About the Photographer
Chinese, b. 1964 Shanxi
“All the locations I photograph have one feature in common, a rich role in the lives of humans. There are printed thoughts, notions, feelings, and memories left behind in history by humans while exploring and changing the world. Time flies and things change. All the way through history natural scenery and constructions remain (barring earthquakes!) while relevant people disappear. Living in the present, how can we recapture and reproduce historical thoughts, opinions, feelings or memories by means of photography? And what new experiences and feelings can we come up with during the process of recapture and reproduction?” -- Shi Guorui
Beijing-based photographer Shi Guorui is known internationally for his masterful use of camera obscura to produce large-scale panoramic photographs. Guorui portrays sites of urban development that carry significant cultural, political, and economic weight, such as the Shanghai riverfront, the Great Wall of China, and K2, the second highest mountain in the world.
To create his images, Guorui first builds a massive camera obscura into the landscape itself, in a tent or a hotel room. Camera obscura (which literally translates in Latin to "dark room"), occurs when light passes through a small aperture into a darkened chamber and creates an inverted image on the wall opposite the hole. Guorui hangs large sheets of black-and-white photographic paper on the walls of his locations to capture his images, producing one-of-a-kind paper negatives. Each of his works requires months of planning and several weeks of on-site shooting, with exposures often lasting several hours. Spanning over ten feet wide, Guorui’s photographs speak directly to the iconic status of each location and the tremendous effort required to realize such a site.
Shi Guorui was born in 1964 in Shanxi Province, China. He completed a degree from the Photography Department of Nanjing Normal University in 1992, and has exhibited worldwide since 2002. His recent selected solo exhibitions include Shi Guorui: Scenes, F2 Gallery, Beijing (2011); The Same is Not the Same: Shi Guorui & Andrea Good, Offene Kirche Elisabethen Basel, Switzerland (2010); Reproduction and Refashioning, The de Young Museum, San Francisco (2007). Shi currently lives and works in Beijing.