— Written by Yang Zhonghui (translated by Sue Wang)
In 1929, Xu Guangping gave birth to the only son of Lu Xun in Shanghai and he was named Haiying which meant “a baby born in Shanghai.” For Haiying’s education, Lu Xun let him develop freely as he had written in his earlier essay entitled “How to Be a Father.” Zhou Haiying showed an interest in photography and radio from childhood, and with the support of his family, he became a radio expert and photographer. As a descendant of a celebrity, Zhou Haiying has received a great deal of attention since he was a child, but he always kept a low profile. Over the 70 years that he has worked within photography, Zhou Haiying has never published any photographs. It was not until 2008, when his eldest son Zhou Lingfei intended to organize a photography exhibition for his father’s 80th birthday that his photos were made public (…).
Zhou Haiying became attached to photography only 20 days after he was born as Lu Xun organised a photo session of him. On the occasion of a hundred days of his birth, Lu Xun’s family went to a renowned photo studio in Shanghai to take a group photo. Each year on his birthday, they took a picture to commemorate the day. Starting from the family memories, the first chapter showcases the photos of Zhou Haiying and his parents, the private photos of the elders and the family photos taken by Zhou Haiying.
Zhou Haiying’s first contact with a camera was from his mother’s friend Cai Yongshang. In October 1936, Lu Xun passed away, thus Cai invited Xu Guangping along with 8-year-old Zhou Haiying to recuperate in Guangzhou. Cai had a small Contax camera from the German company ZEISS. Zhou Haiying was very curious and he pressed the shutter several times with the permission of Cai. In 1943, Zhou Haiying borrowed a box camera from his mother’s friend again and officially began his experience in photography. In 1944, Zhou Haiying used his own pocket money and lucky money (money given to children as a lunar New Year gift) to buy his first camera in a second-hand camera store, and he continued to maintain his love for photography thereafter (…).
Zhou Haiying’s photographic works showcases a broad social picture, from family to society, from individual to collective, they are so inclusive that they are also interspersed scenes and details of previous political events. His photographs truly reflect the social ecology of that era and the living environment of people. This is an excellent representation of the photographic culture in modern Chinese history which is also of great value for the study of modern history of China. These are the moments of memory left by Zhou Haiying, which also provide us with a view on the modern history of China.