On david burnett's works


The Beauty of Sport and Photography

Na Risong


Everyone now calls David Burnett a noted sport photojournalist, but I prefer to see him as a photographic artist. 

Burnett was recognized for his documentary photographs early in his career, and he has won numerous awards for press photography, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal and the First Prize Sports Story at the World Press Photo Awards. In recent years, Burnett has focused on sports photography and he is widely considered to be the world’s best sports photographer. In his photographs, you do not know who was crowned champion, or who was named the winner; you simply see the pure beauty of sport and the pure beauty of photography. 

David Burnett’s relationship to China began with the 1988 Beijing International Press Photo Week. At the time, Burnett and Robert Pledge, his partner at Contact Press Images, were in their forties. They brought almost all of the world’s most famous photojournalists at that time to China and held three large-scale photography exhibitions at the Chinese Museum of History on Tian’anmen Square. The exhibitions were so popular that the crowds actually knocked over some of the displays. Masterclasses were held during the exhibition, with Burnett as one of the instructors. The 1988 Photo Week is now considered to have changed the course of Chinese photography, because that was the first time Chinese photographers would directly engage with the best press photographers and photographs from around the world. The rise of Chinese documentary photography in the 1990s may have a close connection to this event. 

We have invited Robert Pledge (perhaps better known in China by his nickname “Lao Pu”) to curate this exhibition. In 1976, he and Burnett co-founded Contact Press Images, and forty years later, these two men still share a passion for photography. 
As the director of Inter Art Center / Gallery and the art adviser for this exhibition, I must express my deep admiration for David Burnett and Robert Pledge.

Na Risong (Art director of Inter Art Center / Gallery and Art advisor to “A Man Without Gravity”)