Huawei Imaging Competition reveals the winning entries, XMAGE explains the power of images

When Zhu Guangqian, a master of aesthetics, was young, about 100 years ago, he had a "violent theory":

Anyone with a taste for art thinks pictures are much more beautiful than photos.

What’s interesting is that about 100 years ago, the technology of photography had just emerged. After a hundred years of development, the power of images was still weak and still not in the eyes of experts.

Standing today, 200 years later, when I look at the winning works of the 2023 Huawei Image Competition and feel the power of today’s images, I can’t help but wonder: Why did Zhu Guangqian make this conclusion when he was young?

The answer still lies in history.

In the early 20th century, the art of photography was at a point of drastic change. It has been a hundred years since the concept of camera photography was born. However, our understanding of photography is different from that of today. For a very long time, the art of photography was a kind of art of painting. To imitate, you need to determine the theme before shooting, draw a sketch, recruit people to play the role, and then process it into a photographic work after shooting.

▲ (Two Ways Of Life, 1857)

The pinnacle work of pictorialist photography is "Two Ways Of Life". It can be seen without explanation that the photography of this period has a strong religious flavor in theme and seems to be copying oil paintings in form.

But compared to the real painting art, this kind of painterly photography seems to be an imitation. The photography at that time and the photography now are not exactly the same thing. The two shackles of technology and concept have restricted the power of the image. That’s why Zhu Guangqian was so talented. Will praise painting and disparage photography.

The image is silent but powerful

A hundred years have passed, and now our photography methods and works are completely different from painterly photography.

On November 6, the 2023 Huawei Image Contest came to an end. Huawei officially announced the 62 winners of the contest, including 3 Photographers of the Year, 17 category winners, 34 winners, and 5 student special attention awards. , and 3 organizing committee recommendation awards. This competition received a total of more than 600,000 submissions from nearly 100 countries.

The works of the Photographer of the Year are naturally the best expression of the quality of this image competition. These three works are speechless and silent, but the roar of thunder, ear-splitting engines, and the roar of eagles in the sky seem to be right next to your ears.

The award-winning work of Photographer of the Year Domcar Calinawan Lagto is called "Dragon Clouds" (shot by Huawei P30 Pro). At that time, the Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted, producing a steam plume more than 14 kilometers high, triggering extreme weather, and Thunder and lightning intertwined with volcanic eruptions, creating a moment-by-moment spectacle.

As Pei Tongtong, a judge of the 2023 Huawei Image Competition, said:

Volcanoes, thunder and lightning were regarded as unpredictable divine forces in ancient times. Sharp and powerful lightning pierced the huge volcanic cloud. The surrounding dark sky stared nervously, and a fierce battle seemed to be going on in the red cracks in the clouds. This is a very rare scene to capture in the unpredictable nature of nature.

This is a "decisive moment" in nature.

Another judge, José Ramos, said:

This composition has all the qualities of a good photograph, with stunningly refined light that draws the viewer's attention and allows the eye to scan the different elements of the scene. It’s a classic example of being in the right place at the right time, carefully planned and creating a masterpiece.

The power of images is unique at this time, because only the power of images can demonstrate the power of nature at this moment.

Painting and pictorial photography cannot possess and express these two powers.

Seeing the big from the small, "Dragon Cloud" is a counterattack against "photographs are not as good as paintings", and it is also a distant echo of the concept of photography that breaks through the shackles.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, the photography world began to criticize and reflect on pictorial photography. Photographer Peter Henry Emerson published "Naturalistic Photography", advocating photographers to go out of the palace and find inspiration in nature and reality. .

At this point, "art should be left to artists. As far as photography is concerned, we have nothing to rely on art and should engage in independent creation." It has become a consensus in the photography world. Photography and painting parted ways and ushered in their own era. Aesthetic independence.

Another Photographer of the Year award-winning work is from Dou Chuanli from Weifang, Shandong, China. The work is called "I am like an eagle and not afraid of danger" (shot by Huawei Mate 40 RS).

All judges agreed that the interesting feature of this close-up work lies in the rich details and the silhouette of the person in the eagle's eye.

The details under the close-up, as well as the details within the details, build a wonderful connection between the photographer and the eagle, and also highlight the sharpness and clarity that the "eagle's eye" should have.

