Fremantle Festival of Photography – East, West, and Beyond
2012-03-23 15:18:34 m.cri.cn Web Editor: Duanxuelian
An Eave, by Ning Ziran. Photo courtesy of Ning Ziran. No date provided.
by William Wang
Photography has become a staple of our existence as cell phone cameras become the norm. Some snobbish artists have commented that today's access to equipment is creating a superfluity of bad art. But access to equipment doesn't make for more bad art; it just makes for more art.
The ability of everyday people to shoot photos on a whim brings art appreciation closer to our lives, and broadens art audiences across the world.
The City of Fremantle Festival of Photography (FotoFreo) is an Australian biannual photography festival. In 2010, the festival attracted 90,000 visitors, many of whom were from overseas. The festival is presently taking place, and will wrap up mid-April.
This year the festival's FutureGen project takes off, where work by Chinese and Australian photography students will be displayed by FotoFreo, and by China's Pingyao Photography Festival. A total of 57 Chinese universities are involved in this program, and two Chinese students (Wang Chow and Ning Ziran) and curator Cui Jun are representing China in person.
Acclaimed British photographer Martin Parr will have new work shown at the FotoFreo, and he will also review the portfolios of Wang and Ning. Parr is best known for his intimate but less than flattering portraits of British suburbia.
Ning Ziran (Chloe) doesn't seem nervous about Parr reviewing her work. Her thematic focus and technique are firmly established in her mind. The Shanghai Normal University graduate made the unique choice of using infrared film to capture her subjects. Infrared film captures light that isn't visible to the naked eye, allowing Ning to explore her culture in a fresh way.
"My feeling is that infrared photographs are dreamy and a little surreal. I think this is a good method to visualize my uncentered feelings about Chinese history." Infrared photos are black and white, with the ability to throw plant foliage into a crystalline white. Her photos are indeed "dreamy and a little surreal," starkly portraying ancient temples in an unsettling way. She uses her camera to freeze unreal moments, allowing us to reassess our own modern understandings of a changing Chinese culture. 1 2