This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – Alison Stieven-Taylor takes a look back at the Pingyao International Photography Festival and shares her experience of this extraordinary festival that draws photographers, curators and photography lovers from around the world.
Plus, Cilivisation: The Way We Live Now is at the Ian Potter Gallery in Melbourne. This is the show of the summer! Read Alison’s review in Australian Book Review: Arts.
Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP)
It was my first time in this ancient Chinese city and at the festival. Last week when I was sitting in the hotel courtyard I momentarily thought I was still at home, there were so many familiar faces from the Australian photography world! But it soon became apparent the global reach of this expansive festival.
Now in its 19th year, PIP programs an immense number of exhibitions, that at times overwhelms; on more than one occasion I had to take a break from the exhibition halls and walk away. Sometimes seeing too much turns into seeing nothing at all.
The show I curated, The Female Eye, with works from Australian artists Nicola Dracoulis, Kerry Pryor, Ilana Rose and Helga Salwe drew impressive crowds.
We were a hit, doing interviews and being endlessly photographed – the shoe firmly on the other foot! I’ve never been the subject of so many pictures!
There were so many shows, and the Russian work, in particular, was incredibly powerful:
Vojtěch Sláma (Czech Republic)
American Dennis Hodge’s That Which Separates Us was also intriguing.
There were other works too that caught my attention. Some are featured below, but many of the names were in Chinese so it’s not possible to identify them at present! When I’ve had time to process the experience and dive into the 200+ page catalogue, I may have a better idea of who is who.
PIP19 was a spectacle in itself, the opening and closing events involving dancers, singers, and other performers. On the opening day it rained but clad in raincoats the crowd was undeterred (below).
Closing night at PIP19 (below)
Many of those in attendance have been to PIP for many years. Next year is the 20th anniversary and I hope I have the opportunity to say ni hao again to my new friends.