Contrary to impressionist paintings, the high pixels and high resolution of mobile phone photography have made detailed close-ups a genre. This is also a power that belongs only to images, and is another example of the aesthetic independence of photography.

Reality, freshness, transparency, and breathing are the characteristics of the XMAGE imaging style condensed by Huawei.

After photography bid farewell to painterlyism, there have been many stages of development and various schools. Even at the level of shooting equipment, there are also different styles, so there are also ridicules such as "German flavor" and "Knife-sharp milking".

XMAGE image style is not just four words that come out of the head. The Huawei image color research team brings together expert teams from seven Huawei research institutes around the world, including China, Finland, and Japan, covering art, psychology, Eight major research fields, including optics and color science, are refined through years of accumulation and integration of global research and development, using the works submitted by users of the Huawei Imaging Competition as samples.

Many of the award-winning works in this Huawei imaging competition echo the XMAGE imaging style from different levels.

▲(The winning work "Camping Bushcraft" in the "It's never too late" category, photographer Jeremiasz Sobolewski, shot by Huawei P60 Pro)

▲ (The winning entry in the "Hello Life" category is "Growing Up 3 in a Row", photographer Andreja Ravnak, shot by Huawei Mate 50 Pro)

▲(The award-winning work "Mountain Scenery" in the "Travel" category, photographer Wang Hanbing, shot by Huawei Mate 50 RS)

▲(The winning entry in the "Portrait" category is "Wistful Thoughts", photographer Faizul Hisham bin Haji Mohd Dahalan, shot by Huawei Mate 20 Pro)

Obviously both the photographer and the video work are silent, so why can we feel the photographer's thoughts from every moment in the colorful world?

We can feel relaxation and comfort from "Camping", vitality and interest from "Growing Up", vastness and loftiness from "Mountain Scenery", and innocence and love from "Meditation". This is a victory for the photographer and also Photography wins because the image itself effectively conveys the message the photographer intended.

If "Camping" is as bright as day and there is no contrast between light and dark, if "Growing Up" has dark petals with no sense of light, if "Mountain Scene" is completely the same color regardless of distance, if "Meditation" has dark eyes and bright surroundings, then we must not be able to distinguish between them. Feel the information, feel the beauty, and feel the power in the video works.

An image contest, two landscapes, thousands of expressions

Interestingly, although Zhu Guangqian criticized photography in his first vernacular work when he was young, he seemed to be relieved in his last aesthetic book "Talking about Beauty Letters" when he was old, and it criticized naturalism. Sublation also coincides with the development of photography art.

The period of time during which Zhu Guangqian's concept changed was a period of rapid development of photography technology and art.

Bresson, Capa, Brassaï and other famous photographers were active in this period.

In "Talking about Beauty Letters", Zhu Guangqian quoted the painter Delacroix's famous saying "Nature is just a dictionary, not a book" and said:

When we appreciate a landscape and feel its beauty, we have already projected our own interests into the landscape and humanized and artistically transformed nature.

Another 2023 Huawei Image Contest Photographer of the Year award-winning work can fit this aesthetic understanding.

▲(Photographer of the Year Piotr Cebula’s work "Airshow", shot by Huawei P40 Pro)

Judge Chen Xiaobo commented on this work:

Mountains, rivers, trees, flowers, people and things are there, but why do some people always take pictures of mountains, rivers, trees, flowers and people that are different from others? The reason lies in the difference in the photographer's mental landscape. In this picture, the photographer's psychological landscape determines his unique way of seeing.

Zhu Guangqian's sublation of naturalism is that he believes that the advancement of aesthetics should be to discover "artistic beauty" from "natural beauty", and even "artistic beauty" from "natural ugliness".

In the "Photo Story" category of the 2023 Huawei Image Competition, there is a set of photos called "Legacy", which happens to be an example of taking nature and finding beauty in dilapidation.

Similarly, in the "Art and Fashion" category, the winning entry "Scenery from an Old Window" also seeks new life in the old and digs out the sediment in history.

▲(The winning work "Legacy" of "Group Photo Story", photographer Wan Bi, shot by Huawei Mate 40)

▲ (The winning entry in the "Art and Fashion" category is "Scenery from an Old Window", photographer Chen Jianfang, shot with Huawei P40 Pro+)

The famous landscape photographer Ansel Adams once said:

We don't just take pictures with a camera. What we bring to photography are all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have listened to, and the people we have loved.

