Beijing's third international photography festival is staged in Coachangdi by Thinking Hands and the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre from April 21st to May 31st. All together thirty galleries and exhibition centres take part in the initiative which are spread over Caochanghdi and also the 798 Art District.
The centre is the Crossover Three Shadows Photography Award Exhibition. I specially liked the photos of Zhang Jin, which he took walking alone along the eastern section of the Silk Road from Chang'An to Yangguan. The pictures capture a lot of the landscapes mood in a timeless manner. He still prints in gelatin silver process, and it is even more fascinating to see that these pictures have no digital touch. Zhang Kechun's series The Yellow River I also liked a lot, as well as some of the dreamy pictures of Yi Hui's. A few photographers also touch on topics of Chinese society, which did not draw too much of my attention, except Wang Lin's Tulip in the Clouds project showing the life of Chinese Stewardesses beyond their neat appearance on airports and in planes. Definetly one of the highlights of the Photospring is Hisaji Hara's Symphony of Time and Light, which is a solo exhibition also on the compund of the Three Shadows
Photography Art Centre. In this he is re-staging scences from Balthus paintings. Looking at these photos closely, they are really amazing. They look simple and plain, but the photographer used multiple focussing and exposure in such a manner that he absolutely streches what I thought is possible with a camera. These pictures are perfect, but beyond a perfect photo. It is really a bit like a merge between photo and painting, achieved by a brilliant mastering of photography. The scenes themselves are for me too many school girls for my taste, but I still spend a lot of time at every picture, just trying to figure out how he did it.
The Chaochangdi Photography Spring 2012 is really worth spending a lot of time at, or going more than once. As the centre is North of 798 Art Zone in Beijing, it is not crowded and you find mostly people appreciating photography. The main cluster of galleries of Caochangdi are in walking distance of The Three Shadows with a lot more to see. Transportation is a bit difficult, but that's the price for keeping the "folks" in 798 out, which is really worth a bit of hassle.