Lan Hongguang, senior reporter and vice director of the Photo News Department at Xinhua News Agency (China), reveals why photography is an internationally understood language and elaborates on what feelings overwhelmed him during the pandemic.
Lan Hongguang is a senior reporter and vice director of the Photo News Department at Xinhua News Agency. That said, he also serves as vice president of the Chinese Society of News Photography. In 1985, after graduating as a Japanese language major from the College of Foreign Languages of Nankai University, he began his career at Xinhua's Photo News Department. Since then, he has been stationed twice as a photojournalist in Tokyo, Japan. Lan has worked as a photojournalist at Xinhua for 35 years and is a three-time winner of the China News Award. Currently, he is in charge of the Photo News Department's sports news and new media reports.
Why did you choose this profession, and what inspires you in the field of photograph nowadays?
I chose my profession out of love and passion.
As a photojournalist, I am able to meet many people and encounter various things. It is an honor for me to be able to grasp them, feel them with my heart, describe their joy and sorrow with my camera and lens, and convey them to the world.
The world is developing and humanity is progressing, there is beauty and pleasure, but there are also regrettable and even dark sides. It is my pursuit to use my lens to praise the beauty and expose the ugliness. It is my duty to record the development and progress of my country and nation with my lens.
Photography is a language that can be understood anywhere in the world. This sentence covers all the difficulty and ease of photography. It is a cinch for everyone on the earth to take photos, and they can understand the picture themselves, but the difficulty lies in how to make the people in the world resonate. Let the photos speak, let the photos inspire people to think, let the pictures bring light to people, even if it is just a flicker. That is the driving force for my development in the photography field.
What made you decide to join the jury of the first international NEWS PHOTO AWARDS contest?
I would like to thank the TASS Russian News Agency for organizing this contest and the Xinhua News Agency for recommending me as a jury member. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I have been following the global developments of the pandemic. Although I did not go to the frontlines to take photos, I compiled and distributed news photos of colleagues from the hot spots in China and abroad in the editorial department every day. In particular, the snapshots of medical staff helping those who were ill and even dying brought tears to my eyes, yet at the same time, they also gave me hope. In facing the outbreak of the pandemic, humanity has not been timid, nor has it retreated, instead, it has stood up to this challenge courageously. Colleagues from all around the world were not afraid of the looming threat of death, recording precious historical moments of the human struggle against the coronavirus pandemic in hospitals and other places. The people and events in the photos, as well as the admirable reporters, have always moved and inspired me. It is my honor to be a judge for News Photo Awards to do something for them. Thanks again to TASS for organizing this contest.
Why do you think this contest is important?
As far as I know, this contest is the first news photo competition focused on the coronavirus pandemic and hosted worldwide, so, it is of great significance. I believe this event will deepen the exchanges between photojournalists from all over the world, especially concerning photographic reports about the coronavirus pandemic. The pictures selected will bring new hope and spiritual strength to humanity. This contest will also become an unforgettable event for people fighting the pandemic and provide spiritual wealth to humanity to fight against diseases.