I got to know entrepreneur Liu Zhicheng accidentally. However, his passion and infatuation for photography made us very close at once. Starting from photography, we found that we share many common interests and topics.
As a collection of photographs about Himba people’s life in Africa, Clan of the World Edge is a work full of legends and mysteries. Mr. Liu Zhicheng’s masterful photographic skills are obvious, and the anthropologic perspective and presentation of the primitive people contain even more photographic value. Opening the book, I cannot help marveling that at “the end of the world” in the continent of Africa should live such a group of “people settling on the banks of a river”. The Himba people are so close to nature, respectful to ancestors and sincere in keeping their belief, customs and life style. Considering that Mr. Liu Zhicheng is just a Chinese entrepreneur, not a professional photographer, I have to wonder how he could overcome the great gaps in geography, cultural backgrounds and life experience to record the natural, peaceful and vivid life of this primitive African tribe.
In recent years, I have been asked frequently: “Why are there more and more successful people crazy about photography? Why do they always make outstanding achievement in this field very fast?” This cultural phenomenon in photographic circle is attracting more and more attention. The answer to this question is both hard and easy. I think camera is the most suitable tool for successful people to observe the world, refine sentiments and make friends all around. The electrification of photographic equipments has made the skills easier to learn, but excellent photographers are competing with their comprehensive quality. Their life experience, wisdom, self-cultivation and behavioral style are all important in producing impressive photos.
Mr. Liu Zhicheng is a very modest and sincere man. He named his enterprise “Heng Kun”, which shows his business method and philosophy of life. “Heng” in Chinese means perseverance and firmness in mind. “Kun” means being large and magnanimous as the earth. Such personality and life philosophy make his enterprise a success and his photographic works outstanding. In order to become member of China Photographer Association and British Royal Photographic Society, he travels around both in China and the wild grassland of Africa. Naturally, his hard work has been rewarded with many superb photos.
While he was on board of a helicopter in Africa, chasing the wildly running animals, his eyes was deeply attracted by the Himba living at Opuwo in Namibia… During the past two years, as if trying to finish an important homework, he looked through the little hardly available documents, asked for the famous photographers, thinking over day and night to record the objective, natural and real life of the Himba with right photos… Three trips to Africa for shooting, he was better prepared from time to time, and came back with more and more fruitful results accordingly. His photos shifted swiftly from seeking purely for light and image to lay equal stress on both substance and culture.
Although Mr. Liu Zhicheng has stressed repeatedly that his pictures contain more sensibility than sense, Clan of the World Edge is a very worthwhile book in both aspects. In the book, the photographer and author has shown his respect and worship to the ancient culture, which enables the readers to feel the pluralistic and deep nature of human civilization. Thanks to photography and Mr. Liu Zhicheng’s works, our horizons are broadened and our souls are purified once more. I believe this visual presentation of Himba tribe will be more and more valuable and brilliant with the passage of time.