Great exploration for lost civilizations


©Fu Yichun

Like humans, cities are mortal. They are born, they thrive, and they eventually die. Over the course of human history, an astonishing number of cities and towns have been lost, destroyed, submerged, and abandoned. Photographer Fu Yichun has travelled across 51 countries and regions to record the once flourishing civilizations.

"By chance, I read an introduction about Rollei and Kodak film cameras in a magazine. I was attracted by the development history of film cameras, arousing my keen interest in traditional film.

"I had been collecting all kinds and brands of cameras since then. I started with analog photography, and this meant a limitation in the way I worked. Having a restricted amount of negative film forced me to think very carefully about the photo before shooting. Over time, I have became a professional photographer.


A photo of Fu Yichun

“Filming the World Heritage sites has always been a lingering desire in my mind ever since I became a photographer. However, such a gigantic project with innumerable sites spread all over the world which demoralise me from taking the first step to it. My determination to start "The Lost Civilization" project was motivated in the year 2016, when I watched the news about the Syria civil war. It resulted that six World Heritage sites, such as Damascus and Palmyra ancient ruins completely destroyed during the war. As soon as the news came out, I was shocked and mourned for the great lost for mankind. The sorrow ignited me with creative enthusiasm to take photos for the world cultural heritage as the theme 'The Lost Civilization', with the project objective to record human footprints which were slowly disappearing in the long river of history.”

©Fu Yichun

Global Photography: Where are the 30 photos taken?

Fu Yichun: The 30 photos are mainly the ancient Greek ruins in Turkey, and also some works about the ancient Tibetan ruins and the Summer Palace in Beijing. My plan is to photograph the cultural heritage of the four ancient civilizations, starting from the ancient Greek civilization.

©Fu Yichun

Global Photography: What is the status of the preservation of sites in Turkey?

Fu yichun: Today's Turkey used to be the Asia Minor region in the heyday of ancient Greece, and its prosperity is no less than that of Greece, and the most intact ancient city of Ephesus is also in Turkey. The Turkish economy is not very developed, but cultural relics are well protected. They have set up museums to protect the relics, as well as done a lot of work of repairing and preservation, which is very meaningful for us.

©Fu Yichun

Global Photography: What were your feelings during the process of shooting?

Fu Yichun: It is wonderful to witness the creativity of the ancient people and feel the charm of the ancient civilization at such close distance.

©Fu Yichun

Global Photography: Can you share your creation idea and process?

"The Lost Civilization" series works in black and white as a form of expression, with the eastern and Western history and civilization as the theme, traditional film and digital film collision and fusion as a method. Through the tone of the black and white ash, it interprets and reproduces the thick history and similar metaphysical footprints. In this series of creation, a large number of traditional film and modern digital combination of methods are used, through scanning the traditional film to digital image, and then retransfer it through PS software.

The ruins of the Gug Dynasty in Ali, Tibet, and the ancient city of Hirapolis, Turkey, were created by scanning traditional films. This technique not only retains the flavor of film, but also frees itself from the tiny darkroom, providing a new choice for photographic art. The Old Summer Palace ruins and the Cappadocia caves are the impressive images produced by the digital back of the Hasselblad medium format camera. This is not only a retroactivity of human civilization, but also an exploration of the photographic art from the past to the present .

©Fu Yichun

©Fu Yichun

Global Photography: What factors do you focus in terms of post editing?

Fu Yichun: First of all, as a series of 30 photos, the post editing should be unified in tone and style. Secondly, the integrity of the picture should be maintained by ensuring there are no improper changes to content. I adopted a strong tone to demonstrate the heaviness of history.

©Fu Yichun

©Fu Yichun

Global Photography: What are the shooting plans for the future?

Fu Yichun: I am going to Greece this year to continue shooting Greek relics, and try to finish the shooting project of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations within two years.Then I will continue to explore other ancient civilizations in the world.