So far, the same concept has been expressed in four ways by painter Delacroix, aesthetic master Zhu Guangqian, competition judge Chen Xiaobo and photographer Ansel Adams: Photography is not only using a camera to capture the scene in front of you, but also using a camera to express photography. Teacher’s self-interest and psychological landscape.

In fact, there are far more than these four methods. In fact, every one of the winning works of the 2023 Huawei Image Competition expresses this kind of expression.

▲(The winning work "Red Life" in the "Art and Fashion" category, photographer Daiva Seibeliene, shot by Huawei P40 Pro)

▲(The winning entry in the "Travel" category "1 Million Stars Hotel", photographer Pierpaolo Salvatore, shot with Huawei P40 Pro)

▲(The winning work of the "Art and Fashion" category "Morning Mountains and Dawn Waters", photographer Li Zhaomin, shot by Huawei Mate 40 Pro)

These three works have different styles and completely different scenes. There are ordinary household scenes, remote mountainous outdoors, and scenic spots. But what they have in common is that through the works we can see the inner psychological landscape of the photographer.

Behind "Red Life" is a passionate attitude towards life, "Million-Star Hotel" has the freedom and broad-mindedness of using the sky as the bed and the earth as the bed, while "Morning Mountain and Xiaoshui" is like the indifference of ancient Chinese literati who expressed their love for the landscape and painted pictures.

In ancient and modern times, at home and abroad, mountains, rivers, roads and houses are all scenes.

The inclusiveness of the Huawei Image Contest creates diversity, and diversity allows the competition works to flourish. It can be seen that compared with some other mobile image competitions, the Huawei Image Contest presents a variety of categories, themes, countries, and styles. A more diverse look.

This is certainly Huawei’s advantage in internationalization, and it is also the reason why Huawei’s imaging capabilities are deeply rooted in the hearts of the people at the international level and the public level. Li Changzhu, Vice President of Huawei Consumer BG Mobile Product Line, said:

Huawei hopes to make mobile phones an important tool for people to discover and record beauty, helping users create powerful works at any time. At the same time, as one of the most influential imaging competitions in the world, the competition encourages more and more people to use moving images to express emotions, show confidence, and pursue the "power of images" in their hearts.

At this point, the power of images, user expression and the power of the event form a positive cycle, and "far ahead" also applies to this event.

XMAGE, technology upgrade, art dimensionality enhancement

About 200 years ago, the Frenchman Niepce completed the first photographic work in human history, "View from the Window" at home.

This work, which seems very blurry now, took him a full 8 hours of exposure time. Such a long exposure time means that the popular concept of "capture photography" is absolutely impossible.

Technology, like ideas, has limited the development of image power for a long time. The liberation of ideas must follow the path of technological progress. Behind the so-called "decisive moment", the shutter speed of the camera and the sensitivity of the equipment must have reached a certain level. level can be achieved.

It’s not clear how difficult it was to shoot several of the famous paintings by Cartier-Bresson, the founder of Magnum Photo Agency, but the gestures and expressions were captured in just a moment.

There are actually many such works in history, and of course they are everywhere in this Huawei Image Contest.

▲(The winning work "In Flight" in the "Travel" category, photographer Evgeny Felinger, shot by Huawei P40 Pro)

▲(The winning work "Kiss of Death" in the "Hello Life" category, photographer Guan Zhiyuan, shot by Huawei nova7)

▲(The winning work "Diving" in the "Travel" category, photographer Li Lu, shot by Mate 30 Pro)

No matter how stubborn people are about camera photography, they need to admit that the advantage of mobile photography is that it is always closer to the user's hand, thus making the "decisive moment" easier to catch and easier for ordinary people to catch.

In fact, among the many award-winning photographers in the 2023 Huawei Image Competition, the proportion of professional photographers is not high, and most of the works are amateur earnings from people from all walks of life.

Everyone can take out a mobile phone and take good photos, and the power of technology plays a major role.

For example, with the support of both hardware and algorithm levels, Mate60 Pro and Mate 60 Pro+ have added the "Flash Shot" function, which allows users to capture photos with clear subjects and clear details in a very short time.

