Seeing the Mundus Journey through the lens of a Mundus student

He Zhang (2017-2019 cohort) is a budding photographer who has captured his journey through the Mundus Journalism programme. Here, he takes us through the moments that made his Mundus Journey special.

2019.07.15 | Sabeen Jamil

He Zhang’s photos are reflective of many of the beautiful moments that make Mundus Journalism an unforgettable experience for students. Here, he takes us through the moments that made his Mundus Journey special.

He Zhang is a budding photographer who is currently studying on our Journalism Across Cultures programme at the Hamburg University and is known among his friends as the ‘Mundus Photographer’.

With his fancy GoPro action camera, He Zhang has taken around 30 million pictures. Many of his photos include his Mundus friends and special moments from his travels whilst studying for the Mundus Journalism Programme.

“I take pictures everywhere I go. Pictures are memories.”

He Zhang ventured into photography as a beginner in 2010 in the UK, where he was studying International Communications. He took his passion for capturing memories with him when he returned home to China where he took on freelance wedding and commercial photography assignments. Little did he know then, that being accepted into the Mundus Journalism Programme in 2017 would become such a defining moment for him and his love of photography. 

“I got my first gig in Denmark as the official photographer for the Mundus Journalism Blue Book (2017-2019 cohort). Since then, I have had assignments like covering Aarhus Spots Festival with the Mundusian reporting team for Jutland station. I covered the Queer Film Festival which took place in 2018 in Hamburg as a volunteer. Recently, my work which I coauthored with Rocío Valderrábano was published in Gute Leute magazine thanks to the Hamburg Mundus Programme’s collaboration with the magazine. And now, I am also covering the weddings of my friends,” says a beaming He who will be graduating soon.

Whilst he has been establishing himself as an events, wedding and nature photographer taking on freelance assignments and volunteer work opportunities during his Mundus years, He Zhang did not forget to document his Mundus Journey in pictures, here are some of his favourite photos.

Picture 1 - The older couple

During my first year in Aarhus, I had plenty of time to travel to the many beautiful towns in Denmark and capture the picturesque Danish landscapes through my lens. In one of such trips to the famous Danish town of Skagen, I saw an old couple coming back from their tour of the Rubjerg Knude  LightHouse. This older couple were holding each other’s hands and the abandoned lighthouse and sand dunes were disappearing behind them. It was November 11th ‘The Singles Day’. For me, this was the most touching sight on that day which made it a perfect picture moment.

Picture 2 - The Snow Bird

It was the last of the winter and the coming of spring in Aarhus. I saw this bird perched on a tree. She was all wet from the snow yet she was singing alone happily. To me she looked like a lone singer on stage wearing a bowtie :D

Picture 4 - The Seal

On my trip to Skagen, I found these seals. I had to get really close to them to take the picture that I wanted. After waiting for a very long time in cold, the seal glanced back at me and I took this picture. While I was taking this picture, my friend Gabrielė Niekytė  took a picture of me taking seal’s picture. This is a very special picture for me as it reminds me of a quote from photographer Robert Capa: “If your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough”.

Picture 5 - Paddle Boarders

One morning in Aarhus, I went out to get a picture of the rising sun. On my way I saw two paddle boarders. It was a beautiful sight with golden sun behind their silhouette and shimmering water beneath them. I was carrying a 3kg DSLR and lens and a 4kg backpack with me and I ran with all this weight to find the right spot to capture this. And, here we are!

Picture 6 - After our exams

After our last exam in Aarhus, we spent the night at the beach. Most of our cohort mates had already left the town and there were only very few of us left. At one point we were standing in front of the sea with sparklers in our hands. It was at that moment that I felt the sun was rising upon us and in front of me was the sea beyond which represented the beginning of the next chapter of my Mundus Journey. In that moment, I felt ready for what was to come- Hamburg.

Picture 7 - Light drawing

Me, <3 and Aarhus.

Picture 8: Aarhus Rainbow

The iconic Aarhus landmark.

Picture 9 - An Aarhus Football Match

Danes love football and it is like a warzone when there is a match between Aarhus and Aalborg.

Picture 10 - Spot Festival

The Spot Festival happens every year in Aarhus. It is a showcase for up and coming Scandinavian bands and singers. One of the Mundus alumni - Shoko - took part in the Spot Festival whilst we were in Aarhus. She's here with a mic on the stage, it was an incredible performance. You can find out more about her, and see more of my photos, in the article we wrote for Jutland Station.


Picture 11 - Mundus memories

At all of our Mundus meetups, I was always came with a camera and a selfie-stick. By the end of the year, they started calling me “The Selfie Manager." You can see why :).

Picture 12 - Queer festival

This is from the Queer Film Festival 2018 where I was volunteering. They screened the silent movie “Hamlet”. While the movie was playing, a pianist coordinated music on the piano throughout the movie screening. It was really impressive.

Picture 13 - The Hamburg Dom

When in Hamburg, don’t forget to visit the Dom!

Picture 14 - A plane on the Hamburg skies

Hamburg is a city of beautiful parks and gorgeous skylines on sunny days. One bright sunny day, I was jogging in Stadtpark when I saw a plane above me. I captured this photo with my phone because I did not have a camera on me at that time.

Thank you He Zhang for sharing these amazing photos with us! If you're a Mundus alumni who would also like to share your work with us, please get in touch with us on Facebook or Instagram. Or, if you're a prospective student looking to apply to this truly once-in-a-lifetime program, find out more about the admissions process, here.





Students, Mundus Journalism, Future students, People and cultures, People
Tags: photography, Hamburg, Aarhus, Mundus Journalism, travel, events, nature