in its waterfalls, swamps, beaches, the Amazon forest, pythons, piranhas, Blue Macaw and Jabiru Stork……; the primitive and wild beauty was revealed everywhere. Mr. Zhang, with his camera, showed to the world the beautiful scenes, some places of which many people have not ever been able to reach. Commendably, the information about many of these precious pictures was from the “Little Photographer”, Link Zhang. He, who is only 7 years old, and his 5-year-old young sister, who was born in a jeep, experienced full of bumps since they were born along with his parents. Thus young as they were, they could made skillful use of camera, just like playing Transformers. I have joked that they resembled the “Little Xu Xiakes” in the twenty-first century. (Xu Xiake was a Chinese geographer, traveler and litterateur in Ming Dynasty.)
The public order in Brazil was not quite satisfying. The family of Mr. Zhang was looted many times and the most disastrous one was two years ago when 200 hard drive full of videos, 2 editing machines, 15 computers and images photed in the past etc. all missed. A few months later, the jeep disappeared without traces. This made a heavy blow on them. However, they made it through and survived, starting everything from scratch again.
With the family growing from husband and wife first to four members today, they spent a decade in Brazil which they have understood, experienced and interpreted, so as to manage to accumulate heaps of valuable image data. Now, they have handed in an answer sheet by introducing Brazil to the world from their own perspective.
Ten years witnessed the couple’s traces of nearly 160 thousand kilometers, a creation of almost 6,000- hour-long videos and kind of millions of pictures, their kids’ arrival in the world and the pursuit of their dream.
They made a fruitful harvest.
Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Sao Paulo, Brazil
On March 19, 2009 in Sao Paulo