In other words, this increases the ability of ordinary users to obtain "decisive moments" again.

Not only that, there is also a photography theory that says, "If you don't take a good picture, it's because you don't take it close enough." Telephoto, macro, and even high pixels all serve this purpose.

▲(The winning entry in the "Travel" category "Glacier Hiking", photographer Chen Changhong, shot by Huawei P40 Pro)

▲(The winning entry in the "Art and Fashion" category "Violeta Cósmica", photographer Betsy Lorena Ramirez Gallego, shot with Huawei P30 Pro)

Ever since, we can see that whether it is the queue walking on the iceberg in the distance or the tiny pollen of violets blown away by the wind, they can all be captured by the mobile phone lens.

▲(The winning work "Alone" in the "It's never too late" category, photographer Haralds Filipovs, shot by Huawei P40 Pro)

▲(The winning entry in the "It's never too late" category, "Residential Area at the Blues Moment", photographer Sun Zizhong, shot by Huawei P60 Pro)

What needs to be mentioned in particular is that the "Good Scenery Is Not Afraid of Late" category is specially designed for night scene scenes. Difficult scenes that were difficult to overcome in mobile photography in the past are being solved one by one. Night scene is one of the first scenes that Huawei has conquered.

Behind this is precisely the result of comprehensive progress in XMAGE imaging technology, including the four major imaging modules of optical system, mechanical structure, imaging technology, and image processing, from the four dimensions of optical, mechanical, and electrical computing.

There may be very few things in the world as sophisticated as mobile phone lenses. Optomechanical calculations are simple in theory, but in reality they are extremely complex and exquisite. For example, free-form lenses can solve the problem of wide-angle distortion; periscope cameras can solve the problem of telephoto lenses and machine lenses. The contradiction between body thickness; the optical anti-shake structure can balance the opposition between handheld photography and exposure time; the RYYB sensor can obtain more light than the RGB sensor; multi-frame synthesis and AI calculation can further improve the image quality…

▲(The award-winning work "Night on the Ancient Bridge" in the "Good Scenery Is Not Afraid of Late" category, photographer Zhang Wei, shot with Huawei P40)

"Ancient Bridge at Night" uses the long exposure function to achieve two fascinating effects: the flowing water seems to be covered with clouds and mist, and the light of the flowing fireflies is dotted with traces.

When we look back at the Photographer of the Year works "Dragon Cloud" and "I am like an eagle, I am not afraid of danger", I can also appreciate the technical exquisiteness in them. If it were not for the improvement of night scene capabilities and the upgrade of the resolution of mobile phone cameras, such award-winning works would also be May not exist.

The upgrade of technology has brought about the elevation of art.

When we felt that XMAGE's "realism, freshness, transparency, and breathing" were too subjective and emotional, what Huawei did was to rationalize its technology through cross-department and cross-discipline methods.

Returning to the historical dimension, when we talked about the history of photography in the past, we were still talking about the history of camera photography, but mobile photography is creating its own history. Last year, He Gang, chief operating officer of Huawei Terminal BG, said:

During the cooperation between Huawei and Leica, both parties have achieved mutual success. But facing the future, we can see the gap between traditional imaging and mobile imaging, which makes us believe that we must continue to build our own capabilities in order to move into the future. Therefore, we released Huawei Imaging XMAGE, which represents Huawei’s firm choice to build its own capabilities with “me first”.

In short, Huawei has realized that mobile imaging must go its own way and build specialized technical capabilities, rather than working together with traditional imaging.

Only then, the pattern suddenly emerged.

At this point, the integration between the power of images, the power of events, and the power of technology can finally be clarified: Huawei has helped realize XMAGE’s style characteristics of “realism, freshness, transparency, and breathing” at the level of optical-mechanical computing technology. , also allows everyone to take good photos; XMAGE stylized images make the power of images more evident; everyone participates, and thousands of works with the power of images jointly build a unique power exclusive to the Huawei Image Competition , that is, internationalization, diversity, skill, superb artistic standards and humanistic value.

In the early years, when Huawei was regarded as "good at taking pictures" among the people, this image competition told us "how good Huawei can take pictures", "why it is so good", and "it will be even better in the future".

In the plastic greenhouse of fate, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too many pesticides once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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