Xu Jia (Pen name: chunjuan)

Xu Jia, also known as Chunjuan, is a well-known consumer electronics website editor and an expert in evaluating digital imaging products. He was named the most important photographer of China in 2005 by Friends of Photography magazine. He was once the editor of PC Home's digital edition, and currently runs his own studio for evaluating imaging products and holding photography classes. His blog welcomes 7000 visitors per day, and has been viewed by 16 million total users since its launch.

Living in a big city like Shanghai, I have always felt a sense of nostalgia for the rural places where I spent my childhood, living in the country surrounded by nature, rather than in the city surrounded by buildings. After shooting a series of urban images, I visited a village called Wuyuan Huangling in the Jiangxi Province, about 500 km from Shanghai, to capture images of the Chinese tradition of Shaiqiu ("autumn drying"). After six months growing crops such as chili peppers and corn, the people of Huangling put the harvested crops in round bamboo baskets to dry them under the clear autumn sky. Letting the moisture evaporate under the warm sun extends the storage life of these agricultural products.

Many of the round baskets placed on wooden rods in the windows of every farmhouse are coloured bright red or clear orange. To do justice to such an amazing sight, I had to clamber up steep mountain trails so that I could get high enough to properly photograph the landscape. That means I needed a camera system that was compact, easy to carry and could be counted on to deliver high image quality. And that's why the combination of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO became my most trusted travel companion. The system is simple and easy to carry and control, with a lens whose high resolution and rich expression allowed me to capture stunning images of beautiful Shaiqiu under the clear blue sky.

I also tried shooting portraits using the ED 17mm F1.2 PRO in a room under low light and, with the lens open at F1.2, succeeded in getting beautiful and remarkably clear portraits with ordinary indoor lighting alone, without having to use any additional lighting sources. With high resolution from the centre to the periphery, the resulting photos succeeded in expressing details as fine as the colour tone and texture of the subject's skin, as well as bringing out background details.

Photographer List