“I am never without a camera, and my camera is always loaded.” Jin Shisheng
Jin Shisheng 金石声 (1910-2000), alias Jin Jingchang, was born in Wuhan on December 26 in a family of merchants, who later moved to Yangzhou. In 1923, Jin was twelve years old and received a second-hand Kodak 3A camera that his father bought from a friend, and started teaching himself photography. From 1932 to 1937, he studied at Tongji University’s Department of Civil Engineering, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in engineering. While still a student at Tongji University, he became particularly active amongst the young amateur photographers in Shanghai.
For Jin, photography was not merely a hobby, it was a continuous pursuit of innovation. After having published his photographs in many local illustrated periodicals, he decided to launch his own. In 1936, Jin along with Feng Sizhi and Jiang Bingnan established the photography magazine Fling Eagle (Feiying 飛鹰). He took up the post of Editor-in-Chief at just twenty-five years old. After releasing nineteen issues that included works of leading Chinese photographers at that time, the periodical stopped in August 1937 due to the Japanese invasion.
From 1938 to 1940, he received a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to study abroad at the German Technische Universität Darmstadt with a major in urban planning. There he earned a special degree in engineering and later served as a teaching assistant and engineer at the school. In 1946, he returned to Shanghai and served as an engineer on the urban planning committee of the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Public Works.
In 1947, he took up teaching at Tongji University, in which he stayed for 26 years. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, he continuously published articles and photography books. In 1978, he was appointed head of the Urban Planning and Architecture Research Institute, a position that he held until he retired in 1987. Jin served also as the executive director of the Photography Association of China and vice president of its Shanghai branch. On January 28 2000, he passed away in Shanghai.