By Shannon Miller
An artist’s vision jumped off the walls as Xiojian Zheng, a senior photography major, created a three-dimensional experience for guests visiting his exhibition “Illusion,” in the S.A.L. Gallery, located in the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library.
Zheng lined the walls of the gallery with black and white imagery that is 3-D in viewing and interpretation. His show featured street photography in New York City, and captured New Yorkers “always moving, and never sleep- ing,” Zheng said. Each picture contained a specific amount of dimension that brought the interaction within the photo to life.
“When the whole photo is 3-D, there is nothing there,” Zheng said. To make his collection unique, he used the element of depth to highlight select movements and conversations so observers would experience the candid moment as if they snapped the photo themselves.
Zheng began working with 3-D photography two years ago in his experimental photography course. He started with color prints, but when he changed them into black and white, he thought the photos were stronger in detail and emotion. He decided to add the dimensional aspect because he prefers his artwork to be powerful in message and different in design.
He experimented with city street lines, buildings and pedestrians to frame his photos to tell a story. Zheng’s favorite photo on display is a picture of his wife standing in a crowd but is the only subject emphasized in 3-D. It relays to the audience the importance of her existence through his lens and in life, according to Zheng.
His collection contained a piece that speaks to the point of commonality among human beings. The photo depicted a couple from behind, holding hands as they walk the city streets. An umbrella with an American flag pattern shields the pair from the rain. Zheng accentuated the fact that deep down we are all the same no matter our race, age, sex, nationality, or class.
Five years ago, Zheng moved to the United States from China to attend LIU. He willl graduate in May. His professor and mentor, Allison Rufrano, believes he has a bright future ahead of him. “He has created this selective, very tedious, very specific form of photography. He has such attention to detail and this work takes an enormous amount of patience to do,” Rufrano said.
“He’s special and caring and thoughtful, and not just in his own work and his commitment to his education, but also to the community and the environment. I mean all of his classmates and friends are here to support him and he deserves every bit of it. We’re going to miss him.”