Lan Zhigui 蓝志贵 (1932 - 2016, Baxian, Sichuan) was considered as a pioneer photographer active in Tibet from the early 1950's to the early 1970's. His first encountered photography when he was a young apprentice in a photo studio. Once his apprenticeship completed, he attended art-training courses for half a year, where he become informed about the history of Western art thanks to publications available then.
In November 1949 he joined the People's Liberation Army, the armed forces of the People's Republic of China. In 1951, Lan Zhigui was nineteen and discovered for the first time Tibet. At that time he was a reporter for the People's Liberation Army and eventually spent twenty years there to record the history of Tibetans. He photographed the People's Liberation Army's entry into Tibet, the construction of the Xikang-Tibet highway, appeasing of the armed rebellion, democratic reform, the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and a series of important historical events. He also filmed the Tibetan folklore, religions and culture, while capturing the diversity of ethnic minorities, such as the Lhoba people, Mishmi people, and Menba people.
Between 2007 and 2016, Huang Jianpeng – owner of the eponymous gallery - spent nearly a decade sorting through and systemizing Lan’s rare pieces. He curated solo and group exhibitions at Beijing’s National Art Gallery and the Nanjing Museum. “I must have made a dozen flights between Nanjing and Chengdu to collect his photographic material and original documents, so as to gain an understanding of his life in Tibet and his way of working over the course of two decades,” he explains. Huang’s collection currently comprises 200 early prints of Lan, 100 of which were exhibited in the Chinese National Art Museum.