Photo festivals judged (2)

07:58, September 26, 2010      

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Pingyao award-winning photo Gao Yuan Jing Ling by Wang Hongchao.

Some blame the intervention of local governments and commercial entities for low levels of quality or failures of photography festivals of this kind. Like other cities holding photography festivals, the local government of Pingyao has strengthened its organizational role in recent years.

"All they seek is commercial success, but they never care about the quality of the festival itself," commented Sun Zhenjun, a photographer from Henan Province. "It is a pity that all these events lack professional people, both curators and participating photographers."

Another reason leading to the decreasing quality of events is the participation of many amateur photographers, whose works are not so great but are included due to the photographers' high-profiles, one critic told the Global Times on the condition of anonymity.

"Photography festivals of this kind in China are now almost clubs for the rich and government officials," he complained. "Take this year's Pingyao event as an example, you can find out a lot of pictures on show are both mediocre in subject and frame, it makes us wonder how such photos can be selected."

Not only Pingyao, but other festivals and exhibitions of this kind also face the same problem. Commonplace at most events is a list of rich businessmen or high officials who have their works on display.

"When they think about doing something to show their accomplishment in art they choose taking photos, which is quite easy to learn compared with other complicated genres such as writing or painting," the photographer said.

Although a few of them take photography as a serious artistic pursuit, most do not, according to Sun. He said that they aren't interested in developing their skills or learning the spirit of photography, but instead get into purchasing expensive cameras and then vie with each other.

"It is such a common phenomenon that you can hardly neglect it," agreed Dong Yunfeng from China Photographers Association. "Not only good cameras but the ability to reach landscapes that often cost a lot of money, such as taking photos in the sky by private plane, is another source to show off."

Source: Global Times(By Wu Ziru)

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